He seemed like a vampire. And it was not because of the sharp porcelain canine teeth he had gotten attached to his original teeth to play his role in director Lee Jun-ik's film tentatively titled in English "Like the Moon Escaping from the Clouds" currently in filming. He will pretend he is worried about his age showing on his face when he smiles but it actually looks far from that of a man who is 40-years-old and his thick beard and haggard face makes him seem like someone from somewhere unrealistic. He may as well pass for a vampire who is sucking on human blood to maintain his eternal youth. But the real reason he seems like a vampire is his voice and easygoing personality which reveals to us the years of experience he has had, a huge contrast to his polished looks. He has been making numerous appearances on both the big and small screen -- from debuting as a supporting emcee on actress Kim Hye-soo's talk show in 1998 to playing the role of a 35-year-old detective in his most recent film "Secret" -- but only the look in his eyes and depth of his voice proved how much experience he had accumulated throughout the years.
10: I was shocked to see you appear on the morning news of broadcaster KBS. (laugh) You seemed quite alien sitting in the newsroom.
Cha Seung-won (Cha): I know, right? It's just not comfortable. The announcers told me to make myself at home but it isn't. (laugh) I actually like sitting with my legs crossed but I couldn't do that and I couldn't decide whether I should put my hands up or down. (laugh) But it wasn't that I didn't like being there. It's a program broadcast to the majority of the public. A lady living out far on an island may have watched it before she headed out to work. But that's also the reason I tried not to talk too bluntly. I don't like holding myself back too much to stop myself from mistakenly saying the wrong things but in that situation, I knew I should talk in a way that as many people as possible could concur with.
10: Do you talk much differently depending on who is interviewing you?
Cha: Very much so. When I talk with fashion magazines, I even use curse words. Because I've seen people in that industry for such a long time now. The ones who are the now Editor in Chief used to be cub reporters when I first started modeling. So of course I'll talk differently in front of them. I should be right?
10: You need to take on a more common approach to promote your new movie but it seems "Secret" may be a bit far off from what the general public.
Cha: Films I had previously worked on were ones everyone could sympathize with -- including old ladies who live in far off islands. But I can't take on such movies anymore because it doesn't suit me. The path I want to take is to play the roles I want, gradually make it my own and be recognized for it, even I go for stories that not everyone can sympathize with. To compare it to food, there is the rice which everyone eats but other dishes which are preferred by some but hated by others depending on people's tastes. I want to go after the latter. I went after too many of the normal dishes during my 20s.
10: I can understand that. But what I don't understand is why you actually wanted to show more ordinary sides to you during your 20s.
Cha: I used to greatly ignore the image people wanted to see in me. And I tried not to show them what they wanted to see because I had done it a lot while modeling. If I had taken that image of me from when I was a model into my acting on the big screen, I would've portrayed a not so normal character. But back then, I was interested in playing characters with ordinary roles.
Cha: I don't think I'd get any fun out of playing such characters anymore. Of course, I'd work hard but I don't think I'd get as much out of it in terms of trying to discover something from within me to play a certain character. Would I be able pull off playing a role in a movie based on humanism? I monitored a show I appeared on today and I saw that I'm nowhere close to looking the part to appear in such films. When I did film "South of the Border", I read a review saying that I tried hard, but didn't look pitiful. I could pour my heart into a role and put in my best effort, but I can't do anything about viewers not seeing me as the comforting type of person.
10: Is that why you choose "Secret"?
Cha Seung-won (Cha): I picked it because I wanted to try taking on a film which had a pretty artificial vibe to it. I felt that there was a slightly dark, heavy and urban
mood to it when I read the scenario. And it suits me. It suits my taste. I like films which are extremely cinematic and exaggerated, like Alfred Hitchcock's or Quentin Tarantino's. And that's why I think I become immersed doing films which seem more artificial than natural. There is a humanistic element to "Secret" too. About family love. But that's as far as I can go. (laugh)
Reporter : Wee Geun-woo email@example.com, Lee Ji-Hye firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographer : Chae ki-won email@example.com
Editor : Jessica Kim firstname.lastname@example.org
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