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06 August 2010 @ 09:30 pm
Kim Nam Gil Interview with Allure  
Original article from allure Korea. 2010 August Issue.
The interview was translated to Chinese in this forum and I've translated it from there. Not every part has been translated, and it's not a word for word translation. Please pardon my grammatical errors and bad command of English.
Translated article edited by our dearest [info]quidotta 

Your voice narration in “Tears of Amazon” left a deep impression on the audience. How did you manage that?
The documentary "Tears in the Arctic" made an impact on me. While watching TV alone at home, I thought, “Ah, polar bears are left with nothing to eat now.” and even shed a lot of tears. Normally, I enjoy watching TV programmes about wild life and animals. However, after watching that documentary, I took a great interest in films related to environmental conservation, more so after hearing about the environmental damage done to the Amazon which is so important to planet Earth. I thought, “If this continues, will breathing also become a difficult task?" Right at that moment, I was contacted by the production team, so I gladly accepted the job of the narrator.

This is your first time narrating a movie, what should be noted in the process?
I used other TV programs that featured real life stories as a reference as they also made use of narrators' voiceovers to relate their stories. Narrating requires a lot more skills than expected, having to express all the different emotions, not by facial expressions but by voice alone. It was indeed a difficult task.

What was the atmosphere like during the recording session?
It was an interesting experience. It was refreshing to narrate the story while watching the film. When I got curious about the events in it, I would even blurt out, “Is this for real?” while recording the narration and had an NG for that. Whenever this happened, everyone in the studio would burst out in laughter.

After “Tears of Amazon”, do you find yourself behaving any differently as a result of your concern for the environment?
Although participating in environmental protection groups and activities are good, I feel it’s more important to start with the little actions arising from our daily activities. My social etiquette is better now after narrating "Tears of Amazon". I have not thrown a single cigarette butt on the streets and have even started cutting down on water and paper usage. Frankly speaking, in the past, I would secretly discard it when no one was looking. But "Tears of Amazon” has heightened my vigilance on environmental protection.
When I see people pressing the 2nd or 3rd floor button in the lifts, I would tell them softly, “If it’s such a short distance, you can choose to take the stairs.” They would then reply me with “What?!”. At this point, I would carefully apologize, “Sorry”! Perhaps it is due to my lack of courage (laughs).

What are your thoughts on taking the lead role in "Bad Guy"?
I’ve decided never to take a lead role again. (Laughs) Having to memorize the lines in a short time span and show a breakthrough in acting are heavy responsibilities on the main lead.

Isn’t it hard taking the lead role where there are many scenes to shoot?
I’ve already experienced physical fatigue while filming "Queen Seon Deok". Although there weren't many shoots for my character, I’d still be on the set. There wasn't a distinction between the leading and other actors, we would all be on standby for the week. Compared to that, I’m more worried about whether a prolonged period of screen time will exhaust the feelings and perceptions towards the character. No matter how well a lead performs in his role, his performance will get repetitive and uninteresting if he is constantly seen on screen for 2 hours. This is especially true for dramas.

Are things getting along well with the cast and crew?
Yes, they are the type of people I get along very well with, but there are still frequent conflicts with the director and production crew. Not over insignificant matters, but it’s normally due to concerns and disagreements regarding the cinematography or script. I especially dislike problems caused by the equipment on the set or when the actors and crew are required to do unnecessary stuff.

Looks like you are the type of guy who always rushes forward to correct things huh?
That’s why they always tell me “You can step back a bit for now.” (Laughs). The popularity received after "Queen Seon Deok" is to be blamed, but those who know me well will defend me by saying, “He has never changed; he has always been someone without manners.”

It’s only been a short while after taking the lead role and there are already problems like this?
I’ve always held this attitude while working. Actually, I’ve already taken a lead role in "No Regrets" but after that, there hasn’t been a reason to take another because I feel I might not be able to handle both a big role and a big production well. Thus I don’t have big ambitions towards taking a lead role. Regardless of whether it is a leading or supporting role, I feel the most important thing is to be able to learn something from the seniors and actors I work with.
I am able to learn a lot while working with seniors like Jeong Jae-yeong and Sol Kyung-gu. Not only that, there are also many fine details I can pick up and learn from the other crew members on the set. Although the audience’s approval is the first thing a lead actor should strive to achieve, co-actors' trust, a responsibility towards the production and an appreciation of the work of other cast and crew members are important as well. Only after considering and understanding these issues can we bring about a perfect production.

You seem to have a passion for learning
Even if the criticisms are harsh, I am able to accept and learn from them. I recall the director of "Modern Boy" saying something similar. He told me, “You are the type who gets easily influenced by the environment you work in. You should find many opportunities to work with good actors and production crew as it would be very helpful to you.” I don’t know about other things but it seems I have a lot of luck with people; I am always able to meet and work with great production crew and seniors.

