69

Drinking interview with Kang Ji-hwan (Part 1)

I told ya I’d have some goodies coming up, didn’t I?

IS Plus is one of those lighter entertainment news/gossip sources, but one thing I like is their series of “drinking interviews,” which are pretty much exactly like they sound: The reporter goes out to eat and drink with a star for a long interview.

This interview came out last week (May 29), and I’m splitting it up into two parts since it’s so long. Reading it, I have to again note how refreshing it is to see a big star like Kang Ji-hwan being so baldly honest. He doesn’t shy away from being truthful, when most other stars have been trained in the “polite answer.” For instance, many are taught to give vague platitudes like, “I was fortunate that things worked out well for me” or “The ratings don’t matter, it’s the work I enjoy,” or “I can’t take credit for that.”

While I believe some actors truly don’t care, I’d bet a fortune most do, so it’s enjoyable to see Kang Ji-hwan frankly admitting he cares what people think about his work, wanting box-office (or ratings) success, and being okay with giving himself credit when a job is well done.

 
“After four years, I’ve left behind ‘Geum-soon’s husband'”

The power of Level 7 Civil Servant is impressive. It doesn’t fold under impressive competition, and this weekend it looks to break the 4 million mark for total viewers. It left Old Partner far behind and has pulled in the top score this year. In the center of this A-list storm is Kang Ji-hwan (32, born Jo Tae-kyu). In the film industry, there are more and more people recognizing him and his rise.

Overflowing with confidence, and sometimes told that he seems arrogant, this man has a striking appeal. Because of his abundant curiosity, he’s earned a nickname for being curious. I spent six hours sharing eight bottles of soju and studying Kang Ji-hwan. Right now this man seems clear-headed, but a lot of alcohol flows through his veins.

 
“The distributors say that Korean government agents are scary”
 

When talking about Kang Ji-hwan, one drama not to be left out is the 2005 series Be Strong, Geum-soon. It was so popular, the broadcast station couldn’t leave the drama alone with ratings above 40% and extended the broadcast three times. Naturally, Kang Ji-hwan became famous.

However, things weren’t always so good. He took on a bit part as Han Ji-hye’s boyfriend in his debut in the 2003 drama Summer Scent, and because of a contract problem with the broadcast station, he had to quit You’ll Find Out (2004). He also had the novel experience of appearing as a sticker photo in More Beautiful Than a Flower as Go Doo-shim’s dead son.

He did grumble with his manager, saying, “Others take the elevator, so why are do we have to walk upstairs?” but his positive energy began to show itself gradually. With the success of Capital Scandal and Hong Gil Dong in Japan, he’s risen another step to being a Hallyu star.

His two films Invited and Rough Cut met with better-than-expected results. He says, “I said I would give acting a try until I turned thirty, and if I didn’t make it by then I would quit, but like a lie my turning point came to find me at twenty-eight.”

If you retired at 30, what would you have done?

Kang Ji-hwan: I would have continued studying design, or run a business. I’m the eldest of two children and I should get married, and I wouldn’t want to be financially incompetent.

Was Level 7 Civil Servant‘s initial goal for 7 million?

We said that in keeping with the “7” in the title, but our real number was 3 million. We didn’t want to hurt our investors. I’m so relieved that we were able to earn back the money for those who invested believing in me and Kim Haneul.

What do you feel about beating films like X-Men, Thirst, and Star Trek?

The nice thing to say would be that we were fortunate, but it felt good. [Laughs] I was curious whenever a competing film would come out, so I went to watch all of them every Thursday matinee. When I saw X-Men, I called Haneul to tell her, “It’s okay, I think we’ll win,” and Thirst is aiming for a different target audience. I was extremely pleased to hear that U.S. distributors had been asking, “What kind of movie is Level 7 Civil Servant?”

Audiences burst into laughter at the scenes where you say, “Look here, bleep” and “that bastard director.”

That was unexpected. I feel both sorry and thankful to Ryu Seung-ryong sunbae. In the pojangmacha scene, I was too centered on establishing my emotions that I couldn’t look after my sunbae. The scene where I collapse after saying, “I used to be innocent” was an ad-lib, but he accepted it all. If it had been me, I probably would have scolded me a lot. He quit drinking alcohol and drank soda instead, but he’s a sunbae who works with you all the way.

