Saturday, December 03, 2011

Ju Jihun (and Hong Kwangho)

  Sorry, had double eyegasm, and have absolutely nothing of any sense to write. "'ve been double cast with Hong Gwang-ho this time, who nobody could win in terms of singing."

And this is how sanity leaves me, leeeaaaveees meeeee!! Nanana...

Jeez, I love you, Jihun, but Mr. Hong will crush you, oh damn...

 Mah poor poor hart...

"I once ran into Ju Ji-hoon at a theater. And I felt a strong presence from him in how he looked at the stage. Then when I got to meet him through an acquaintance, I was very surprised by his philosophy and attitude on life. He also had a reverentialness toward the stage in particular." Along with news that Ju Ji-hoon would be discharged from the military came news that he was cast in musical "Doctor Zhivago." Many thought that it was unexpected that he was making a comeback through a musical instead of a movie or drama and some even said it is what he owes for the past incident he was involved in. However like "Doctor Zhivago" producer Shin Choon-soo, chief of OD Musical Company said, Ju Ji-hoon was a person who had been spotted at theaters an exceptional number of times. When he was brewing with the passion for acting yet could not actually do it, he waited for the time he could again while chasing it with his eyes. And now, it is time for him to release that energy accumulated within him. He has started on round two of his life with the desperateness that "the best way to apologize would be to do so with what one does best" and the ease the age of 30 has brought him.

  It's been about ten days since you were discharged from the military. Has it hit you that you're a civilian now?
Ju Ji-hoon: It feels like three years passed with the blink of an eye. And it hadn't really hit me that I've been discharged because as is the case for all soldiers, I was out on my final long-term leave from the military and did a lot of things during that time but it hits me a bit now that I see the flashes of cameras going off in front of my eyes.

  You chose "Doctor Zhivago" as your comeback project. And most people have responded that it's an unexpected choice.
Ju: Simply put, of all the scripts I received, this was the one I identified with the most. Of course I had a certain level of expectation for "Doctor Zhivago" because of its original work, but I saw that it contained the story of one man's entire life. Yuri Zhivago was a fallen aristocrat, a doctor and poet who also experienced war. He went through a lot of hardships in life and I could relate to a lot of them. [laughs] He was appealing in that his outlook on life didn't waver amidst those huge incidents and I felt a sense of reality to him. "Doctor Zhivago" could initially come off as being dull compared to projects that are fancy and stimulating these days. Should I say that it's sort of like a watercolor painting?

  You appear at theaters often enough that whoever likes musicals has probably seen you at least once. When did you start to have an affection for the stage?
Ju: I like the stage because I used to be a model. I also shot a lot of musical scenes in movie "Antique" and then I took on the musical "Don Juan." It was attractive in that I'd get to act live and focus just on the rehearsals for a long time. It was a lot of hard work but the longer and bitter the wait, the sweeter the fruit, right? And it turned out to be just great. Then that is how I came to make acquaintances and watch actors perform. And the more I watched musicals, the more fun I realized they were which naturally made me fall for them. When I found a musical I liked, I think I did a lot of imaging about them with me in them.

  You once said that you 'want to embrace the stage' after your first musical "Don Juan." Did you say it out of a sense of relief from pulling it off?
Ju: I started on "Don Juan" not knowing anything about it except for the fact that I wanted to do it. And all projects are tough but "Don Juan" was extremely tough physically. I had to sing about 18 songs and they were of such a wide range of genres that I had to change the position of my vocal cords three to four times. I had such a hard time that I complained to my fellow actors and asked them to save me. And people around me said they were really sorry to see that I had taken on such a difficult project as my first musical. There were also so many technical aspects to the project that my fellow actors got in a lot of accidents as well. Hence it was totally about luck and I luckily didn't get into any accidents. That's why I once kneeled on stage and prayed to it after a performance. And said that I'm grateful that no mistakes occurred outside of my power despite it being my first project. That's become sort of a ritual for me since.

