10: But you must also think that this time, you found a role that suits you.
Lee: Of course my acting will seem more natural if my character talks, moves and laughs like I do. I do still believe that I need time to live my life like the character to become closer to the guy in the script. But the character in "Haeundae" was a very normal guy. In other words, it was easier for me to express him because I my life had been very much like his for the past 26 years.
10: Then do you think Hyung-shik and you are alike?
Lee: I think the director did a good job of making us alike. I wanted to make him seem like a man from Busan in the beginning. The typical guy from the Gyeongsang Province who is blunt and also expresses his embarrassment using very crude expressions. But the director wanted me to act as if I were a boy from Busan. Someone who is very cheerful yet shy. So we talked about it a lot in the beginning and he'd tell me if I was making the character seem too much of a man. That's how we created Hyung-shik's character. So there's nothing that I did well in particular.
10: But I think it worked because you were the one who played it. For example, when you played Chul-hee in "A Million", who suddenly turns into someone very dangerous, the emotions you displayed seemed a bit incoherent.
Lee: When I hear comments like that, I wonder if I have to act in the typical way people take evil people to be. From the beginning, I actually didn't think Chul-hee was a bad person. He's not tough nor rough. He can't be called evil because of a choice he makes in order to live at the very last and most desperate moment after being chased for days and not being able to sleep. In other words, I didn't think of him as someone with character but actually the most humane person. The problem is convincing the viewers that and if the emotions seemed incoherent, then I didn't do enough of it. During another interview, I once said I would become an actor with ups and downs. I can't be good every time. This work isn't about me alone doing a good job or everything else failing because I do bad.
10: Having ups and downs -- it's part of the process of figuring out which films suit you.
Lee: There most definitely are roles that suit you better. I don't think one person alone can be good at ten roles. But I don't know what I'm good at yet and I think I'd hate finding out.
10: Why would you hate it?
Lee: I believe in the power of time. I know people who seem evil just at a glance would be good at playing evil roles but I don't think I'd do a bad job if I was given enough time. That's why I want to try a variety of roles.
10: It means you will open up all possibilities for new challenges.
Lee: Everything has always been a challenge for me. Some people tell me I always take on similar roles but they haven't been for me. I think taking on similar roles is the tougher challenge. It doesn't matter hearing from other people that I seem the same but I don't want myself to see my acting and think that I played a similar role. For example, when I act a scene where I'm supposed to be confused and realize that I had done the same confused acting before, I'll think to myself, 'I guess I always express this emotion naturally with these type of characters', and then start worrying more.
10: In that sense, your first album "No kidding" was another one of your challenges.
Lee: I made the album because I somehow had the opportunity and the time to. And I really wanted to too.
10: It was your first album. Do you have plans to continue your activities as a musician and release more albums?
Lee: I do. But I'm not in a rush to. I think I can only get better results with both movies and music as I learn to understand more about them.
10: Then I think you would be able to try going for other genres as well. I heard you like the music of bands like Coldplay too.
Lee: I do but I don't know if I'd be good at it. I don't know how much appeal I would have singing such songs. If I was working alone, I would try writing a song myself, record it and then go with something else if it didn't seem to work, but I think I should be more considerate in the fact that there are others I work with. That's even more so why I'm not in a rush. It'll be good trying this and that. (laugh)
10: It all suits you -- taking on challenges in your 20s. But I can't picture you in your 30s and 40s.
Lee: I can't picture it either. (laugh) But I do have this thought -- that I have to get something done now to have fun with it in my 30s. I should read a lot of books now to at least be able to write one book when I'm in my 30s. So I have to work even harder right now.
Reporter : Wee Geun-woo email@example.com
Photographer : Lee Jin-hyuk firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor : Jessica Kim email@example.com, Lee Ji-Hye firstname.lastname@example.org
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