“Performing the work of a writer I like very much is really good”
Q: Now that you are filming PSYCHIC, do you still think about WILL IT SNOW FOR CHRISTMAS?
KS: Yes, I still do. When I talked to writer Lee Kyung Hee over the phone or even before going to bed, it would unconsciously come to mind. It is good work and makes one think about love.
Q: Upon your completion of military service, there were many TV dramas about love. But why did you choose to do WISFC?
KS: I have always admired writer Lee Kyung Hee’s work and wanted to work with her. No doubt other actors would also have the same thoughts. During the course of filming, I became the character I was playing. Talking to writer Lee every day on the phone helped as I could convey her message to the drama. However, the contents of TV dramas are usually controlled by audience ratings.
Q: How was it like working with Director Choi Moon Suk?
KS: I spoke to Director Choi recently over the phone. He is a very good man. When we were working together, he was like an uncle to me. He was wonderful! He works sensibly and efficiently and we never had to work overnight. He always prepared well in advance and perhaps because of that, Director Choi said his hair has gotten more gray now.
Q: How do you feel about appearing in a TV drama after being away for 4 years? What’s your impression of seeing yourself on TV?
KS: I received more and more good comments from people around me who had seen the drama. Those with bad comments from the beginning had not seen the drama at all (laughs). As for seeing myself on TV… It was a long time since I was on TV, so I went on a diet (laughs). Cha Kang Jin is supposed to be lean.
Q: When you first encountered Cha Kang Jin, what do you think his appeal is?
KS: Writer Lee’s Kang Jin is a man who does everything to perfection and never fails. It is a terrible role, I thought, on hearing it (laughs). I am a liberal person. How do I slip into the role of Kang Jin, a reticent person who carries such a big load on his shoulders?
Q: How different are you from Kang Jin? What are the similarities and differences between you and Kang Jin?
KS: Kang Jin’s past and the way he lives are different from mine. As for looks? Haha… He has respect for both men and women and likes his job. I am like that too. Do you think we are similar that way? I have learned from Kang Jin’s great work attitude. We both like sports too. However, Kang Jin is a troubled person because he is a man who has had a hard time. Now I am shooting PSYCHIC playing a light-hearted character and turning my back on the previous aggressive personality (laughs).
Q: Kang Jin is a perfect guy who is an all-rounder - good in sports, have neat hair and only loves one woman in his life. Do you feel pressure playing him?
KS: I did not think much about that because perfection is very subjective. If you ask a person what is an ideal man, there is no answer to that because nobody is perfect. Kang Jin did not grow up in a good home environment, so he either grows up as a man or he does not make the grade. But he was “friendly” during boyhood (laughs). I did not have a problem portraying Kang Jin’s "single-minded love”.
Q: Kang Jin gives up his love and endures pain alone. It is hard by just looking at it. How do you (as the actor) feel?
KS: I do not think there is a choice. No matter how difficult it is, the script is everything. If the scenario is such that I have to die, then I will die. The script says “Kang Jin embraces all the pain”, so I acted that way accordingly.
Q: Is it true that even if the drama finishes, it will take quite a while to get over the character you play?
KS: Whether a character is accepted depends on the viewer. However, to the actor, given the circumstances, his absorption in the role, his feelings and the message he has to convey in the drama, it is quite unforgettable. It will have an influence on the actor’s own way of life. When he starts on a new piece of work, he gets a new outlook on life. I try not to be like that.
Q: Can Ko Soo love single-mindedly like Kang Jin?
KS: Yes. I once opened my heart to someone I like (laughs). In this world of sadness, pain, jealousy and many other emotions, only love can overcome all. I Know, love is great. Hmmm.. I don’t know what’s my type but I want great love in the future (laughs). I’m not saying right now. Though love has no timing, work is more important now and I have become more ‘greedy’ and spoilt than ever before.
Q: Did your absence due to 2 years of military service increased your desire to act?
KS: There was a change. After leaving the army, my physical condition was better and I felt energized. However, I was restless without anything to do. So I did a play, a movie and a TV drama. I wanted to take a little rest but when I was at home, I felt like “what am I doing here?” Time is precious and it is not coming back.
Q: Were there other changes apart from acting?
KS: People who I have not met for a long time said that I have gotten tough and strong in a good way. And I talk more now (laughs). I have been experiencing various stuff and thinking about a lot of different things when I was in the army. Even my eating habits have changed.
Q: Military service has given you more depth in acting. Did you do any research for the role of Cha Kang Jin?
KS: When I accepted the role, I thought about the character rather than deciding to do the role in a certain way. The role was developed naturally along the way, eg how about if I do it this way? There was no room for trivial words in the frame. I wanted to put in a little more of myself into Kang Jin.
