Monday, February 8, 2010

Chuno: an interview with lead actor Jang Hyuk

I feel like I’m just repeating myself with Chuno — it’s popular, the men are looking mighty fine — so no need to labor over the intro. Here’s an interview with lead actor Jang Hyuk:

The reaction is intense. Do you feel it firsthand?

“I began filming in August of last year. Since a fairly long time has passed, it has felt calm. I watched the first episode at home, and afterward I started getting calls from my friends, which made me feel that the reaction was good.”

It’s a unique sageuk. As an actor, what drew you to it the most?

“Slave hunter Lee Dae-gil is a three-dimensional character. He doesn’t have that boundary between good and evil, and he covers a wide domain. As a slave hunter he is rugged and free, but his past is mysterious since he came from an aristocratic family of high status. I also found him appealing as someone who focuses everthing to find one woman.”

It’s also said that Chuno’s popularity has contributed to the popularity of six-pack abs.

“Lee Dae-gil catches slaves. I think he’s got to give off the feel of the streets. I pay attention to my body and on the set, I carry around dumbbells everywhere. I train at least two times a week, and the scar on my left eye is something I suggested to the director.”

It seems like costumes are hardly needed. How is it these days?

“Around Episode 8, we’ll change to autumn clothing. These days we’re shooting Episode 13, and we’re battling the intense cold. However, since I’ve been training myself with Julkwondo and the like, I haven’t caught a cold once.”

Is it because of Julkwondo that the action scenes are unique?

“You can say that the action is like massaging your opponent. It’s not punching and dodging, but more like slowly dominating your opponent one beat at a time. Rhythm and tempo are important. It’s similar to the rhythm of koong-jak-jak, koong-jak-jak.”

Do you choreograph the action yourself?

“The martial arts director choreographs the action scenes, but I assert my opinions for my parts. The director is pretty accepting of that.”

The dialogue is also interesting. But isn’t the word ‘unni’ a bit strange? [Unni is what the junior slave hunters call the elders.]

“I knew the general meaning. Of course, at first it didn’t roll off the tongue but as I continued, it became fun. I’ve rarely made NGs from the dialogue.”

What’s a memorable line?

“There’s a line from when the young aristocratic Dae-gil puts shoes on Un-nyun’s feet. ‘I’m going to live the rest of my life with you.’ Another one hasn’t aired yet, but I say, ‘Living is insane.’ It’s a line that seems to sum up Dae-gil, which I like.”

Do you have dangerous shoots?

“There was one time that I fell in the marsh while riding a horse at a full run. Another time, my back got stepped on with a horseshoe. Fortunately the marsh absorbed the shock so all I got was bruises. I was really lucky.”

Your second son, born at the end of last year, must be a real blessing.

“My eldest son Jae-heon is also my best blessing. When he was born, I even won several awards. I think the second, Seung-heon, will bring the same luck. My family is my strength.”

I heard that you gave up plans to enter the Chinese market because of Chuno.

“That’s right. There was a 20-episode fantasy drama I was looking at. It was planned to broadcast over CCTV, and the conditions were good, too. But I read the synopsis for Chuno and fell for it completely.”

It looks like Chuno will be the source of rediscovery for Jang Hyuk.

“That’s too much praise. Bur rather than going for a completely new image, I think it’s important to keep looking like myself with every project.”

credit : + as labeled

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