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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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thanks for posting the interview.. i really admired Kim Joon now. and the song is great :) Anyone knows where i can get their full album?

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i like kim joon....coz everytime i see him...his getting more hot. and cute....hehehe
i think his kind in person.....
and he gets more appearances in BOF now...

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i've really grown fond of Woobin as BOF went on, it would have been great if his character got his own story, but KJ did a great job with what he was given.

i believe he mentioned calling GHS noona on Happy Together.

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Kim Joon is definately growing on me more and more each day..
At first, I definately thought that he didn't match up with the hotness of the other F4 members when I started watching BBF. (To be fair, I was dazed by Jun Pyo's gorgeous build, blinded by Ji Hoo's perfection - and, well, I passed out everytime Yi Jung smiled... so I guess I never really fairly looked at Kim Joon).
However, now, even though I still don't think he'll ever be in the others' league looks-wise (he comes close though), he's become cuter in my opinion. I don't even know when he started to grow on me, but he was just 'there' one day.
I love him in interviews. He's got 'something about him' and I think that he's so well spoken and charismatic - it's really got me seeing him in different light every time I see another episode of BBF or interview..

And who doesn't love his terrible-yet-cute 'hip-hop gangster' phrases, eh?

x

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I enjoyed reading the interview. Kim-joon was very engaging in the article and it didn't feel 'scripted' and short like most ask and answer questions you read.
Really made me like him more, ha ha. Of course, the multiple images helped as well. XD

I keep thinking he is mixed because of the Japanese vibe I get from him but that's probably because I saw a lot of T-max dancing to Happiness. XDD
He has nice biceps, LOL. Cute.

I wish the best for him now and in the future. ^^ Look forward to hearing more about T-max and him (Rumor he was going solo?).

Too bad he didn't get a lot of air time. It would've been nice to delve more into Woobin's life and see more of his potential in acting.

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i always see him as a guy who will lend you a shoulder to cry on. he seems very sweet. i wish he will be in more acting project in the future. im happy that he got known since in bbf he is like a forgotten character or something. no girl for him:(

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Thanks so much for the article. I love Woo Bin... but I'm definitely loving Kim Joon more

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its nice to see a guy acknowledge his flaws and try to change them. NOW THATS A REAL MAN. you dont see these too often =)

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i like Kim Joon..he's so charming .i like the article and the fact that he's insightful when answering questions, and not afraid to admit his flaws...too bad he's so underrated in BBF.Hope he gets more projects...

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I love Kim Joon. I hope he can further his skill in acting and then take on a major lead role of the serious romance drama. He is very much like a prince on his own.

Why he always mentioned so much about Kim Bum ( as comparison ). He did several times during the variety show or talk show.
They are two different characters.
Bum is sweet looking and talented but I find his acting in BBF is way overboard.

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love the article.. feels like he's more or less like me!

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kim joon is my favourite..i don't know why but he caught my attention since first..i feel he is charismatic and humble guy..i really like his modesty that min ho has mention in bbf special f4,"kim joon's modesty is too much!"..bwahaha

kim joon you rock!i love you~more n more everyday

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:D he's growing on me... a lot :)

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Thanks for the article. The translation is exceptionally well and thorough. Although Kim Joon is the neglected character of BOF I feel he is a very good actor. His short lines never fail to make me laugh and love him more. I wish he had more screen time but I hope to see him in future projects. This article made me feel more connected to him and see that he is putting his best foot forward.

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I think out of all the F4 boys i like him the most - its just a real shame that his part was so sidelined. There could have been more to his role. I'm more interested in hearing him sing now, but i do hope to see him again in a drama and a role that has more kick. :)
Thanks for the article ^^

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ah.. joonie!! need i to say more?

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Thank you so much for the article and the translation! But now I'm confused, Every bio I read about him on the internet says that his birthday is on February 3, 1985. Lol.

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I'm from indonesia, I hove he had long shoot in next BOF ....................

love u

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Thanks for translating and uploading the interview about KJ. I always liked him in BBF though he had smaller parts than the rest, however for me, he wasn't outshined by the other members, instead he grew more and more gradually which was quite fascinating for me since it wasn't an easy task to be recognized amongst the rest of the glittered casts.

I love the interview also. It made us to know him better in a real life, what he wants in his future and so on.

Anyway... I really wish to see him more often either on film or on his music career.

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This was SUCH a eloquently and beautifully written article. I'm sure it has a lot to do with your excellent translating as well! Thank you so much!

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26 year old or 24?
Thank you for the translation.

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@71, Kim Joon's birthday is February 3, 1984.

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If found him as the cutest guy of F4, after Joon-Pyo!
His smile makes me sick. Oh my good how can be a guy so cute and so sweet?

I willl get him

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big love for KJ!
big thanks to javabeans!
^o^

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when i first watched BBF, kim bum caught my attention, surprisingly on the end part i fell in love with kim joon's personality... i search more of him in the internet. and to findout kim joon's life behind the camera is very interesting,.. i also find him sweet....he's very adorable!!!

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ocen kraciviy malcik...ya lublyu cebya
go..go..go..kim joon

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god bless you more blessing s to come for you and other f4 members...may we request you to sing i love you oh thank you in the tv live..........

