Kwak Dong Yeon Talks About Starting Work At A Young Age, Playing Older Roles, And More
Kwak Dong Yeon participated in a pictorial and interview for the magazine Esquire!
In the interview, the actor talked about his most recent project, the tvN drama “Vincenzo,” his career thus far, and more.
The interviewer mentioned that even though Kwak Dong Yeon is just 25 years old (Korean age), many people don’t know he is so young because he has already been working for several years. Kwak Dong Yeon joked, “It’s because I look old. To be honest, up until two or three years ago, my age put a lot of restrictions on me. I was told, ‘You look like you’re in your mid- to late-twenties, but you’re actually too young.’ There were a lot of restrictions like that when it came to casting. I even requested that they remove my age on my public profile.”
As a result, Kwak Dong Yeon had taken on a lot of roles that were older than his actual age. “I didn’t feel a sense of pressure about that,” he said. “In fact, I was happier. I was able to take on roles like that because people were confused about my age.” He added as a joke, “I think all the junk food and irregular eating and sleeping times from my trainee days made me look the way I do today.”
Kwak Dong Yeon has been living alone since he was in the first year of middle school. He said, “I started training from an early age, and as I watched the adults working in the entertainment industry, I had one wish. On TV, celebrities are portrayed as sensitive and temperamental and thinking only of themselves. I don’t know if those people exist in real life, but I’ve been absorbing such media since I was young, and I didn’t like it. I thought that when I became a celebrity later, I shouldn’t act like that. All projects, even this pictorial, is work for the celebrity, but it’s also work for the staff as well. I always think that it would be better if the people who are working together can do so while having fun and laughing. As I get older, I want to make people laugh, not just at work, but with my fans and with the people I love as well.”
In “Vincenzo,” the character Jang Han Seo was the oldest character that Kwak Dong Yeon had played to date, estimated to be around 29 years old. However, now that he has passed 25, Kwak Dong Yeon is now approaching the same age as most of his characters. Asked if this might feel awkward to him, he said, “No, I don’t think so. All the roles I play have something of myself in them. The ‘me’ when I’m with people who are older, with close friends, and other sides of ‘me.’ No matter what role I take on, I’ll try to put something of myself in them without making them stand out too much. That’s my job after all.”
Before Jang Han Seo died in the drama, the actor wrote on Instagram, “Happy happy.” Asked about this, Kwak Dong Yeon said, “A lot of viewers were predicting Han Seo’s death, so I wanted to cause chaos. Of course, I wasn’t just playing around. From a character perspective, I think that Han Seo’s final decision was the best choice he could have made. Even if he had lived, he would have had to carry the weight of having killed someone, and dealt with the consequences of his collapsing company. In any event, he saved Vincenzo, the person who made him into a human being, and talked back to his older brother after having lived under his thumb his whole life. He managed to resolve a lot of things before he died. So in a way, it was a happy ending for him.”
Kwak Dong Yeon also talked about getting close to a lot of talented older seniors on set, such as Song Joong Ki, 2PM’s Taecyeon, Park Bo Gum, and Yoo Seung Ho. “To be honest, there were very few cases when I worked with people my age or younger,” he said. “I have almost no close colleagues my age. Since I’m used to working with people older than me, I think it might be difficult for me to approach my peers or those who are younger. I’m already feeling shy thinking about how I’ll work on a long project with people like that… But I’ll have to try my best to get used to it.”
Check out Kwak Dong Yeon in “Never Twice” below!