It’s obvious now that Song Joong Ki is my favorite Korean actor—EVER! I’ve spammed our site before with artists who have intrigued me, but not to this crazy extent! 😀
Our guy just held a press conference / public meeting format earlier today at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, and he fielded questions from reporters!
As we mentioned (and linked) on our FB page, Kpop Herald will be publishing a “Song Joong Ki” series, and they have accepted questions from folks across the globe to post to Song Joong Ki. I submitted about eight, but even with that number, the pool of participating fans must’ve been too much for Kpop Herald! I feel bad for the guy who’s had to sort through the all the email submissions.
From those transcripts, these are the parts that piqued my attention:
Q: The show’s huge success must have changed your life quite a bit. You’ve become more popular than ever, not just locally, but also overseas. How do you deal with this? Do people say you’ve changed?
SJK: That’s a question that I ask myself a lot these days. I don’t know yet. I try to stay the same but I also think that change is inevitable. What I mean is, if you stay the same as in your rookie days, you can’t deal with all the new responsibilities you are faced with. Of course, my most important values should stay the same. My appearance has also changed a lot since my early acting days. Our company’s profits have soared; our managers are so happy these days. All things aside, though, I try to stay true to myself. People say I’m a hallyu celebrity now, but I don’t really feel that way. I learn a lot from people like Song Hye Kyo (who played Song Joong Ki’s love interest in “Descendants”) and Lee Kwang Soo (cast member of variety show “Running Man”), (they) are the ones that are really hallyu stars. (Kwang Soo) is the “Prince of Asia,” he’s the real star.
Q: How crazy has the level of fame gotten?
SJK: To be honest, I’m a little upset these days. My family has been exposed to the media. Some people break into our house. My ex-girlfriend’s photos are circulating online. To say that these are things I need to endure for the sake of celebrity … that’s sad. I want to respectfully request that my private life remain private.
Q: What is a difference between Yoo Shi-jin and Song Joong-ki, especially in terms of romance? (Asked by Kpop Herald)
SJK: The character Yoo Shi-jin certainly knows how to make ladies love him. I actually learned a lot about what kind of things to say when I want to satisfy a partner. The character that the writer created includes every little detail of an ideal man. But I sometimes wonder, is there anyone as perfect as Yoo?
Q: While filming “Descendants of the Sun,” which actor or actress gave you the most help or inspiration? (Partly asked by Melina, Nywe Elton-Bott Kara Wynona, Endah Purwaningsih, Feri Novita, Nur Amizah Rozali, San San Hirando, Meevie Love Toledo)
SJK: First of all, veteran actor Kang Shin Il, because I really respect him as an actor. He sent a long message to me after we exchanged phone numbers, and it really touched me.
Also, I think Song Hye Kyo influenced me the most, as she spent the most time with me during the filming. She was always considerate of everyone around her and her behavior is a living proof of why she is such a great star. Actually, she filmed all the difficult scenes—episodes in which Kang cries in sadness after Yoo’s death—all at once when I was in bed due to the injury. It must have been really pressuring and difficult, but she volunteered to do it.
For Jin Goo, he is always very relaxed and I really want to be like him the next time I work with people who are less experienced than me.
Lastly, David McInnis was another actor that I‘m extremely thankful toward. I respect the attitude and passion he holds, even in a foreign country.
Joongkyo and thepixies from Soompi’s KiKyo thread also provided this bit from his press conference:
Interviewer: You have a scandal with Ms. Song Hye Kyo because you two have a good chemistry. What is your ideal woman? Has it changed when you got older?
