[TRANS] 150127 Harper’s Bazaar Interview – The Prejudices And Jokes Of Kim Jaejoong

Kim Jaejoong’s jokes have a slightly serious side to them. A man whose free disposition and willingness to sacrifice shines. We met with Kim Jaejoong, whose charm we can relate to and who makes unpredictable risks for a living.

When the photoshoot for the second cut was over, Kim Jaejoong jokingly said that he felt like he could use a drink just then. January 8th, the day of the photoshoot, was the day before the first episode of the KBS drama ‘Spy’, which was Kim Jaejoong’s first drama in a year and a half since ‘Triangle’, would air. He said that he would be meeting with the other cast members to watch the first episode together, and added that it would be nice to have a drink together as well. Although we’re sure that every production is special, we feel as though ‘Spy’ is especially meaningful to Kim Jaejoong. Not only is it the first miniseries to be aired on a Friday, but it is also the first production that has him leading the entire story as a frontrunner, rather than as a ‘supporting character-like main character’. A mother who hid the fact that she used to be a spy, an old co-worker who comes looking for her, and a son who hides the fact that he works at the National Intelligence Service (NIS) from his family. In this drama that is buried under layer upon layer of secrets, Kim Jaejoong plays the role of ‘Kim Seon Woo’, the son who lies at the center of all conflicts and secrets. He faces the dilemma of not only fooling his mother who is a spy, but also chasing her down as well. “When I first saw the script for the drama, I knew it was going to be amazing. I thought it was interesting that this drama started off with everything already established while most dramas take the time to progress slowly from step 1 to 10. Instead of feeling like fillers, each episode read like a movie in itself, full of suspense and tension. I listened to what the other cast members who were already confirmed to appear in the drama had to say, and I knew I had to join them.”

Kim Jaejoong works alongside talented actors like Bae Jong Ok, Yoo Oh Sung and Jo Dal Hwan in ‘Spy’. It isn’t easy to switch from the adoring son who says, “Do you know why I like Yoon Jin? She reminds me of you,” to his mother (Bae Jong Ok) who doesn’t approve of his girlfriend, to a calculating NIS agent. Working with a talented group of seniors helped Kim Jaejoong in analyzing and understanding his character. “I can’t say that I perfectly understood the inner workings or history of my character before filming began. Instead, I would say that I naturally learned to understand Seon Woo as a character by working with my fellow cast members. It says that Seon Woo is a mama’s boy in the character description, but he’s actually a son who’s working through a lot of trauma rather than just a spoiled brat. Because his mother was a spy, she wanted more than anything to live a normal life and raise a family. Seon Woo’s mother was made sure that they never stuck out, and is extremely protective of him, and I think much of him is influenced by that. There’s a scene where Seon Woo’s mother comes to fetch him and carries his bag for him. In that scene, he lets her do that because it’s what she wants, rather than because he’s a spoiled brat who doesn’t want to hold his bag.”

Now that we think about it, Kim Jaejoong’s path has been quite unique. He didn’t do a string of dramas to cement his position as an actor, or only take on roles that would paint him as a suave and cool guy; he even picked a historical drama, which is far from his image as a trendy star. Think of ‘Kim Kyung Tak’, the inflexible officer in ‘Dr. Jin’, or ‘Heo Young Dal’, the man who got on his knees and begged for mercy in ‘Triangle’, or ‘Choi Hyun’, who had to take care of his bodily functions right in front of the killer Jekyll (Song Ji Hyo). They were all unique characters but were too different from each other to create a definitive image for Kim Jaejoong as an actor. “To be honest, I really want to jump in to a new drama once I’m done immersing myself in the one I’m doing at that time. That’s also true when it comes to taking on a role or creating a image for myself. It’s human nature to want to keep digging at what you do best. It’s scary to try something new when what you’re doing right now is going so well for you. But I don’t like limiting myself to just one thing. I take a lot of risks because my fans want to see variety in what I do. What crazy fool do you see singing rock one day and R&B the next, taking on this role and that, other than me? It’s not like I’m an explorer or something. (laughter) But in the end, I’ve found happiness in enjoying the variety of choices that life brings. There are a lot of things that I enjoy and like now that I didn’t really expect myself to be doing in the beginning.”

