A man who must be looked into like a treasure map that changes everyday, we stood with Lee Joon in the middle of summer.
Today’s weather is really hot right? Is there any kind of weather that you particularly like?
I hate it when it rains when I go out, and I like it when it rains when I’m at home. Since young, I’ve always liked the night, but I’ve started to like the day more since this year. Probably because the insomnia that I’ve had for more than 10 years has disappeared. After shifting to a place near the mountain, I get sleepy after 11pm because the neighbourhood is quiet. My eyes naturally open when it gets bright in the day. It’s indeed better when you live near the soil.
Isn’t it inconvenient to meet up with friends when you live away from the city centre?
It’s more convenient. Because I’ve shifted to Bundang where I used to live at when I was younger. My childhood friends are still living in Bundang so I always thought “I should go again when I’ve saved some money”, and this was realised at the end of last year. It was one of my wishes that I’ve had for a long time.
If you did not have this schedule in Phuket, what will you be doing to spend your time?
Actually I think I’m really fortunate to be having this photo shoot. If there was no shooting, I would have just stayed put and not do anything. I’m worried because there’s nothing I really want to do on normal days. I don’t like noisy places like nightclubs, and I don’t enjoy meeting people either. Even when I rest at home, all I do is stare at the ceiling.
How could there be anything better than lying still and resting.
This isn’t the case for me alone. Everyone faces their own set of problems in life no matter what job you do. I’m happy when I’m working, but gradually, I end up not doing anything when resting. I have this strange habit of always lying down even when I travel. At this age, I should be travelling to this place and that to broaden my worldview, but it’s not easy.
Looking at your past interview articles, you seem to be a more serious and sensitive person than expected. But after observing you yesterday and today, you are frank, but it’s impossible to guess where a conversation with you will head towards.
Because I ride on the mood a lot. Maybe those were interviews that I made time for when I was filming a show or when I was engrossed in my work. I’m not thinking of anything now so I am showing my natural self. It’s really amazing, I become extremely sensitive and my voice tone also becomes lower unknowingly when I’m working; it’s a tendency that I wish to curb.
In that case, there are not many instances where you consider your condition to be the worst when you are acting?
I do all the time. Although this happens to everyone, I seem to exaggerate so people accept it. Because when you are working, you ought to do well and show a better image. Everything is because of work. People also change because of work (laughs).
One more thing, you have consistently been overly critical of your own acting.
Although I may have some confidence in myself, I may not be able to see the things that I ought to see because they are shut within my own thoughts. Whatever it is, I’m trying hard to think very objectively through the perspective of a third party. My acting is monitored through different channels, but there are many places that criticise also. My weaknesses can be clearly seen even through my own eyes, so I am able to acknowledge all those criticisms. Instead, it is scary that they stabbed so accurately. I’m aware of my weaknesses and I accept the criticisms, but if I do not improve, then it will be totally my fault. I know that, but my body isn’t listening to my words (laughs).
You seem like a person who is thirsty for praise and acknowledgement.
I’m not like that. It’s more important to be satisfied with yourself. If I can’t satisfy myself, then I’ll get a lot of stress. Of course, I do feel good when I get praised, but if I don’t feel refreshed, then even if I work, I wouldn’t be able to feel like I’m alive, just like turning into a robot. If I finish filming with satisfaction and feel rewarded, I wouldn’t get hurt even if I get insulted.
Don’t you want to try acting in a romantic comedy?
Rather than wanting to try a specific field, I want to try doing everything that I haven’t done before. But my looks and height are lacking, so romantic comedy is a little hard for me (laughs).
You do know that you are making a dangerous comment now right (laughs)?
For example, my friend Siwan is really handsome. His looks can move the hearts of women. If 10 people were to look, more than half of them should feel moved, but my looks can only make people feel comfortable. My face has a *mania fan base (laughs). I think a commercial value that can only compete based on appearance is very insufficient. Of course, if it can be covered up with acting, then there’s nothing else I’ll wish for.
*I think what he’s trying to say is that his looks only appeal to a small group of people who really like him.
