— PART I —
Kim Jaejoong who is receiving much love as a famous idol star has activities as singer and actor simultaneously and has steadily built his realm as an actor little by little. Recently, he widened his field of activity to the big screens. Although he already had big screen experience with <Heaven’s Postman>, <Code Name: Jackal> is still a very special movie as it’s his first commercial film debut.
<Code Name: Jackal> is a comedy film telling the story between a killer and a top star. In this movie, the character he plays is Choi Hyun, a star who has ‘star disease’ (T/N: star with extreme narcissism). Kim Jaejoong in playing a Hallyu star that has extreme ‘star disease’? Actually, it doesn’t adequately paint the picture if you think about his previous dramas <Protect the Boss> and <Dr. Jin>. The roles he has played till now were much more matched to himself with word descriptions like ‘gentleness’ and ‘dignity’. This time, through this movie, Kim Jaejoong puts down the cool image he has built, to an extend that it makes the fans impressed. Choi Hyun and Kim Jaejoong have the same occupation but in terms of personality, they are very different. In order to play this role, not only has he loosened up his shoulder but he was also willing to show a shockingly messy image of himself.
The prejudice toward idol stars still persists. There are still many people looking negatively at the screen debut of idol stars. Even if there were many successful cases, people look on their acting with jaundiced eye. Kim Jaejoong isn’t exempt from these preconceptions. In this movie, Kim Jaejoong’s effort remains intact. He gave his all to show diverse images that he has not shown before. Aside from acting, he also wrote lyrics for the ending song of the movie. We met Kim Jaejoong on the 13th in a coffee shop near Gwanghwa-mun and heard him talk about <Code Name: Jackal>.
You had big screen experience with <Heaven’s Postman> but this is your first commercial movie. How do you feel as the release date approaches?
Firstly, I am very nervous. I wonder how the movie fans will think about the movie and if they will give me judgments. I am nervous and also scared.
I think you are curious about the reaction because this is your first movie. How were your acquaintances’ reactions after the premiere?
They said that just by watching the movie, they could feel that I did try very hard. They said that I must have suffered a lot. Some also said that they didn’t know about that side of mine. (T/N: referring to the image Jaejoong has shown in the movie).
Like when <Heaven’s Postman> was screened, this time, many women also came to watch. The number of men reserving tickets is relatively small although Song Jihyo also appears in the movie. Isn’t it called Kim Jaejoong’s effect?
Recently many women like Song Jihyo. (Laugh) I think it’s not because of my power that many women reserved tickets.
I’m curious about how you chose <Code Name: Jackal>.
Actually, I had wanted to appear in a movie but I thought that it was not the right time. I thought that I would do it once the time came. At that time when I was thinking that it was still too early to be in a movie, the scenario of <Code Name: Jackal> came, which made my mind divided. However, I thought that the character in the movie would allow me to show a new image of myself. And also, above all, it’s not a heavy movie that gives priority to the artistic and cinematic quality. It’s a movie that means to elicit laughs. That’s why I was able to pluck up the courage [to take the role].
Hallyu star Choi Hyun in the movie and Kim Jaejoong in real life overlap a lot. It just makes me want to ask if the director has taken Kim Jaejoong as model to build that character. I wonder if it affected your choice on this role.
Actually, I was also very surprised when I got to read the scenario. I also wondered if director-nim had me mind [while writing scenario] but it isn’t true. Before I participated in the movie, there was another person in the casting shortlist. (Laugh) Also, only the occupation is the same; our personalities are different. It isn’t a character which could be presented by ‘living acting’. I don’t use such tones and act in that manner towards my manager.
There are many messy scenes. Weren’t you worried or afraid of what people might think about your image transformation?
I didn’t feel burdened. I told myself to let go of all restrictions. In reality, the image that I carry till now brings a clean and arranged feeling, doesn’t it? In such condition, if I do it by halves, people might think that I only show what I already have. I want to show them a different image of mine.
I think not only you but your fans are also worried.
My fans said that they were looking forward to see how messy I would be. Of course they were divided pro and contra. Nevertheless, I hope that I can bring laughter to everyone.
You have revealed that you had life-threatening sasaeng fans. Was it at the same danger level as the situation you encountered with the sasaeng in the movie?
I’m not sure about the behavior but there is no sasaeng fan dressing up like a weirdo (like in the movie). I still haven’t seen a fan of such kind. Maybe there were such fans in the past.
Through <Too Beautiful to Lie>, director Bae Hyungjoon has unearthed actor Kang Dongwon. What did he tell you when he first met you?
