Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Interbiu : Kang Ji Hwan

Sapa yang berminat nak baca
Tarikh : 25 May 2009
Tukang interbiu : IS Plus
Yang di-interbiu : Kang Ji Hwan (ehem)
Lokasi : Kedai soju ahjumma Ken Lee (bukan kedai sebenar)
Tajuk : Drunken Talk

Drunken Talk 1
The power of the movie "7 Grade Civil Servant" is astounding. It is not faltering at all in the midst of its famous rivals and its viewers are expected to top 4 million over the weekend. It has achieved the best performance in the first half of the year, beating out "Old Partner". In the midst of this storm is Kang Ji Hwan (KJH). An increasing number of people in the movie industry is taking notice of this man, who is in his best condition right now.

This man, who is full of self confidence, which is sometimes seen as impertinence, has an odd charm about him. He is so full of curiosity his nickname used to be (a Korean word meaning a boy who wants to know everything). I studied Kang Ji Hwan over a course of 6 hours, sharing 8 bottles of soju. Right now, this man doesn’t appear any different on the outside, but there’s a large amount of alcohol flowing in his blood vessels.

When talking about Kang Ji Hwan, you can’t leave out the drama that aired in 2005, Be Strong Geum Soon. The broadcasting station naturally would not have let go of the 40% rating, and it was so popular that it was extended 3 times. Naturally, KJH’s popularity soared too.

However, things weren’t always good. In the 2003 debut drama, Summer Scent, he played the role of Han Ji Hye’s husband as an extra. In a different drama, he withdrew halfway due to contractual problems. In the drama "More Beautiful Than a Flower," he had an unusual experience of appearing as Go Doo Shim’s dead son on a cell phone sticker.

There were times he used to complain to his manager, "The other actors take the elevator, but why do we have to take the stairs all the time," but his positive attitude eventually started paying off. His dramas Capital Scandal and Hong Gil Dong started gaining popularity in Japan, thus elevating his status as a Hallyu star, and he was appointed as a model for the Lotte Duty Free Store.

His two prior movies "Host and Guest" and "Rough Cut" also performed well beyond expectation. He stated, "I had decided to give it my best shot until I turned 30, and if I wasn’t successful by that time, I would quit, but unbelievably, my chance came when I was 29".

7 Grade Civil Servant aka My Girlfriend is an Agent

Q. What do you think you’d be doing if you had quit when you were 30?
A. I think I might have continued studying design or have started a business. I’m the oldest son, so I would have wanted to be financially responsible.

Q. Wasn’t 7 million your goal for 7 Grade?
A. I said that because of the connection to the number 7, but the realistic goal was 3 million. I didn’t want the investors to take a loss. I’m really happy that the people who had faith in Kim Ha Neul (KHN) and me and invested in this movie was able to realize a profit.

Q. How do you feel about subduing X-Men, Thirst, and Star Trek?
A. We were lucky...is a comment for the media. Actually, it felt good (laugh). Every Thursday when the competition came out, I’d go watch the matinees. After X-men, I called KHN and told her "It’ll be fine. We can win," and the fact that "Thirst" catered to a different target worked to our advantage as well. It was really exciting to hear that a US distributor was wondering "What the heck kind of movie is this 7 Grade Civil Servant"

Q. You go back a ways with KHN. Seems like you shot a CM when you were a rookie…
A. This was our third project. Of course, KHN didn’t remember me from the CM. She says "You sure matured" and still teases me whenever she sees me.

Q. When you’re that close, one would think a feeling of love would develop.
A. It’s difficult to get there. Seems KHN went on a trip with the movie staff. I’ve been pretty lucky with my lady co-stars like Song Yuri and Han Ji Min, but I’d like someone to tell me how I can go out with these actresses (laugh).

Q. Do you drink a lot?
A. I can drink all night with someone I can talk to. A few days ago, I met a rep from a movie company without an appointment, and I drank until I had no recollection of what happened. I get mad when I empty a glass in one gulp but the other person won’t. I like change places two three times. A couple of year ago I drank with Sol Kyung-gu Sunbae, but I couldn’t remember anything.

Q. Is your shy personality part of image management?
A. When I was a rookie, there were times I got depressed by unnecessary paranoia, but one day I happened to go drinking with the staff, and the next day I felt relaxed as if I was at home. I thought, "This is it!" and from that day on I tried to attend as many drinking functions as I could. With a little effort, I was able to build up my tolerance for alcohol.