Whether it’s his fans or a natural inclination that keeps him going, Kim Jaejoong seems like the type of person who enjoys challenges. His first album ‘WWW’ was of the visual rock genre, which was once taboo for idol singers, and was a bold choice that showed him at his best. Haunting melodies created with rock stars like Yoon Do Hyun and Kim Bada, smokey make-up, and a skinny figure draped with Saint Laurent-esque clothing fit Kim Jaejoong so well that the whole genre seemed to be made just for him. “I feel most free when I’m up on that stage by myself. But that’s not to say that being the most free equates to being the happiest. A JYJ performance is one that we create together, but being alone on stage gives me the freedom to do whatever I like, even if I want to sit or lie down during a song. If you think about it, acting is contained within the character and camera angles that you’re given. It would be nice to be able to play whatever character I’m given with a wide range of facial expressions while still keeping the essence that makes me unique, but I’m not that good yet… (laughter) I’m still not at the point where I can say that I feel free when I’m acting. You have to work hard to become a character when you’re acting, but music, whatever the genre, lets me be exactly who I am.”

In the interview that lasted around an hour, the most brought-up topic was of course, his fans. Although most stars will form a close bond with their fans, we think it’s safe to say that the connection between Kim Jaejoong and his fans is quite special. Despite a problem with an agency that kept him away from broadcasted shows and a conflict with a couple of fans, that connection seems to be stronger than ever. “My parents will probably be heartbroken if they hear me saying this, but I’m considering not getting married at all.” But like many idols in the past, won’t his fans’ passion and love begin to fade over time? “Of course, a lot of my seniorshave given me realistic advice on this issue. ‘Popularity doesn’t last forever, so work hard when you’re young and make a lot of money.’ (laughter) It’s true that when we were rookies, we were basically given a manual that said we should tell the fans we’d be together forever, even if it was a lie. But as more time passes, the sincerity between us has only grown. There are times when even I hate myself a little, but they’re the only ones who will love me for who I am, no matter what. Receiving that love has naturally fostered an absolute trust in them. I’ve never wanted to sacrifice myself for someone else, but they are the only people I’m willing to throw a little bit of myself away for.”

Being called a ‘Hallyu Star’ is bound to bring about some prejudice. But Kim Jaejoong is the kind of person who would rather get to know strangers than to hide away in his dressing room. When the photographer told him he resembles the Japanese singer and actor Tomoya Nagase, Kim Jaejoong immediately looked up photos of the Japanese star, and shared funny videos with the photographer. What matters as much as skill in his line of work is a glowing personality. His earnest and proactive attitude is something he’s fostered from a young age. Though he was the youngest in his family with eight older sisters, he was never raised to be spoiled. “We weren’t that well off, so I never received pocket-money from my parents. I didn’t understand the concept of receiving pocket-money once a month, so I got a part-time job delivering newspapers when I was in the 6th grade because I wanted to buy snacks and toys like my friends. But my parents scolded me because they thought it was a dangerous job… (laughter) Anyway, my family taught me that if there was anything I wanted, I had to work for it. That’s the mindset all my sisters had, and they went on to graduate college, get jobs and get married.”

Although he said that he prefers to go drinking with guys because he enjoys talking for two or three hours at a time, even being called ‘(cheong)gukjang-nim (Mr. fermented bean soup)’ [T/N: ‘Cheonggukjang’ is described as ‘구수하다’ in Korean, which either means ‘tasty’ in terms of food or ‘down to earth and engaging’ in terms of the someone’s personality], he also said, “Of course, I enjoy having a drink with women as well.” He’s the kind of guy who will say with no hesitation in his voice that his most treasured possession that he keeps locked in a safe is not money, but a letter and a 2 dollar note he received as a gift, as well as his contract. His stories that are filled with jokes and laughter seemed to have an undercurrent of seriousness because they reflected his scary but relatable concerns. “I have a habit of asking myself, ‘Are you happy?’ Actually, there are so many questions I ask myself that it’s hard to keep track of them all. (laughter) All I need to do is just focus on myself and what I’m doing right now, but I find myself worrying about other things like why someone did this, or what’s going to happen next. It gets worse when I’m taking a break. I tend not to take breaks because my mind is more at ease when I’m physically worn out. Whether I stay busy by meeting people, drinking or just staying up all night for no reason. Recently, I thought about what I own physically, and what was meaningless waste. I went through my stuff and ended up selling a few things. I realized that they were useless to me. That’s the kind of thing I think about. (laughter)”

Source: [imagazinekorea]
Translated & Shared by: dongbangdata.net

3 thoughts on “[TRANS] 150127 Harper’s Bazaar Interview – The Prejudices And Jokes Of Kim Jaejoong

  1. Thank you for taking the time to translate this whole interview! I’ve been seeing translated bits here and there but not the full interview until this. ^^

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