[Interview] Sunghoon “I Want to Become an Actor that Other Actors Acknowledge”
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[by Hwang Yeon Do] There’s a vivid memory of the image of his messy hair, sweatpants, just sitting on the floor and eating cereal straight from the bag. Recently revealing his single life through ‘I Live Alone’, he went from being called ‘unrealistically handsome guy’ to ‘switch guy’, the renowned rising hallyu star, Sunghoon.
This type of wild interview was a first. He only gave straightforward answers to the point of shocking the staff. He answered every question within 3 seconds, disclosing his conclusion first, a method that was memorable. Above all his purity could not be imitated as it had no pretense, and looking at this image of Sunghoon, it was clear that his identity is the ‘4-dimensional’ personality.
How could anyone hate this actor that has innumerable charms such as his acting abilities, familiarity, on top of his handsomely tall looks? Reversal on top of reversal, ‘coy zero’ actor Sunghoon, the reason why we greet him is also here.
Q. Thoughts on bnt pictorial filming?
It’s gotten much hotter recently. I was very concerned about outdoor filming. But rather because of the weather the pictures turned out well. There was quite a lot of filming of entering the water so I didn’t really feel the heat and just enjoyed filming. (laughs)
Q. What’s the concept that left the deepest impact?
They were all nice but the caravan concept left the deepest impression. It came out better than I expected and I liked the denim clothing.
Q. You started your world tour in 13 countries. What are you plans for your schedule?
I feel like I’m just leisurely spending the last couple of months for this world tour schedule instead of busily running about. I’m also scheduled to visit Taiwan in August.
Q. Lately you had a successful fan meeting in Thailand. We heard that the tickets sold out as soon as it opened.
There were 1000 seats in total and it seemed like the fans exceeded that so it was a bit crowded. There were more people than I expected so I was grateful. They liked whatever I presented so I was thankful and it was a enjoyable time I could spend with fans.
Q. You earned the title of ‘switch guy’ after appearing on MBC ‘I Live Alone’. It was a twist (laughs).
Actually, people around me don’t think of it as a twist. It’s just that my real image has been broadcasted (laughs). From a while back I’ve always thought that variety is a turf in which talented people have to do well and if I wasn’t casted that meant that I wouldn’t have done well. So there weren’t many chances for me to show my image and now coming out on this program, viewers see it as a twist. I don’t’ have much impressions from appearing on variety shows but one thing has changed. The company CEO has given me a lot more freedom. (laughs) On an average day I comfortably go through the day and don’t really draw a boundary. However my company wanted me to prepare the minimum amount before going out just like a celebrity. I’ve been scolded about it before but after I appeared on variety shows the company has let go of the rules somewhat and has given me some more freedom so I’ve been more relaxed.
Q. As an actor, is it burdensome to show your disheveled image?
Not really. Acting is acting and daily life is daily life. If I get the chance I want to refreshingly talk about these things. In the early stages of my debut I worried a lot about caring for my looks. Preparing and wearing clothes neatly or skin care etc., I thoroughly took care of my looks. Thus when I work I definitely focus on my looks but on the time outside of that I let loose. Even now, aside from when I’m working my image is in a relaxed and natural matter. I think this is the method to not getting stressed.
Q. The ‘eating show’ of eating from a bag of cereal became a hot topic. Do you usually eat cereal that way?
Because I live alone, washing dishes is a nuisance thus I try not to need to wash dishes. I normally eat my cereal in that way but that scene looked as if it was just for the broadcast. If you eat it this way it’s really simple and easy, you just pour in the milk and rinse the cereal bag with water and throw it away without having to do dishes. (laughs)
Q. From watching ‘I Live Alone’ it seems you also are skilled at the wakeboard.
There’s something I want to explain, people who have seen it for the first time may think I am good at riding the wakeboard but those who can ride a wakeboard and saw me can tell that I’m just a novice. Not just wakeboard but snowboard, horseback riding, golf, etc., I can do all of these leisure activities fundamentally but I’m no expert. I just know how to and enjoy doing them.
Q. We heard that you are a regular at ‘Narae Bar’. How did you enter?
Singers, comedians, actors, models, etc., there are a lot of members. Honestly my personality is originally shy so I can’t get close to other people but in the middle of a get-together with the team members of ‘Law of the Jungle’, I was contacted by a close younger friend to have a beer. I thought we were going to have a simple glass of beer but we ended up at Narae Bar. Normally by my personality I wouldn’t have gone but I was already intoxicated so I willingly entered. (laughs)
Q. You played the role of Kang Shin Hyuk the genius producer in SBS funE’s ‘Idol Master.KR’ that is currently airing. What areas did you focus on studying to play this role?
Instead of really studying, I just put in effort not to show any emotions on my face. One of the reasons I chose this drama was because it’s not a story that focuses on me but on each individual actor as a protagonist. I had a role of supporting from behind that I liked so I chose it.
Q. Then do you not have an ambition to be the main lead?
I don’t have big ambition to be the lead. Any character that I can do well is good. I’m not nitpicking about the importance of the role.