You go back a long way with Kim Haneul. When you were starting out, you shot a CF for an international phone together.

I was her school friend in that. Following the drama 90 Days’ Time to Love, this is our third project together. Of course, Kim Haneul didn’t even remember that I was the guy in her CF. These days, she teases me saying, “You’ve sure grown up.”

If you’re that close, wouldn’t you develop romantic feelings?

That’s not an easy thing. Haneul went down to Gangwondo today with the movie staff. I’m very fortunate with female co-stars like Sung Yuri, Han Ji-min, Han Ye-seul and others, but I don’t know how I should act to start dating them. [Laughs]

Do you drink alcohol?

If I get along well with a person, I can stay up all night. A few days ago, I met with a film company CEO, and that night I drank until I blacked out. I’d do shots and if the people next to me put down their glasses I’d get upset, and I like moving to second and third rounds. Two years ago, I was sharing a table with Seol Kyung-gu sunbae and he suggested having a drink, and the next day I was in a cold sweat because I couldn’t remember a thing.

Is your introspective personality because of image control?

When I was just starting out, I was overly cautious and timid, but after drinking freely with the staff once, the next day the set felt really comfortable. I thought, “This is right,” and made an effort not to avoid drinking gatherings after that. I found I could increase my drinking tolerance.

 
“I’m a hottie in Dobong-gu”

One of his drinking habits is to leave his empty bottles scattered around. This day, too, he grabbed the hand of the ajumma who’d come by to collect the empty bottles. Kang Ji-hwan says, “The workbooks of bad students are blacker” and explains, “I have to see the empty bottles like trophies in order to enjoy my liquor more. It feels like something’s left behind.”

 
When you were in school, what kind of student were you?

I was class leader every year between second and sixth grade, and I was even president of the whole school. From middle school, I started to on a slightly shaky path, and by the time I was in high school, I’d progressed to hanging out in soju rooms. [Laughs] I often went to a bar for students in the early evenings.

 
He said that if he could have a time machine, he’d like to go back to middle school and make lots of memories. He’d spent so much time alone that it felt like a disappointing gap in his life. On the other hand, in grade school he made his rounds to all the classrooms organizing a performance of “The Little Fire Engine.” At the time, he took the role of Kim Tae-young, but made his friends audition.

 
Looking through the internet, I saw you even had the nickname of Dobong-gu’s Hottie.

On the day that I shot a CF with Haneul, MBC’s Section TV program came to do a segment. Maybe the PD waiting for Haeul was bored, but he asked to interview me. He asked, “Do you think of yourself as a hottie,” and I answered, “In Dobong-gu I am,” and that bit aired with its own caption.

How did you come to take the role in the art film “Invited”?

After I was cut from You’ll Find Out, I stopped getting work. I wanted to act, but I couldn’t get cast and it drove me crazy. At the time it was going from a blank slate to a lead role so I dove in. The production budget was 130 million won [about $100,000], and I didn’t know it would go on to get such good reviews later on. It was a movie that helped a lot when shooting a daily drama.

I heard that it was your idea to do the train station promotion this time, taking it all the way to the Jeju Island appearance.

For some reason, I don’t like how other people work. I like doing my own unique methods, and I met with ordinary people holding the “Level 7 Jackpot” signs at the station. At first I was afraid and embarrassed, but I then I became immune to it. [Laughs] Next time, I want to try doing it on the way to a screening event in Ulleungdo or Wando.

Your personality stands out.

It’s because I got my start later than others. Back for the musical Rocky Horror Picture Show, I even once got a henna tattoo like the main character in From Dusk till Dawn. To get permission from the director, I deliberately matched the timing for when he passed by, then I took off my shirt and put on a real show. If I hadn’t had confidence in my dancing and singing, I probably wouldn’t have gone that far. [Laughs]

Your activities in Japan feel different.

Outside of fanmeetings, I also seek out gatherings for fifty or so people. I take cell phone pictures for fans one by one, and I spend all day hanging out and having fun. We don’t try for that mysterious vibe. If they like me, what can’t I do for them?

It seems like you’re the type who loves yourself.

