Sunday, July 18, 2010

Triple threat Kim Jae-wook

Inch by inch, Kim Jae-wook has been stealing the show in SBS’s Bad Guy, with his deeply layered portrayal of a wounded feral animal, otherwise known as Hong Tae-sung. In a recent interview with 10 Asia, Kim discusses Tae-sung, acting, and his music.

Good acting AND an indie band? Are you trying to make me spontaneously combust from second-lead love?

The 27-year old actor became famous for his turn as Waffle Sun-ki in 2007’s Coffee Prince, having only done a few small roles prior. Although known initially as a model-turned-flower-pretty-boy-actor, he quickly garnered further acclaim for his role as an openly gay man in the film Antique Bakery.

He’s exactly as frank and direct as you’d expect. About being in the spotlight: “In the end people only see what they want to see. The second I realized that, it didn’t bother me anymore. Everyone has that part of them that wants to be acknowledged by a person. It’s enough to go forward with that one thing.”

In Bad Guy, Kim plays second-lead Hong Tae-sung, a lonely illegitimate heir to millions, whose lack of love and affection has led him to a lifetime of destructive behavior. He lashes out like an animal, blind to the effects of his actions on everyone around him, because his own pain is all he can see. Javabeans and I have both noted in our recaps that the character is really the better-written bad guy between the two leads, but it’s no detraction from the actor, who plays it to the hilt.

For the role of Tae-sung, Bad Guy director Lee Hyung-min sought an actor with an aristocratic air, and yet a frighteningly edgy charisma. It’s a hard line to walk, but Kim manages it with a crackling vulnerability to top it off.

Kim says about Tae-sung: “Everyone lives with loneliness. The kinds of loneliness and the actions we take to break out of that pain are varied as well. From Hong Tae-sung’s background and surroundings, you can’t say he’s an adult…he’s too much like a child. His weak-minded disposition, harming himself—these things are true, but I want to put the focus somewhere a little deeper, and I hope that it gets conveyed well.”

He gives careful consideration to his role, while at the same time worrying that these sorts of news bites will influence the audience’s perception of the character. That desire for the work to stand on its own, without pandering to what’s expected of him, can be summed up as the Kim Jae-wook-esque attitude. He is currently focused on the drama, which despite production setbacks, has just now hit its stride narratively. Here’s hoping it continues that way. His next activity? He wants to pursue his music.

He’s known for his acting and modeling, but Kim actually graduated university as a music major, and formed a band with his classmates called I Am the Walrus. “My parents and my older brother like music so since I was young I naturally grew up in an environment where I heard lots of different kinds of music. Eventually I became spellbound by the rock genre. Much like how students now follow idol bands and learn all their dances, I think I naturally wanted to sing and perform music I heard. Truthfully it’s been nine years since my classmates and I first said we would do music together, but we were all lazy about it until we formed Walrus. Last year we stood on stage for the first time in five years, and we went crazy. Originally we were going to work on the single for March, but Bad Guy happened so we had to push it back.”

The only available clips of the band were fancams, since the band is still so indie, natch.

I don’t think he’s going to be the next big thing, musically. But I’m also pretty sure he doesn’t care. He’s got that elusive thing that you can’t manufacture or fake—that “I don’t care” attitude that makes cool people cool, because they don’t try to be overly so, coupled with an earnest sincerity for his craft.

Really, no need to make him so perfect, Universe. It’s overkill.

credit : girlfriday@DB

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