Q: Do you still remember the scene where you bought shoes for Ji Wan and the beautiful kissing scene in Kang Jin’s hometown?
KS: I remember the scene well. My most vivid memories are of the mansion (called an office, I think) where the staff had to run around the narrow corridors. And especially Episodes 10-11 in Sancheong.
Q: The kiss with Sun Woo Sun was much talked about. What’s the reason for the tears?
KS: Actually crying was not in the script but the tears just flowed naturally. Kang Jin had not seen Ji Wan for 8 years but he had to let her go by letting her witness his kissing another woman whom he did not love. He was very sad. Fortunately, there was little NG for that scene. Director Choi does not like to do re-takes (laughs).
Q: Besides Ji Wan, Chun Hee also plays a big part in Kang Jin’s life as his mom. How did you portray the mother and son relationship?
KS: The scene with Chun Hee still remains in my mind. It was necessary to act a little more like a friend with senior Jo Min Soo during filming. She is one of my favourite seniors and she was my stepmother in PIANO, an SBS drama in 2001. She is very good. I regret not reaching that same level of acting skill yet
Q: Are there any other good memories from the drama?
KS: If given another chance, I would like to express a stronger Kang Jin. Kang Jin’s character was penned by writer Lee long time ago and the drama was filmed based on that Kang Jin which was written long before I accepted the role. However, it would be better if the production would consider adding a little more of me (Ko Soo) into the character of Kang Jin.
Q: There are a lot of great scenes between Chun Hee and Kang Jin. If you were to pick one, which would you pick?
KS: The scene where Kim Soo Hyun (not me) and Chun Hee returning to Sancheong and cutting the banner celebrating Ji Wan’s elder brother graduating from Seoul University. It was a hint of unfortunate happenings. Next is the scene where I brought a girl to visit Chun Hee. And also the shoe scene with Chun Hee.
“I want to be unnoticed and live quietly”
KS: There was active communication between the actors and production team. That’s very good. It requires effort to relate to others. Though I have tried previously, now I am doing it diligently. I connect better with people now (laughs). I realise that you need to work hard at building a relationship with people.
Q: Please tell Japanese viewers what’s appealing about this drama. Let’s hear it.
KS: This drama is a heroic story about love. It’s a drama with winter as the backdrop and I am glad that it can be enjoyed during any season, not necessarily in the winter. It’s about defending the most important person in your life to the last. I wish everyone success in pursuing love.
Q: In PSYCHIC, your latest film, you play the part of Gyu-nam who is a normal citizen with a suspicious and cautious character and who is not affected by supernatural powers. How is filming coming along?
KS: Yes, shooting is in full swing and I am having fun. I heard someone saying the other day that if you enjoy the scene, good work will be produced. This movie is good (laughs).
Q: How is it like working with Kang Dong-won for the first time?
KS: Kang Dong-won is young of age but matured in thinking. He calls me senior. Such respect makes me feel good (laughs). We get along well together as we both like sports and we also went to training camp together. This time, my role as Gyu-nam, a common citizen, is somewhat light-hearted. But Dong-won’s part seems to be dark and difficult - like my role as Yohan in WHITE NIGHT.
Q: You have said before that you don’t want to be bound by a certain image. Is there a strong desire for an image change?
KS: I do not fret over an image change. I will be getting older. But whatever role I play, it is still me. Senior Song Kang-ho who has done various roles has expanded his range at an appropriate point in time. I postponed giving myself time to change. Hereafter, I will be gradually expanding my acting range little by little.
Q: It’s been 12 years since your debut. Will you devote yourself to acting?
KS: I still do not know. I do not understand fully about acting and I cannot do it justice. I am more careful now compared with before. I have become modest in character. I am making an effort not to dislike people and I am trying to be considerate of others. I have considered acting as an occupation though it is an occupation which is a little different from a usual company employee (laughs).
Q: Finally, what’s your goal as an actor?
KS: Actors are also humans who want to be remarkable. I will be committed and I will always do my best. Please look forward to it. Hope you do well too!
On a day in July 2010, I spend 3 hours with actor Ko Soo and saw his image changed little by little.
First, the deep eyes were cool and pleasant and reminded me of Cha Kang Jin in WILL IT SNOW FOR CHRISTMAS.
The photography session began and the image changed. Slowly, he warmed up to the camera. After the shooting, he went directly to sit on a chair for the interview. He had a wealth of wit and I could see his smiling face. Good sincere actor Ko Soo has returned to drama after an interval of 4 years and had released a variety of colours.
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Credit to Petra who posted this article in Ko Soo soompi forum