More than loving myself, I think I have a strong sense of pride. When I was going to acting classes, every month they would have us do monologues, improv, self-introductions and such and score us from 1 through 150 and post it on the wall. I learned then that if you didn’t prepare you’d be shaking on test day, but if you had even one card up your sleeve, you could stand tall.

What type of character do you want to take on in the future?

I definitely want to try a villainous psychopath role. An actor is drawn to characters whose emotions go through a lot. I’m trying to discover a type of character that “only Kang Ji-hwan can do” but I haven’t been able to figure that out yet.

Have you ever had a drama register nearly zero in the ratings?

90 Days’ Time to Love, Capital Scandal, and Fireworks all were in single-digits. I was fully immersed in my characters, but people disregarded it, so I felt really upset and frustrated like crazy. I felt guilty for not being a star and wanted to beg forgiveness of the producers and my co-stars.

Have you ever been uncast for something or had a role taken away for nepotistic reasons?

I’ve come close a couple times, but never uncast. If a PD was deliberating over a problem like that, I requested an open audition, to go up against him. Every time I look at a script, the image starts playing in my head. I have confidence that I have the skill to beat anybody when it comes to character analysis or ad-libbing.

Who have you made the most promises to?

I was most annoyed by people who said, “Ji-hwan, hurry and become famous so you can help me.” If they really value me, shouldn’t they hold out their hand when things are tough? There are a lot of people who eat sirloin steak when things are good. The people who are with me to the end are those who eat ramen with me when things are tough.

 
Part 2 of this interview coming shortly…..

Via IS Plus

RELATED POSTS

Tags: ,

69

Required fields are marked *

NOOOOO! He's MINE!
you already got Yoon Kye Sang and Lee Jung Jae, so move aside!! :D

But thank you for translating the article. I love Kang Ji Hwan!! ( flashing the sword toward Javabeans )

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Big star? Sorry, Never heard about him until now!! ^________^ Haha..."X-man"!!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

JB, this will get Samsooki's blood pressure rocketing, along with several others.

Better prepare for the 'mine, mine' run of comments....lol

Thanks for the lengthy translation post. Hope you get some rest after your trip.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

JB, thank you for translating and for posting KJH interview. i love him since Geum son. i look forward to the second part. hugs.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I have a strange urge to watch "More Beautiful Than a Flower" to see his sticker photo. hahah

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I really enjoyed that! Thanks! :)

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I love this. I love him. Sigh..

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'd eat ramen with Kang Jihwan any day! Thanks for translating! Great to see such a down to earth and intimate interview with such a great actor.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

That's a good idea – interview over Soju shots. You get more honest answers when they're relaxed... and buzzed. Do these long interviews just involve alcohol, or can it be over coffee too? What if the celeb doesn't drink alcohol? I'm just curious...

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

"The people who are with me to the end are those who eat ramen with me when things are tough."-- I totally loved this!

I haven't seen any of Kang Ji Hwan's dramas but I will definitely check 'em out. The guy is very open and his responses very sincere. Very interesting personality.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think I've seen every single thing he's in (except for this new movie) and I really want to wish him congrats for the success of his movie!
His talent is finally being recognized

:)

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks, JB, for doing all this work before your trip, just to give as something juicy to read. :D

@ Jihwan

I haven't had to time to watch MBTAF yet, but the Noh Hee Kyung / Kim Myung Min combination makes it a must-see.

@ Samsooki

KJH: "I definitely want to try a villainous psychopath role."

All right...even (not yours!) Hwannie is waiting for Jajangmyun Space Odyssey. :P

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

thanks for translating the interview. i like how honest he is.

in the last pic, what does the sign say?

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I really like his truthful nature about how people should stick with you through the thick and thin, friends should stick with you whether you are well-known or a mere newbie/nobody in the world.

best wishes for more future successes for Kang Ji Hwan

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I am quite disappointed with myself..... I clicked the link.... I just couldn't help it... ;)

Thanks for the interview... it was a fun read.. even more so with the great pictures!
He seems so honest and fun.. quite a drinker too.

Now waiting for part 2.... :D

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

These interviews seem kinda of dangerous(?) hehe. Imagine an actor who can't hold his liquor will spill when when he's drunk. Maybe that's what they have in mind.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

hahaha, that makes me smile. thanks javabeans

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks for translating the interview!