Q. You are receiving love for your tall and handsome looks. What is the part of your looks that you are most confident in?
I really don’t have one (laughs). I’ve never thought that I was handsome. I also don’t take many selfies because I don’t really like my face. Personally I don’t really like my looks. My preferred look that I like is a face like Song Joong Ki. A man who has a soft image. Even so since my profession is an actor even if I’m not exceptionally handsome, while thinking that I have individuality I can gain confidence from that.
Q. On the other hand, do you have any complexes?
When I was younger I had a big surgery once. There was a special case in which a tumor was growing on my gums. Back then I received a surgery in which they had to strip away my gum to my bone and implant another bone. During my growth period I received that surgery so as I grew older my face became asymmetric. That’s one of the complexes I have.
Q. Are you severe with taking care of your body?
If I have work. Lately I have schedules so I’ve been omitting it. Recently when I went to Thailand for a fan meeting I gained 6 kg in 3 days. In the past if I gained weight I could lose it easily but now as I’ve gotten older it takes twice the amount of time to lose the weight.
Q. How do you diet?
I don’t eat and just exercise. Just like how I gain weight by not exercising and only eating I do the opposite and don’t eat and exercise only. In the case of a diet, I minimize carbohydrates and put protein first.
Q. We heard there’s a big difference in weight before and after you get paid. (laughs)
There’s a difference of about 10kg. Firstly, when I get casted, I lose a lot of weight. No matter how I stand in front of the camera, I look really big. Also, it’s hard for stylists to find clothes that fit me. So before I start a work, in order to fit, I am immersed into dieting and maintain a weight of 73~75 kg.
Q. You started as a swimmer. How did you start?
I started swimming because I hated studying. (laughs) Like that I swam for 14 years. After I graduated from high school there was a business team. I survived as a Bucheon City Hall public servant for 6 years. To be honest, more than being able to swim well, I just swam diligently.
Back then I didn’t have anything else I liked so I stayed on the path of swimming, I think if I was in the same generation as the current one I might have ended up playing games as a pro-gamer. I liked playing games that much when I was younger. I played everything from PC games to console games. However I’m not completely skilled. (laughs) I’m above average but when I look at my rankings, it’s nothing compared to the pros
Q. There is talk that you gave up swimming because of swimmer Park Taehwan.
To be honest when I was swimming from some point I wasn’t growing physically and began to feel like I was falling behind. During that time I had many small and big surgeries but my body wasn’t improving. Also, there were younger swimmers who were slowly surging and rising up. Then decisively, the unrivaled Park Taehwan came out and I thought about retiring.
Q. What was the cause for changing from a swimmer to an actor?
I quit swimming and needed to survive. In the middle of searching for work that I like suddenly I wanted to act. Originally I didn’t have much interest in the area and when I was younger all my friends like this or that celebrity but I was never like that. I never received an offer to be a celebrity either. However I just suddenly really I wanted to be an actor and I just started acting that way.
Q. What’s the most memorable work that you have done up to this point?
All the works are precious to me but personally my favorite work is Naver TV web drama ‘6 Persons Room’. It was a work that the acting fit me and was a turning point for me as an actor. The filming atmosphere was really good and the director shared a lot about acting with me. It was the first opportunity in witch I could freely act to my heart’s content.
Q. From the filming you have up to this point, who is the most memorable actor?
So Ji Sub-hyeong. He’s shy like me but it was the first time for me to see someone that was like hyeong. And he was also the first person that I saw thoroughly take care of themselves. He was talking to the health trainer during KBS2 ‘Oh My Venus’ but because of busily filming till dawn he didn’t have time to exercise, even if he had to decrease his sleep hyeong exercised. When I saw that image, I felt ‘he could only be at his current position because he thoroughly takes care to that extent’. He’s a hyeong I still have much to learn from and sometimes I ask him questions.
Q. Which actor would you want to work with?
Lee Byung Hun sunbae, and also Jo Jin Woong sunbae. They are sunbaes that I respect a lot when it comes to acting. The acting style I dream and chase after is exactly the style that the sunbaes present. In that case they are my role models. However this doesn’t mean that I will follow them exactly. I have the desire to act with my own style and receive recognition with their aura and acting.
Q. You have a quite a few works of the romance genre. In the genre there usually is a lot of physical affection, have you ever felt burdened?
Not really. I just am concerned about how to act and complete the scene but I am not really burdened by that type of acting.
Q. What’s your secret to expressing physical affection scenes well?
When I think of acting out physical affection, I think the most important thing is how well the actress is shown. The scene definitely has to come out nicely showing the actress.
Q. The representative romance actresses are Song Ji Eun and Shin Hyesun, which do you find more charming?
Ji Eun. Ji-eun doesn’t have to work hard to appear cute because she’s really cute as is. Also, because she is petite her proportions are nice. She is a person with a lot of charm.
Q, We heard you prefer bromance acting over romance.
