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Sung Joon: A brighter role next time?
by | January 20, 2013 | 60 Comments

The recent interview with Jung So-min came out at the end of last year, just as her popular cable drama Can We Get Married was heading into its finale. A new interview came out with her co-star Sung Joon just this past week, and caught up to him after he’d had a bit of time to deal with the end of the show and the aftermath of fan-love that followed from it. Not that he hadn’t earned lots of fan-love before, but Can We Get Married really seems to be the one to solidify his leading-man status and set him up for the future.

The interview for Movieweek:

I hear that the show wrapped filming on the first day of the new year. Has it sunk in yet that the show has ended?

“It hasn’t sunk in yet. I feel a little blue, too, now that there’s nobody around who used to be at the set all the time. This was a drama where I really felt the enjoyment of going to the drama set. It was a lot of fun.”

Is that why? Your face looks great.

“Ah, I’ve been faithfully going to the dermatologist.”

It’s not just your complexion, but I mean that your expression seems to have softened a lot.

[Embarrassed] “It must be because of the character of Jung-hoon.”

Can We Get Married seems to be the thing all women of a marrying age talk about. Could you feel the popularity of the drama?

“I didn’t really know about it, but one day my mother said in passing, ‘My friend likes you.’ My friends also told me, ‘My mom’s your fan.’ After hearing that, it felt real: Ah, so I’m in a pretty popular family drama that a lot of middle-aged women like.”

How did you imagine the drama when you heard the title?

“I didn’t get a sense from the title itself. I thought, ‘What’s that? Is it similar to MBC’s variety show We Got Married?’ That was all. [Laughs] When I first read the script I thought it was fresh, that the plot was unpredictable.”

As the drama went on, what moment was the most surprising?

“When I watched the first episode. I felt the subtle rhythm and speed of every dialogue exchange. No matter how great the atmosphere is on set, once it goes through editing that tends to fall flat, but I saw how the rhythm was kept alive perfectly and thought, ‘I know this is my drama and all, but it’s really entertaining.'”

The drama depicts the process from the moment of proposal through the wedding, and even though it’s fake it really feels like going through the process of preparing for a wedding. After experiencing that, did you have any thoughts about not wanting to go through it yourself? [Laughs]

“In the middle I did think, ‘Ah, I really don’t think I could get married.’ Jung-hoon’s pretty different from my own personality and this isn’t real, but I did think that it shouldn’t be this difficult. Of course, there were a lot of parts that were handled for dramatic effect.”

What’s the thing you felt was most extreme?

“The relationship between Jung-hoon and his mother (actress Sunwoo Eun-sook). I’m not as soft-hearted as Jung-hoon so I’m not the type to give up on something I’ve decided on because of my mother. I don’t even want to feel the sense of a difficult reality spoiling my love. The relationship between Jung-hoon and his mother-in-law-to-be Deul-ja (Lee Mi-sook) was also pretty extreme. I could understand what it feels to want to impress, and to want to become a trustworthy son-in-law. But when he’s attacked by his mother-in-law over the issue of his salary, even though it’s a drama my feelings actually felt hurt.”

Especially when the one doing the attacking is Deul-ja. [Laughs]

“It’s really tough to confront people like Deul-ja. You don’t hate her but you can’t make make sense of her, and she’s the source of stress and pressure. [Laughs] Off-camera, Lee Mi-sook sunbae-nim is really cool and impressive. One characteristic of great actors is that they also make their co-stars’ characters come alive. I’m still awkward at this but she helped bring me alive.”

There are fans who have come to like Sung Joon the actor thanks to Jung-hoon’s character, fans who haven’t seen your darker side. [Laughs] Are their expectations a burden?

“These days I feel a bit confused whether people like me, or Jung-hoon. It’s led me to think more deeply about myself as a person. Who was I, what kind of person? Was I originally like Jung-hoon, or not? In the past, since I had a strong sense of identity and felt strongly that ‘I’m reserved and stoic, I’ll do what I want to do,’ but nowadays I’m not sure. Who am I? [Laughs]”

Are people telling you that it’s time to take on a bright character now? Can We Get Married was a bit of an unexpected choice.

“No, not at all. Choosing projects is completely up to me. If I don’t want to do something or if I feel I can’t, I say so frankly. Because it’s my filmography, I feel I should be as honest as possible regarding my work.”

Did you choose Can We Get Married easily, or did you think a long time about it?