Drunken Talk 2

One of his habits when drinking is to line up the empty bottles. Several times today too, he stopped the wait person from taking the empty bottles. KJH explained, "Drinks taste even better when I drink gazing at these empty bottles which are like war medals, kinda like leaving a mark..."

Q. What kind of student were you?
A. I was the class chairman from 2nd to 6th grade and also was the president of the student council. I started to get off track from junior high and by the time I was in high school I was bold enough to go drinking soju. (laugh) I frequented beer halls too.

He says if there was a time machine, he would like to go back to his junior high school days and make lots of memories. He is saddened that those days he spent as a withdrawn youth is like a blank period in his life. On the other hand, during his grade school days, he would go around the classes imitating a popular dance group.

Q. Seems like you have a nickname "handsome guy from Tobong District" on the net...
A. On the day I was shooting the CM with KHN, an entertainment news program was supposed to be interviewing us on location. While waiting for KHN, the producer must have gotten bored and asked me if he could interview me. He asked me "Do you think of yourself as handsome?" so I replied "I'm handsome in the Tobong District" (name of the area KJH lived at the time) and that got broadcast, with a caption even.

Q. How did you come to be cast in the independent film "Host and Guest"?
A. After I was dropped from Youth! Fly to the Sky, I was going crazy because I wanted to act but there was no work. The movie I jumped into just because it said "main actor" at that time was "Host and Guest." The production cost was only 130,000,000 won and I didn’t expect the good reviews it later got, but I think that movie played a big role in helping me out during the filming of current dramas.

Q. I heard that you came up with the idea of promoting the movie at the train station and even went for a theater visit to Jejudo.
A. I don’t like to do what everyone else does. I like to do my own unique thing, so I stood at the station in front of the general public holding up a sign saying "7 Grade Civil Servant – Blockbuster Hit!" At first I was really nervous, but eventually I got used to it (laugh). Next time, if I have a chance, I'd like to go to a place like Ulleung Island and plan an event to show the movie with a projector.

Q. You have a unique personality.
A. It’s because I had a later start than others. When I was doing musicals, I even got a tattoo on my whole upper body like the character in the movie "From Dusk Till Dawn". To have the Director notice it, I used to time it just so when we passed each other and took off my top...I was really immature. Maybe I went that far because I didn’t have confidence in my dancing and singing (laugh).

Q. Your activity in Japan seems a little different too.
A. In addition to the fan meetings, I also attended the fan’s gatherings. We’d take pictures on the cell and have fun together...I don’t believe in mysticism. They take their time to be my fan, so there’s nothing I can’t do for them.

Q. Are you a narcissist?
A. It’s a case of strong pride rather than narcissism. When I was attending acting school, every month we’d have to do things like monologs, impromptu performance, situation dramas, self introductions, and at times they publicized the grades from #1 to #150 by posting them on the wall. If you weren’t prepared, you’d become nervous on the day of the test, but if you prepared well for even one thing, I learned that you can hold your head up high.

Q. What kind of character would you like to play in the future?
A. A psychopathic villain. Any actor would be drawn to a role with a lot of emotional ups and downs. I’m researching right now to develop something that only Kang Ji Hwan can do, but what that will be, I don’t know yet.

Q. Have you experienced one-digit ratings?
A. 90 Days, Capital Scandal, and Fireworks all only got one-digit ratings. I immersed myself into each character and people still wouldn’t watch, so I felt frustrated and oppressed and was about to go crazy. I felt it was my fault because I wasn’t a star and wanted to get down on my knees and apologize to the production staff and the co-stars.

Q. Have you ever had a role cancelled at the last minute?
A. There were times where there was a problem until the last minute, but I’ve never been cancelled out. When the producer was troubled by the casting, I’d suggest open auditions. Every time I look at a script I picture a movie in my mind. I’m confident in my ability to create a character and to ad lib no matter who I’m cast with.

Q. (When you were an unknown actor) – Who was the most unsympathetic?
A. People who said, "Ji Hwan! Hurry and become famous. Otherwise, I can’t help you..." really made me mad. I think those who really care for me extend their hands to me when I’m down. There are lot of people who would dine with you at fancy restaurants after you gain popularity. The people who stuck with you during tough times and ate skimpy meals with you are the ones you want to be with till the end.

