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Won Bin interviews about Mother, acting, and future goals

With Cannes over and the thriller movie Mother releasing this week, there’s been a lot of stuff in the news involving the film’s three main players: Won Bin, Kim Hye-ja, and director Bong Joon-ho.

Aside from Won Bin’s status as one of the hotties of the first wave of Hallyu (initiated by his 2000 tearjerker drama series Autumn Fairy Tale with Song Hye-gyo, Song Seung-heon), this role has been highly anticipated because he’s had such a long break from acting. In stark contrast to most heartthrobs who try to capitalize on fame as much as possible (cramming schedules with movies, dramas, CFs, and magazine shoots), then hurry to burst back on the scene after army duty by trying to hit the ground running, Won Bin has had a relatively sparse career, stayed out of the limelight, and resurfaced only sporadically in recent years as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.

Here’s an interview with the actor, who strikes me as very humble and also very aware of (perhaps even overly disparaging of) his acting limitations.

This is your first new project in five years. You had quite a long hiatus.

As you know, after I served in the military and was discharged and went through rehab [for a knee injury], I considered various projects, but there wasn’t one that made me say, ‘This is the one.’ I wanted a different feeling, but I kept getting screenplays that were a repetition of my existing image for soft and tenderhearted characters. I couldn’t pick a project, which is when I came across Mother, and the thought occurred to me that I didn’t want to let this one slip by me. Of course the director [Bong Joon-ho] and Kim Hye-ja were big reasons, but the character of Do-jun is one I’d always wanted to try.

But the center of Mother is the mother, Kim Hye-ja. As a big comeback role, your character isn’t as prominent.

Although Do-jun’s character is relatively small, I don’t think that’s the important point. Do-jun is a role that stirs his mother into action. Because he’s necessary to the film, I wanted to do it all that much more.

You must have felt some pressure with the huge names of Kim Hye-ja and Bong Joon-ho.

Of course, I felt it quite a lot. I thought a lot about how to get on with Teacher Kim [an honorific term for Kim Hye-ja] and the director, and that my acting shouldn’t fall short of the film. I also put my faith in the director and thought of not making things annoying for Teacher Kim. While working on the film, I felt both fear and enjoyment throughout.

Do-jun’s character seems quite difficult to portray. How did you approach and understand the role?

It felt like walking a tightrope — Do-jun is the emotional line that sets off the mother. I tried to portray him as a character who wasn’t easily grasped or contained. I don’t think I’m naturally disposed to being an actor, but I tried to completely immerse myself into Do-jun. Diving into the film was a hard task for me.

Were you able to find the answer to Do-jun’s character?

I aimed to be Do-jun in all instances, and not calculate, not be nailed down to a mold. There’s a scene where he urinates on the street. The director said, “For a kid who pees while standing in line at a bus stop, there’s nothing he can’t do.” It was from that point that I realized I could do anything. [Laughs]

It must have been helpful that you spent your childhood in the mountains and fields of Gangwondo.

I did think back to my childhood growing up in the countryside and that time of innocence, but the answer was really within the script. The director wrote the script himself and understands clearly who Do-jun is better than anyone else, so I talked with him a lot.

In your last film before military service, My Brother, you were in your twenties. Is there anything different now that you’re in your thirties?

Now that I’m in my thirties, I feel more mature and calm. I’m glad I had free time to think. I’m the type who likes to work slowly, so my only thought was to work on a good film without feeling the anxiety of needing to hurry.

I think of you as an actor who isn’t fully developed yet but who’s still growing. Does acting in many projects help raise you to the next level?

When looking at my career, I feel a bit sad that I don’t have many films or diverse projects. Since I’ve taken long breaks after each film, each time I feel like I’m starting over as a rookie again. It feels like a new start. I do think I’d like to work more than I have in the past. I’m not the type of person who can work prolifically and when I’m deeply involved in one thing, I can’t do something else. Once the film has wrapped and begun its promotion, I can breathe and read scripts for the next thing. I’d like to work more from now on.

You’ve been acting for ten years. Do you feel the need for change?

Maybe it’s because of the image given off by my appearance, but I’ve been stuck in younger brother roles and soft-hearted types. It’s not a good thing if I want to show a range. I want to show something different than what I’ve showed in previous roles, particularly given how long my hiatus has been. I’d like to move from the person receiving protection to a masculine role that gives protection, but still I ended up in a role that epitomizes someone needing protection. [Laughs] I haven’t done a melodrama since Autumn Fairy Tale, but now that a lot of time has passed, I’ll be able to express more, different emotions. I’d also like to act in a masculine noir.

Via My Daily

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his answers are so honest. i seriously like and respect him as an actor..not just as a fangirl crush. i hope he picks up more projects in the future and really, who can blame directors for giving him that same soft hearted character - he has such puppy dog eyes!

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Ahh he is awesome!

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"I’d like to move from the person receiving protection to a masculine role that gives protection, but still I ended up in a role that epitomizes someone needing protection. [Laughs] I haven’t done a melodrama since Autumn Fairy Tale, but now that a lot of time has passed, I’ll be able to express more, different emotions. I’d also like to act in a masculine noir."

I wonder if he is willing to play a role of an evil guy, against which protection is needed.

Not that he wouldn't be good in a 'protector' role, but Won Bin as the anti-hero might be just as interesting. Won Bin, breaking all character molds made for him, as a silky slimy teflon-coated no-good trickster who preys on the weak and helpless, a charming Lothario who interested in the hunt, rather than the consequences of seduction... a confident man, a confidence man, a man to be feared.... Then cast Kang Ji Hwan as a flawed but ultimately good guy protagonist against the smooth and cool Won Bin. Maybe cast Han Yaesul (한예슬) as the soul-crushed love interest, nearing the age of 30, who has just enough hope left in her, to try for one more relationship....

