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밐eaven뭩 Soldiers: Movie and Life of Park Joong-hoon and Kim Seung-woo
JUNE 24, 2005 05:54 by Dong-Yong Min (mindy@donga.com)
The actor Park Joong-hoon has turned forty this year. Despite his youthful vigor, he뭩 now over the hill. In the virtual history movie 밐eaven뭩 Soldiers set to premiere on July 15, he will play Admiral Yi Sun-shin. Kim Seung-woo (36), who plays the part of North Korean sergeant Kang Min-gil, is a happy newlywed. It뭩 been six years since the two actors have become the kind of friends who 뱫meet, drink all night, and say goodbye with the morning sun behind them. Park Joong-hoon has acted as Kim Seung-woo뭩 mentor since the latter뭩 divorce in 2000. The two actors met on June 16 at a caf in Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam, Seoul on June 16, and talked about life, movies, and friendship.

On Aging and Acting-

Park Joong-hoon: Turning forty was a shock. It feels strange. During the past couple of years, I뭭e turned forty, celebrated the twentieth anniversary of my acting career, celebrated the tenth year of my marriage, and seen my eldest become a teenager.

Kim Seung-woo: You follow your path meticulously. But you뭭e started recognizing and expressing the 뱑ight path for forty-somethings to take. For me turning thirty was a shock. I never thought it would happen. I wanted to be careful, but I haven뭪 even been that careful after all.

Park: I changed my living pattern a lot this year. Since January 1, I뭭e quit drinking, and my depth of empathy and patience has also increased during the past six months. It뭩 embarrassing to say this about myself, but I뭭e become more of a family man.

Kim: I don뭪 think it뭩 because you meet your colleagues less often or because you뭭e quit drinking. When we meet you always talk about family and home.

Park: I didn뭪 know that.

Kim: Actually, I decided to take the part in 밐eaven뭩 Soldiers because of you. But it wasn뭪 a role I was used to, so it was a bit of a pressure. Director Min Joon-ki told me that the name Kang Min-gil derives from the phrase 뱓he path of strong people, which is how I came to understand the role.

Park: I don뭪 think I뭭e made any novel discoveries by acting in this movie, but I think I뭭e adjusted to the level that the movie was aiming at. Actors that have been on the screen for a long time are rarely told that they act well unless they really make an impact on the audience. New actors are like strikers in the soccer field; if you score a goal you뭨e a hero, but older actors are more like Hong Myung-bo. If you support the team well, it뭩 something that뭩 taken for granted, but it뭩 hard to actually score a goal.

Kim: In this movie, you, I, Hwang Jung-min (cast in the role of South Korean sergeant Park Jung-woo), and Gong Hyo-jin (playing the nuclear physicist Kim Soo-yeon) were all fantastic in terms of team play.

Park: I think Jung-min acts well. But you? When you act you have to have a sense of mystery. But I know you too well, and when I look at you I can see what you뭨e feeling. You probably feel the same way about me, too. You act well, but I can뭪 really tell, you see. It뭩 not that you don뭪 act well. Maybe Choi Min-sik from 밢ld Boy might shock even those familiar to his acting style. But I don뭪 know about 밐eaven뭩 Soldiers. I really don뭪. I don뭪 know what our viewers think nowadays. Working in this field longer somehow confuses me more. Maybe it뭩 because I have more thoughts in my head. Strange.

A Sense of Balance, All of One Mind-

Kim: Last year, we were drinking together till dawn and finally parted ways, but you called me at around 11:00 in the morning. After this and that you said that I looked unstable, that I needed stability in my life. After the conversation I was in a daze the whole day. I didn뭪 think of remarrying up till then. It was at that moment that I realized that to become a good actor I needed stability in my life.

Park: After that decision you seemed much more comfortable with yourself. You뭨e a bit hypersensitive. When you뭨e in distress you can뭪 overcome it and you begin panicking. Of course artists should have an element of distress in order to produce a work of art, but you were just destroying yourself. You were past your mid-thirties, but you weren뭪 married and you had too many thoughts to yourself, so that뭩 why I suggested that you marry someone that would understand you. I was so happy to hear that you decided to get married. I was happy to hear that you plan to have a baby soon.

Kim: You뭨e the center of Korean male actors. Four, five years ago you set up a group of Korean male actors, with yourself as the focal point. If it wasn뭪 for you, who else could have done it?

Park: I have a long resume when you take my age into account. I뭢 the last generation from the period when Chungmuro was where movies were at. Ahn Seong-gi started relatively late in age, while I started early, so that뭩 why we overlap a lot, but actors of my age like Song Kang-ho, Seol Gyung-gu or Han Seok-gyu started ten years later than I did, so we don뭪 share much. It would be an exaggeration to say I뭢 lonely, but I was a little confused at times. The part where we all agreed upon was 밒t뭩 all good and all, but aren뭪 we just too lonely.

Kim: I like the year-end parties that we뭭e been having since 2000.

Park: Yeah, Shin Hyun-joon, Jang Dong-gun, Jung Woo-sung, and even Jo In-sung and Kang Dong-won joins us. It was fun teasing In-sung and Dong-won, telling them to 뱂udge the acting skills of Ahn Seong-gi, Choi Min-sik, and Seol Gyung-gu.

Kim: People don뭪 know that actors don뭪 get together much and that they뭨e not that close with one another. That뭩 why we should set up a bronze statue of Park Joong-hoon next to Na Un-gyu.

Park: Hey, I said that was a joke.

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