ABOUT A BOY
Chi-Eng translation by kola (@swtlitokola) for woojungislove.com :
Kola’s notes will be emphasized in green
Note: Words are often switched around in translation from Korean to Chinese and from Chinese to English to make things sound right or to make sense of phrases so note that some things are almost always lost in translation. There are also many phrases that could be translated in many different ways depending on the way the speaker actually said it in the interview. So please don’t overanalyze but take the translation with a grain of salt (:
Even to the interview, Lee Jang Woo is wearing camping clothes. When talking about acting roles or camping, he would have an embarrassed smile. In person, his face is even more friendly than it appears on screen.
Q: Did you wear this outfit when you stepped out of your house today? (red Adidas sportswear and red hat).
LJW: Yes (laughs).
Q: (laughs) You’ve always liked red?
LJW: No, I actually don’t like red. Haha, I’m just trying out wearing red.
Q: “Glory Jane” ended not long ago. How do you feel now that filming is over?
LJW: At first when we started to film the drama I had no energy. Then towards the middle period, I gradually became used to it. Then towards the end, I was hoping that filming would hurry and finish because I was too tired. After filming was over, I slept a lot at home. I rested three days but felt like it wasn’t enough. Before, I only slept not even up to one hour everyday then suddenly I can stay at home for an entire week. If I was like this for a month, I would feel very empty. I felt like I’d become an unemployed person who lost his job.
Q: Ah, so right now you are still like that?
LJW: Now I’m jumping around like crazy.
Q: Did you do anything while resting?
LJW: Because I like to camp, I went camping.
Q: The fact that you like camping is well known now. Did you go recently?
LJW: Camping has pretty much become part of my life. After I put up the tent, I just left it at the camp ground and paid for rent. I think that taking it apart is very troublesome so I just leave it there.
Q: You can do that?
LJW: Yes, as long as you are willing to.
Q: When was the last time you went camping?
LJW: The day before yesterday? (laughs) Because it’s really close, I can go in the morning and come back at night. Even right now after the interview I can go there, cook food and sleep.
Q: You like to camp and meet with your friends every day. It seems like you don’t like to sit around and do nothing by yourself right?
LJW: I can’t take being alone. Because I’m an only child, I hate being alone. The thing I hate most in the world is being alone. Because I was always alone when growing up so now I hate being by myself. I still talk to and hang out with my friends from middle school.
Q: Are you really afraid of being alone?
LJW: Yes, I’m very afraid. That’s why I go out and walk, go hang out with my hyungs, or go to the office. Basically, I just hate being alone.
Q: Growing up like a plant in a greenhouse (…what the heck) were there any “so painful that it feels like I’m going to die” experiences?
LJW: I grew up in an environment where I was very cherished so I never felt as if I was lacking emotionally. My parents raised me with a relaxed style of raising (relaxed = meaning that they let him make his own decisions) so I am very independent. It was like I solved my problems on my own. That’s why I was able to quickly pick my career and started to work and earn money at an early age. Just like this, I learned what I wanted to learn and did what I wanted to do. My father was the “do it yourself” type. I never had the experience of wanting to do something and not being able to do it. Despite this, I’ve had sad experiences. Like everyone else I’ve had family problems, love and separation pain, problems with friends, etc. But it’s really nothing, because people can’t always live happily.
Q: Looks like you always have a lot of self-confidence.
LJW: Actually when I was younger, I didn’t have any confidence. But if I’m like this when we film I will feel like I’m very small. When filming for a magazine, even if you can’t see there’s always someone standing in the dark right? But still you’d know that that person is watching you. So I would crazily think “how will that person see me?” and “how should I overcome this atmosphere, what to do?” But one day when I went to film I saw someone who was very comfortable and natural with himself in front of the camera and I was mesmerized. Even though I was standing right in front of him, he acted like he didn’t care and wasn’t nervous at all. Like that, he looked really good. “Ah, I should really learn from him”, I thought. From that moment on I tell myself, “I’m doing really well, I’m really handsome” and express my own style and thinking. I think to myself “this pose is really handsome, really handsome” and I feel that afterwards the picture will come out better.
Q: When you were 25, didn’t you also do an interview for NYLON? That fifteen second commercial created some commotion.
Q: At that time you said that you wanted to act a role that could express yourself, as someone of the 20 generation (age 20-29).
LJW: I think I could do well. I want to act a role of someone who in reality is similar to myself. Starting from that time, my peers talked about a topic, 880,000 won generation (reference a rule that limits the amount that young persons can earn per month). I want to act a role like this, the growth of a person from the 880,000 won generation. In that situation, there is love and work so I want to act a role like this so they can also watch this drama.
Q: But until now, you still frequently act the roles of evil and ambitious rich sons right? It is opposite of what you actually want to act.