When we were talking about the movie, he said that he was worried if I could carry such a messy image. Our company’s CEO told him, “Jaejoong-ie can definitely do it. Please make sure that it will be messy.” Director-nim was at ease after hearing that. What could I do? Our CEO already foretold, so I must do it. (Laugh)
— PART II —
Any special orders from the director for the character Choi Hyun?
Gradually I started to let myself down (T/N: means he didn’t care about his public image and let go of all restrictions) but I probably went too far that director-nim had to stop me. One day, he told me, “Jaejoong-ah, how far will you go?” (Laugh) (T/N: the director was worried about Jaejoong’s public image). And after filming the version that the director wanted, we also filmed the version that I wanted to do.
In the movie, despite being a Hallyu star, Choi Hyun didn’t mind eating humble pie in order to escape danger. Contrary to his appearance, Choi Hyun has a lot of clumsy acts, which makes him cute. Is there any similarity to Kim Jaejoong in real life?
I’m not exactly like that but I think we’re similar at some point. I’m not that despicable. (Laugh) However, there are many times when I don’t act like my age. I tend to act cute every time I’m with my members. Among the members, I’m the one who acts cute the most. My young brothers have all grown up now and they don’t act cute any more. As the kids (T/N: refers to his young brothers LOL) get older, they act are more like hyungs than I do.
You said that you wanted to work with Song Jihyo. How do you feel about finally getting work with her?
Firstly, although Jihyo noona is in the same company with me and we’re quite comfortable to each other, I still felt nervous. However, after a few scenes together, the burden disappeared. There were many NGs because Jihyo noona laughed a lot. So I thought, ‘So NGs happen to Jihyo noona too’ and felt more relieved.
There are many scenes beyond prediction between you and Song Jihyo. How was the scene that you were hit in the bed? Did you really get hit?
Yes, I was hit for real. Jihyo noona apologized to me for that. She has apologized and since she’s sly, she did it again a few times (T/N: means she hit Jaejoong many times, maybe because of the NGs). It would have been nice if, instead, she did it just once and strongly. The marks left on my tied hands remained for a long time.
There were many tough scenes. What is the most memorable scene to you?
The scene where I was kidnapped and tied to a chair. I got bruises on my arms because I was tied for too long. It really hurt.
Is there any scene that you feel that you can do better if you had the chance to do it again?
Everything. I think I can do better if I do it again. If to choose only one scene, it must be the scene that I got electrocuted. It would have been better if I looked more tortured.
I was surprised that your kiss with Kim Sungryung sunbae was more intense than I thought.
I told myself, “Kim Sungryung sunbae is a veteran actress, she won’t get nervous because of the kiss scene. I shouldn’t be either. It would be ridiculous if I’m the only one that feels nervous.” With that thought, everything ended well. Kim Sungryung sunbae used orange lipstick so my mouth also turned orange. There were some NGs because of that.
I’m curious about the charms of acting to Kim Jaejoong.
When you get older by 1 or 2 years, those days where you were innocent disappear. When I began my acting career, I thought of my trainee days when I tried all my best while hoping to fulfill a dream. If your time of being singer is long enough, your original goal can change. Through acting, I want to do my best with that pure heart again and also want to challenge myself.
What do you want the audience to have in their mind when they watch the movie?
I would like them to feel comfortable when they watch the movie. If you just relax and enjoy it, you will find it interesting. I hope that everybody will enjoy and laugh a lot. Also, please look at my character positively.
If the movie gets 1 million viewers, you will treat everyone jjajangmyun. That commitment is still unchanged right?
I really deadly want to treat everybody to jjajangmyun. (Laugh) I just need to check if there are any Chinese restaurants near the theater. I have also prepared the cash. (Laugh)
Park Yoochun is well on the way as an actor, Kim Junsu can also be proud of his ticket power as a musical actor. You must be inspired looking at your friends.
I really admire my members. Junsu is great. I don’t think Junsu is recognized in the musical world because of his popularity. His skill was recognized and now even the general musical lovers also come to see Junsu. Isn’t it amazing? I think Yoochun has adapted very quickly as an actor. I don’t think that it’s too hard for a singer to adapt to musical, because it’s music-related.. But drama is a different thing. It’s really great that he can adapt to it.
Have you thought about challenging a musical?
Of course I want to do musicals. I have a strong mind of challenge. However, Junsu will soon become an impassable wall. I wondered if I could do it better than Junsu. And if I do musical now, I will become his hoobae (T/N: junior). (Laugh)
Now you’re no longer ashamed of having ‘actor’ as modifier before the name Kim Jaejoong?
I love actor Kim Jaejoong. (Laugh) I want to greet everyone through works of various genres to the point that I no longer feel awkward hearing people call me ‘actor Kim Jaejoong’.