Don’t you often hear that you are sexy? That’s also a big advantage.
I don’t know. I don’t even know of the methods to look sexy. When I’m acting, it’s fine if the character is sexy, but there’s no chance to use that in daily life (laughs).
One can be a good person even if overflowing with confidence, but that’s not the case.
Since last time, I’ve never thought of myself as someone special. An actor, entertainer or musician is just one job, if you do well, you will receive your reward in the cheers of many people. But for an office worker, no matter how well he does, it is rare that he will receive an award like we do. No matter what job, it is difficult to succeed in that field, so I wondered why there isn’t any award. “Why do we receive applause and awards only in this field alone? There are so many different kinds of jobs in our country,” I wondered, and I suddenly felt ashamed. I don’t think this job is special. I’m just one person among the many people who do their best in their work, we just have the same job and there’s nothing that’s special in particular. Maybe because I’ve not gotten major attention before. I know that confidence and pretention are different; if one has confidence only and improves in that way, I think the person will not change.
In Infinity Challenge, you even got highly praised as a “variety digestive medicine”. You don’t think it’s a waste of your natural variety sense?
There was a period of time where I would definitely reject casting offers for variety programmes, but right now, if my friends make a request to me, I will appear in all of them. But I have no plans of taking the initiative to appear on one. I’m taking a very serious approach to acting, so I was very worried as to what I should do if my image in variety shows is the first thing that people see. I still think that gaining recognition through acting projects and searching for more opportunities is the right thing to do.
When we mention “Lee Joon”, there is an image that strongly comes to mind right? (laughs) What do you spend the most on in your daily life?
I have a strong image as a stingy idol, but I was saying the truth, so it’s not something that I will deliberately want to break away from. But now, I think money shouldn’t be spent for another totally different reason. Because once you start spending money, it becomes fun (laughs). Last time, I was only stubbornly saving up and I had no interest in clothes too, but once I learnt a thing or two, I found that there are many things that are pretty. I would shop when I was stressed, but I have to keep to an appropriate limit. “Because I earn this much, it should be fine to also spend this much”, even if this was repeated three times, your expenditure will also be tripled. To put this bluntly, this is a job that cannot guarantee my future, so I ought to be careful always.
What did you buy when you were stressed?
Recently, I bought presents for the staff who worked hard with me when I was filming Vampire Detective. I asked them what they wanted, and I bought the things for them regardless of the price. But one of them asked for my entire earnings that I got from the drama, so I gave the person a good scolding. After getting some insults, it was changed to an expensive pair of sports shoes instead (laughs).
The worries are the same no matter how much money you have. You said you have to be satisfied from now on, but if your financial situation becomes difficult again or if your acting jobs decrease, won’t your worry change?
Be it now or in the past when I was in a very tough situation, the happiness I get is exactly the same. I was happy even without money, so I should be thankful now that I have more freedom financially. Strangely, will one be happy when one has more money? If the body becomes comfortable, your goal won’t be the same as before too. I openly asked seniors Yoo Joon Sang and Baek Ji Yeon when I went to their homes. “Your house is really nice, how much did you pay for it? You are happier if you stay in such a place right?” They have also experienced ups and downs, but everyone lives the same way. Instead of living for the sake of money, I’m happy that I’m able to do this job, and I can feel a sense of accomplishment through interacting with seniors in everyday life. The look of improving one’s self is commendable.
We look forward to seeing what kind of man you will become in your thirties. But you will probably give yet another different answer if we do the interview tomorrow.
That’s right, I think so too.
Lastly, are there any words that you wish to leave for Ceci magazine?
I wish to be the cover model for the July issue (laughs)! I should say something realistic. Because it can’t be helped if you don’t call me. The unseen future is uncertain, but I think life in itself is interesting. Although I will become sensitive again if I work, I am enjoying this moment. I hope you will remember how I am now. I will also remember it.
Translated from Korean to English by Gabby. Please credit when sharing, and please do not take out the whole translation from this site.
Credit: Ceci Digital; Naver Starcast