Here is the 4th and final installment of my English translation of Jo Hyun Jae‘s interview which appeared in the September 2015 issue of Lady 경향 (Lady Kyunghyang) magazine.
Q16: Which among your works finally convinced you that you really want to pursue acting?
JHJ: That would be “Love Letter”. Although I was lacking because I was still a rookie back then, but still, when working on that drama I could not help but think that “this is the road that I want to take”. I wanted to do better, which has become a kind of greed. Every time a work is finished, waiting for the next work is very hard, but I never thought of giving up. I know that I am still lacking in many ways, but I hope I can still practice my profession for 30 years more.
Comment: You have my support every step of the way.
Q17: Without realizing it, you have now been acting for 15 years. When you look back on your early years as an actor, what do you think about?
JHJ: Back in my 20s I wanted to play the role of a rebel, but I was never given the chance to do that. Although I have regrets, I decided not to worry over those things anymore. From now on, I will just focus on what I can do. It is not idle talk, recently I feel as if I am back to being a rookie. Thinking about acting, I could not sleep at night (laughs).
Q18: What is it about acting that keeps you thinking to the extent that you could not sleep?
JHJ: Lying down at night, while trying to sleep, I can’t help but try to hold on to the emotions of the character. I think of details about Han Do Jun’s facial expressions, his eyes, his actions, cooperation with other actors. Every single detail comes to mind, details like breathing, etc. Without realizing it, too many hours have already passed.
Q19: For an actor who has been practicing his profession for 15 years, to still feel this excited, that is amazing. It seems you really feel deeply about it.
JHJ: I am really very happy. When monitoring, it is not the same as before. It is fun discovering another look in my face. Maybe I will do villain roles a few more times. But aside from villain, I want to be able to show diverse personas from now on.
Q20: How do you spend your days (when not working)?
JHJ: I love going up the mountain, so whenever I have free time and whenever the heart wishes to go, then I go hiking. Sometimes I go with my friends, but sometimes I go by myself. During my break, I went mountaineering for 3 days 2 nights in Geojedo (Geoje Island). I also often go to Bukhansan (Bukhan Mountain).
Q21: Whenever I meet someone who likes mountain climbing, I am always curious what it is they find appealing about it.
JHJ: There is so much to love about climbing mountains. You become healthier, the color of your complexion becomes better, you develop physical and mental discipline. Above all, while crawling up the mountain you can empty your mind of all distractions. You can leave behind all the worries that have been plaguing you. Whenever I have the time, I go up the mountain.
Q22: I am suddenly curious. What is the biggest rebellious behaviour you have ever done?
JHJ: Rebellious… I don’t remember too much. Maybe fight with friends back when I was still a student?
Q23: These are the bad behaviour I am talking about: discarding cigarette butts in public, violating traffic signals, etc.
JHJ: Honestly, I am the type who follows the rules. In fact, the nickname my friends gave me is “ajuhssi” (uncle/old man). They say I am too tired to live. I even quit smoking 5 years ago.
Comment: Yey! Glad to know that he has quit smoking already!
Q24: So in the future, what kind of rebellious behaviour would you likely do?
JHJ: Smoking again, can that be considered rebellious behaviour? These days, I don’t even drink alcoholic beverages even if I can. I don’t drink while filming. So, maybe, at the end of this work, I can drink again.
Q25: When searching the name “Jo Hyun Jae” in search portals, the term most associated with your name is “married Jo Hyun Jae”. It seems people are curious about that. No marriage plans yet?
JHJ: Maybe because I am already 35 years old, that is why people are curious about it. Of course, I want to get married someday, but first I want to fall in love. But, these days, my priority is “Yongpal” (laughs).
Comment: OMG, that reporter is so right about the #1 term associated with JHJ. I also get a lot of queries about the status of JHJ’s love life. 😀
I really enjoyed translating this interview even if it is very long and quite difficult to translate. JHJ has always been wise beyond his age, but in this interview he sounds even more mature than before. In addition, he still showed great sense of humor and, of course, his straightforwardness is still evident.
I appreciate his honesty, sharing with us his feelings of anxiety while waiting for his next project. In answer to Q9, JHJ said that it seems to be the “fate of actors to wait for acting projects”. My heart ached reading his honest words because I know that his waiting is filled with anxiety, as mine is filled with anxiety while waiting for him to appear before us in another persona.
If fans feel frustrated and anxious when JHJ is not working, then JHJ’s frustration and anxiety would be tenfold compared to ours. I know I will never stop worrying over Hyunjae, so I will just keep on praying that he will be continuously blessed with acting projects that he really wants… and continue to cheer for him when he is in front of us.
