Lee Jae Wook Gets Candid About His Drama Roles, First Audition, And More

Lee Jae Wook recently shot a pictorial for fashion magazine Esquire.

In the interview, it was pointed out that the actor doesn’t check his scenes once they’re approved by the director. He explained it was mostly out of respect for the director and added, “You know sometimes when you pay so much attention to just what you see and miss the essentials? For example, you miss your lines or the emotions because you’re trying to look pretty. So when I’m not sure about a scene, I just ask the director, ‘Is it all right?’ Then even if the director gave me an ‘OK’ but feels like there can be more, they suggest we film it one more time. If they really say it’s okay, I just believe it and I don’t doubt it.”

When asked if he feels embarrassed to watch his dramas with his family, Lee Jae Wook answered, “Yes, it’s embarrassing and awkward. I can’t watch kiss scenes with them. It’s a bit…awkward in front of my mom. I suddenly want to drink water, or I just go into my room.”

Concerning his diverse characters of different ages, he shared, “Yes, I played a lot of different characters. I didn’t plan for that to happen. As a rookie, I wasn’t in a position to choose my next work. I was just really lucky. All the characters in the projects I’ve done were different, and they were all good characters. While playing the role of Marco in ‘Memories of the Alhambra,’ I thought, ‘When will I be able to encounter another character like this?’ and then [I was able to play] Baek Kyung in ‘Extraordinary You,’ Seol Ji Hwan in ‘Search: WWW,’ and now Lee Jang Woo in ‘I’ll Go to You When the Weather Is Nice.’ I’m very grateful.”

Lee Jae Wook also talked about his first audition, which was for “Memories of the Alhambra.” He said, “It was my first audition ever. I just went as a theater and cinema major, and there were many people who brought their managers. Actually, back then, I told the director not to pick me. Now that I think about it, it was very arrogant.”

Laughing, he added, “Of course, I acted my best [in the audition]. At the end, the director said, ‘This is a very expensive production and a highly anticipated one that will air in the second half of the year.’ I got scared. So I told him to not use me and that I don’t know anything. Fortunately, he thought that was cute.”

When asked if he fears anything at the moment, he replied it was himself, saying, “I have to build up my character and show it to you well, so the biggest challenge is always me. [I’m afraid of] my acting skills and the preparation process. But that fear is not a negative factor. I think it’s rather hard if I don’t doubt myself like this. I have to be suspicious of every day, every process, and every scene. I think that’s why I don’t monitor myself.”

Lee Jae Wook said he feels regrettable about his acting as Baek Kyung in “Extraordinary You” because he feels like he wasn’t able to make people understand the character. He explained, “He’s a character who can seem violent. But if people see him that way, I think it’s because I didn’t really explain what a tragic life this guy has been living while being with an abusive father.”

Next, the actor discussed his current role in “I’ll Go to You When the Weather Is Nice.” He said he feels like Lee Jang Woo is a more realistic character than his previous roles. When asked if he shares any similarities with Lee Jang Woo, he replied, “Lee Jang Woo and I click well. It’s a bit funny to say that, but I think I was able to build his character thanks to my original personality. I get a lot of inspiration from my words and actions when I’m with close friends.”

He also brought up his desire to participate in plays, saying, “There are people who describe plays as ‘actor art.’ For an hour or two, you communicate directly with the audience and build emotions from the beginning to the climax. So, after finishing one performance, I think there’s a unique joy. Dramas and movies are often not filmed in order, and it doesn’t end when I’m done with acting, but it’s made only after I finish working on it. It’s a little different. How can I describe the feeling of being in a play? I can describe it as ‘being alive.'”

Lastly, Lee Jae Wook commented on his principle as an actor. He said, “‘Don’t make yourself embarrassed.’ I just came up with that. Whether it’s character analysis or construction, it’s always a shame when it’s over, but I don’t want to do anything that I’ll regret. When I look at the script and build up my character, I think a lot about it. I’m sure there will be a day when I regret it if [my time as an actor] is reduced.”

His current drama “I’ll Go to You When the Weather Is Nice” airs on Mondays and Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. KST.

Watch Lee Jae Wook in “I’ll Go to You When the Weather Is Nice” on Viki!

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