As a steadily rising actor, Kang Ha Neul is currently promoting his new movie “Midnight Runners” and awaiting his enlistment on September 11. Although the actor is deemed rather young to enlist considering the average age of enlistment in the entertainment industry, Kang Ha Neul decided to begin his military service this year to finish his mandatory army duty early on.
True to his personal life decision, Kang Ha Neul has a humble personality that is often praised by his co-stars and directors alike. Co-star Park Seo Joon from “Midnight Runners” revealed that Kang Ha Neul impressively memorized all of the staff’s names during the film’s production.
In a recent interview, Kang Ha Neul shared his thoughts regarding the story. “I don’t have a particular method to it. It’s not like I promise myself, ‘I’m going to memorize all 60 names!’ before going into shoot. It’s that when someone passes me by, I wonder, ‘What was that person’s name?’ and after learning it, I tell myself, ‘Let’s use their name next time,’ and I naturally memorize it,” he said.
He then went on to explain, “I hated calling others ‘hey.” I hate it now too. It’s true that what I like best is being happy on set. On set, the director and actors are not the only ones there. There’s a greater number of staff. I want to have fun with them and become friends. Friends obviously call each other by names.” The actor also added, “When I first started shooting dramas, I rode the same bus as the staff, ㄴo I got closer to the staff than the actors first. I used to ask lots of questions to the camera, lights, and arts teamㄴ out of curiosity.”
The chemistry between Park Seo Joon and Kang Ha Neul also stood out in “Midnight Runners,” which recently celebrated surpassing 2 million viewers.
In light of the duo’s great on-screen chemistry, Kang Ha Neul shared, “I was lucky. I feel like I was destined to work with Park Seo Joon. I would have put in a lot of effort in the film regardless of who I ended up working with. But that was unnecessary with Park Seo Joon.”
The actor then went on, “I think we got along because we didn’t know each other well. We just naturally adapted to each other,” and revealed Park Seo Joon’s first impressions. “Before I met Park Seo Joon, I thought he would be cold and unfriendly with his handsome face and tall physique,” he explained, and went on to say, “But our first meeting was a twist. He smiled a huge and innocent smile and called me ‘Ha Neul!’ That’s when I was sold.”
Kang Ha Neul also noted that Park Seo Joon has a similar attitude towards acting as he does. “We have a lot of similar thoughts. Park Seo Joon and I would always talk about reaction. Rather than carefully planning out expressions, I think that responding to the other person’s actions is more important. Park Seo Joon thinks so too. I think that’s why our chemistry stood out and we were able to shoot great scenes together.”
To the question of which co-star was best to work with, Kang Ha Neul replied, “All of them were great. It might be cliché if I pick Park Seo Joon, so from men, I liked working with Kim Woo Bin and Junho, and from women, I liked working with Esom. I met Esom in ‘Like For Likes’ and our preferences were very similar. I don’t have a lot of close actresses, but we became closer by talking about films. Esom and I click well, and we cheer on each other whenever either of us releases a new film.”
The actor was also asked what he would do if he were to fall in love with the same woman as a friend as his character from “Midnight Runners” experienced. “I would choose my friend. I would probably think, ‘It would be better for my friend to meet her than me.’ And I don’t want to lose a friend. Whatever I do, friends are my priority,” he answered.
Relative to Kang Ha Neul’s own philosophy, the actor received feedback that he fits in better with male actors. To that particular opinion, Kang Ha Neul light-heartedly responded, “That can’t be true. I did have some romance projects, but not many. Is it really that awkward when I’m with actresses?” And shared, “It’s not my choice. It’s not that I feel burdened working with romance projects or actresses, nor is it that I think ‘I don’t want to do romance.’ I did receive a lot of romance scripts too, but most of the scripts I receive involve men.”
He then went on to express his disappointment about the particular perception. “I once heard, ‘You look better with male actors.’ I accepted it, but it is disappointing.”
Kang Ha Neul also revealed his personal preference in genre, saying, “It’s a stretch to say that I want to be in this kind of film, but my favorites are films like ‘About Time’ and ‘Going To Meet You Now.’ It’s not traditional romance, but more of romantic humanity. I like films that are serene and composed. I’m excited for ‘Going To Meet You Now,’ since I heard it’s being remade in a Korean version soon.”
However, the genre that the actor enjoys watching is quite different from his choices as an actor. “My absolute favorite is documentaries. It was my dream to become a documentary director when I was young. I thought to myself, ‘I’m definitely going to become a soldier, a documentary director, or an actor,’ and I became an actor. I’m about to become a soldier soon as well,” he shared.
Kang Ha Neul continued, “You might think that I would watch more dramas and films as an actor, but honestly I watch documentaries the most. I don’t have a TV at home, so I download it from the Internet and watch them over and over again.”
To the question of if he will ever consider purchasing a TV, he answered, “There’s no special reason to it, but I don’t find it necessary. At first, I didn’t buy one because my house was too small. But I just learned live without it.”