This is a transcript of High Cut interview to Lee Min Ho. It is highly recommended that if you can, please buy it via their App for Apple or Android. It has a lot of pictures and videos from the photo shooting. A must-have. For those who can not, here is the article for you to enjoy. Many thanks to @pixie0622 from Lee Min Ho Soompi Thread for the transcription.
HIGH CUT’s long-awaited first man, Lee Min Ho, comes back as a homme fatale armed with more mature charm.
Can you imagine Lee Min Ho rolling around in the mud in a heavy downpour or letting loose with a torrent of four-letter words unhesitatingly? Asia’s heartthrob will star in director Yoo Ha’s third ‘street gang’ movie <Gangnam 1970>, set to hit theaters in January next year.
This is his first big-screen lead role of his acting career. In the movie, he portrays a tough guy after shedding his reckless high school boy image as Kim Tan who kept uttering the famous line, “Do I like you?” in SBS’ hit drama <The Heirs>. Here, HIGH CUT meets Lee Minho, who radically changed his image from an immature ultra-rich prince to a dark tanned gangster. His appearance turned tough, but his innocent smile remained unchanged.
Quite a long time has passed since <The Heirs> ended early this year.
I finished shooting <The Heirs> in December. These days I am leading a very busy life going on global tours, shooting commercials, and attending many other events. Most people, except for my fans, might think I am not working because I don’t show up in public or appear on the screen.
You play your first big-screen lead role in <Gangnam 1970>.
I chose to do a big-screen film because I wanted to work on a project where I could place more weight on acting itself by showing a different side of myself as an actor. People around me told (me) it all turned out well in the end. I think, in this movie, I will be able to show a new version of myself that I haven’t shown so far.
Your return to the big screen 6 years after <Our School’s ET>. What was it like?
I really enjoyed shooting the movie because I haven’t done it for a long time. When I was shooting <Our School’s ET>, I was totally clueless about everything. I was just engrossed in performing my part because I couldn’t pay attention to anything else but my scenes. Now I can see how it goes on the set and how the system works. The whole process is fairly satisfactory for me for its different level of concentration and involvement. You feel relatively comfortable working on the big-screen projects compared to small-screen ones because you are less pushed for time. I wish I could only do big-screen projects if the circumstances allow. (Laugh) I’m just kidding. Actually, I want to shoot a TV series next year.
It took quite a long time for you to get yourself ready for the movie. Do you think the results would be satisfactory?
In fact, I was already cast in <Gangnam 1970> before I began to shoot <The Heirs>. Director Yoo Ha was waiting for me to finish the TV series. I had to put all my efforts on the movie in return for his thoughtful consideration, but I was terribly sorry due to my tightly-packed schedule. <Gangnam 1970> is a movie that highlights its cinematic quality and authenticity rather than its box-office success. Especially the movie is rated NC-17. If it is critically-acclaimed, that can be deemed a success.
In the movie, you play Jongdae, who is desperately eager for success. Can you give us a brief explanation about your character?
Jongdae is a young man in his 20s who strives for a better life. He isn’t actually a typical gangster or bully according to the plot. The director felt (that) I was fit for the role. I think you will see ‘Jongdae who is so Minho’?
It’s your first time in 3 years to play such a tough macho character after Yoonsung in SBS’ TV drama <City Hunter>.
While shooting the movie, I tried not to think about being overly macho. Jongdae has his own reasons for behaving so, and I thought I could look masculine enough if I portrayed the character well. I was like, if I act properly thinking about his heartbreak and trying to understand it in order to immerse myself in the role, I could convey those feelings and emotions to the audience. If I show the willingness to get out of the morass of poverty and to lead a better life, that can make me look and feel masculine as a strong, tough guy, right?
This is director Yoo Ha’s third street gang movie after <Once Upon A Time in High School> and <A Dirty Carnival>. Did it make you feel burdened to follow in the footsteps of Kwon Sangwoo and Zo Insung, who are the nation’s top stars of their time?
When I worked on an acting project, I always felt burdened with the intention of pulling it off. I felt burdened whether I was a budding actor or played a small role. Well, contrary to my expectations, I feel much more pressure and responsibility now because I try to keep in mind that I have to do my job with perfection.
Do you have any particular incident you remember that happened during the months of filming?
Jongdae’s face had to be sharp all the time, but my face easily got puffy. I once had a very puffy face because I had a late-night meal before going to bed the previous night, which led to the postponement of shooting after all. (Laugh) I am a night person, so my appetite becomes voracious at night.
What was it like to play with co-star Kim Raewon?
In fact, we didn’t have many scenes to play together. (Laugh) In the scenes where we met, I could feel Kim Raewon’s expertise with his accumulated experience and his power to dominate the mood.
The brand power of Lee Minho is enormous both at home and abroad.
For me, it always feels the same. When I meet my fans in person or walk around the streets, I can realize I am popular. I think my popularity has virtually remained the same since <Boys over Flowers>. I mostly hear about how popular I am from people I work with.
The ‘Lee Minho’ fever is sweeping through Asia, notably in China. What do you think is the secret to your fame?
I think I attribute my fame to the power of character and content. I made my name starring in <Boys over Flowers> and, fortunately, my performance was favorably reviewed that I was a good fit for the role of Gu Junpyo. Plus, <City Hunter> made a big hit in China and then I reached the peak of my career with <The Heirs>, I guess. I want to portray what I feel from reading the scripts to deliver those codes effectively to the audience. That sincerity worked out well in the course of time, and I think I am being loved for that.
You are called one of the four new Hallyu kings with Kim Soohyun, Kim Woobin and Lee Jongsuk.
I don’t think it is good for all of us to establish ourselves as one single image. Each of us has our own direction to pursue as an actor. I am afraid that our images are being fixed as Hallyu stars, but it is positive and inspiring for young actors to contribute to creating a new image as a link to K-Culture.
You are 28 years old, which is the best time to fall in love. Are you seeing somebody right now?
I don’t have time to engage in a relationship and focus on love. Frankly, I do want to be in love, but if I had a girlfriend now, it would feel just like a short-lived romance or meaningless date rather than a true love. I will find my love when I am fully able to focus on it.
Will you go public with your relationship when you find your true love?
It depends on the situation I will be in when it comes to the point. I am a realist who tends to go with the flow. If that kind of thing happens to me at the age of over 30, I think I will possibly go public with it. But right now, never! (Laugh)
A number of good movies were released this year. Do you have any particular movie that impressed you deeply?
<The Fault in Our Stars>. I didn’t watch it on the big screen, but on VOD when I was on standby for waiting to begin shooting my scenes. Among Korean movies, I really enjoyed watching <The Pirates>.
It’s already been 8 years since your debut. What is your own philosophy of acting?
I don’t have anything good enough to be called a philosophy. I am not that good at acting either. (Laugh) I just try to perform with sincerity all the time. I know that an actor is judged by giving a convincing and believable performance based on the scripts. As long as I perform with sincerity, even though I am technically poor, I will be able to win over the audience and touch their hearts.
Your filmography list is filled with numerous projects including <Boys over Flowers>, <Personal Taste>, <City Hunter>, <The Great Doctor>, and <The Heirs>. Which one do you feel the most attached to?
<Boys over Flowers>. It made me rise to fame and boosted my acting career. So I have deep affection for it and I’ll never forget my breakout role.
There are only 2 months left in 2014. What is your plan to finish the year?
My schedule is jampacked until December with global tours as well as commercial and ad campaign shoots. I’m also scheduled to promote the film from December to January next year. Then, hopefully, I will be able to work on two acting projects next year, one for the big screen and the other for the small screen.
Source: HIGH CUT