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Kim Joon lives life from the center

After putting up that Jung Il-woo interview yesterday, I realized what a fantastic netmagazine 10 Asia is (which is where the interview came from). That site is a trove of great interviews, and I’m eager to go through their archives and perhaps post up some older interviews (the site seems fairly young, so they aren’t any truly “old” articles).

First up is this 10 Asia profile on Kim Joon, which was published back in January, after he had first attracted notice for playing Woo-bin in Boys Before Flowers.

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Kim Joon: My Name Is…

My name is: Kim Joon. Birth name Kim Hyung-joon. When I started as an actor, I changed my name a little; not a big change, but something to make it easier to remember. I grew accustomed to it right away because my T-Max bandmates always call me “Joon!”

I was born on February 2, 1984. In Boys Before Flowers, I appear in a lot of scenes with [Kim] Bum, and we’re five years apart in age. I’ve always been the youngest, but all of a sudden I became the eldest, which was awkward. [Laughs]

About T-Max, rapping, and training for a kpop music career —

I recall my stage debut as a singer vividly. It was July of 2007, and the first performance was a live broadcast. I was in the middle, and the choreography started, but I was so nervous I lost my rhythm. Thinking of all the practice I’d put in till that point, I did cry a little offstage.

To become a singer, I was a trainee for about four or five years. There were lots of times when (Shin) Min-chul hyung and I rehearsed together and did guide recordings [demo recordings] for the songs written by the songwriter hyungs in the office. That experience really helped a lot. After (Park) Yoon-hwa joined, the three of us debuted about two years later as T-Max. Maybe it’s because we went through tough times together, but the three of us are as close as blood brothers.

Because I don’t have an optimistic personality, it’s difficult for me to take charge proactively. I became a singer after going to a songwriter hyung’s office and learning from him, and I auditioned for the drama on my management’s encouragement. However, when I decide to do something, I think of what I have to do to achieve that.

The other members knew I had auditioned for Boys Before Flowers, but we found out about my being cast in a newspaper report. I didn’t want to tell them when it wasn’t confirmed, so throughout the process I didn’t say anything.

I’m called an old soul a lot. I can’t do this now that I’m so busy, but when I was younger I read a lot of books, and I’ve always been an overthinker. [Laughs]

Through writing rap lyrics myself, within the limited time and restrictions, I tend to choose words to convey as much as possible. It’s also a habit of mine to pay close attention to the words and expressions I use.

My voice is low, and combined with a bit of a nasal tone, my enunciation isn’t that good. But as I practiced rapping, I’ve learned to cover up the worst parts of my enunciation, by accentuating certain parts or emphasizing others. That kind of work as a singer also helps with acting.

Regarding acting and Boys Before Flowers

Song Woo-bin’s rap-talk and English lines were created after I was cast. Because we couldn’t have all four F4 members be too similar, each of us were given distinctive character traits. In real life, it’s not like I’ve studied abroad and I’m still very awkward with acting, so I’m very glad that there are people who enjoy watching.

In terms of difficulty, it’s that I have to match up to the standard of F4. These guys take on unique activities as their hobbies. I usually just exercise and do simple sports like basketball or soccer, so it was difficult trying things I’d never done before, like golf, tennis, horseback riding.

On location in New Caledonia, our schedules were so tight, it was a struggle. There were a lot more restrictions than when filming in Korea, and because we were overseas, even little problems would come up, like with the food. However, because of the overseas shoots, the actors really bonded. Even when we weren’t filming, we had to stick together. [Laughs] That’s why if you look at the scenes that were shot before then, you can see that we were still awkward around each other. At that point, the extent of our relationships were merely knowing each other’s phone numbers.

I think F4 is likable because of their particular kind of naivete. In real life, they might feel embarrassed or pressured, but because they can be simple-hearted and sometimes make mistakes, viewers see them as cute and feel for them. If you try to act arrogant in real life, you’ll definitely stir animosity. Their appeal is that although they possess a lot of things, they all have their dumb sides too.

A lot of people ask what I’ll do in the future, whether I’ll choose between being a singer and actor. I always have the same response. I want to do both. I think it’s a little ambitious of me to say that when I haven’t yet proven myself in either, but even if it’s difficult, I don’t think it’s impossible. They are both appealing fields. Oh, I think T-Max will appear on a music program soon. I’m looking forward to standing onstage with the other members after so long.