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WONBIN <3 I have to agree with engl, he just seems so soft-hearted himself that it feels natural for him to play such a character. He seems to be beyond wanting to play the typical cold chaebol-ish lead in an ordinary romcom/dramedy, but at the same time he isn't that complete as an actor... Most, most definitely looking forward to him acting more, now.

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Won Bin is my first love in kdrama history, so he always has a place in my heart. I'm so glad to see that he is still the sweetheart that he was back then. I will have to come back and read the interview. Just wanted to comment that I love this guy!!! I can't wait to see the movie.

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i still remember when he used to walk around with that dog in "propose."

"mother" is the movie i'm most looking forward to right now, more than "thirst" or "grade 7 civil servant" (?). i get chills thinking of the trailer and kim hye-ja's eyes and won-bin's facial expressions. it's going to be a great movie.

(i would also personally love to see him do an evil role...)

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I agree with Mie. I'm so excited for it than any other movie... and when i saw the trailer I instantly knew it was going to be good. Within only a few minutes... there was so much emotion flowing out of Kim Hye Ja.

I really look forward to Won Bin's comeback, and this interview made me like him more as an actor.

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Won Bin is so humble..I notice that every time i see him interviewed by media..

I think he will be the next great actor of Korea...He got the talent..
He chose many great roles-of course with such challenging character will improve his talent in acting..So i'd like to say: WAY TO GO WON BIN..

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Won Bin is as humble as always, but doesn't anyone here feel the interviewer sounds a bit rude? It seems like he/she is insinuating that Won Bin is a lazy, untalented actor who can only do small roles. I dunno, I think I'm just reading too much into the questions, and I guess it doesn't help that Won Bin is so modest and defenseless.

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samsooki #3:

"...the soul-crushed love interest, nearing the age of 30, who has just enough hope left in her, to try for one more relationship…."

that's hilarious.

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Wonbin so humble, mature and down to earth, unlike your co-star from Autumn Tale.

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aww he's so cute, ya his answers were honest.
He's an amazing actor, I would love to see him as the protagonist for once!
I've only see his drama Autumn something... and his role was amazing in that drama!
he's awesome!

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He never ceases to amaze me! I would like him to do something like "American Psycho."

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I love this guy! First saw him in Autumn in my Heart and then in Friends, a short drama, which was a Korean-Japanese co-production. And then in Propose, he looked so different as a reclusive person that my unni (who's a lurker in this site :-) ) did not recognize him.

I am looking forward to this movie. And I do hope he will get his wish -- to have more work offered to him and to have a chance to portray diverse characters.

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after so many years, he came back!

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He's still shy , honest and humble man..the ever boyish looking Won Bin! He did awesome movies..i cried in Taegukgi and My Brother and he was so cool in Guns N Talks..i cant wait for Mother!! Hope to see more of him !!

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In his thirties and still looking so fine? Hmph.... that's rather unfair.

Joking aside, he seems pretty honest and humble. I think I like him more now. :D

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Thanks a lot ! I love it very much.
Please keep reporting Won Bin's stuff :)

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When I think of Wonbin, the first thing that comes to my mind is "Wonbin is so sweet". He just gives off a pure, gentle, innocent feeling. Wonbin is still a country boy at heart. It's no wonder that he always plays the vulnerable younger brother who needs protection in his most famous films. I would like to see him play the Leslie Cheung character in 'A Better Tomorrow', maybe with Song Kang Ho as his elder brother.

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Oh this is so interesting! He sounds so...grounded! :)

I should watch more dramas/movies he starred in!

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WOW!! after reading this interview, it just makes me respect him even more. he's got such a humbleness to him that's seldom seen in celebs of his stature. i mean, he was shot up to stardom w/ Autumn Love and he's still quite mysterious.

i'm thoroughly anticipating Mother... and all his future endeavors. total fan... not just a fangirl.

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i love youuuuuuu won bin so much....
انا بحبك يا وون بن كتييييييييييير

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<3 to U won bin

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I love Wonbin! So happy to see him in a new movie! And wish him all the best. But really he should go act in a drama. Miss seeing him in the small screen. A role out of his comfort zone would be good. So hopefully he choose a good drama to star in too.

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how i miss won bin...
after 'Mother', i hope he would cast in better and better roles...
and i also want to see him play an evil character, a 'Chae Do-Woo' kind maybe, idk, i would love to see him smile an evil smile...

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Dear Won Bin.
looking back to your masculine role that gives protection as in Friends and in Autumn Tale,I think you're great and charismatic for those. Such character portrays you a mature, self-confident and warm hearted man and it treasures you more. Apart from those kinds of your acting roles, I think the dresses including with the hair style portraying a mature man make you look so attractive as well.
Have a fine moment.

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first of, welcome back won bin ssi! bogoshiposo! glad you're back in the limelight after a long break and hope your knee injury has been healed completely! i can't wait to see your new project Mother. i just saw My Brother a few days ago and my sister & i thought you deserved an award for your superb acting in that movie and sorry to say you didn't cause we were very impressed with your performance in that film. I saw Tageukgi as well and that film is one of my favorites as well and congratulations for winning the best supporting actor in there. welcome back & hope to see more of your projects.

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A total transformation from Mother to The Man From Nowhere. Cute and Clean to Sexy and Dirty!

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won bin is a very good actor! he's sincere in portraying his roles which is really important... he gives justice to his character may it be in drama, action or thriller... keep it up won bin!!!

I'm just thinking, does he consider playing gay roles?

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I want more films with Won Bin!

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I always encourage you

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