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Real Hwang

Posted April. 20, 2006 03:00,   


“I must have been crazy,” said Hwang Jeong-min about what he played in the movie shortly after the premiere of his new movie ‘Bloody 2006,’ on April 18.

“I came to think that life is so creepy. Yes, creepy. I really should live well: that is, I will not do damage to others in life.”

Maybe, Hwang was talking about the character Do in the movie, a senior policeman, and Lee Sang-do, a drug broker, who reach a deadlock, thinking “I will see what’s there in the end.”

When asked, “How could you be so good at beating others in the movie?” he said, “In fact, it is so difficult to beat a person. So I do so, thinking to myself, ‘Give me a break. I must do this.’”

Seeing actor Hwang Jeong-min, one cannot help but wonder, “Then, what is the real Hwang Jeong-min like?” Is Hwang Jeong-min in real life is a man like ‘air’ just as when he acted a character whose presence was hard to perceive in “The Charming Girl?” Or is he as knavish as he was in “A Bittersweet Life,” or kind of dull, but warm-hearted like he was in “All For Love?”

“An actor should be an actor only when he is on stage or before a camera. An actor who is so pretentious for being an actor is not a genuine actor. Then, what about ‘talent’ as an actor? Going to nightclubs, flirting with women and crying anytime are not talents required of actors. I call it blind daring. The talent of an actor should be kept secretly inside himself. An actor should wait patiently until a movie comes to him. If he can’t do just that, he’s a silly ass.”

Hwang Jeong-min habitually says, “I am just me,” at the end of his sentences. He explains that his direction in life is to draw a line between the actor Hwang and the Hwang who is the husband of a woman (musical actress Kim Ji-hye) and an ordinary person in real life. Hwang’s predilection for taking subways and buses and stopping by bookstores and going to concerts whenever he wants to may be part of his life direction.

About his personality in real life, he said, “I am usually absent-minded. I am indecisive and hesitant.”

He has two principles as an actor. The two philosophies may be the ‘principles of survival’ that made Hwang the best character actor in Korea as of April 2006.

“The first and foremost principle is to choose a good movie and act well so that viewers do not say, ‘I wasted 7,000 won for the movie.’ The only thing I can do for those who choose me is to make them feel that their money was well-spent.”

His explained his second principle as well, saying, “I always pick a movie only when I like its plot. I don’t care whether I am the main actor or a supporting actor in it. I just choose a movie with a humane plot. Then the character and his role in the movie will be a hit naturally.”

Hwang said that one of the most memorable lines he has said in movies was, “Mom, you are not going to live my life for me!” This is what he screamed to his mom, crying, in “You’re My Sunshine!,” when she hated him for being in love with a woman with AIDS. The reason Hwang cited the line as a special one is because it is exactly what he said to his mother who bitterly opposed his drama acting in his high school years.

To the question, “What do you like the most and the least?” he answered, “My favorite thing in the world is to take a walk with my wife.” His least favorite thing is his birthday party.

“I really feel uncomfortable when people are all looking at me, waiting for me to put out candles on the cake. I do feel uncomfortable with being the focus of attention.”

Seung-Jae Lee sjda@donga.com