“It’s the feeling of receiving a huge gift one day.” The gift that comes to us, Kim Seon-ho.
NOW AND FOREVER
You are busy, right?
I only realize it now after wrapping the drama, how busy I was back then to the point of not having the time to think about it. After the drama ends, I’m doing interviews like this and appearing in variety programs. I’m amazed that the list of jobs is endless. It’s something I’m thankful for, and I want to enjoy doing it. Although it might be physically demanding at times, still, I am enjoying the moment.
How does Kim Seon-ho think about Kim Seon-ho? Has it changed in any way?
I think it’s still the same. Personally, I think of myself as a slow person who still has lots of things I’m lacking at. But then, I also think that I’m someone who will surely see it to the end when it comes to things I have to do or I want to do, or those that I like. I’m confident of myself.
The term late blooming actor has been following you. Where does the driving force that pushes Kim Seon-ho come from?
The growing number of people who are cheering for me is the driving force itself for me. I used to think that it’s the happiness and joy of acting that moves me, but turns out that there’s more to it.
You received the Best Newcomer Award for the Variety division in KBS Entertainment Awards 2020 through your appearance on 2 Days 1 Night.
I’m thankful for that. After all, 2 Days 1 Night is a show which has the nature of showing my ordinary habits, so I used to wonder, ‘Is it okay to show this side of me?’ There isn’t much time to laze around since the cameras are always following the members around, so it wasn’t easy for me to maintain to the tension at first. But then, the whole team of 2 Days 1 Night, including the members, grow closer and we come to have faith in each other. I even think, ‘They will look after me as they know me well and show the cool and delightful side of me, right?‘ I’m enjoying myself at the moment.
You are still doing theatre continuously at the same time as dramas. You even went to star in two plays in the past year. There are not many young actors around who are active in both drama and stage acting.
My greed towards acting is still going strong, as it has always been. Whenever I am standing on the theatre stage, the thought of learning more about acting would be crossing my mind. Stage acting is a job which requires crazy amount of focus due to its long running time for about 1 and a half to 2 hours for each show. Every single time I do theatre, I learn that if one happens to lose his focus, he might be breaking off character or driving the flow of the play uneven.
How does acting on the theatre stage differs from acting in front of the cameras for drama?
It’s the act of working together (with fellow actors). For a drama, we give our best in acting in order to match the scene while keeping in mind things to be expressed until the next situation (in the scene), so it does help in providing a wider view of the project itself. On the other hand, stage play requires us actors to be focused on several outbursts happening from time to time throughout the runtime. I can feel my own growth as an actor after experiencing the rapidly unfolding stage acting and the long working time during drama filming at the same time.
Among the characters you have portrayed up until now, Start-Up’s Han Ji-pyeong received the most attention from the public. ‘In order to relate more to the character of Han Ji-pyeong, I embodied the things he lacked of.’ That sentence alone seems to prove how different your affection towards the character.
Ji-pyeong is, after all, a perfect figure. He is a self-made man and even gentle on top of that. I wanted to understand him more. In order to portray him better from his point of view, I wanted to get to know more of his weakness through his past as someone who grew in the orphanage. I thought that the thing Ji-pyeong lacked was love. I guessed that there’s this different way of expressing his love to him and I incorporated that into my acting.
We are suddenly reminded of another remark you made during an interview: ‘Just like a dance move, acting somehow becomes something possible for me after sometime, without me realizing it.’ What does acting mean to Kim Seon-ho? Is it joy or torment?
I think it’s both. If I want to do it enjoyably, then I might need to torment myself a bit, and I will eventually find the joy after agonizing over it. When I was talking about dancing in the interview back then, I didn’t mean about the slow development when it comes to acting; it’s more about the rapid development once you realize that you got the moves. When I first started acting, I even heard people saying to me, “Your acting was a disaster.” (laughs) Thus, I understand how acting is difficult for new actors. You can hear people explaining about it, but in the end, you should realize it yourself. You should confront it yourself. After you do that, you will find out yourself one day that your acting has become better.
Just like what you have said, you also mentioned it once before that when you first started out acting, no one would have thought that you would truly grow as an actor. But now, you have completely turned the tables. How do you describe the growth of actor Kim Seon-ho?