“I think that agonizing for a long time about important things is ultimately not a good thing. It’s a fairly brief process. I read the script and if it’s interesting I meet the director, and as we talk the assurance comes to me and I decide whether I want to do it.”

Of your projects, which did you take the longest to think over?

[Thinking a while] “Shut Up Flower Boy Band (tvN). It wasn’t anything big, but the title was kind of embarrassing. [Laughs]”

What changed the most about your mental attitude while working on Can We Get Married?

“Actually, it felt like I’d let my mind grow too relaxed so I’m working to get my mind back on track. After ending an enjoyable time on a good drama, I grew too comfortable. I think that kind of mental determination improves after overcoming difficulties — it gives you the determination to win, to prepare yourself to accomplish the task.”

By any chance are you the type who grows uneasy when good things happen? [Laughs]

“I change with the seasons. When things go well, there’s always that vague sense of unease asking, ‘Is this really okay?'”

Are you the type who has more certainty about yourself, or doubts?

“Um… I think doubts.”

“Doesn’t doubt have the ability to pull you down?”

“Of course that’s true, but you have to trust in people to keep yourself from doing that. For your own state of mind, you have to trust the people around you. You just can’t fall into the habit of leaning on them too much to keep you from feeling pessimistic. When I was younger, I had the attitude that I had to solve everything on my own. ‘You can’t be weak, weakness is poison.’ But looking back, it feels like those thoughts were weakness. After I let myself lean on someone once, it actually felt better. These days I don’t think of depending on people as an exposure of weakness, that this is what it means to live as a person.”

Before taking Can We Get Married, you acted in the indie feature Pluto, which hasn’t released yet. You play an extremely dark and cold character there — how do you think it’ll be when it’s released?

“To be honest, I’m uneasy. I worked hard on that, but if I hear that I did a bad job it’s bound to irritate me. It’ll be tough if the reception isn’t positive.”

You worked that hard on it [to feel so uneasy]?

“It was a tough project. But it being tough doesn’t automatically mean I worked hard. At the time I did my best and felt like I killed myself doing it, but is that the same as working diligently? These days I worry about a lot of things. Things feel confusing, and I feel uncertain about a lot of things.”

Genius Yoo-jin in Pluto was this way, and Choi Chi-hoon from White Christmas was also cold and dark. It seems to suit you well, and you could also say that it’s the easiest method of using the actor Sung Joon. That may be why it seems that the producers had an amazingly discerning eye to bring Jung-hoon out from that Sung Joon.

“Thinking about it now, it was a really good decision to take on the Drama Special Swamp Ecology Report. It was my good fortune to be able to play an ordinary, optimistic character. As soon as I read the script I felt i had to do it. Thanks to that, I got Can We Get Married. Director Kim Yoon-chul said he’d seen that and chosen me. Doing Swamp Ecology Report was my best decision of 2012. Thanks to that, I also got a KBS Drama Award for a one-act. To me, it was a treasure of a project.”

What if people are so in love with Jung-hoon that they want you to keep taking similar roles?

“Repetition can become poisonous, but if it makes people happy I don’t see why I should refuse a role just because of that. If I get the offer, I have to take it, what can you do? [Laughs] Still, I want to always be challenging myself with new roles.”

Via Movieweek


60 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. ninji

    Jung Hoon was kind of perfect, silly, cute, dorky.
    And I think I’ve loved all characters Sung Joon’s played, so maybe it’s just because it’s him, so adorkable.

  2. OMG

    the last picture is a mixture of sexiness and WTF-ery…..only someone like him could pull that off…..

    i thought this interview was nice…focused a little too much on the drama…wish they asked him some more person questions……like….
    do u like black women?, do u like smart women?, would u like a certain someone if i introduced u to her?,…..n it gets dirtier from there….haha

    • 2.1 OMG

      PS really liking the new DB headers…

      • 2.1.1 Danna

        Love them too!! had a pretty good laugh yesterday seeing the Kang Ji Hwan (in he Detective Cha crazy model getup) header with the title “Dramabeans: Gateway to the fourth dimension”

    • 2.2 Dongsaeng killer

      Lol at your questions! Nice 😉

    • 2.3 Khrisstyne

      I like the way you think. 😀

  3. Perevell

    Love this first picture 😀
    Sung Joon I’m with ya all the way, you talented adorkable one of a kind actor. be it cold and dark or sweetly awkward. 🙂

  4. Mystisith

    Nice actor. Good drama. Makes me want to check those Specials he has been in.