SJK: My perfect lady is wise and sensible woman. I always value this the most. I know a lot of sensational report about me was on the press, though. I spent lots of time with Ms. Song Hye Kyo, who helped me a lot throughout filming. Ms. Song is so good to me. Throughout the time, I felt she really deserves the celebrity she currently enjoys. She is a very well-known TV celebrity in Korea. She is very considerate to me especially when in acting. For example, episodes 15 and 16, Ms. Song (Her name is Kang Mo Yeon in the drama) had lots of crying scenes. When Mr. Song Joong Ki (Captain Yoo) was hospitalized, she volunteered to shoot all the crying scenes at one time. As you imagine, it would have been very difficult for Ms. Song to have a mood of crying without a counterpart (Captian Yoo), but she did it for me. I was touched so much. I thought I would do the same things for my counterpart in the future. Ms. Song’s personality is relatively confident and clear. As a junior, I would like to learn such an attitude, too.
His answers to reporters’ questions were disarming; that is, they were thoughtful and insightful. They were also revealing while also maintaining his privacy and aura of mystery. Even if you don’t know much about him, his interview gives you a sense of his growth as an actor and as a person.
Ugh, I’ll miss seeing him weekly on Descendants of the Sun.
Smiletall from Soompi’s DOTS thread also provided a translation of his press conference interview. So, if you have Soompi account, please drop her a thank you! 🙂
Q: We heard the show was monitored by the cast. Where did you watch the show?
A: I watched the show at (Lee) Kwang Soo’s house a couple times. Recently, I think I watched the show a lot while filming commercials. It was because I was curious about the real-time reactions. I was partly curious about the reports I would see being written by journalists, so I watched a couple times with my close school friends too. They tell me things others might not say.
Q: YSJ was a man’s (Tn: referring to the viewers) enemy but also a hero. What is your dating style in real life?
A: To answer the second question first, I learned instead from YSJ what women would like. Of course KES and KWS (the writers) created aspects (of YSJ), but I think I know why so many female viewers liked YSJ. I think I learned what women would like to hear from their men. In reality, if I was similar to YSJ I would have received a lot of love. I wonder if a man like like YSJ really exists. Like the writers said, YSJ seems to be a fantasy. My married friends said a lot to me. But it doesn’t seem right to say that the character I acted out is an enemy because of that. A hero is a bit burdensome. Let’s just say he’s a cool guy.
Q: Did Kim Eun Sook’s writing make you cringe?
A: I think it’s just a matter of preference in writing style. Of course, there are probably people who feel that way and I respect it. In truth, I didn’t feel like the lines I was acting out were very cringeworthy that often. If there were moments when I did feel that way, I tried to add my own skills and charm. If someone has a weakness, then I can cover for it with a strength of my own, and likewise, if I have a shortcoming, I believe my partner also cover for me. That’s why I thought this project was really great. If someone thinks that a line is cringeworthy, then I don’t have to deliver a line that way. I think it’s a matter of working together.
Q: YSJ kept coming back to life that you were called a phoenix. What are your thoughts?
I think a phoenix is right. I came back a lot. Personally, I liked those aspects. Despite everything, our drama genre was a melodrama, and I think it was important to reinforce the melodramatic aspect. With that in mind, I was satisfied with writers plans, I respect it. When I was watching ep 15 and saw YSJ return, I also felt touched. While watching ep 15, I talked (Tn: Kakao/messaging) with the cast. In those terms, it seemed good. I am satisfied.
Q: Any lines that were memorable?
There are quite a few. While filming for a CF yesterday, I reached the past episode of DOTS. In doing so, there was a line that made me think, ‘That’s quite charming’: “Don’t think that you lost. I still like you more anyway.” I thought it was charming. At the end of episode 15, “That hard to do, I did it” was also a line, shout it is said often, that had a different appeal at that moment.
Q: Any parts of the script that were hard to understand?
A: More than hard to understand, there was a moment I couldn’t understand. While filming the wine kiss, I was worried. From the viewer’s perspective, if we do the kiss so early, I worried if there would there be enough emotion, enough emotional investment between KMY and YSJ. But I was wrong. The viewers really loved the fast pace. I was really surprised when I watched the episode. I felt like I had worried for no reason.
