[Interview Part I] Kim Jae Joong Goes from Idol Star to Real Actor
“I can’t believe it’s all over, when it still feels like I have more to do….”
Despite concerns that MBC’s Dr. Jin was Kim Jae Joong′s first ever period piece, the actor, as Kim Kyung Tak, managed to work closely with big senior actors, dispel the concerns and leave an impression in the eyes of his viewers.
The drama now has only one episode left to air and the cast is done filming, but it seemed Kim Jae Joong still couldn’t shake off the ghost of Kim Kyung Tak still hanging about him.
For the interview, Kim Jae Joong showed he had kept his cool for the conclusion of his drama with his jokes and humor. He was fairly bright, but he said it was true that the three months he had spent as Kim Kyung Tak weren’t all fun and games.
He had to sweat it out in the costume of an officer on summer days that were hotter than those of any other year, and so he had to work hard to keep up his strength for his full schedule. The thing that tormented him the most, however, was his acting.
Dr. Jin was the first traditional drama he took up since he made his actor debut. Viewers praised that he certainly exceeded expectations ever since he started to appear, but some of them also pointed out that his voice tone was a bit too forced and rigid. When these criticisms were mentioned, Kim Jae Joong nodded his head in agreement.
“I didn’t know how to set my tone, not only for my voice, but also for my actions. I think I cared so much for being ‘powerful and charismatic’ just because I was supposed to be an officer. I knew nothing about acting in a traditional drama, so I guess those were the only things I cared about. I felt a lot of things after watching myself act. I cut out the excessive parts, and then tried to include other things.”
“I heard him say during our first shoot, ‘I wish I could have a glass of whiskey in this hot weather,’ and so I got him a bottle of whiskey. After seeing he still used a 2G phone, I also got him a smartphone. [The staff] told me that later he bragged about it a lot on set, saying it was from his ‘son’. He can’t hide it when he’s happy about something (Laugh).”
“When he’s acting, however, he never tries to teach or point out weaknesses no matter who he’s talking to. He just tries to lead actors to ways they can do better. Thanks to him, I was able to become Kim Kyung Tak.”
The scene where Kim Kyung Tak sobbed in the face of his father’s death, aired in the 21st episode of Dr. Jin, was especially received well. In that scene, he was different from some other actors who had been given their lead roles just because they were idols; the man crying on screen, spilling out all of his sorrow through his eyes, nose and mouth, was no longer an idol that only tries to show his best onstage.
Kim Jae Joong left his previous self behind, and fully became his character.
Kim Jae Joong took another step forward as an actor with the help of Dr. Jin, and he’s already thinking of his next big piece. He said he was most impressed by the film A Moment to Remember in the past, and said that he had given his guide album to a director with a scene from the film in mind.
Rather than care for the scale of the piece or the weight of his character, he cares more for getting a role to act in.
“I don’t care if it’s not a lead role. I want to try a variety of roles. If it’s a good piece and if it’s a character I like, independent films are okay, too. I also want to perform onstage. When you stand onstage as a singer you can only show how you dance and sing, but musicals mix them with acting. I believe just imagining what it would be like to act live in front of an audience will make me feel joyful.”
[Interview Part II] JYJ′s Kim Jae Joong Wants to Fall in Love This Year
Kim Kyung Tak, the son of a concubine in the Andong Kim family, is a character that never appears in the original Japanese manga the MBC drama Dr. Jin is based on.
The character was specially made for the Korean drama, which is why the producers of Dr. Jin boasted that Kim Kyung Tak was its ‘secret weapon’. This character was different from the others from birth, and so was portrayed as an infinitely small man.
“He thinks in an entirely different scale compared to the other characters. Lee Ha Eung (Lee Bum Soo) dreams of the future of Joseon, Kim Byung Hee (Kim Eung Soo) is greedy for more power and Dr. Jin, originally from the 21st century, also has his sight set on big goals.
He said Kim Kyung Tak’s life and his own were similar in certain ways. They were both determined to protect until the end whatever it is they want to protect.
“People are most afraid of losing what they have, but there’s something you have to keep even if you lose everything else. That is faith. I wasn’t confident on whether I could do this, so I inscribed the words ‘Always Keep the Faith’ on my chest. I put one tattoo on my back so that it wouldn’t show, but for this one, I chose to put it on my chest so that I’ll see it every day.
Kim Jae Joong debuted as a singer with TVXQ (DBSK) and is now a part of the group JYJ, and as long as his career is in music, he shows strong views about it.
Even while he was busy for Dr. Jin, he still didn’t slack off on his musical work. It isn’t easy, however, to make it into music programs to show off that music he’s worked on so hard.
“I really want to be on music shows. I noticed after speaking with my juniors that I had become a weird being. I’ve become a rare senior among my juniors (Laugh). Since they can’t see me on the set of broadcasts, they’re awed whenever they happen to run into me. I heard from someone that whenever JYJ releases new music, our juniors always download it to listen to it.”
“I’m planning to start working on JYJ’s new album, so that it can be released early next year. I actually continued to work on the songs while I was filming the drama. I think there will soon be a chance to show off our new songs. Oh, and I want to take up a new acting piece before the year ends. I also want to fall in love.”