If you have to choose among the different senior actors you work with, who has influenced you the most?
In terms of acting, Jeong Jae-yeong had a great influence on me. He gave me advice like “If you only hear nice things every time, it won’t be beneficial to you. Even when things do not go your way, you have to overcome it to the best of your ability. In the end, be it criticisms or praises, you are the one who has to face them yourself. Therefore, for movie stars, there is no justification not to learn about acting. With regards to acting, there isn’t any excuse or explanation either. We can’t possibly have excuses such as “The actor's poor health condition during filming has resulted in this standard of acting.” or "The actor has some personal matters to attend to." showing up on the screen! Kim Hye-soo had also taught me a lot about how to deal with the outside world as a public figure. Learning these things has made me really happy and until now, I am still learning them.

You have a way with words; why aren’t there any interviews with you recently? Are you planning on cultivating a mysterious image?
That’s definitely not the case. It is just that once filming begins, my schedule will be so tightly packed that I have no time to give any interviews. I am someone who loves to talk and can get along very well with reporters. I find it very meaningful to be able to know each other, even though we had been strangers before. During the interview, I can feel it if the interviewer is curious and concerned about the person Kim Nam-gil or merely asking the routine questions. I’m really happy to do interviews because they allow both parties to know each other, chat and share topics of interest. I’ll welcome interviews any time as long as they do not produce contents that distort what I’ve said as I’ll be very hurt by it.

As an actor, is there anything in particular that you are worried about?
I’m not sure when I’ve come to realize that I don’t have the type of face that will grab people’s attention. One look at the other actors and you will be able to tell if they are the lead actors or not. As for me, I might not even be spotted if I were standing right behind. Hence, I once felt dejected, wondering why this was the case. Was it because I was young and inexperienced? Or was my acting not matured? Or was it because of my image? There’s once the cinemas were showing 3 different films that I was starring in, but no one managed to recognize that the 3 roles were played by the same actor. I used to hope that this would not be the case, but now, it’s slightly better since I have already come to terms with it. Nonetheless, I would still feel a little sad when something similar happens. Thus, I decided to focus all my attention on portraying my character well and move in this direction instead. In this way, even when the audience does not know the actor, Kim Nam-gil, at least they will remember the character I portray. Furthermore, this would be of great help in my journey as an actor. Have I found a way to make up for my own weakness? (Laughs)

Why have you decided to grow your hair longer? You also appear more tanned than before. Of course, we think this image suits you very well.
It was only during the filming of "Portrait of A Beauty" that I got to tan that once, and people around me kept warning me not to get any darker. I won’t have the chance to regain my fair skin even if I want to now. It won’t be long till my enlistment and I’ll only be getting darker then (laughs). I didn’t intentionally keep my hair long either. It naturally grew while filming historical shows. I trimmed it a little when it felt quite thick and heavy. When I was young, I used to envy those men in their 30s who had this hairstyle, so I imitated them. But at that time, it turned out to be unsuitable and looked unnatural. It was during the press conference for "Modern Boy" that I first appeared with long hair and the response wasn’t bad, so I left it as it was.

It seems like there are some similarities between Bad Guy’s Gun-wook and Queen Seon Deok’s Bidam. How do you individualize each character?
When I was first offered the role I thought that both characters were alike in many ways. But compared to the more exaggerated scenes that mark a historical drama, a modern show requires a more profound expression of the character's inner thoughts and feelings. Therefore, I was thinking if this would signal the birth of a more charismatic character. By showing part of the personality that viewers like in Bidam and gradually revealing other traits that he did not possess, we should be able to see a character with his own charm, one that’s different from Bidam's. In fact, I feel I’m reaching my limit, so it’s actually a good idea to report for military service now.

As an actor, to report for military service is one of the hurdles to pass, but is there a better reason than this?
Wouldn’t it be better to put down my enthusiasm towards acting for 2 years, toughening up and mature in other aspect and with that, come back with a better performance? When I return, in what ways will I have changed? Through what project and what kind of character will I reappear? I myself am curious regarding these. Thus these 2 years are extremely crucial for me. So I guess in this period of time I will be more occupied than when I am outside.

What kind of actor will you like to be after serving in the military?
Not sure if “worker” is a correct expression, but no matter what an actor will always have some influence. Perhaps I can become the strength to influence the public on their actions. Our country’s population does not even reach a hundred million, so we can only increase the strength. Be it young people or working adults, hopefully as a good actor or a person with virtue, I will be a good influence to them. This is also my goal. In addition, together with people I like and people who share my ideals, to fulfill them together, to consider about Korea’s film industry, to share stories and accomplish them step by step.

In what ways have you changed after "Queen Seon Deok"?
Before that I was told by people in the industry “You’ve quite a list of work in your resume but without a breakthrough role. Your name is able to attract investors but there will still be some discontentment.” I too am aware of this and that some projects are dropped because of this. Even with an excellent project, shooting won’t be possible without investment. That is why at times I thought it’s a real pity, there were a variety of projects. In Hollywood there are different types and varieties of films being produce. However in Korea be it movies or dramas, they are mostly of romance genre. Having seen this situation, I’m determined to widen the variety of productions. I’ve been continuously striving to achieve this goal after "Queen Seon Deok".

