Jung Woo-sung on Being ‘Good’

Jung Woo-sung

There he stood, oblivious to passers-by staring at him. One hand resting on the door, looking up with a faint smile, he looked ineffably cool — rather than “good” in his new movie.

Released last week, “The Good, the Bad, the Weird” by Kim Jee-woon has topped 2 million in ticket sales, and the Good in the movie, Jung Woo-sung, seems to have benefited the most from the film’s success. Sporting a long brown coat and a scarf, he skillfully toys with a long-handled rifle and takes accurate shots in midair with his body dangling from a rope. The action stunts arouse oohs and aahs.

Jung said the stunts were not over the top, which he likes, but many feel that it’s his most stylish role since the 1997 film “Beat” by Kim Sung-su, which turned him into a youth icon. Jung describes Kim Jee-woon as a “wise observer,” who precisely extracts each actor’s unique color and personality. By praising Kim, Jung is in fact acknowledging his own elegant charm.

The title doesn’t really describe the threesome. Jung says the Good is coolheaded, the Weird is humane and the Bad deserves pity. "The beauty of the movie is the ambiguity of identities, which is exactly how humans are. I liked the messiness of human desires depicted here."

But who is Jung Woo-sung? He avoids a direct answer, saying, "It’s up to others to determine who I am now. I’m just crafting my future self little by little."

He plans to debut as a film director next year, a long cherished dream. "I like the images of people shown on films, and the visual creation that’s not detected by the human eye. That’s the allure of mise en scène."

Is he afraid of failure? "Many actors direct films in other countries. But true respect for your competitors is lacking in Korea. People only want to step on others. If I fail and lose my footing in cinema, someone could still learn from my experience. In this sense, there is no failure," Jung says.

After much talk, he admits he wants to be “cool”. "I’d like to be recognized as a cool guy, which is a good feeling." His honesty brings out the man Jung Woo-sung in the star. Candor is a radiant asset, and Jung shines bright.