    • 4.1 Ash

      *Swamp Ecology Report* The name calls to me.

      I just finished White Christmas today. It’s worth a watch if you haven’t seen it. The ending could have been stronger, but hell, that describes most of dramaland.

      • 4.1.1 Mari

        I can’t find White Christmas anywhere!!!! I’m dying to watch it! I just saw the cast yesterday for te first time & starting spazzing… I want to watch it!!!!!

        • trotwood

          I wacthed it on dramacrazy.net. It is excellent. And I spent a bunch of time going. Wow, he’s in this? Oh, and he’s in this. Oh my goodness, he’s in this?!?!?

  5. Danna

    That was a pretty good interview from him…..Among the recent up and comers I like his pick of projects the best so far….I may be one of the minority but I though he was very green in White Chirstmas and while I loved him in SUFBB, I did think that he had was pretty rough around the edges there as well…. but he keeps improving with every project and it shows…can’t say I’m in love with Can we get married or his character there but like he says in the interview, I think its important to show a different side to him…..glad that he considers it important to pick challenging and different stuff…hope tha means he won;t be picking any more Lie To Me’s…..I hope to see even more improvement from him in the future and that he keeps picking good stuff

    • 5.1 Will work for sojourn

      Everyone was very green in White Christmas. Honestly surprised that they got acting jobs after that drama. I’m glad they did because they are all improving as actors. I thought Sung Joon’s rawness made his SUFBB character believable.

      • 5.1.1 Chandler

        I’m not surprised that they got acting jobs. While everyone was very green, I think they all had their moments where they showed their acting promise. The characters were all very compelling and thats partly thanks to the actors. Sung Joon in particular did a very good job in portraying his character. And I also thought he was spot on in Shut Up Flower Boy Band.

    • 5.2 Ai

      Ditto this. Loved his performance on his projects so far (minus LTM, but that wasn’t his fault, methinks), and reading this interview convince me that maybe he really is worth the attention. I interpret the resolute-determination-vibe I got as an assurance that he know what he’s doing. And to think that he’s not even 23~ *squeal*

      Waiting forward for his next work.

  6. Katie

    He’s sooo handsome, but I definitely am seeing a different side of him through this interview. I guess I also equated him like his character Sung Joon, even though I had seen him in Shut Up Flower Boy and Lie to Me.

    I can’t wait to see what he does next.

  7. LL

    I got to about episode 7 of this drama and got so frustrated I had to stop. I couldn’t watch these characters I barely liked mistreat and misinterpret each other so horribly anymore. The sister’s interactions with her husband and pretty much all of Jung So-min’s interactions (but especially with the mother-in-law) were particularly hard to watch. Those who finished it: does it get better? I don’t have to love every character but I also don’t want to damage my computer because I’m throwing things at the screen.

    • 7.1 ck1Oz

      I am one of those who started after episode 10 when I heard the ranting or ravings .
      Go watch it.I would say its easy to watch and I am an easily distracted viewer.I can stop in the middle of an episodes multiple times and rewatch it days later if its boring.This drama I went through 2 episodes in one hit each week..Just like that.Good acting and editing I say.
      Don’t have a pre conceived notion of what everyone is supposed to be behaving or saying and you’ll like it more.Its all those who wanted this or that who got frustrated I think because I was was at the soompi forum.

    • 7.2 canxi

      It’s a bit unsettling because it’s realistic. It’s dramatized here and there but I could say I could relate strongly to these characters especially Jung So Min’s in some regards. The over-all tone doesn’t change and is consistent throughout but I would say it is well worth a watch.

      If you’re looking for a fluffy, happy couple planning their marriage in pre-marital bliss it’s probably not for you. It’s frank and harsh but satisfying and yes, even sweet :). Instead of focusing on the arguing, focus on the characters and why they feel that way, is all I can say. If you do, you will probably see them in a different light.

      • 7.2.1 LL

        Realism is great, and I love nuance and honest complications. I guess I’m not looking so much for a change in the tone, but a change in the dynamics between the characters. I can only watch so many episodes of the mother-in-law testing Hye Yoon and informing her of whether she gave the correct response or not. That number of episodes is apparently seven. I just didn’t feel like there was very much movement.

        I don’t deny, however, that I feel that way partly because the existing dynamics were so uncomfortable to watch.