Q: When watching SJK, it seems like melodrama is your specialty. What is your secret?
A:It feels wrong to say that it’s my melodrama acting secret, but even if it’s not a melo, the most important and basic thing is “books” (Tn: It literally says “book” but I think he’s referring to the script). If you go according to the book, it will be fine. That’s why I think that the script is the most important. This line, this scene, the scene before. I think about why the writer would have written this from the writer’s perspective a lot. And if I have have to really pick an acting secret, I wonder if its showing who I really am. When acting out melos, I believe in not overacting (Tn: He actually said not to act “느끼하게” which means like “greasy” as when a guy is really cringeworthy but that translates weird lol.)
Q: We heard there were a lot of adlibs. Which scenes?
A: I couldn’t match up to SDY in terms of adlibs. But it’s true, YSJ did a bit more adlibs than SDY. Generally, I didn’t do very many adlibs. I only did it often with SDY. Even when it’s very sad, guys don’t discuss these things. We express things by joking and so we did that a lot. JG-ssi responded to my jokes well.
Q: JG-ssi said you alcohol tolerance was comparable to him.
A: I went out to drink a lot with the actors who played soldiers. Rather than an equal tolerance, it was more like I didn’t want to get drunk because I had filming the next day. I think that’s why hung said that. I can never beat hyung (laughs).
Q: There are opinions on the “pro-military” aspects of the show. What are the thoughts of the cast?
A: I was going to leave the answer to the writers, but in terms of the cast’s perspective, I will answer earnestly. I think those sentiments arose because of the occupation as a soldier. I received a similar question from the 9 o’clock news anchor and saw a lot of reports. I respect their opinions. If the viewers felt that way, I can’t say anything. But I didn’t interpret it that way. Largely because I also received the project and reviewed it, read the script, acted it out, and watched it, I thought a lot about how people would consider it. Whether it was about how we salute our nation, YSJ’s death, these responsibilities can be considered, But I didn’t really think this way. You can consider the nation’s standards just by who you save and the tactics used, but I also thought of the word: “promise.” I thought of the promise made to loved ones. If you think of it in a larger perspective, that can mean the promise made to KMY, the promise made to the nation, and even bigger, it can be towards peace as well. (Tn: hope that makes sense. It was kind of a lengthy answer haah)
Q: Your teamwork with SHK-ssi was so good that a scandal arose. It also seems likely that your ideal type would have changed as you grew older. How so?
A: There was a lot of reports about my ideal type. My ideal type is still a wise woman. That seems the most important to me. While filming DOTS, I spent the most time with HK-noona and so I learned a lot. She is a sunbae-nim who is at a position where I can’t even dare to surpass and watching her constantly work hard left a deep impression on me and made me think “This person isn’t SHK for no reason.” She’s the type that considers others a lot. It is also apparent in her acting style. In ep 15-16, KMY had a lot of crying scenes. Because of my injury, she shot them all at once since I was getting treatment. Since I wasn’t making an appearance, she shot the scenes continuously even though it must have been hard. I felt really grateful then. I also want to treat my hoobaes in the same way. Her personality is also very confident. I felt there was a lot I could learn from her as a hoobae.
Q: Were there any other sunbaes that helped?
A: While acting, I worked with very impressive people. I received help from a lot people. I was really happy to work with Kang Shil In sunbae (Tn: The actor who played YMJ’s dad). There was a project that ended up not working out that we were working on together, so I was happy to see him again. At a gathering not too long ago, I was able to exchange phone numbers with him. He sent me a long message that almost moved me to tears. I learned a lot from his words.
I also need to mention JG hyung. He’s done a lot of movies and projects so he seemed very much at ease. He gives off the impression of, “Just try it” so I want to follow how he treats his hoobaes (Tn: Basically JG is very encouraging). I’m also grateful to David McInnis. It must have been hard filming in Korea, but he has such a nice attitude and his passion was impressive.
