Park Seo Joon Shares How He Deals With Stress And Sleep Paralysis, Why He Chose His New Drama, And More
In a recent interview with iMBC, Park Seo Joon shared his thoughts on “The Divine Fury” and his next drama as well as his driving force and ways to deal with stress.
“The Divine Fury” is about a champion fighter named Yong Hoo (played by Park Seo Joon) who seeks out an exorcist named Father Ahn (Ahn Sung Ki) when he suddenly develops strange wounds on his palms.
The movie was released on July 31, and when asked how he felt about watching the completed movie, he shared, “There were scenes I hadn’t participated in, and I was wondering how the computer graphics would look, so I waited a lot for the finished version of the movie. I also enjoyed the music because it seemed to increase the tension.”
Park Seo Joon plays a champion fighter in the movie, and he revealed the preparations he made for the role. He said, “It would be hard to act like those who have lived their entire lives for professional fighting, but to express and realize even a little bit of it, I worked out hard and practiced a lot of actions. I started shooting the movie a month and a half after shooting a drama, and I lost a lot of weight while filming, but I did my best.”
He continued, “‘I experienced [the role] of a champion fighter in ‘Fight My Way‘ recently, and my body must have remembered working out for four months then because I was able to build a better body faster than I thought. Also, back then I experienced going into the octagon, so it was very helpful for this movie. Unlike the stage, the octagon is a hot spot where audience members are watching from everywhere, and the lighting on the stage was so hot that just standing still made me sweat. While filming the drama, I felt a bit embarrassed to stand alone in sportswear with gloves on, but in this movie, the octagon was in Los Angeles where all the supporting actors were foreigners and the set was filled, which made it even more realistic. I also shot a fight scene with an actual fighter.”
The actor also mentioned his co-stars Ahn Sung Ki and Woo Do Hwan. Concerning veteran actor Ahn Sung Ki, he said, “I was so comfortable. I didn’t think I’d have a chance to meet him while acting, so I was looking forward to this meeting. If the relationship is uncomfortable, it’s not easy to film, but he told me to call him sunbae [a respectful term for a more senior colleague or student] instead of ‘teacher’ and treated me comfortably. Our teamwork was great, and there was something to learn in every moment with him. I felt that the good atmosphere on set was well expressed in the movie.”
Park Seo Joon mentioned his powerful action scenes with Woo Do Hwan. He said, “We practiced every day, and we had many scenes together, so we practiced it part by part. We wear special make-up, so we were pressured to finish at once without making bloopers, and if the make-up was ruined in the middle of the action, it took a long time to restore it. So when we rehearsed, we tried to match our actions, and we tried to film it in one shot, but it wasn’t easy.”
When asked about the driving force behind his acting, Park Seo Joon candidly replied, “Opportunities don’t come to everyone. I’ve been trying really hard to seize the opportunity. There were a lot of difficult moments when I didn’t know if the opportunity was coming or if I was acting correctly, and now I’ve reached the moment when my movie is being released. Every period of time and every moment is precious. It’s a blessing that I can do things I enjoy for work. At first, I did my work for personal satisfaction, but some people say they’re affected [by me]. One of my fans said she overcame her postpartum depression by watching my drama, and I felt that acting was something that could contribute to society, and that made it even more meaningful. I think it was driving me to make people feel good through my work and to create a useful time for them.”
Park Seo Joon also shared that he has experienced sleep paralysis often ever since he was in his third year of high school. He said, “It was a time when my stress was at its peak and when I get weaker, it comes back. I also have my own way to overcome sleep paralysis. If I move a part of my body, it’s easy to wake up. It’s happened so often that I can tell when it’s coming, and I quickly get up then, or when I feel like it’s coming, I turn on the TV right away.”
He explained his own ways of overcoming stress. He said, “I used to work out or watch movies because I didn’t have anything special to do to relieve stress or recharge, but I have a hobby of looking at paintings these days. When I became curious about a painting, the process of searching for it, looking for exhibitions, and getting to know the artist was a refreshing stimulus. Recently, I went to James Jean’s exhibition, and there were many paintings. I liked it so much that I want to recommend it.”
Park Seo Joon’s next project will be a JTBC drama titled “Itaewon Class” (literal translation). Based on a popular webtoon by Gwang Jin, it is about a man who goes through various difficulties after the death of his father, who was the head of a large company in the food service industry, and then opens a food business in Itaewon.
He commented, “I’ve done an original webtoon drama once, so I have a slight sense of how to make the original fans enjoy the work without hurting the original. I saw the original webtoon, and I liked it because the character looked solid and the story was refreshing. The lines were especially good. The line ‘alcohol is still bitter to me’ motivated me to choose this project. When the promotions for ‘The Divine Fury’ are over, I’ll be able to greet you with a new role.”