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His First Leading Role

Posted June. 21, 2007 03:01,   


Hwang Jeong-min, famous movie star, said, “I look like a person from the countryside. I can’t change it because was born this way. I am the last person to be perfect. I am not good at doing household chores. I am not a good father. I feel uneasy when I go to a district office for documents. But I think it is better to live as an imperfect but approachable person than to live as a snobbish celebrity.”

What is it like to wait for the release of your movie after shooting it?

“I always want to think, ‘I did my best. I am not anxious,’ but I actually do the opposite. But I end up feeling edgy, worrying about the response of moviegoers. And since ‘psychopath’ is my first horror movie, I am even more anxious,” Hwang replied.

All of a sudden, I remember what you said when you received a movie award: “I feel like I am a freeloader.” Do you feel the same this time?

Yes, I feel the same as always. If any staff members do not pull their weight, a movie can’t be produced. I am very happy whenever I have a part in any given movie because I realize the reason for my existence. An actor is an actor only when he or she is on the stage or before the camera.”

A few years back, he happened to read “Kuroi Ie,” on which “Black House” is based, by Yusuke Kishi. Last year, he was offered to star in the movie as protagonist Jun Joon-oh, an employee working for an insurer. He said, “It was like destiny.”

Hwang said, “This is the first time that I am the only protagonist in the movie. If I had not liked being the only central character, I would have refused to do the movie. But I really want the audience to accept Jun Joon-oh as an ordinary person. While I was working on the movie, I met an insurance industry insider who said that there was a wife who received insurance money by putting toxic chemicals in her husband’s eyes. Isn’t it surprising that these kinds of things happen?”

Are you saying that the message of the movies is “Let’s understand psychopaths?”

“I was wondering why ‘Kuroi Ie’ was written and why ‘Black House’ was produced in 2007? Let’s take a look at Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-hee. He was a member of the community he lived in. Anyone can fall victim to shooters like him. So we should prevent people from becoming psychopaths like Cho.”

Do you have a cruel side?

“Of course, I do. I get angry when I am told to order the same kind of the food the rest of our group prefers. And if servers in restaurants are not kind and friendly, I can only calm myself down by expressing my anger to them. Some people I get angry with are bigger than me, but what can they do to me worse than killing?”

He has had a series of hits, such as "You`re My Sunshine’; ‘All for love’; and ‘Bloody Tie,’ but he is worried about the success of ‘Black House,’ given the fact that for seven weeks in a row, Hollywood movies, including ‘Spiderman 3,’ have been beating home-grown ones. He said, “Korean movies are on a losing streak not because they are domestic movies but because they are not fun. If we work hard, we can fight back.”

“I am turning 40 soon. When I was in high school I thought I can be one of the top performers. Now, I think I have to move it to 50. What I learned so far is that in acting there is no such thing as a shortcut. Only when I do my best and am honest do I can strike a chord with the audience.”