 

Things are getting more and more interesting

Everyone pays attention at the edge. And that someone on the edge, for the time that he shines in front of the camera, is fully immersed in the role he is playing. Song Woo-bin of KBS’s Boys Before Flowers, played by Kim Joon, is on the other side of Gu Jun-pyo (Lee Min-ho)’s shoulder, trailing a step behind Yoon Ji-hoo (Kim Hyun-joong) surveying the situation while pushing the edge of his lip and displaying his characteristic smile. Even when he shows amusement while their constant companion So Yi-jung (Kim Bum) is involved in a problem, rather than raising his voice or getting worked up, he merely says one or two words in his low voice. Aside from the amusing “bad hip-hop English” he tosses out occasionally, you could almost see him as F4’s “internal leader.” He might not draw everybody’s attention, but once you do take notice, he makes you look twice. His appeal isn’t that he shines brightly from the center, but that he gently guards the corner of Boys Before Flowers.

 
A 26-year-old young man who judges himself objectively

However, the Kim Joon I met in real life isn’t soft or refined. A short-sleeved shirt reveals a slim body underneath, and slightly tired-looking eyes appear rather sensitive. Whatever question is tossed at him, he replies with words that seem as though they’ve been written down very carefully, and he listens to analysis of himself so objectively, almost to the point of coldness, that I feel the need to check that this young man is really twenty-six. However, his sharp points don’t make others uncomfortable, unlike the prickly thorns others can have. Rather, it’s like he has a finely tuned antenna that he uses to read his own feelings clearly. Perhaps that’s why there’s no apparent sense of discontent when he says, “I may be the least experienced in terms of my acting career, but ultimately all four members of F4 are friends. That’s why when we’re on set, we even call each other by our characters’ names.” ** That’s because what this young man needs most right now isn’t a friendly hyung to take care of him, but a sunbae [senior] from whom he can watch and learn.

(** The implication here is that Kim Joon, as the eldest cast member — minus Gu Hye-sun, who is his age — normally would command respect purely based on age/seniority, even though he’s the least experienced. Someone who is several years older than his co-stars would expect to be called hyung or sunbae in a tone of respect, but it appears that Kim Joon does not want that and encourages them to speak “on the same level,” so to speak. In a separate interview — perhaps it was the F4 Talk Show Special — he explained that he started to accidentally refer to Gu Hye-sun as noona, because all the other actors are younger and called her that. However, that’s technically wrong, since they’re the same age, and she started to call him oppa in retaliation.)

 

“Watching my acting is still extremely embarrassing”

However, no matter how well the end of that antenna is polished, as someone acting for the first time in his life, what he portrays in front of the camera must be difficult. Furthermore, this is different from taking the stage once to perform something one has been preparing for a long while. It’s a whole new world for him, adapting and becoming familiar with a drama character in a process that exposes oneself gradually.

“When you’re onstage, the audience’s reaction comes immediately. But when I’m standing in front of a camera, I have no idea how my actions will appear and that makes me even more nervous.” Even when watching the monitor, when he’s not watching to catch a mistake in pronunciation or the angle of a hand but rather to get a grasp of a subtle expression or action, he says he’s extremely embarrassed to watch his acting. “I’m sure everyone’s like that, but the more I see, the more the flaws seem to stand out in relief. Like when you look in a mirror and only see the ugly parts.” It’s refreshing to hear his bashful admission, in a world that’s filled with people who disregard their flaws. Furthermore, the sensitive look on his face is cleared by his clean, laughing expression.

He calls himself “an ordinary guy just like others my age,” but Kim Joon’s energy isn’t by any means ordinary. He says, “I’ve never borrowed a manhwa book before. I first read one for the Boys Before Flowers audition. But even though it was kind of uncomfortable, I found it had an appeal, in that it made me curious to know what was going to happen next. I found it fresh and entertaining to see how the male lead character meets a nice girl and his feelings undergo a change.”

However he may have gotten his start, Kim has a strength that sends him searching for the answers he wants. And that strength won’t take him to the edge, but right to the center of a drama himself. No, it’s as though he’s already living his life at the center of his world, as a music-loving rapper, and also as someone who won’t stop in his desire to become an actor. The future looks more and more interesting for this young man, who lives life from the center.

Published January 21, 2009
Written by Yoon Hee-sung


Via 10 Asia

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You know, I wasn't a big fan of Kim Joon, but these articles really make him grow on me. While he's not the best looking of the F4 (don't attack me, fangirls), he's surprisingly charismatic.

Thanks for the article, javabeans!

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He seems like a really down to earth person, I do hope to see more of him in the future...

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I found that really interesting (:
The pictures were really cute too.
Thanks javabeans.

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I really like him and his character in BOF. He has a sweet, mature side to him and his character is a 'peace promoter among the F4's'. I also think that even though he has such a small part he was great and given a chance to grow, he will definitely grow to his fullest potential.

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Ladies, please, may I have him?

*sigh*

:P

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I really like Kim Joon. He seems really level-headed and down to earth and well spoken. I hope to see him in more projects in the future.