Bromance is more comfortable and fun. The movies ‘My Annoying Brother’ and ‘Inside Mine’ left a deep impression. It’s important how these actors’ bromance was lived out in the movies. I think it would be fun if I have a work where I can tell the story of men.
Q. Do you have a lot of experience dating? What’s your dating style?
It’s not few. My dating style is different depending on the situation. Sometimes I’m like an idiot and when it’s needed I’m sentimental. One of the people I dated said, “you’re abnormal”. Haha. But there are people that like this type of charm too. (laughs)
Q. Do you have intentions of public dating?
Never. (laughs) Because there are many bad cases.
Q. Your 30s are flying by. What are your thoughts about marriage?
I thought about marriage in the first half of my 30s. But as I got older I saw reality and now I think it would be hard to raise a family with my current ability. I still don’t have any plans of getting married. But if I meet someone good again that could change.
Q. Do you enjoy drinking?
I like to drink. My drinking capacity varies depending on my condition and there are times when I can continue drinking several bottles but I normally drink a bottle and a half. I used to be a violent drunk but nowadays if I get intoxicated I just sleep. (laughs)
Q. Your Normal Personality
If you say it in a nice way I’m not pretentious and am blunt, put in a bad way, I don’t have a filter and just spill everything out. However in the past I unexpectedly cared a lot about what others thought. Even if I was only saying one word I was very careful. I wasn’t this blunt in the past but after I saw a text on the internet, I changed a lot. “No matter how you manage your image, people will hate you” is what the text said. You don’t need to put in a lot of effort to look good in front of everyone. After that I started living my way.
Q. We heard that you also DJ under the name DJ ROI.
It’s been several years, about 3 years but I haven’t properly practiced in half a year. To do it professionally you have to have to spend several hours a day listening to music and monitoring but I had to continuously work on dramas and schedules so I couldn’t practice.
Q. How did you start DJing?
I use to go to the club often with my friends when I was young. I prefer being in front of the speakers when I’m at the club. I liked the feeling of the speaker sound on my skin. I also liked the atmosphere in which everyone jumps and enjoys the chorus together. There’s one person who sticks out that makes the people enjoy the club like that, which is the DJ. That’s how I started DJing.
Q. Do you go to the club often?
I sometimes go to listen to music. To be honest while active I often when without my CEO knowing but recently I don’t hide it. I would listen to music and confidently pick up the phone and talk when my CEO called.
Q. Do you have interest in making an album?
I have two songs in a personal album for fans, and including songs I sang for OSTs, I have a total of 5 or 6 songs. Also, I am preparing songs as a DJ. I plan on making another album with all of it together.
Q. Are there any celebrities that you are close with?
I’m shy so I only play with friends that I meet but recently I fit well with people I met through acting work or variety programs. Recently I have a lot of friends that I am close with. (laughs) Among guys, I’m close with Henry and I often drink with Jo Han Sun-hyeong. I became close with hyeong through working on ‘Come Back to Busan Port’ together and we match well from our personalities to our drinking style. When I drink with Han Sun-hyeong, I feel like drank with a relaxed hyeong. Also, I am thankful to sister-in-law who sends him over when I ask to meet. (laughs)
Q. Do you read comments?
I don’t. When you look at comments, there are usually only two types. Comments written by fans which I am very thankful for but it seems like they are talking about me exaggeratingly so it makes me feel embarrassed, or there are malicious comments that if I read will offend me, so it’s better not to read them all together.
Q. Recently you are very popular through your variety skills. What is your ambition towards variety?
I don’t really have any. In the case of ‘I Live Alone’, it’s an observation program so I didn’t purposefully try to do anything and just appeared on the show with the intention of showing my comfortable image. It just thankfully happened that people enjoyed watching this side of me and it became a hot issue. Actually I tried a lot of variety through using my body. The variety I want to do if there’s a chance is to be a chaser on ‘Infinite Challenge’. I think I match well with variety that uses tricks and your body (laughs).
Q. What would you like to challenge aside from acting?
Game programming. Is that too sudden? Haha. When you asked what I wanted to do, I thought of that (laughs). Actually I also started acting from this context. It’s not a route that I had planned or could do well originally but I really just started it blindly out of nowhere. And if I were to mention another thing I would like to do, I am interested in raising an actor in the future just like my CEO did.
Q. What are your current plans for this next term?
In the terms of work, nothing concrete has been decided. Firstly, I am in the midst of finishing off my schedule. As work comes by I’ll prepare for it and if there are roles that I want, I plan to audition for them.
I say this every time I’m interviewed but my ultimate goal is to be recognized by other actors. My goal for this year is to successfully carry out my schedule and fan meetings. Also, I hope to be able to find good works in the latter half of this year.
Editor: Hwang Yeon Do
Video Filming, Editing: Jo Hyung Geun, Kang Soo Jeong
Clothing: Stylenanda KKXX, Untage, Liunick
Shoes: Superga, Romantic Move
Watch: Ab Aeterno
Eyewear: Mark & Roth
Hair: Jacqueline Minaeseon Assistant Director
Makeup: Jacqueline Department Head Jae Eun
Location: Pension 121