But unavoidably, there was much left to be desired regarding your singing. Plus, you've been double cast with Hong Gwang-ho this time, who nobody could win in terms of singing.
Ju: I received vocal lessons while in the military. Of course, it wasn't very hardcore training so don't set your hopes too high. [laughs] And Hong Gwang-ho's singing makes even guys hearts flutter. I don't have much pride when it comes to learning. I need to learn because I'm not good. And I like that. Who'd Hong Gwang-ho ever teach to sing for free! I'll put my all into my role, even if someone told me to take it easy since it'll be my first time in a while standing in front of an audience.
Actors who have worked mostly on movies and dramas tend to want to be acknowledged for their acting than singing when they're working on musicals. I heard that when you did "Don Juan," you started on it with the mindset that you'll own at least the ending.
Ju Ji-hoon
: Singing is important as well but I'm focusing more on the acting. Because singing is about acting as well, just with notes to it. And from a certain point on, I've stopped drawing a distinction between films, dramas, musicals and plays. I'm just an actor that tries to relate to every situation.

  Then wouldn't you be able to show more detailed acting in a smaller than larger theater?
: As someone who does a lot of work which seeks after what's realistic, when I first started on large theatrical musicals, I felt a considerable gap in the sense that I had to make even the 1,500th person sitting in the very back row see me. But I came to change my mind after continued practice. If you think about it, I'm sure there's at least one person of this world with seven billion people that does acting that seems very big. But people may not think he's unique or weird. He may seem natural. Because he's been living that way his whole life. So I told myself that I'll rehearse more and deliver what I think is real. It's impossible to enlarge something that's small but it's easy to break down a big piece of chocolate. And a lot of people take part in large theatrical performances and there are a lot of good actors and people who are dependable in "Doctor Zhivago." I know I need to go my way but it's also a blessing to be able to be led that way by someone.

  But wouldn't you still want to show more detailed acting?
: I'll just need to trouble myself a bit more for that. I'll stick to what I have promised to do on stage including my movements. But in scenes that it's hard to see me or I don't have much acting to do, I do what I do with movies. Whether people see me or not. At least I won't be disappointed in myself after putting in that much more effort. But I have thought, 'I wish they could see it a bit.' That's why they have a great system at theaters. Called opera glass rentals. [laughs]

It seems that you're the type that tortures yourself because you're saying that you'll act even in the moments you're not seen.
: That's right. I know, rationally, that I don't need to do that. I know it but emotionally, I can't control it. I'm a very lucky actor. I debuted as the main character in movies, dramas and musicals. And I know it's something that a lot of people would envy but it's also extremely tough and I think if I saw it happen to anyone else, I'd feel sorry for them. Because whether we're good or bad, we get judged. It doesn't even have to be the judgement of someone else -- it could be myself or people we trust in. But it needs to happen in steps. In my case though, I had to take in and deal with the damage that came upon me in one go. What I felt while shooting "Goong" was that nobody cut me any slack because it was my debut project. And I knew that would be the case but it was much worse than I thought it would be. That's why I put my all into musicals when I started on them. And I'm still barely breaking even by putting my all into them. I'm someone who is barely breaking even when I do well so it's become my personality. Of course I'm happy and very grateful but the brighter the light, the deeper the shadow. And I have extremely deep shadows.

  But you turned 30 this year so maybe there'll be some changes to that aspect of your personality.
: In the past, I used to consider my goal important and headed in a direction I set. I had obsessions but those have lessened now. I've come to look at the world on a wider perspective so although I may still not take on a lot of projects, I'll probably work on a larger variety of them. I felt light at heart while serving my time in the military and came to be at ease after experiencing a lot of ordinary incidents. In the past, I just wanted to act and if I felt overwhelmed by my fans' love, I even turned away from them. I used to be very scared but I think I've shedded a coat of that.

  You said earlier on that you imagined yourself on stage while watching certain musicals. Which ones are they? I think they'd serve as the hint to the next step you'd take.
: Oh! I like the musicals that OD Musical Company takes on. [laughs] I love musicals. They're not like movies where they come down after a showing but run for extremely long times. And during that time, you make various attempts and learn to communicate with the audience so what people usually say are good are really good. I've enjoyed all the musicals that have name value.

  Well I'm hoping we'll get to see you on the stages for more projects with name value.
: Even if there aren't! [laughs]

full interview here.