Kim Seon-ho said this: “I am a slow person. The opportunities, however, came to me much earlier than expected; to the point of making me think that it was something more than what I deserved.” Thus, the present Kim Seon-ho is not even sure if he is doing his best enough at each moment. This is coming from the same Kim Seon-ho, whose ardent wish is not to bring misfortune and hardship caused by him, upon people around him.
The Present Kim Seon-ho
Kim Seon-ho is already in his 10th year of acting career. Having stood on the theatre stage for a little over 8 years, it has been 2 years since he first started acting in dramas. His clean, fine appearance overlaps with his firmness, and it is because of his precious history of walking firmly on the ground. His personal history in the past opens up a path for Kim Seon-ho. That path shows him the new direction he should be heading to, which is the dramas. Hence, we asked Kim Seon-ho, who is standing on the unfamiliar path; whether he is still finding this moment more difficult than what he imagined it to be, as strange and difficult as it could be. Fortunately, he answered that it’s not like that anymore. The time he had spent together with good seniors and remarkable fellow actors gave him (a sense of) conviction. It is visible how Kim Seon-ho have gained confidence in the path he walks on. The present Kim Seon-ho is the living proof of the passing time.
You’re currently starring in the new tvn Mon-Tue drama Catch the Ghost. Why is it described as a romantic investigative drama with riot on the side?
The genre is interesting, isn’t it? To simply put it, the romantic comedy part is the basis of the drama. The title Catch the Ghost itself holds ambiguous meanings: although it refers to the ‘ghost’ living inside the subway, the name of our lead character portrayed by Moon Geun-young is also Yoo Ryung (which literally means ghost). I can’t explain everything but just like how the title suggests, the drama holds different kinds of fun packed into one series. I am also looking forward to how the story will develop, from my personal point of view.
You are portraying the leader of subway police unit Go Ji-seok.
The character’s name is Go Ji-seok. Just like what his name suggests, he is a naïve (a pun on the name) person. Haha! We’ve got someone who is timid and pursuing stability in his life as he tries to free himself from responsibility on one hand; and there’s Yoo Ryung on the other side, who is nothing near that. She is very aggressive and her adventurous spirit is strong as well. Can you guess it? Two polar opposite characters meeting each other in a drama that will surely bring upon a series of interesting events happening thanks to their encounter.
So, is it like watching Kim Seon-ho and Moon Geun-young’s incompatible, Tom and Jerry-like relationship unfolds in a sad but funny way?
You’re right. It’s like an incompatible relationship you can’t simply hate! Go Ji-seok is timid and with many fears, while on the contrary, Yoo Ryung, who is a newbie on the team, is extremely aggressive. Even in the face of a developing case which gets more complicated, she continues to run towards it without any fear, which always leave Go Ji-seok feeling uncomfortable. But Yoo Ryung is someone who is a quick thinker and a smart character, so you will find yourself getting immersed in the important moments. In the end, it’s always Go Ji-seok who gets left behind to clean up the mess.
Then, instead of the character Yoo Ryung, how about your synergy with actress Moon Geun-young in reality?
Moon Geun-young is someone who debuted 20 years ago. She is actually a great senior compared to me. If you look at her, she is really like a tree; one that stays true to her roots. I always receive this firm vibe from her. There are lots of moments when I feel unstable, but for Moon Geun-young, she has never wavered when it comes to expressing her feelings. Having someone like her who always stay true to her ground as your acting partner provides a good influence not only to me but also the rest of the cast as well. Sometimes, Moon Geun-young would say that she found things difficult too and unsure of some things, but I’m not sure about that. Haha. To me, she always seems to be a firm actress. An actress with so many good things you can follow.
How did you interpret the character when you were first offered to role of Go Ji-seok?
It was hard at first. A detective character can be typical when you look at it, so I used to be concerned whether there would be a better actor who would suit this detective character compared to me. But then, thankfully Go Ji-seok is not the usual type of detective you would have in your mind; of course, he is a detective, but one who makes lots of mistakes and has lots of fears as well. He is quite different compared to your usual detective, hence I wanted to be able to portray him as someone who would be fun and lovable. Interpretation of a character is important, but the character itself is already interesting, so I went for it without much worry and put my trust in the character.
You have been acting for 10 years, and you did stage acting for 8 years. Did you find dramas unfamiliar to you?
It has been a little over two years since I started doing commercial acting (in dramas). If I am to compare drama acting with stage acting, the latter mostly requires you to act as you look at your acting partner. You can see everything about your partner; there way of speaking, their habits, and their facial expressions. However, I could not see how I acted (at that moment). I did not get to monitor what kind of expression I made or how the detailed emotions I wanted to convey were showed. When I first started out drama acting, I was so anxious about this part. It is still acting, after all, but I was wondering if the habits I usually had would also be captured while I monitor my acting. I felt that back then. I thought, “I should pay more attention to those external acting as well.” I started to realize that I also had some habitual facial expressions when I first went into drama acting.
But then, those 8 years spent on the stage were also crucial to the maturity of actor Kim Seon-ho.
Of course. I won’t be here if not for those years. My stage acting experience is, no doubt, the most precious time to me, and it was a much needed process for me. I think that those time brought me here to this moment, in a very short time. I am a slow person. I also say this from time to time, that the opportunities came to me much earlier than expected. It was so soon, to the point of making me think that it was something more than what I deserved. There were great seniors and fellow actors on the stage, who helped me to grow into the person I am today.
10 years have passed by since the first time Kim Seon-ho started acting on the stage. If there is any target that remained unchanged since then?
From the first time I started acting until now, there is one target that never changed for me: to become an actor one would want to act with again. It is probably the same as other jobs as well, but acting is really not an easy job. It gets tougher as you do it more. Thus, I always want to become a better actor. One who intensely worries and then seriously interpreting things before acting…I want to be a good actor like that. “I want to act along with that actor again in another project.” That statement alone includes the effect I could have on someone’s attitude and meaning of life, as well as acting. My goal is to be such actor, and it has always been like that.
How does people around you perceive you as an actor? Do you have any kind of feedback (you have received) that you want to protect?
Someone once said that I am a flexible actor. I heard from others that I am able to handle different situations in dramas fluidly. After all, praises would make whales dance too, don’t you think so too? Of course, I used to prepare myself thoroughly before too, but these days, I am working really hard in every moment as not to be flustered with each new scene I have to encounter. I guess that’s what would happen once one has received compliments? Haha!
There has to be some kind of feedback you would like to receive in the future, right?
When I portray a character, I want to hear this kind of response, “It wouldn’t be possible if this role isn’t played by Kim Seon-ho.” Or “It is made for Kim Seon-ho.” If I happen to meet that kind of role…I am not sure about it myself but I think I would feel really good. I would be lucky!