You’ve mentioned Hollywood in your answer, have you ever thought of entering Hollywood? From what we know you’ve been gaining popularity in Japan as well.
I would like to tell those mentioning about Hollywood “Please do well in Korea”. Korea and Japan’s films are already considered the central focus in Asia, speaking in a certain aspect, how will one be able to act when they can’t even converse in the language. Even when language is not a problem, the country, the period, their culture, they all have to be understood very well in order to convey the perception on screen well. As the saying goes, only the one who best represent Korea will then be the best representation for the world. Be it Hollywood’s B grade movie or action movie, in comparison I still think it’s better to stick and do well in our own films. It’s more important that in the end they come looking for us to produce films. Of course, there are already excellent actors who are in the Hollywood film industry, I just want to tell those who dreams of a career in Hollywood “Please reconsider the thought of entering the Hollywood industry”. If there’s time to learn English, might as well work harder to polish up on acting, and hopefully be more concern and worry about our country’s film industry.

Ara: Namgilnimhabibichan on August 6th, 2010 02:18 pm (UTC)
Wow thank you!!
Just finished Bad Guy (even though I knew what would happen, the ending was a bit surprising. Sad but still a nice one.) and started feeling KNG-deprived.
Belvabelleva on August 6th, 2010 02:38 pm (UTC)
I'm starting to feel KNG-deprived too! And it's only been hours since Bad Guy ended! How crazy is this. The lack of new updates on him will slowly eat my soul away. haha.

My respect for Kim Nam Gil as both an actor and a person grew with this interview so I really had to share this. ^^
Ara: Namgilnimhabibichan on August 6th, 2010 02:47 pm (UTC)
Yes, exactly. He's such a responsible person and I love the way he speaks about his seniors, about learning and how he wants to focus on Korea instead of Hollywood.
He's too modest though...like saying nobody would recognise him.
Also didn't expect him to be one that speaks up to strangers out of environmental concern, or like at the production set. I knew he liked goofing around and lightens the atmosphere on set but talking bout things he regards as problematic needs courage. Glad to see he's got some =))

(Btw, don't get mad, but you might wanna use lj-cut with long articles, so people don't have the whole post on their friends pages.)

Thanks again dear!
Belvabelleva on August 6th, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC)
Ohh thanks for letting me know! Brb while I go figure that out. :)
lyra brillantezrhaniagnilitus on August 6th, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC)
thanks belva for the allure interview! weee! iv posted this link in our KNGPH (www.facebook.com/kngph) .

Belvabelleva on August 7th, 2010 01:38 pm (UTC)
Re: =)
No problem and awesome Facebook page you have there! Wish I can someday create a KNG Singapore page and have thousands over member too! haha. Gotta depend if they will show QSD here, because if they do I believe it will become a Bidam aka KNG's world <3
(Anonymous) on August 11th, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC)
Re: =)
Starhub has shown QSD earlier this year. Not high viewership though.
Belvabelleva on August 12th, 2010 09:38 am (UTC)
Re: =)
Ohh is that so? Didn't know that... Been years since I turn on my TV =X Thanks for letting me know. So most likely Mediacorp won't be showing it then T__T
Our Bidam is too good to be missed!
Zsu: [actor] → kim nam gil › soonzsuness on August 7th, 2010 08:56 am (UTC)
I’m more worried if being on screen for prolong period will exhaust the feelings and perception of the scenes. If constantly being on screen for a period of 2 hours, no matter how well a lead performs, it will get repetitive and uninteresting. This is especially true for dramas.
Maybe. But it so wasn't the case with him. I even felt he had screen presence when he wasn't even onscreen. It definitely wasn't uninteresting nor repetitive in this character/performance's case.

His answer to the question "As an actor, are there any particular stuff that you are worried about?" is really interesting. Actually his view on fame and his attitude towards it is quite fascinating. Makes me like him even more. These 2 years need to go by fast.

To be superficial, and because hair is serious business.. YES PLEASE, stick to the longer hair after MS, too. :D I also approve of the ahjussi moustache.

Thanks a lot for sharing/translating this!
Belvabelleva on August 7th, 2010 01:52 pm (UTC)
Exactly, we don't get to see many stars like him with such attitude towards fame. He gives the impression of just loving his job/acting and wants to give his all and do his very best in it. Also being such a humanitarian, talking about inspiring others and all. Nono he don't just talk he acts on them as well.
overdosatheaddictionanberlin2pieces on August 8th, 2010 04:28 am (UTC)
(overdosetheaddiction here from soompi. :D)

after reading this interview... i don't see him as an actor anymore. he is a rouge artist.

i already put him in my personal icons list. he's a bonafide rarity.
(Anonymous) on January 24th, 2011 08:26 pm (UTC)
Well, 2012 july 4 is not so far away.... come back soon, Kim Nam-Gil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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