After finishing filming for SBS drama “A Gentleman’s Dignity,” Jang Dong Gun (40) stated he slept for two days straight.
Making a drama comeback after twelve years, and choosing a romantic genre at the age of 40, a schedule that calls for a forced lack of sleep was expected.
Standing in front of an HD screen for the first time in years, fans have certainly noticed the workings of time observing Jang Dong Gun’s face. During the interview Jang stated, “I’ve only heard the rumors about the wonders of HD TV, but after watching the first episode I too was surprised (laughs).”
“The fact that I was not in my best condition during filming was something I regretted the most, but through this drama I did everything I wanted to do without reservation,” stated Jang with a relieved expression on his face.
In his most recent previous projects Jang worked on Hollywood film, “Warrior’s Way,” and director Kang Jae Kyu’s “My Way.” Jang stated that it was ten years worth of hardship.
Receiving a love call from writer Kim Eun Sook’s for “A Gentleman’s Dignity,” Jang’s career came to another turning point. “I was able to experience the excitement and fun in being able to interact and relate directly with the viewers,” stated Jang.
Before filming for the drama began Jang stated that the romantic comedy genre of the drama was what burdened him the most rather than his character. “It was the first role where I was openly spitting out melodramatic lines, and was playing a role in which the romantic comedy male lead had a danger zone.”
“Kim Do Jin was not a character to receive the love and attention of everyone. He was a character people could easily like or dislike. In order to move the audience emotionally, there were intentional points of degrading my character. This is due to Kim Do Jin being that character who frequency crossed the line.”
Human Jang Dong Gun and character “Kim Do Jin” could not be any more different from each other. Making cheesy expressions and having a tendency to be blunt and audacious, were far from who Jang Dong Gun really is. Jang sought out help from his junior actor Hyun Bin, who is currently is in military service, in order to “research” Kim Do Jin’s character.
“I asked Hyun Bin to reveal the hardships of comedy, but he told me to be direct and daring. He told me that the more I do it, the more I will want to do more, and he was right.”
Jang also had other reasons behind choosing this genre.
“The seriousness from my roles in the past were building up and got to a point where it was a big pressure for me. I wanted to let go of it all, and at the right timing I crossed paths with this drama. I also signed up for filming for the movie “Dangerous Invitation” around the same time because I really wanted to try a Homme Fatale type of role. If the movie had come out before the drama it would have been a very fresh and new image of myself; however, since it is premiering after the drama it may have less of an effect.”
Jang was satisfied that he was able to take off the “serious Jang Dong Gun” mask. Fans comfortably coming up to the actor asking for an autograph was a new sight for Jang. “In the past fans had a harder time confronting me because of my image, but now they come up to me with a more openly.”
Starting out as an actor from youth and being ordered around, to maturing into the actor he is today was not an easy life. For 20 years it may seem that Jang Dong Gun lived a lucrative life as a top star, however, there is a behind story filled with hardship and worries that no one else can see.
The reason he spent ten years for just movies was because he “enjoyed acting out big and deep emotions and expression.” The catharsis that resulted from those roles was deep, and after movie “Friend” was a hit he received the spot light for many other roles thereafter. But Jang expressed that he was never happy or satisfied to his heart’s content due to the stress and worry over “what next?” after each project.
“It may seem as though actor Jang Dong Gun has never hit a low in twenty years, but if you look closely in detail there are many faltering instances. When I first entered this world of acting there was a constant fear and worry, and there was even a period of time where I had five projects fail in a row. It was the worst (laughs). Many fans out there think that I’m an actor that has yet to fail, but that is definitely not the case.”
Although Jang has been married for three years now, he claims he’s learned a lot about how women think from “A Gentleman’s Dignity.” “It would have been nice if I knew before… It was the first time I ever heard that girls make a big deal out of back hugs too (laughs).”
Jang’s wife, Go So Young, was recently the guest on TV show “Healing Camp” and mentioned a lack of back hugs from her husband. “My wife said that she did not like men that put on events, but I guess that’s not true. I think she secretly likes it (laughs).”
Having a family of his own, Jang felt that he was greatly influenced by their presence. “I hesitate even when I have to film kiss scenes. I also think that avoiding bad scenes is something I have to keep in mind from now on.”
The legendary Jang Dong Gun’s youthful years have passed on by and it is hard to believe but he is already forty. “There will be more roles that I can’t take on anymore (because of my age), but on the other hand there are now roles that I am able to take on,” stated Jang.
“In my thirties there was always a sense that I was walking towards a goal, but now that I’m in my forties, rather than walking if feels like I’m just floating along. There are paths and things that I can’t avoid, and I realize that I should just trust where my body leads me.”
Jang also expressed a humble interest in directing. While working with director Huh Jin Ho, Jang stated he was fascinated by how “the smallest things could change how an actor acts.”
“Rather than popular movies, I find myself interested in movies that are largely influenced by the smallest details of the actor. While filming ‘Dangerous Invitation’ I also got interested in directing. I tend to frequently start to think on set ‘I would want to do this scene like this.’ But it’s just an interest for now. At this point I wouldn’t dare try. (laughs).”