[INTERVIEW] Vogue Korea ~ 2014 – June Issue PASSION SHOW Joo Won, A 28-Year-Old Hot-Blooded Young Man


Before wrapping up drama “Good Doctor”, Joo Won had started practicing musical “Ghost”.   While performing “Ghost” on stage, he had finished filming movie “Fashion King”.  He will soon be preparing for the Korean version of drama “Nodame Cantabile” which is to be aired in October.   As a 28-year-old passionate actor, Joo Won is living a more intense life than anyone else.


In an early morning of end-April, as soon as Joo Won got up and watched the news, he stepped into the “Vogue” Studio.  Then, during his fashion show, he put on unique outfits like a “Fashion King” and dictated the studio jungle with the show.   He laughed and was made to laugh.  He had taken away everyone’s focus simply because the show is  continuing as long as there is camera and lighting.

“Yesterday somehow I cried on stage, I guess I put in too much emotion……” Joo Won talked about the main reason why he really cried in a crying scene.   Seems like he has hidden an excuse, tears just running down like an unsociable man.  Legendary romance movie “Ghost” is made into a musical,  Sam is so much in love in with Molly, he has to protect her even after he died, he hugs her from behind at the potter’s wheel.   Even you cry, things just happen in this world even you can’t understand, this is the show which continues everyday.   Needless to say even you caught a cold.

“I failed to maintain my physical health.  It was alright when I was filming for drama days and nights and didn’t sleep for days but it just doesn’t work for musical.   When I thought I was on the right track after “Ghost” opened, I caught a severe flu.”   Including Joo Won, the musical has triple cast reliable actors like Kim Jun Hyun and Kim Woo Hyung.  If body and throat are very important for performing musical, wouldn’t it be easy to solve the problem just by taking a day off asking them to perform so that he had a chance recovering from sickness?  But as a professional actor, Joo Won had his own view. “When I lost my voice before, I still performed.  I was an understudy so I just did it.  I think even it hurts, I am still the best doing my role.   Certainly in the situation when losing the voice, quality of the performance will go down.   However, with the flow of the performance, there is one more important quality which I have to best assure than anyone else.  That is my responsibility to the audiences.”   Joo Won showed me his left wrist.  “This area is full of needle marks of intravenous drip.”  The needle marks still remain on his pale wrist.  “Because there were audiences who booked the tickets in order to see me.”   I thought perhaps it was lucky for those audiences seeing the marvelous Sam performing with fever, sore throat and runny nose.  This is the feeling of Joo Won’s existence.


Last October, after filming of the 20-episode serial drama “Good Doctor” had completed, Joo Won started practicing “Ghost”.  He practiced from 10 am to 10pm everyday because he started his practice two weeks late due to drama filming.   It has been 4 years since doing his last musical.  It was important to appropriately adjust the body of an actor who is used to act in dramas and movies to match with playing musical.  Also, his body still remained in 90% recovery mode from Si On’s pure and autistic condition.  Filming of “Good Doctor” took three months, Joo Won’s body had been slouching with an awkward posture.  His bent cervical spine caused the pain and he is still in the middle of correcting this problem.   “Si On has generously opened the heart.  He was as much as like a familiar friend who I can hug.   Since playing Si On’s character does require subtle acting without exaggeration, there are many contrasts against “Ghost”.  Because I did it before, so I thought I was fine with musical acting but I became unfamiliar these days and I lost my head.  On the other hand, I asked myself if I have to act the way how a musical ought to be.  Recently, you tend to pursue the day-to-day tone of musical.  Because it is different from when I stepped on the stage last time four years ago, I tried to argue deeply the tone of performing and acting.   The conclusion is half way of acting.   As a result, I am satisfied with its attempt.  Because it is different from before, I  only had to show what I did best.   After making all the effort, I hide this sort of mentality.  I absolutely didn’t want to hear I was offered with the role because of ticket power and not because of my ability as I didn’t play musical for some time.”   Joo Won is absolutely serious with his passion.

Whatever Joo Won says, he has the ability surprising others like listening to a piece of nice music.  In his rest days, “one day by Han River, one day sitting in a quiet café, one day drinking coffee in a noisy café right in front of the house catching up with friends bringing up different topics like acting, philosophy, love and etc.”  Whether it is a musical practice room or movie or drama filming locations, he mingles with others.  “ I chat with co-actors, staff, producers about work.  It is very interesting chatting with them while eating.   You don’t feel that hard at night in film set if you chat.  But I don’t say things which I am not supposed to say, using the right words is what we should do in this society.  It is common sense to harmonize with using words which don’t hurt feelings of others in particular.”  I could imagine Joo Won is building up a team work by blending in good atmosphere with his personality and tone of expression.  “This is my strength” Joo Won said with smile.


“It is the same wherever I go.  It is no good saying bad things.  Learn from your face,  producer is making a movie, drama or even a musical with your name.  There is on one who wants to make mistakes at work.  There is no need to make enemies, there is also no need to become enemies.   It is just good to trust each other.”  I guess it is because of his gentle belief on stableness which he doesn’t damage himself,  Joo Won is a person I know with no weaknesses wherever he is.  “In a situation when you are frankly asked for help like “I was good at it however I am still not good enough, please help”, you will lift off the aggressiveness towards the person.”  Peaceful halo can be seen around him.