Drunken talk 3

Q. Didn’t you run into opposition from your parents?
A. There was one time I cried for my mom. In the drama "More Beautiful Than a Flower" the picture of my face was on a sticker on the cell phone that Go Doo Shim ssi had hanging from her neck, but my mother saw that and was really happy saying "Ji Hwan’s in the it!" Even I couldn’t tell that was me. That day, I went into my room, closed the door and cried for I don’t know how long. While blowing my nose I decided that I was going to be famous. And somehow I was going to incorporate that drama into the drama I was starring in. I want to show that this guy who could only appear in a picture have come this far, hoping that this would give hope to someone...

Q. Where did you serve your military time? You weren’t exempt, were you?
A. I was with the armored troop. I operated a 2,500,000,000 won armored vehicle. When I was in active service, I wore a beret and looked pretty darn cool, but when I became a reserve, there were times when I just parked in front of the supermarket. I was quite disappointed.

Q. Somehow, you look like you might bully your juniors...

A. I only gave back what I got from my sunbaes (laugh). You have to hand expensive equipment so unless you’re really careful you can cause accidents. While in the military, I wrote and directed dramas and even got some time off awards.

Q. What type of woman do you like?
A. A pretty person who’s respectful to elders. I like a pretty person who don’t have any complexes. If I see her being good to my parents, I would naturally want to be good to her parents too. Also, when I have kids, I want to dye my hair and wear pierced earrings with them.

Q. How long have you not had a relationship?
A. About 2 years? None lasted very long. Now I want to meet the person I'll marry.

Q. What do you think is your strength and weakness?
A. I have a lot of ideas and place emphasis on planning, so that might be tiresome to people around me...on the other hand, I think my positive attitude is a good thing.

Q. I understand you didn’t earn a won from Rough Cut. Does it bother you?A. It wasn’t only me. So Ji Sub wasn’t able to get a won for appearance fee or any return on investment from Rough Cut either. The reason is the distributing company’s financial problems. The production company sued the distributor, but at the moment there doesn’t seem to be any solution.But it allowed me to be recognized as an actor, so I’m not too bothered by it. The movie was a success and everyone was able to laugh loudly, but it feels like it ended with a smile? It’s too bad it couldn’t have ended well, but maybe one of these days, there will be good news.

Q. Does it feel good to be famous?
A. I’m not famous yet. Yesterday, when I came out of the spa, a lady came out of her Bentz and handed me her keys. She must’ve have thought I was the parking attendant. I gave back her keys and told her I wasn’t the parking attendant, but she never did recognize me.
KJH was starting to feel a little tipsy by now and he started asking me questions. "People around me tell me not to get too friendly with reporters, but are reporters really traitors?" "Why did you become a reporter?" "What was your major?". Saying "At times like this, we can see what it’s like to be in each other’s shoes," he wanted to get a hold of my interview notes. The agency president, who was sitting next to us, laughed and said, "Mr. Curious is showing his true self now." At times he would be cute and coy and at times he would be brazen. I felt this was the true Kang Ji Hwan.

Q. What kind of a person do you think you are?
A. An apprehensive person. Even when I eat sashimi, I cover the fish’s eyes with a leaf or something before I eat.

Q. What’s the truth behind the rumors with Go Hyun Jung and KHN?
A. I was scheduled to co-star with GHJ in
내가 나빴다 (don’t know the English title), but it was cancelled. I’ve met her maybe 2 or 3 times. I hope KHN meets a nice guy. To tell you the truth, it was not a bad feeling to be involved in a scandal. As a matter of fact, I felt honored. It made me feel that I had finally become famous.

rasa nya beg ni kot...jangan kan Spiderman, Superman, Cicakman pon boleh sumbat dalam...kekeke
Lokasi gambar : Airport Jepun 2008 masa ada fan meeting

Drunken Talk 4

At the end of the interview, they made KJH take a general knowledge test He got 18 out 25 correct for a score of 72%...pretty good considering he was pretty well sloshed by this time.

He left a short note on a sticky saying:

It was really fun today. I also drank a lot, but having to take this test out of the blue made me sober up. So I’m going to have to drink some more with the reporter. I intend to keep on studying and learning, not just acting, but about other things as well. Thank you for the interview today. 7 Grade Civil Servant Fighting!

Finally, he was asked to show what he had in his bag.

Sunglasses, Spiderman toys (he said he just likes spiderman...such a kid!), Calvin Klein watch and bracelet, cell phone, Rough Cut DVD , and Ipod touch

The End

*credit : huskydawq @ KJH @ soompi

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