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hi.................................................... how are you there?????????

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hello!!kim joon! . .know wat!? i'm ur no.1 FUN . .i love yah! .keep up d good work!take care . .

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wee.
love you kim joon ! :]]

wait.
still kinda confusing.
when is kim joon's bday?

february 3, 1985 or february 2, 1984 ?

grr.
:))

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....kim Joon hi....
hope you can go here in philippines heheeeh.....
you have many fans here and im one of them hehehe...

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Hi Kim Joon,

You are so hot. Take care of yourself.

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Hello!
Kim Joong smile is so cute.
Paradise song is very good.
i like paradise song.

I want to meet you.
Take care of yourself.

Have a great day.

Bye Bye!
:)

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THIS DRAMA IS THE BEST DRAMA FROM I BORN TO NOW

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hi kim joon..u're so cute..lyk u much..muah..i lhub d way u smyl..stay handsome as u are :)

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hei joon, kamsa hamnida, u have many fans joon
mine too, Lee Min-Ho also a lot and Kim Bum also Yun
dinner later? see yah

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ang gwapo mo!!!!
hope to see u!!!

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amongst the F4 I like Kim Joon and Kim Bum. KJ gave justice to his role since his real life personality seems close to the character he played that he came across naturally...i think he is somebody to watch in the future. in another site he was labelled as multi-talented... i totally agree...he has the makings of a sensitive actor and he sings and dances well...i have become a fan... more on him please!!!

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After being so addicted to BOF, Kim joon really catched my attention...he's a good looking guy, talented and wooh what else can I say?? I do like him in many aspects. Hope they'll find tym to visit Manila.

Janice

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hellllooo..................KIM JOON....... annyong haseyo.... i hope you can come to TERENGGANU.....kamsa hamnida

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Annyeong hasseyo!!

Is kim joon and kim hyung joon has the same name?

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Damn!! I love Kim Joon from the 1st time I read his article in some magz I found on the web, but read your posting It makes me love him more!!
His very humble and mature, a hardworking guy too.. ...
and reading his other interview that said he can't dance, he should see his performance himself, cause he definitely can dance&it a real good dance too, in my opinion of course.....
I was hoping that he can always be like this...
I can't find any reason the ladies won't fall for him with this kind of personalty!!!
Hope the best for him, so he can achieve his target on acting and singing.....
love him sooooooo much .........................

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....
hi!!!! kim joon..
hoo000... God well i meet u soon,, i like the way you act and perform u know what am idolizing you so much..!!! ur so very handsome...!!! kep up always a good work, God bless!!!!!!!!! if u want to be ur friend just find me her 09296858043 or in my YM zeckdone_maha. tc.

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even though my comment has been months late..

i love kim joon!! even when you compare him to the other F4 members..i will still choose him..why??by just simply reading the articles you will see how humble he is..and how wonderful his personality is..i like all the parts of the interview.

even during the 1st ep. of BOF he already caught my attention..

I'm hoping to see him again in more drama..

he is simply hot but lovable..

Stay sweet and humble Kim Joon!

all of your fans will always love and support you!! like me..HAHA

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jooooon i really love you

keeeep goinG :P

your the best actor everrrr..!!

every body love you in the { middle east }

you have done a good job in bbf

youuuuuuuuuuuu are really cuuuuuuuuuuuuuutiii

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i really really like kim joon he's so charismatic !! actually in the first movie that i watch boys over flowers, i dont like him because all i want is kim bum he;s so cute..but you know what i have a bestfriend that she have a couzin boy that look likes kim joon so much !! they all the same !! i think i can say that they are twins.. funny isnt?? :) but its true.. and when i saw her cuz that looks like kim joon i fell inlove to kim joon!! i really really like him so much because now i know that hes so handsome and lots of charisma and i think that in all of the bof kim joon is the only one who is so much handsome than the rest.. :)) and now i finally made it !! my dreams come true to have a boyfriend that looks like bof and he is the cuz of my bestfriend !! how amazing !! :)) but i want to say that i was so admire to kim joon much!! i always watch him in the youtube and i always look at his picture in the computer.. :)) ahehe.. i like his face.. so perfect to me like my boyfriend.. and when we go to somewhere all the people look to my boyfriend bec they all know that my bf is kim joon.. :))

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i really like you kim joon..
hope that you know me.. im your admirer here in the pinas !!
i love you kim joon !!
mwaaapxxx!!!!!!
just call me bella a cuty girl who admire to you so much............ ^^

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great interview.. yep he seems to be so kind hearted and down to earth!

i love kim joon!

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Kim Joon, You are super-super actor!!! You are very beautiful and lovely guy! I love U! I think, I'l see U in other series, films, dramas and etc. I wish You more Success, Big Love (with your girlfriend or wife))), more Awards, friends&fans, strong Health and Long&Happy for Life!!! :-* You are the BEST. With Love from Kazakhstan!!!

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hey wat u hav tried to improve in ur accent and enunciation juz labor like tat in acting and u will be one of the best actor of South Korea. U too were awesome F4

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