My pronunciation and my vocal were not good at first. My voice came out as if I was mumbling and my low voice tone made whatever I said sounded unclear. Since I desperately wished to become a good actor and wanted to show a better acting to the audience, I decided to change myself. My college senior (Lee) Si-eon hyung said this to me not too long ago, “Your vocal is different from how it was when you were 20, though?” It surely made me feel so proud at that moment.
Are you the type that pays attention to what your partner is saying? You said it before that the thing you were most cautious of as an actor was, ‘not listening what your acting partner is saying’.
There are times when we express something differently from what we intended to in the beginning when we start talking. Hence, I want to express something well with sincerity. But then, it’s actually difficult to express something clearly. Using flowery words might even change the original intended meaning too. Thus, I should listen and pay close attention to someone when they are speaking.
Listening to how you talk about being a good listener among other things today has made us admire the personality of actor Kim Seon-ho. Do you have any life philosophy that is unique to you?
It’s something I inherit from my parents; it’s about being able to reach the middle even if I’m just keeping the basics? (laughs) For example, it’s like how being good at greeting other people will prevent yourself from being the object of hatred. Listening attentively to someone’s words is also a way of fixing you own weakness. When it comes to my goal, it’s about being an actor people would want to work again with. The wish to collaborate for the second time means that it’s not just about acting or popularity, but it’s also because of other things that make them see me as a good person and a good actor.
Is there any saying that has touched your heart recently?
6 years ago, while I joined the play True West, there was something the director, who was actor Oh Man-seok hyung, said when the show began. “In order to be able to produce a good acting, you should not read the script just once; instead, you should read it diligently for 13 times to do so.” It’s not an easy thing to do. Although I do try my best, I thought that maybe I’m just going through the script roughly these days using the busy schedule as my excuse. I’m reflecting over it myself, as I want to be do better and show some progress.
What is your personal feedback on your fandom ‘seonhohada’? They even left detailed reviews like ‘We like this kind of acting today’.
I’m thankful towards them and I find them amazing. Seonhohadas of course watch over me closely and I have a feeling that they could see the sincerity and the intention behind my acting. Although it’s not good to explain everything as an actor and there’s also the wish to leave it up to one’s imagination, but it feels like they have found out about everything? (laughs) Of course, I’m thankful towards them. I think they could see through me, seeing how they know me so well.
Is there any recent movie or drama that you watched which made you think, “How is it if I can portray this character?” (He even mentioned this before)
I have given it a thought whether I would be able to carry it off should I be given the chance to portray Robert De Niro’s character in the movie The Intern. He appeared as a middle-aged man who recently retired, and there’s this scene in which he sat in a café drinking a cup of coffee. It’s not even a part which involves any energy to be acted out, but it was somehow really natural…As I watched his acting, I couldn’t help to wonder to myself, “Will I be able to act naturally like him?” I really want to portray a character with a story to tell, who is ordinary and natural.
What do you think the moment right ‘now’ means to actor Kim Seon-ho?
As much as it’s something more than what I deserve, my heart is full of gratitude for this moment. There are times when I suddenly have a thought, “Do I really have the right to receive such huge attention like this?” My daily life has also changed. At first it was unfamiliar to me but now I’m getting to it; in order not to think that it was natural for me to become so, I won’t forget the feeling of gratitude and keep it intact in my heart. Should I say that it’s like the feeling of receiving a huge gift out of blue one day? I want to treasure this moment and keep it in my heart.
Although you said that it’s something more that what you deserve, we only see actor Kim Seon-ho with a solid career, as an actor who has been prepared aptly…Is there any achievement you have set your mind on this year?
I’m thankful if you see me like that. (laughs) Start-Up’s Han Ji-pyeong was a role that was a bit difficult for me. When I first started shooting for the drama, there was a moment when I felt that I was slowly losing my confidence. I want to hold my grateful heart close as I strive to become better. This year, actor Kim Seon-ho wants to prove it and show through his acting how the character he portrays is a cool one. It’s my intention to prove myself as an actor and not to be a disappointment to anyone.
This is the last question. We are slightly altering this one compared to the first question. How does Kim Seon-ho think about Kim Seon-ho, as a person?
After doing lots of interviews, perhaps I still think of myself as an actor with lots of greed. Maybe because I always talk only about acting in every interview. (laughs) That shows how huge my wish is to be remembered as a good actor, to the point of never abandoning and forgetting this kind of thought, not even once.