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he is so hot

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You're right Javabeans, the interview is indeed interesting..( And the way you translated it made it even better! ). I would like to see more like this in the future.. Kim Joon seems interesting person, and I like all the F4 boys, on and off the BBF. They all have unique personalities, shown from their answers in the interviews. Did the site also interview Hyun Joong? I want to know about him more, I think he has fascinating personality, being said as 4D personality ( I don' t really understand what exactly that means :p ), his answers are always 'weird', and that's fun. I wish the boys all the success after BBF ends. ( And I hope they'll get enough rests too! )

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"although they possess a lot of things, they all have their dumb sides too" Hehehe I laughed when I read this part, I don't know why but it sounded so funny! But that's a good way to think about F4. Kim Joon is a cutie-pie :)

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Great interview. =] Kim Joon seems really honest and down-to-earth.

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"Lives life from the Center"..... i like that.

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KJ caught my attention even before BOF started... I though he's more goodlooking than the main character... But later found out from his interviews that he doesn't only have the looks, he's got a good head on him as well... I really love those interviews he gives, very insightful... His intelligence flows out from the interviews he makes... He really seems much older than his age when he asnwers questions about himself and what he wants with his life... Thanks for posting this javabeans...

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I really do love Kim Joon the more I find out about him.
I think he's so level headed and the way he answers questions in such a refined way makes it hard to believe he's so young.
I agree with the author that its as if he's planned and written his answers.
As well as the fact that although he doesnt have a big part in BOF, but when he is shown, he really draws you in, there's something appealing about him that I cant really place.

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i always found him pretty good looking..
then i got attachedd to Lee Min Ho.. hahaha.

but i find Kim Joon a good speaker. saw his interviews, and he speaks so well.
and as ALL u guys said..
he seems really down to earth.

hwaiting.!

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thanks for posting and translating Kim joon's interview! :) I like him in Boys Overs Flowers. I hope he archieve even more sucess in the future not only with T-MAX, but on acting too. :)

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totally enjoyed this interview and the jung il-woo one you posted earlier. I'm guilty of thinking of celebs as knowing only how to do music or dramas and knowing only how to say simple, things- just not being very deep. These interviews wonderfully reminded me that these celebs have their own thoughts, fears, and way of looking at things- and they are surprisingly eloquent...and normal.

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Wow, this was a good interview.

The more I read about him, the more I come to the conclusion that as much as I love the rest of F4, I think Kim Joon is the one I'd like to actually meet in real life. He seems so very down-to-earth and forward-thinking. I can't believe he's only 26!

I hope he gets more drama offers in the future.. I'd love to see more of him. ^^

Random: You should do the Eom Gi-joon interview from 10 Asia. I really liked him in The World They Live In, even if I lost interest in the drama itself..

Only if you want to, of course. ^^;

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Love me some KJ. At the start of BBF, I definitely found myself liking KB more only because he's so obviously cute. But with every scene of horrible emo overacting, I like KJ more and more and he appears more and more attractive to me. It's nice to know that he's so down to earth and solid in real life too.

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He seems like a very humble person. =) Ahck, I love Kim Joon! =D

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Kim Joon <3 Even though he doesn't have much parts, he acts very well for a newcomer. He can be cool at times :) My favourite scene of him was when Jae-kyung came over when he was eating breakfast with Jun-Pyo and he imitated her "ah-ah" thing (trying to get Jun-Pyo to open his mouth so she could feed him) So adorable ^^

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Thanks for the post!!!

We can't help but want to know more about this guy! Thanks for supplying us with such goodies!

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Sarah...I love you for translating all these interviews.
I can't believe how much I enjoy reading them.
Thank you so much.

" he started to accidentally refer to Gu Hye-sun as noona...
and she started to call him oppa in retaliation."

Hehe...always find myself smiling reading the interview...
Kim Joon might not have the most screen time but he managed to leave a very good impression...hope to see him again soon.

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Thanks for translating this interview of Kim Joon!!! :)
Even though he has the smallest role out of all the F4s, after a few episodes, I was like "Who's this guy?". He's definitely the interesting type that makes you take a second glance. He comes off charismatic and has a quiet confidence that's really appealing. I hope Director's see his international appeal and cast him in interesting films.

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Thank you for the translation, when i saw the header and the picture of this article I thought: We will see more from this netmagazine.... then when i continue reading I realize that indeed has great interviews....thank you....

He looks hot in those pictures...

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He really seems very humble & I'm glad to learn from this interview that he's interested in doing both acting/singing! He's really handsome & cute! I like all of them in BBF! More power to you Kim Joon!

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Thanks for the article. I really enjoyed it. I liked the part where they refer to him as the quiet leader of F4. When I think back over the episodes, I can see how that could be true. I wish the writters would have developed his character more. Whenever I am watching BBF, I always wish for more scenes featuring him.