Q: You became an honorary tourism ambassador for Korea and met President Park Geun Hye.
A: I was a bit nervous about meeting the president. I don’t know if the cameras caught it, but without knowing I said “It’s nice to meet you for the first time.” But actually I had met her at an event in the past before going to the army. The president said to me “But we met before. Did you come back from the army well?” I was sorry and grateful at the same time. There was that kind of behind-the-scenes story. We talked about various things about the show. Since I’m receiving a lot of love right now, she told me good things and to remain humble. I agreed a lot with what she told me.
Q: SJK-ssi looks confident. What would you reveal to be your strength as an actor?
A: While working on DOTS, I felt that my thoughts were right and my confidence grew. On site, for all my projects, I’m the gun-ho type (Tn: He said 으쌰으쌰 which is more literally like ‘let’s do it! let’s do it!’). I strongly believe that all the members (staff/cast) of the film should be involved. It’s a responsibility I feel as the lead actor. I think that this is part of my job.
Q: From being Chul-soo in “Werewolf Boy” to YSJ in DOTS, in what ways would you like to hear that you have changed or evolved? A lot of people seem to sense a lot of similarity between YSJ and SJK. What do you think is your charm?
A: My charm, is it okay for me to talk about this myself? (laughs). When watching DOTS, there’s a scene where I meet KMY and her mother. Her mother is quick to notice the situation and says “I’m not that conservative of a person” but I say “I’m conservative.” That moment felt very familiar to me. I’m actually very conservative, and I have a cheesy/old fashioned side. I’m also very classic (Tn: like traditional). In order to live and work in this current world, I feel like I have to adjust this kind of personality often, but at the same time I work hard to live according to my own lifestyle (Tn: he literally said his own “color”). I think if you want to talk about my charm, part of it would be trying to work with everyone well, from my company family to the staff on-site. But some people might see it as being overly friendly. It’s a bit embarrasing to talk about this about myself.
Not too long ago, when DOTS ep 15 ended, “Werewolf Boy” played on TV. I hadn’t seen it in a long time and thought it was well made. I sent a text message to the director. When comparing Chul-soo and YSJ, more than the projects, I think it was mainly because I went and completed my army service that it felt different. While I was in the army, Son Hyun Joo sunbae’s words of “Just act as a regular soldier would” stayed with me. Apart from just an actor, the time I spent as 29 and 30 yrs old helped me a lot. I discovered that there were many different kinds of people in the army, and I think that shows in my acting. I feel like I gained a sense of ease from experiencing the army and those feelings are also visible in my acting. So I think it’s a good thing I went to the army.
Q: It’s been 9 years since you debuted. What were you goals back then, and do you think you achieved those goals now?
A: When I was a rookie, I felt that I had to experience a lot of different kinds of projects/roles. More than thinking that I had to become the main actor, I felt like I had to quickly do a variety of projects. In that sense, I think I did achieve my goal. I think I’m still in that process too. Trying to do different projects is still a goal of mine. In that sense, ‘Battleship Island’ means a lot to me. In the future too, when thinking about what project to work on, I will approach them with the same sentiments.
Q: Do you feel any different as a Hallyu star?
A: I’m grateful for the question. It’s a question I ask myself a lot these days. But I don’t really know. I did experience it first hand when I went to Hong Kong, but I don’t think that it’s everything. A part of me tries to not forget my rookie mindset, but another part of me feels like I should grow and change. If my responsibilities increase (Tn: He says 그릇이 커졌다 which literally translates to ‘his bowl got bigger.’ I guess it can translate to he just has more on his plate.) but I stay the same, then I won’t be able to handle it well. It seems that change is inevitable, but it’s important to maintain your core values. My appearance will of course change. I’m half joking and half sincere here, but my earnings have also changed. But I still am trying to live the same way. Also, I still don’t really feel like I am a Hallyu star despite being called one. In terms of being a Hallyu star, I learn a lot from SHK. She’s been persistently active abroad and in that aspect, I think she is a true Hallyu star. I’m working hard on being confident and more brave (Tn: This sentence is a little hard to determine who the subject is.. if he’s referring to himself or SHK.. but it makes a bit more sense if it’s himself so I just went with that.) I actually think the real Hallyu star is Lee Kwang Soo.
