“Born Again” Co-stars Jang Ki Yong And Lee Soo Hyuk Talk About Working Together, Modeling Careers, And More

Jang Ki Yong and Lee Soo Hyuk, who are currently starring together in the KBS drama “Born Again,” recently shot a pictorial for the May issue of Esquire.

“Born Again” is a mystery melodrama about a detective, the detective’s lover, and a serial killer, whose fates remain entwined even after their reincarnation into different lives. Jang Ki Yong, Lee Soo Hyuk, and Jin Se Yeon play dual roles, one in 1980 and one in 2020.

In the interview accompanying the pictorial, Lee Soo Hyuk and Jang Ki Yong talked about the drama, their characters, working together, looking back on their modeling and acting careers, and more.

Asked about taking on his first drama in four years, Lee Soo Hyuk said, “I had a strong thirst to act in a drama again. I know that fans are also anticipating it, so I want to show them a good performance. I can’t say that I didn’t feel pressure, but my co-stars work so hard and the atmosphere on set is so good that it makes me want to do my best.”

About his dual characters, he said, “We started filming with the 1980s backdrop and we are currently filming in the present-day. It feels like we finished filming a short drama and are starting a new one. The production staff worked hard to prepare the set, filming locations, props, and costumes in order to bring the 1980s to life. When I see the electronics and clothes from the ’80s, it really feels like I went back in time. When we started filming in the present-day, everything felt new. There is a big difference between the two characters, but the writer made those differences clear with changes in tone and dialogue.”

Asked about the dark side of a seemingly glamorous model and actor lifestyle, he replied, “I debuted as a model at an early age and am living as an actor now. It might seem very strange to others. And I’m not trying to say that I’m a very ordinary person either. But it is true that I live a more ordinary life than people think. Other than my work, I am not that different from my male peers. Sometimes it feels like I am distant from the general public because of my image, but recently I appeared on variety shows and showed a more natural side of myself.”

The interviewer mentioned Jang Ki Yong saying in an old interview that he had dreamed of becoming a model after seeing Lee Soo Hyuk on the runway. Lee Soo Hyuk responded, “As far as I know, that was a long time ago. I am very grateful for his words. I think he might be inspired by someone else now [laughs]. I also had times when I cultivated dreams by looking at role models, and when I make a choice, I think about me being a role model as well. I want to make good choices so that someone who is watching me can feel something. I feel good about what he said, but I don’t think that I had that big an influence, so this is a bit embarrassing.”

Jang Ki Yong talked about this in his own interview as well. “When I was around 19, I saw Soo Hyuk’s fashion show videos and the TV program ‘Seven Models.’ I realized that the job of modeling held a certain fascination for me and I thought it was my fate to pursue it. I had a lot of difficulty in persuading my parents to let me come up to Seoul from Ulsan. It goes to show how much I respect Soo Hyuk as a senior, so it’s a big deal that we’re working together on the same production now. It also shows me how much I’ve grown since then. I like that we’re able to talk together while filming. It holds a special meaning to work together as an actor with someone who you wanted to be like.”

Jang Ki Yong was asked about becoming a role model like Lee Soo Hyuk was for him. He replied, “I would feel good if that were to happen. I think Soo Hyuk would feel good about it too. When he was working hard as a model, if he knew that there was a junior who longed to be like him, he would feel a new meaning in everything he had done so far. If I could feel that, I would be happy. I would also tell them to buy me a meal [laughs].”

He added, “I didn’t pick this job [because I liked being the center of attention]. When I was young, I was introverted and shy around others. I hated presenting in front of people. But in my first year of high school, I got the opportunity to sing at a festival, and strangely, I wanted to do it. I got up the courage and experienced a happy kind of tension.”

About his dual characters, he said, “It’s a big challenge to take on, but I like trying new things with every project. I like playing characters who are different from what I’ve done before, and trying things I’ve never done until now. In ‘Go Back Couple,’ I played a college student, and in ‘My Mister,’ I played a loan shark. They were complete polar opposites. I like the special meaning imbued in playing such extremes.”

He added that this made his dual roles in “Born Again” especially exciting. “In the past, I felt that excitement in the flow between changing from one production to another. I can experience that feeling now in a single production. On the other hand, I think I’m becoming more sensitive and I have a lot more concerns, but the work of an actor is to do what you’ve never experienced before.”

Check out the latest episode of “Born Again” below!

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