Kim Soo Hyun: "I Want to Act All My Life"


Kim Soo Hyun started “The Moon that Embraces the Sun” syndrome. He is now a super star, busy with filming and photo shoot schedules, complaining that all he wants is “to sleep as much as I want to.” But off-camera, he is just another guy next door, who enjoys running, biking, and martial arts. 


He is on the border of some sort. He is standing between a mischievous, playful boy and an unapproachable man. His eyes are sad, longing and yet sharp and charismatic all at the same time. He is on the edge of both sides, firmly holding onto both. This topic of “border” or “borderline” was the first to talk about with him in this interview. Kim Soo Hyun sat down with JoongAng Ilbo for an exclusive interview. Here’s a ful translation of the interview:

– It must be an advantage for an actor

“I often hear that I have both boyish and grown-up manly sides. It certainly is an advantage when I’m acting. Same thing with my eyes. It gives me and my acting that much spectrum. Honestly, I’m not all that good looking. My eyes, my nose, they are not perfect. I think that’s good. Good looks never get in the way of my acting.”

– Your character Hwon in “the Moon that Embraces the Sun” is fictional. I’m guessing that you didn’t have anything to refer to. 

“It is such a charming character. As a king, he’s charismatic. But for the love of his life, he is romantic and devoted. I agonized much for this character. When I first got the script, “Deep Rooted Tree” was airing, so I paid close attention to Han Suk Gyu‘s acting. Soon I realized that it’s not about mimicking what he does. The nature of our characters was very different. I started practicing on my own, but was afraid to even say the first line. So I went back and started from the child role’s script, trying to grasp the emotions and everything. Then I stumbled upon this graphic novel series, ‘Chang Chun Hang Roh.’ It’s about life of Chinese politicain Cao Cao, and I thought Cao Cao and Hwon had much in common. His bravity, masculinity, and romantic sides, all of them. 

– Your sobbing scenes garnered much attention.

“I don’t calculate and overthink when I act. I’m never like ‘since this is of an arguing scene, I should talk like this,’ or ‘since we are making love, I’m going to do that.’ Rather, I just react to what is there. I try to be as natural as possible, just purely acting and reacting to the emotions. Also, I’ve always been a cry-baby.”

– You? A cry-baby?

“I like to cry. Like, the feeling I get when I’m tearing up and letting it all out. I don’t restrain my emotions much, I’m all about showing how I feel. Sometimes I just want to cry for no reason. In such cases, I watch something like ‘Grave of Fireflies.’ Sometimes when I get really into it, I cry after 10 minutes of watching it.”

Kim Soo Hyun was a timid child. He wasn’t good at showing his feelings and had hard times meeting other people’s eyes. One day in high school, his mother asked him, “Soo Hyun, would you like to give it a shot at acting?” That was the beginning of everything. He joined a drama club. He played the role of the chatty fairy in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Acting opened a new world for him and he soon realized that acting and interacting with people allowed him to break down the walls inside and become a human. This realization also determined his future, as he thought that acting was his way. He went though “Will It Snow for Chirstmas?” “Giant,” “Dream High,” and became Hwon in “The Moon that Embraces the Sun.” 

– Were you influenced by your father at all? (Kim Soo Hyun’s father Kim Choong Hoon was the lead vocalist of 1980s rock band Seven Dolphins

“I grew up ordinarily. I liked to sing, but nothing special. I took the subway to go to places until recently, and I enjoyed karaoke-ing with my friends. There is nothing special, really.”

– People say that you are one of the most talented actor in his 20s. What do you think Kim Soo Hyun in his 30s would be like?

“I’m guessing that I’ll be a real man. More insightful, deeper, more flavorful, and stronger. I want to be like actor Christoph Waltz. More than anything, I want to become a trusted actor. I want to act all my life. For now, I want my upcoming film ‘Thieves‘ to do well. My character in the film is such a romantist, even though he is a thief.”

– Your songs in “The Moon that Embraces the Sun’s” OSTs  were very popular and praised highly.

“I like to sing, and I like to listen to music, but I don’t think I can chase two rabbits at once. I want to focus on acting for now.”