        • LL

          I will add, though, that there were things about the characters I really liked. I thought Jung So-min’s character was very interesting. She was a less lovable heroine in all the right ways: proud, defensive, and aggressive with Jung-hoon to mask and protect her insecurities. I thought the mother and mother in law were both deeply flawed in realistic and believable ways.

          I just couldn’t watch another episode with no power shifts in sight.

          • canxi

            I get what you are saying. The character dynamics shift a bit. Not really between the mother-in-laws but there are episodes where you see the characters understanding each other a bit more or sometimes getting one upped in a way, lol. Even if not soon, I hope you finish it. Maybe go through it slowly? One episode per week? lol

    • 7.3 kelinci biru

      That’s the different, I love every character but the brother in law (and i kinda understand where he came from). If you keep watching, let’s just say that everybody has their own reason why they behave like that, just like in reality. Or keep it and watch it again after your getting married process (if you havent).

      • 7.3.1 LL

        I am a huge fan of character-driven fiction. I like it when the conflicts between characters come from the differences in their circumstances, experiences, and expectations. I love it when there are no “good” and “evil” characters, when they each have reasons to act the way they do.

        So why didn’t I enjoy this drama more? It was just frustrating. Maybe it just isn’t for me. Maybe, as you said, I need to wait to watch it from the other side of marriage, haha. Thanks for your reply.

        • Enz

          Maybe you were like me.. I was really stressed watching those few episodes coz I felt like I was preparing for the marriage too! I was as frustrated and anxious as Jung hoon! And I got upset with hye Lin for constantly testing him too. But it honestly gets better.. Coz as you say, the changes come and there is learning from the experience. So, I hope you persist with it. It really was excellent.

    • 7.4 pogo

      I find the brother-in-law and Jung-hoon’s mom really frustrating, but people like the mom and mom-in-law ring weirdly close to life which is kind of why I find them even more frustrating, I guess? (and add Ki-joong to the list of characters I want to throw things at, even though Lee Young-kwang is HOT).

      It’s a good drama, and has pretty excellent acting, so I’d definitely keep watching if I were you.

      • 7.4.1 LL

        Thanks for your reply – maybe I’ll give it a few more episodes. The atmosphere and the acting were great. The character interactions and the pacing just drove me a little crazy.

  8. queencircles

    I love him. I need to watch that show. I heard good things.

  9. Carmensitta

    What a nice and professional interview! It’s good to finally have something that strays away from the usual “What is your type?” and “Do you like X more than Y” CRAP.

    • 9.1 Dongsaeng killer


  10. 10 kdramapedia

    I actually love it when he plays cold characters. I don’t want him to be typecast, but he does angst so well! I enjoy watching him on screen!

  11. 11 vix

    Can’t wait for his next drama <3

  12. 12 canxi

    I really love Sung Joon. He is a favorite of mine and I think he’s got potential to be so versatile. He’s very cool and I liked his answers here.

    I love him even more. Thank you for translating 🙂

  13. 13 kelinci biru

    Thank you for the interview. I love him. Because of CWGM, i tried to watch Swamp Ecology Report, but its too difficult without sub.

    anyway, i like him in this role and he have a good choice regarding his project (i even like him in lie to me, imagine that!).

    As i say above, i love every characters in CWGM. At time i dont like their reasoning or decision just as i dont like everyone around me. But most of the times, every decision is reasonable from each character point of view.

    Cant wait for his next project*

  14. 14 Arishia

    “These days I worry about a lot of things. Things feel confusing, and I feel uncertain about a lot of things.”
    These words make the mama in me feel concerned for him.

  15. 15 fishy2love

    Thank you so much for translating this interview! I loved Sung Joon as an actor since Shut Up: Flower Boy Band and always thought that he deserves being more popular than he is. I also watched Can We Get Married and I am glad that he’s receiving so much love! =)

  16. 16 saranga

    i loved can we get married! the writing was razor sharp and witty, and sung joon was definitely one of the best things about it. dude has so many things going for him—the height, the body, the hair, good face, even a fantastic voice. i think his voice will prove a really invaluable asset to him as an actor—there’s something very reassuring in his tone, and it helps him give off the impression of stability. there was a genuine warmth to his portrayal of jung-hoon, and i think his voice really helped that impression.

    ack i was so sorry to see that drama end. it was a pure joy to watch, from start to finish.

    • 16.1 Annie

      He’s also very ‘manly’ looking and that’s not all that common in the new crop (looking @ you, Jung Il Woo and Song Joong Ki). Here’s to hoping he goes far.