Q: Why do you think you have more on your plate? (Tn: Again the whole bigger bowl 그릇이 커졌다 thing)
A: It might sound arrogant to say that I have more on my plate, but it’s true that I have more responsibilities to handle. I have to do well to take care of my hard working manager and provide pay for the staff I work with. A lot of things have to be considered together. I also have to consider all the fans abroad supporting me and try not to disappoint them. A proper way to do that is to succeed in good projects as an actor. I was asked about my goals as a rookie–the mindset as a rookie along with what I didn’t know back then but do now, all those concerns are included in my growing plate (Tn: or bowl I guess hah). When I see a hyung like Cha Tae Hyun sunbae-nim, I consider him to be a person with a lot on his plate. I’m working hard to adjust and I learn a lot from hyung-nim’s actions.
Q: This might be a sensitive topic, but did you vote this election?
A: I am respectfully saying this, but to be honest, these days I am a bit upset. My family is exposed to the media and our home is being disrupted. I understand its part of being a celebrity, but it’s also a bit sad. Just a moment ago too, I was considering respectfully asking to not talk about my family. Isn’t it ok to request that my privacy is respected? Things like voting is a personal thing, so I haven’t even talked to my company about it. I was upset that pictures of my ex-girlfriend were circulating around online. I think those things should remain private.
(Tn: I sense that actually SJK was really upset about invasion of family and privacy as he responded this way to the question about voting.. which is not the same question posted by kpopherald. I don’t know. He sounds a lot more upset to me when reading it in Korean, but he was still respectful about it. )
Q: With DOTS and now Battleship Island, you are taking on the role of a soldier again. Do you think the role as a soldier fits you well? What new side of yourself are you planning to show us in Battleship Island?
A: Taking on the role of a soldier, I didn’t even know that I would do it. In the past, I didn’t even think that I would ever become a soldier. But as I got older, and I went and came back from the army, the roles as a soldier naturally came along. I don’t have a different mindset just because the roles is a soldier. With DOTS, the script was good. With Battleship Island, the script was also fun. I read the script/summary first and then again a second and their time to study the character. I’m still preparing for the role as an independence fighter, so, I’m not sure how it might be portrayed, but while his character might seem similar to YSJ, there are differences as well, so, I think it will be fun. It is a project I am looking forward to as well.
Q: Do you think about breaking away form the “flower boy” image?
A: I don’t ever think about throwing away the “flower boy” image. This is because I feel that maintaining looks is an important aspect of an actor. I will work hard to take care of my skin and I will do my best to slow down aging as much as possible. (Tn: LOL) In order to improve my acting skills, I will work on these aspects. I don’t think that acting well is everything. That which can be expressed from appearances, whether it is your body or face; I believe these are important as well. But if the fact that my flower boy image isn’t going to be helpful for a certain role, then I have no qualms about throwing it away for the role.
Q: What roles do you want to take on in the future?
A: There are so many roles I want to try. I am pretty greedy when it comes to acting. For now, I was given the opportunity to work on a subject material I’ve been wanting to try rather than a specific role. That is Battleship Island. I wanted to work on a project that took place during the Japanese occupation, and just around that time this project came in and I was able to work on something that I wanted. Apart from that, I want to try a character that is very cold. (Tn: i.e. distant/stern). I really like Edward Norton, and he comes off as cold in many projects. Before I get older, I want to try a character that portrays coldness well.
Sources | Star Daily News | bnt International | Top Star News | The Star Chosen | Kpop Herald | Korea Herald | Soompi, c/o smile tall, joongkyo, & thepixies