LJW: Exactly. So it isn’t the case that I can do all the things I want to do. As an actor, to be able to get a role that you feel completely confident that you will do well , waiting a lifetime is worth the opportunity. It’s like finding hope in a difficult situation. But it’s difficult to find such an opportunity because you can’t always do what you want.
Q: That makes people feel sad.
LJW: Right? Even though there is a beautiful side, there are a lot of sad things.
Q: As the number of things you want to do become and more and more, there is also more regret that comes along with it.
LJW: The thing is that the roles that I want to act are taken by other actors who work with me in the drama. They are acting the roles that I want to act while I’m acting the role of the bad guy. When I get the script, I don’t first look at my role but rather the role of the person acting with me, unconsciously trying out different roles. Ah, what if I acted this kind of role, I would express myself this way, seems like it suits me. Some people won’t understand, but some people will wonder how I would do it. Occasionally this will happen. On one hand I’m reading the other actor’s script and on the other hand I’m practicing the script.
Q: But looking back on that interview from before, I think it’s very interesting. For instance, the question if you’d like to act the role of a manga character. “kilalala…”
LJW: Did I accept an interview back then?
Q: No, no matter what it was pretty interesting. We weren’t talking about movies, TV shows, but instead about manga.
LJW: That year was when I was obsessed. Even though I was obsessed about movies and TV shows, there are times when you get tired of it. But when that manga came out I read it over and over.
Q: Then what about recently? Is there anything that makes you want to read over and over or that you find interesting?
LJW: The drama, “Padam Padam”. Because I am a fan of Jung Woo Sung. Too handsome. So I’m debating whether to buy a house in Tongyeong (the city where Padam Padam is being filmed). I can see the ocean, catch fish and roast it. If I could rest there, I would become very sentimental.
Q: Ah, the setting for that drama is Tongyeong?
LJW: I don’t know (laughs). But I heard that Tongyeong has a place like that. Because I grew up in the country, I have a certain attachment to mountains and fields. Like the people who live on islands and next to the ocean have a certain attachment to the ocean. Because I don’t really understand that attachment to the ocean, I would like to live in a little house maybe one or two months when I’m not filming. But there’s no one who’s willing to go too. I really have scouted out information about renting a house. Our stylist said “I’ll help you look” and found it. Have you watched “Padam Padam?”
Q: No, but today I’ll go watch it (laughs)
LJW: You can see the ocean from the house. It’s a very ordinary place. You can make a fire in the furnace within the house. In the front you can see the ocean and behind is the village. If I buy a house like that, then I would fix it up to make a villa.
Q: This isn’t the same as most 27 year old Seoul young men’s interests.
LJW: Then what is the interest of most 27 year olds?
Q: Hard to say.
LJW: So it’s not ordinary, and it’s not to become like everyone else. If I was a little older, then I’d have to think about a lot more. If I bought a house or something over there, I would have a family or I’d have to worry about work. With those to think about, I can’t do whatever I want or be spontaneous. That’s why I want to do what I can do at this age or else as I get older I will miss a lot of things.
Q: I heard you like Jude Law. If you were to pick one of the three movies that he’s starred in to film, which would you pick? “Alfie”?
LJW: “Alfie?” With no strings attached? (laugh) I would pick this one.
Q: Have you watched “Closer”, “Protect me, Alfie” and “My Blueberry Nights”?
LJW: I’ve seen all of them. “My Blueberry Nights” has someone who starred Matilda right? Who was the one who starred Matilda?
Q: Ah, right, Natalie Portman. But why would you want to film “Alfie”?
LJW: Don’t you already know the reason? (laugh)
LJW: It seems like the best one. Because Jude Law portrayed the character very well, it seems like the best role. Even if he is held captive, he doesn’t suffer prejudice, even though he is very ordinary yet he is very cool. There is a love story, he is a player but suddenly becomes very lonely and gives off a feeling that causes people to pity him. That guy just seems like someone who can do anything that he puts his mind to. He’s unfaithful but the way he looks is full of emotion. It really shows the effort of the actor. If I could try that it would be great right? I want to try a role like that too. The kind of actor that is able to make the viewers like him even if his character is really bad.
Q: Yes, I feel like Jude Law is that kind of actor.
LJW: I agree. I’ve seen this movie about a hundred times. Alfie finds back the woman that he was once with, who is with child and originally is going to kiss her and leave but instead has a last moment with her. Wow…well-acted.
Q: Before we end today, is there anything that you think that you have to try?
LJW: There’s too many.
Q: Tell us some.
LJW: I want to buy a house on Tongyeong and live there. Isn’t there a drama called “Beat”? I want to film something like that, I heard that Jung Woo Sung filmed “Beat” when he was 24 years old.
Q: If the person who was being interviewed today was me, what would you want to ask me?
LJW: Can I ask according to the plan?
Q: What is the plan?
LJW: Secret (laughs)
Thanks to amazing kola for awesome translation!