ⓕ font-size

  • -2
  • -1
  • 0
  • +1
  • +2

INTERVIEW'Every film set is my boxing ring'

  • Facebook share button
  • Twitter share button
  • Kakao share button
  • Mail share button
  • Link share button

Actor Jang Hyuk, 41, starring in the recently finished MBC weekend drama
Actor Jang Hyuk, 41, starring in the recently finished MBC weekend drama "Money Flower," poses prior to an interview with The Korea Times at a cafe in southern Seoul, Friday. / Courtesy of Sidus HQ

Actor Jang Hyuk talks about his acting philosophy

By Park Jin-hai

Jang Hyuk sounds more like a boxer than an actor when he says he fights his guts out in each film shoot. "For me, a film shoot cannot be an easy process, where actors say their lines and act as they rehearsed," the actor, 41, told The Korea Times in Seoul, Friday.

"I think great scenes can be created from where there is some positive tension running between actors."

He recently added another successful piece _ the MBC weekend drama "Money Flower" _ to his filmography.

"The set is like a little ring for me," he said. "As for boxing and other sports that have basic rules for fair play, dramas have lines and play script. But the way each actor delivers the messages included in their lines and what to emphasize is different.

"A set is like two actors hiding what they have and facing each other in the ring. Under immense tension, they exchange punches and counterpunches. If there is no tension while shooting a drama, how can we expect it to draw viewers?"

In the 24-episode drama about people who are driven by the illusion they can control money but in fact are consumed by greed, Jang played the lead character Kang Pil-joo, a cold-hearted attorney working as an obedient servant for Cheong-A Group's founding family.

Keeping secret his real identity as a son born out of marriage to the late heir of Cheong-A Group, he takes revenge on those who killed his mother and little brother.

The drama used a format never tried here before _ where each Saturday had two episodes aired on the same day from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. _ and its shooting style did not follow the weekend drama formula that mostly includes "extremely dramatized" elements to please weekend viewers of various age groups.

Although the show had cliches seen in previous weekend dramas such as a rich family, a hidden child and revenge, viewers reacted positively to its directing style and subtle portrayal of characters' complex emotions.
The show closed with a record 24 percent viewership.

"When I told my friends I'm shooting a weekend drama, nine out of 10 asked why," Jang said.

"At the time I made the decision, I didn't know the status of miniseries and weekend dramas. It was director Kim Hee-won's debut drama and trying a very different style she wasn't worried about failure on the part of viewers.

"If the drama flopped, whether it was a weekend drama or a miniseries, the fact I wouldn't gain anything would be the same. But in case it was success, I can gain more from a weekend drama, scoring two points rather than one from a miniseries."

He said the story was about Kang's revenge, but it was not the revenge factor that drove the drama.

"If it had focused on what happens to Kang's revenge itself, the drama should have ended in four or five episodes," he said. "He had all the keys in his hands needed to bring down Cheong-A Group. Ironically, what deters him from taking revenge is important.

"In the intertwined relationship between each character, all the contrasting emotions make the drama really interesting.
"For instance, when Kang sees Jang Bu-cheon, the Cheong-A Group heir who grew up with Kang, he feels both hatred and sympathy. Kang uses him for his revenge, but feels guilt at the same time."

The actor, who has practiced the martial art jeet kune do for more than a decade and has also been boxing for eight years, said he learned a lot from professional athletes in those fields.

"Although I'm not a professional boxer, I'm not practicing it like a hobby but more professionally. Looking at boxers enduring adversities and practicing fiercely, I learn a lot," he said.

"There are a million reasons I don't want to be on set. Sometimes it is too hot or too cold or sometimes I can be dreadfully tired because I'm short of sleep. But I know it is only after I endure and fight the day, that I can expect to be offered another project.

"Doing just okay is not in my dictionary. I've seen so many just okay aspiring actors getting no chance at auditions. Only the desperate ones can clinch that narrow chance. So the set is a boxing ring for me."

Park Jin-hai

Interactive News

  • E-Prix thrills racing fans in Seoul
  • With tough love,
  • 'Santa dogs' help rebuild burnt forests in Andong
  • 'Santa dogs' help rebuild burnt forests in Andong
  • A tale of natural wine

Top 10 Stories

go top LETTER