I think it is a shame that he is just now being noticed. He is 26 years old. Will he be doing his military duty (if not already done) in a few more years?

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yea i agree with others that this article makes him grow more on me
which is good!:)
im kinda like him haha
over analyzing things and pessimistic haha..i hope he continues to act!:)

oh and does he have the same name as one of the members of SS501? I mean his original name.

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@27: yep he does have the same name as a member of SS501. lol.

great interview! i hope his acting career blossoms. i'd love to see him in the future.

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Love him. Thanks for the translation.

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@27 and 28,
Actually, according to javabeans, Joon is Kim Hyung Joon while Ji Hoo is played by Kim Hyun Joong. They sound almost the same, but the spelling and pronunciation is different in Korean. It's easy to confuse.

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@27 and 28,
Sorry, my bad. I just realize you are talking about baby from ss501. Yeah. It's the same name.

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thanks....may i have the link to the site to check out other interviews..

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I've always thought that out of all the F4, he's the best at interviews. His words flow so wonderfully, like he had previously rehearsed.

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I really do like kim joon and woobin. And it's true, he doesn't shine from the center like gjp, but he keeps them together. And at first you just glace at him once and feast your eyes on the center, but then he's the kind of guy that you have to give a second glance to. And, it doesn't hurt that he's sooooo handsome!

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What a man! Totally a great, smart, thoughtful and intelligent man.

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he's handsome and charismatic :))) plus years of intelligence going through him!

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thanks for giving Woo Bin some love, javabeans!

great interview! and I really, really wish him the best of luck and hope to see him again in the future

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I am oddly rooting for him in BOF, meaning...I treasure every single second he shows up. I am very much hoping to see more of him in the future, not so much for his look, but for his acting work. I think he has potential. Thanks for the article, javabeans!

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he seems very mature, the way he speaks actually reminds me of jungmin of ss501, they're so good at it, almost like professional announcer
judging from hyunjoong's words, seems like he's a fun guy
thank you for the interview javabeans, i like 10asia stuff, they have great photos too, just way to generous on watermark

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yay kim joon! he's growing on me more and more ♥ his mature intelligence comes across in interviews like these, thank you for sharing! definitely someone i'd like to see more of. a very refreshing, down-to-earth guy. :)

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i actually liked him! i wished he was given more parts...besides getting all that engrish lines T.T

it woulve been cool if he had his own story too
but i hope he continues acting :)

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Joon has the same name as the member from SS501! LoL
He said in a variety show that if people describe him in a "bad" way, it would be as Mr.Bean. After I heard it, I see "Mr. Bean" which is horrible because he's good-looking -__-

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thanks for sharing this interview....what a revelation...love his way w/ words. Charming:) his looks doesn't hit you immediately, it's the kind that grows on you. I think he has alot of potential in acting because of his "old soul" personality. I hope to see him in a movie or drama & music stage again.

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I really want to see Kim Joon on another drama that will show his full potential! He's my second fave among the F$ and he is sure has "it"!

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I completely agree with you the articles in 10Asia are awesome. This is the second time you posted one, right? The insights are not run of the mill and somehow you get a different perspective of the artist's character. I hope you post other artists that are my fave. Kudos to the writers of 10 Asia.

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Thanks for the translation of the article! I like Kim Joon in BOF and it's nice to get to know more of him through this article.

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I love 10 Asia too. Their in-depth interviews are great. I have a feeling that people who are making this webzine are the same people that used to make "Megazine t" which I think no longer exists.

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Such an intelligent and sensitive guy. Hope he won't change =)

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how i love me some Kim Joon..hehe..when the drama i didnt have a preference..they were just f4 to me...but then as I got into it, Joon Pyo was y favorite..cuz duh he's the main character with Jandi...but when i started to take attention to the F3...WooBin was the way to go..of course his hipgrish was questionable, i found it cute and then he became my favorite. He seemed so carefree and collected. Cus the other 3 sure had problems...lol...but the more i saw him the more i like him..the more i liked him, the more i wanted more of him onscreen (which i didnt get) but what can i say...he's adorable..lol..Kim Joon as a person is someone i would actually like in real life..lee minho is just that hot guy imo..^^ i wrote too much

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i was watching BOF just now and woo bin is the only guy that stood out. i mean, yeah, junpyo and his onscreen charisma, jihoo and his ethereal beauty, yijung and his oh-so-killer dimpled smile...woobin actually is really the one that caught my attention the most from the start. never mind the bad english, but he is like the tower of strength, commanding an air of respect just by being there.

and from this interview, i have higher respect and admiration for kim joon as a person.

and that is what i call hot.

maybe that's just because i like 'old soul'. HAHA.

and he is boyishly cute in some pictures.

omg, what m i doing. HAHA.

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