Kim Jung Hyun – Harper’s BAZAAR April 2020 Interview

A Send-off for Crash Landing on You‘s Gu Seung-jun by Kim Jung-hyun

Having focus about not having focus is this actor’s growth point. Kim Jung-hyun, who is sending off Gu Seung-jun, is still living with question mark instead of exclamation mark, as always.

MYSTERIOUS MAN

Your character Gu Seung-jun in Crash Landing on You even topped the search ranking at one time.
I was shocked too. Although it’s already good to know that people are searching for my name, it’s something that makes me feel great to have the character I portray getting the attention.

Your topless scene became a hot issue as well. (laughs)
Back during Jealousy Incarnate, my role was a high school student. The director said that it would be nice for me to give off the vibe of a senior, so I let go of all my worries and took everything off with a comfortable heart. I’m thankful for all who watched over me kindly, but to be honest, I have a little bit of regret this time around. I didn’t get to do any workout ever since I started filming the drama. I usually enjoy doing jiujitsu, though. Um…so, what I’m trying to say is I could be more toned than this. (laughs)

This is your first time receiving this huge amount of love from public as you act, right? Did you have any moment in which you experienced the popularity of the drama in person?
I received calls from my friends, asking me to share the writer’s phone number since they wanted to know why I got killed in the drama. (laughs) There’s this one time I went to a restaurant to eat, and the aunties there asked when did I come back from North Korea.

So, how did you reply to them?
Of course I said I just arrived here. They even said that I should eat more while I was away from North Korea and gave me lots of side dishes. Ratings can only be indicated as the time passes by. There’s also luck playing its role to make so many people loved it. To be honest, I’m still in a bit of a daze. Each project has its own meaning to me, but this drama has become some sort of proof that acting is a way to communicate with lots of people. ‘Ah, I really did receive lots of love, and it was possible for me to receive this huge amount of love.’

It must be more meaningful, being your first project after your withdrawal from Time one year and five months ago.
I gained confidence through this drama and my pride also increased. It’s a drama I can’t help but to be thankful for.

You also got to act on the same level as your great seniors like Hyun Bin, Son Ye-jin, and Seo Ji-hye, so that must have left a deep impression on you.
I’m thankful that they did not limit our interaction as senior and junior, accepting me as a fellow actor. They were all considerate towards me and treating me comfortably, making it possible for me to act freely without feeling discouraged. There was a time when Hyun Bin sunbae-nim caught a cold in the middle of filming. He is someone who is always kind and caring, but on that particular day, he looked so pale. Later that night, I received message from him. ‘Junghyun-ah, my body feels so sore because of the cold. I’m keeping a distance in case you get infected, so please don’t misunderstand me.’ It was then when I realized that it wasn’t because he was being sensitive about acting; he was actually taking care of me to that extent, hence I was so thankful. Actually, I’m a junior who is really bad at being affectionate. I try to make an effort, but it is really difficult. ‘Is this the right timing to strike a conversation?’ I would be weighing about it on my mind seriously. (laughs) It was not even during private setting but we were working; still, I was worried if I happened to be a hindrance to my seniors. I’m borrowing this space to explain myself like this.

When asked with the question “What kind of actor do you want to be?”, you answered, “An actor people look at attentively.” What did you look at closely for this project?
The pain that Seung-jun had, plus how he acted around people. I put in my effort in paying close attention towards those things.

Other than ‘young and rich’, ‘young businessman’, and ‘conman’, what kind of a person Gu Seung-jun actually is?
He might be seen as the most immature character, but I think of him as an adultlike figure. Instead of being dragged down by his own sadness, he lives his life in a bright and healthy way. The last scene I actually filmed for the drama was the one where Seung-jun received help from a homeless boy. What could be Seung-jun’s real wish? Was it money? Or Revenge? There were lots of questions on my mind, but it seems that everything was rooted in his loneliness. Perhaps, that could be the reason why that particular scene still lingered on my mind.

People know actor Kim Jung-hyun as someone who is serious, but it is also interesting that you stand out the most when you are portraying playful and bubbly characters. Gu Seung-jun is like that, but there were also movie Overman‘s gymnast Do-hyun, drama Jealousy Incarnate‘s Pyo Na-ri’s brother Pyo Chi-yeol, and movie One Day‘s insurance company staff Assistant Manager Cha.
Now that I hear it myself, it seems more like that. I think it’s 50/50. There’s my own reflection included in the characters, but there’s also the newly discovered or even the forgotten side of me that I found through the projects. I’m from Busan, and my friends there told me that they could see a bit of my real self through the playful characters.

We heard that your greed towards acting is quite something, considering how you describe yourself as an ‘ambitious blob’. You made a name out of yourself through the lead role in School 2017, raking in the attention for being a rising star. But then, you were unable to take part in any project for some time after that, so did you feel any burden in trying to prove yourself?
Rather than the intention to accomplish something in a hurry, it was more of my hunger to do a project grew bigger during that time. I worked hard in order not to be swayed, but now I realize that focusing on what I’m doing at the moment is the best thing to do. As I act, there are times when I feel uneasy: ‘Is this correct?’ ‘If I do it like this, will I be able to channel the intended message?’ I also asks myself a lot of questions: ‘Okay, so how is it for you?’ ‘Are you going to be satisfied with this?’ I think I will always have some kind of deprivation when it comes to acting, so in the end, that is also a type of greed.

So have you satiated your hunger now? You got to showcase your confidence through this drama, hence it might be the time for you to be concerned about your direction in the future.
I’m not full yet. I still have thoughts like the project I want to do and the character I should play. I want to do everything regardless of the genre and character. Acting is some sort of communication to me. I just want to have a conversation with people through the projects. I want to do it for a long time, if possible.

Do you have any ambition for Hollywood advancement? We heard that you started studying English right after you were done with the drama filming.
It doesn’t have to be Hollywood actually. Regardless of the country and the market, I want to meet various audience through various projects. There is opportunity to do so; after all, Parasite even received Best Picture at the Oscars. I was emotional while watching the awards, thinking, ‘Ah, so that place turns out not to be a closed place in the outer space.’ Even if I won’t be able to receive such a grand prize like that, I think it will be meaningful if someone feels the same as they watch me doing my best in another place. That has become a motivation for both actor Kim Jung-hyun and human Kim Jung-hyun. So, I am talking about studying English all the time whenever I go, so that I can’t go back on my words later. (laughs) Still, it’s not that I have an incredible focus right now..

Do you realize that you always talk about question mark, question, ‘I don’t know’, and ‘I don’t have any focus’ throughout the interview? (laughs)
I think that having a focus is something rare or nonexistent. But that doesn’t mean I’m being complacent. Even if I don’t really know and scared about it, I’m still going to try doing it one by one. It’s the case for my English learning that I’m talking about. (laughs)

©HARPERSBAZAARKOREA

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