Q16: 연기에 대한 확신을 갖게 해준 작품은 뭐였나?
JHJ: ‘러브레터’였던 것 같다. 부족한 게 많은 신인이었지만 그때 연기를 하며 ‘아, 이 길이 내 길이구나’ 하는 걸 느꼈다. 더 잘 만들어가고 싶다는 욕심이 생긴 것도 그때다. 작품이 끝날 때마다 다음 작품을 기다리는 시간이 힘들었지만 그렇다고 포기하겠다는 생각을 한 적은 없다. 지금도 부족한 게 많다. 앞으로도 30년은 더 해야지 싶다.
Q17: 어느덧 연기 15년 차다. 연기자로서 그동안의 시간을 돌아보면 어떤가?
JHJ: 20대 때 반항적인 캐릭터를 꼭 해보고 싶었는데 못했다. 아쉬움도 있지만 조바심 내지 않기로 했다. 이제부터 하면 되니까. 빈말이 아니라 요즘 다시 신인 때로 돌아간 것 같다. 연기할 생각에 밤에 잠이 안 온다(웃음).
Q18 무슨 생각을 하기에 잠을 못 잘 정도인가?
JHJ: 최대한 인물의 감정을 붙잡고 있으려고 하는 편인데, 밤에 자려고 누워 있다 보면 한도준의 눈빛과 표정, 동작, 배우들과의 호흡 같은 세부적인 것들이 하나하나 떠오른다. 그러다 보면 시간이 훌쩍 간다.
Q19: 15년 차 배우가 이런 설렘을 느낀다는 게 놀랍다.
정말 푹 빠져 있는 것 같다.
JHJ: 무척 즐겁다. 모니터 안에 이제까지와는 다른 내가 있으니까. 내 얼굴에서 다른 모습을 발견하는 재미가 있다. 악역은 몇 번이고 더 할 수 있을 것 같다. 악역뿐만 아니라 이제부터 좀 더 다양한 얼굴을 보여드리고 싶다.
Q20: 시간 날 땐 뭘 하며 보내나?
JHJ: 등산을 좋아해서 짬이 생길 때마다 마음 내키는 대로 산에 다닌다. 마음 맞는 형들이랑 가기도 하고 혼자 가기도 하고. 쉬는 동안에는 거제도에 2박 3일 등산을 다녀오기도 했다. 북한산에도 자주 가고.
Q21: 산 좋아하는 사람들을 보면 항상 궁금하다. 산에 어떤 매력이 있는지.
JHJ: 좋은 걸 찾자면 너무 많다. 건강, 혈색, 체력은 물론 정신 수양에도 좋고. 무엇보다 산에 오르며 마음을 비운다고나 할까. 스스로를 괴롭히는 생각들을 털어버릴 수 있는 것 같다. 시간 날 때마다 가려고 한다.
Q22: 갑자기 궁금해졌다. 이제까지 했던 가장 큰 일탈은 무엇인가?
JHJ: 일탈이라… 글쎄, 생각이 잘 안 난다. 학창 시절 때 친구들과 싸웠던 일?
Q23: 공소시효가 지나도 한참 지났다. 나쁜 짓이라고 하면 적어도 이런 거다. 길에 담배꽁초를 버렸다든지, 신호위반을 했다든지.
JHJ: 사실 평상시에 딱딱 지키는 타입이라 친구들 사이에 별명이 ‘아저씨’다. 너무 피곤하게 산단다. 담배는 5년 전에 끊었고.
Q24: 그럼 앞으로 하고 싶은 일탈이 있다면 뭔가?
JHJ: 담배를 다시 피운다면 일탈이 되지 않을까? 요즘 술도 안 마시니, 술을 마실 수도 있겠다. 그런데 작품 하는 동안에는 술을 마시지 않으니 어쨌거나 이번 작품 끝나고 생각해봐야겠다.
Q25: 포털 사이트에 ‘조현재’를 검색하면 연관 검색어에 ‘조현재 결혼’이 있다. 사람들도 궁금한가 보다. 결혼 생각은 없나?
JHJ: 아무래도 30대 중반이다 보니 자연스럽게 궁금해하시는 것 같다. 결혼은 꼭 하고 싶다. 연애도 하고 싶고. 그래도 요즘 가장 우선순위는 ‘용팔이’다(웃음).
Credit: Photo and interview from http://lady.khan.co.kr/khlady.html?mode=view&code=5&artid=201508241539021; Chinese translation byドラミ1987 posted on JHJ/Baidu. Thanks! English translation by Prissymom.