      • 16.1.1 pogo

        I did find that he and Jung So-min looked FAR too young for the age their characters were supposed to be in CWGM though (28) – there’s a scene in which some bitchy girl tells JSM’s character she’s too old to be wearing a strapless wedding dress, and I nearly died laughing because JSM is so young AND has the baby face on top of it.

        • canxi

          Did they really?

          When I start to feel that way, I always remember how I thought Lee Je Hoon and Im Ju Hwan were my age (21) and how they are actually 28 and 30 years old, respectively.

        • saranga

          i remember that scene too. they definitely did look too young to be 28. maybe 23, 24 if they wanted to make the characters a bit more mature. but they both did really well, so well that their youthful faces didn’t get TOO much in the way 🙂 i agree with the words though—it’s the youthful looking brides who look best in strapless gowns!

    • 16.2 pillowhead

      Man, I have to get back to CWGM!!! Sung Joon is so talented, plus who can resist his charm?!!! I completely agree with you about his voice. He has a deep, manly voice. The best in the industry (from what I’ve watched so far).

      • 16.2.1 enz

        a lot of them have got really nice voices. song joong ki is another. I like gong yoo’s voice too

        • pogo

          I LOVE the contrast between their grown-up, manly voices and the boyish faces – Jang Geun Seok is another one who always gives me a little shock when he opens his mouth.

      • 16.2.2 saranga

        i would check out coffee prince if you haven’t already! the male leads gong yoo and lee seon-kyun both have fantastic voices—gong yoo has a nice manly voice, while lee seon-kyun’s is really special. i’d love to sit here and concoct the perfect description of his voice, but that’d take awhile 🙂

  17. 17 kfangurl

    Sung Joon!! So likable regardless of what character he’s playing. Glad to see him receiving more and more love! <3

  18. 18 Enz

    He is such a good actor. Just finished can we get married last night. Excellent drama. Too realistic even if its dramatized. I felt as stressed as the young couple preparing for the surgery!! Loved sung Jon’s performance in it.

    • 18.1 Enz

      Forgot to say thanks for the translation!

  19. 19 Jess

    I didn’t watch “Can We Get Married”, but I saw him in “Lie To Me” and “Shut Up Flower Boy Band”, and I think he has potential to make it even bigger. I would love to see him in more projects.

    • 19.1 Enz

      It was on account of his performance in SUFBB that I chose to watch CWGM . That, and the fact that it w the same director for que sera, sera.

  20. 20 snow_white

    now shall i watch “can we get married” ?!?

  21. 21 biankoy

    I like him. The White Christmas boys are really growing up well and lucky for Sung Joon, he’s able to grqduate from highschool roles to leading man status. His scowl is so pretty that I love watching him brood or angst. I think I have to watch Can we get married so that I can see how is he faring in a cheerful type.

    • 21.1 sajatokki

      I feel like a proud mother watching the White Christmas guys get roles here and there.. Just waiting to see more Hong Jong Hyun and Baek Sung Hyun ;D

  22. 22 cheekbones

    Thanks, jb, for a Sung Joon article. I miss him (haven’t watched CWGM). Love the last pic.

    So now he has ajumma fans as well, huh ?

  23. 23 denise

    I sooo love the White Christmas cast!!!! im especially Sung Joon and Kim Woo Bin… sooo glad to see them in great roles so far.

  24. 24 damianna

    lol on the sufbb title. yeah, its kinda embarrassing even to me as a fan to kinda like tell other to watch it. cause its great n got some nice depth with plenty of heart-warming friendship but the title’s so…cheesy? sung joon is the one to watch. finished collecting all cwgm, gonna marathon it this coming weekend. weehoo!

  25. 25 Addylovesbwood

    Sung Joon’s come a long way and I wish him plenty success with his future projects.

  26. 26 bigwink

    I love this guy and his works.
    i find him mysterious so this interview is kinda brilliant, got to know him a wee bit better.

  27. 27 Dix

    He was great in the role. He felt so real so it’s interesting to hear him say he is different in real life. He is a very good actor.

    I like other young couple and the divorcing sister in-law. I hope they also grew bigger. I pretty much was watching for Dong Bi and her guy, I felt for her.

  28. 28 redfox

    I really like these “you cant twist me around your little finger” types. who do what they want but still doubt in themselves. great perception. I like his presence and characters. want to see him in movies some day. like a full-lenght intact project.

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