“Fashion King” filming was also wrapped up not long ago.  Kian 84’s webtoon produced by the sentimental Director Ok Ki Hwan is scheduled to be released later half of this year.   Not only Joo Won had proved his worthy ability in “Fashion King”, he was leading smoothly in the film set with his affinity.  Looking at the casts, main characters are f(x)’s Sully, Anh Jae Hyun, Park Se Young, Kim Sung Oh.  School is the story background of “Fashion King”, Joo Won is a veteran actor amongst these many rookie actors.  Director and PD said to me “it is important to keep yourself in the centre”.  On the other hand, he felt the burden but he approached them in film set with pleasure, talked to them and travelled the dark road together with them.  Rookie actor Anh Jae Hyun, who is regarded as taking the next star position by playing “You who came from the star”, also said Joo Won has become his good guide.   “We are the same age.    I remember I talked about my lacking when filming “Baker King”.  With my experience, I wanted to ease off the helpless feeling which Jae Hyun had.”


Because of the friendly centre, when the close team members at “Fashion King” film set saw someone having a hard time, they would give out verbal support.  In an occasion, they kept saying “Let’s love camera team!”   Sometimes, you could hear the slogan of “Let’s love Joo Won-ie!” from the other side of wireless radio.   “I think filming atmosphere can change a lot depending on the film director.  Director Oh Ki Hwan has a tolerant personality and even he is busy working on various things, he can still spare his time creating a nice atmosphere.”  It is not possible for not having any physical stress going through filming a movie and performing musical concurrently but this is the movie which Joo Won anticipates with heartwarming memory.   “Even reading the script edited in film set, its pace, filming was so interesting and it finished well.   When looking at the monitor, I thought ‘Waa, it is funny!’ “

Finally, Joo Won is now interested in fashion, he was just like the deep-sleep-Woo-Ki-Myung in “Fashion King”.   Fashion category is like beautiful clothing which fits well with everyone.  Now, I know the right clothes for me.    Then the uniqueness which fashion king pursues is some other peculiar beautiful clothes.  It is a creative category.  This time, I started to see the extent of fashion by trying out tenths of different outfits for filming one scene.    Even for men, wearing leggings could be that comfortable, baggy pants particularly matches well with my thick thigh.  If there was no “Fashion King”, I wouldn’t have known!”


Joo Won turns 28 this year.  I woke up realizing fashion at the right time and I am still physically strong.  Certainly, genealogy of handsome actors still continues. I think praises like I am not yet “beautiful” and “cute” suit me better, but not saying “he is narcissist”.  I don’t have a handsome face.   Having a cute-looking face is already very beautiful.   Now, masculinity is what I need most.  Therefore, I expect to hear praises like “cool” “sexy” after I have experienced military life.  I will only be ready for that.    I am scheduled to enlist next year and after 3 years, things like my face will have many masculine changes than now.  I guess it is alright that I no longer need to take a single travel voucher every time, sorry that I still don’t have a girlfriend, I will do my best to fall in love and then we can meet.   And then, when I am in my 30’s,  I will be in my peak time as a man, be more mature and more confident.  I guess I can live my next stage of life as an actor who can show more the inside of me.

While spending 1 year, 2 years, I guess I will be able to see much more.  I wonder how much wider my scope will be when I am in my 30’s after military service!  I will be more confident and I want to do much better.  Even in filming location, I can widely see more acting of the co-actors.  I really look forward to that.  Life is as long as 100 years.  The 10 years in your 20’s is only a short moment.  “Because I have big targets, I have a feeling the time I have is pretty short.  I wonder when is the peak time of my life?  I don’t know if I have passed it already or perhaps I am going through it at the moment.  Now, I don’t even know when is the peak time living as an actor.”  In the next 10 years living as an actor, Joo Won will be closely meeting various targets of his assignments.  “There are just three things.  First, I want to build up a good family.  Like teacher Lee Sun Jae , he still wants to act even he is close to 90.   Then, once I have become a “teacher”, I want to teach my students.  I want to present to my students the freedom and imagination under the conservative acting education environment.  While teaching them, I guess I can learn a lot too.  Then, while I am achieving the big target, I will realize I have passed the peak.  One day, I will play a father role, becoming a next door uncle, I will also be playing a grandfather role.  When reaching that time, I would have gone past the peak, it is rather exhausting but more importantly I guess it is to continue to act.

Joo Won left a saying of “I want to become an actor with human touch” in his twitter profile.   Out of all sayings,  I wonder why he uses that.  This saying is probably like an idiom used by all actors.  I guess it has become an absolute  answer for Joo Won living his life as an actor.  In living an actor’s life, a young actor who wants to become more professional and a better man,  this is the 28-year-old Joo Won who still walks his way to a higher peak.



English translation by manyearsago @ soompi using Korean-Japanese Google translator, please note the English translation posted here might have some discrepancies from the original Korean article.

Credit Properly. Do not Reblog.


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