The winter has passed but returned again. From the cold-hearted genius Choi Chi-hoon in KBS’ “White Christmas,” he turned into Kwon Ji-hyuk in “tvN’s “Shut Up and Let’s Go,” who put everything aside if it is for friendship and love. During a year of playing Ji-hyuk, Sung-jun has started to change by playing the two extremely different characters. The boy with an expressionless face who once said “I haven’t met many people so far. I didn’t even imagine myself being interviewed like this,” is no longer there. Now, he was throwing jokes and even playing with his eyebrows while being interviewed. Sung-jun grew fast in time and he said he is “greedy in terms of acting now” and that he will become “the god of acting” someday. 10Asia met with Sung-jun who now has a strong presence and we heard his stories that made us anticipate his next project.
TV series “Shut Up and Let’s Go” ended with the members of the band embarking on their own new lives.
Sung-jun: It is a story of young men becoming adults. The ending may be bittersweet but I liked it and it seemed more realistic. Honestly, the members probably didn’t know how long they can live in their own world. I don’t have any argument about how the show ended because I feel that it is right that they each chose their own path. The thing is, I can’t truly let go of my character Ji-hyuk because I spent nearly every single day being him for two months.
“The basis of rock spirit is having conflict”
However, according to the ‘Oh Boy Project’ C.E.O Park Sung-hye, you were a bit indifferent towards the show when you were first cast for Ji-hyuk’s role (laugh).
Sung-jun: Me? Uhm……it’s true (laugh). I felt like turning down the role when I first found out that the story was about ‘pretty boys.’ I thought a lot about how I would act out my character in something close to being a reality show. First, I thought “Shut Up” is about a guy from a rich family or a story based on a fantasy novel of pretty guys. But when I read the scenario, the story was completely different from what I thought. The drama told about conflicts between rebellious youths.
I heard that you dreamed of becoming a rockstar and even learned to play the guitar. Were you able to fulfill your dreams by playing a guitarist in the show?
Sung-jun: That’s true. I wanted to become a jazz pianist when I was young but I changed my dream to becoming a member of a rock band after I was hooked to rock music in high school. Once, when we had band practice, I told Lee Hyun-jae that we should really form a band because we sound pretty good when playing together (laugh). It was really fun and I was enraptured by our harmony. I think I had easier time playing an instrument than the other members because I played a similar character in the film “Dangerously Excited.” But of course, I’m not ‘great’ in playing the guitar.
I heard that the members discussed a lot about music.
Sung-jun: We did. Both Lee Hyun-jae and Yoo Min-kyu listen to a wide range of music and we shared what kind of music we listen to these days. That was when I got a grasp about how they feel when listening to certain styles of music. Director Lee Kwon also pursues a music career under the group Mad Soul Child but we didn’t have any time to talk about music with him because our schedule was pretty tight.
What kind of music do you listen to?
Sung-jun: I used to like modern English bands like Kasabian and Jet but now I like older bands. Just recently, my friend asked me if I listened to The Doors and I was hooked with their songs, such as “Alabama Song.” I also like hip-hop music like Kayne West’s, while it’s been years since I started to listen to hip-hop after listening to Eminem in middle school (laugh). I don’t listen to a full song but I’m the kind of person who just flips through songs. For example, I could find a hip-hop beat to be interesting but after a few minutes, I would play another song. But when I have a specific song that I like, I would listen to it over and over again. When shooting for “Shut Up,” I was obsessed with Radio Head’s “Fake Plastic Tree” and listened to it nearly 200 times. If it’s not that, I just listen to music like I’m studying it. Like analyzing how the guitarist played his instrument in the song and stuff.
You seem to have quite an interest in music. Did you have any special experiences when you sang the songs “Jaywalking” and “Wake up?”
Sung-jun: Before I recorded the songs, I received a few lessons and became familar with the basics of vocals. And it took about four to six hours in recording one track. I didn’t think much about it but it was really interesting to see my song pop up when I searched my name on a music website. I thought the recording went well and my voice came out pretty nice (laugh). I know that I should focus on my acting since I’m still a beginner but I hope to release a music album someday, like Lee Min-ki did.
“I want to be in a hard-boiled action movies where the characters fight till they bleed.”
“Shut Up and Let’s Go” is a drama that not only focuses on the rock band but also fulfills the different aspects that all men fantasize about. That could have made you to show off a bit in and out of the show (laugh).
Sung-jun: I liked how I can fight and make myself to look cool, for an example, in the scene where Ji-hyuk calls out everyone to come and fight him. (laugh) I’m sure that in real life, no one would even know who I am if I started a fight. There were several times where we were injured despite countless number of practice for the action sequences. I tried really hard not to avoid a punch till it reaches an inch away from face. But I remember one time when I got hit because I lost my timing. Or maybe that person punched me on purpose (laugh).
So, are you motivated in taking more full-on action roles?
Sung-jun: Definitely. I’m sure that all guys would feel the same way. Especially if they were stunned when watching the action sequences by the late Bruce Lee! I also like the action scenes done by Donnie Yen. I wish I can play a role that shoots a gun as well. I want to be in a hard-boiled action movies where the characters fight till they bleed. And it would be even better if the movie or drama surrounds a distinctive culture, like centering the culture of the Yakuza.
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Reporter : Hwang Hyo-Jin seventeen@
Photographer : Lee Jin-hyuk eleven@
Editor : Lucia Hong luciahong@
Editor : Jang Kyung-Jin three@