And I didn't realize you title some of your images. My mouse was hovering over the first picture and then "MINE" popped up! kekekeke :)

Now I feel compelled to go through all your old posts and see if you have any hidden messages...

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Omo, he is so sweet and cute, I want to drink with him :D

Thanks for translasting

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Not fair, you already have Yoon Kye Sang and Lee Jung Jae.
Remember JB, sharing is caring.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

thanks for the article, jb........
didn't know that 90 days, CS and Fireworks were in the single-digits in terms of ratings......
CS is a surprise since it's my favorite out of all the dramas he's done.........
I thought the story was extremely well-written, directed and acted!

looking forward to part II of the interview and also what JH's next drama role will be..........
-----------------------------
hi jinkzz!!! ^__^

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

i'm giggling just from looking at these pictures hahaha.

cute that he called kim haneul after watching wolverine hahahaha

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I love him! He's great! Thanks for the post! ^_^

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Whoah!!! Anything about Ji-Hwan ssi will drive me out of my lurker status.

OMG, OMG, OMG! This is the scenario I dream myself to be in with my(OUCH, did I just recieve a a fierce spinning back kick???) Kang Ji Hwan! If he offered me a drink, I'll meekly respond with my name, hanjanman yo. And then we'd be on du jan, se jan, ne jan until we're counting byeongs! Ji Hwan ssi and me, we're really on the same radar. We do have a connection(Samsooki and bspanda, are you reading this?).

Looking forward to the 2nd part JB noona. Hope you don't make us wait too long.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks for this goodie, Javabeans.

Can anyone shed some light on why he changed his name from Jo Tae-kyu to Kang Ji-hwan? I know many actors do this, but to my "limited knowledge of Korean name" ears, one name does seem THAT much "better" than the other. (It's not like his name is Kim Sam-sooki.LOL)

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

8 bottles!!! Geez! That put a warm glow on that lovely face.....Love soju myself, but can only handle 2 bottles at best.

It's refreshing to read an unguarded/unscripted interview!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

NO!!!

You are SUPER GREAT in CAPITAL SCANDAL. If only you know.

People who didn't know or heard about him has MISS such a big talent and deal in K world.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

^Ditto, he was fantastic in Capital Scandal, still my favourite amongst his other projects. ^^

He's always been so frank... especially when he talks about his expectations of himself. But he's been doing great lately. He's been on a successful streak with 2 great dramas, 2 great movies... luck's definitely on his side nowadays..

Can't wait for Part 2!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

My kids favorite meal is ramen. Now I know why ... they want to be like KJH.

Thanks for the interview. Love him love him ... he's so adorable, please don't get married yet ... the adorable thing goes away ...

Thanks!!!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

i love kjh..i love kjh....i love kjh...thank u dramabeans...

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

love it love him love it love him LOVE KANG JI HWAN!!!!
One of the best and most humble people!

*really wants to see Level 7 Civil Servant NOW*

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

OK JB, i give up, i give all KJH & YKS to you, you can have them all to yourself... :P
thanks for the recap n interview, can't wait for part 2...

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

thanks for the article translation Javabeans....As always, love Ji Hwan's honesty when answering the questions as well as his humility.

K4Ice... i saw 7 grade last week and i really enjoyed it

Hi Lidge

...can't wait to see what ji hwan's next project is going to be.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Mwahaha, Beans, just so you know, I am not giving up my Jihwan without a fight!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

THANK YOU!! I love KJH, just rewatched Rough Cut. I can't wait to see My Girlfriend is an Agent... KJH is soo honest, that's what makes him more appealing. Very true to himself, and so amazingly hot!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

i love him <<33 espescially hong gil dong :)) my fave!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

thank you for sharing this interview......

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ok not even read any of the comments yet, will do after I post this....
Wwwwaaaaahhhhh!!!! (must hold myself back from uttering the m--e! word - so hard!). Had read another translated ver of this in Soompi - but Javabeans you rock! How can one not love KJH even more after this honest interview. Love him. See I did not use the 'm' word phew!

'I definitely want to try a villainous psychopath role. An actor is drawn to characters whose emotions go through a lot. I’m trying to discover a type of character that “only Kang Ji-hwan can do” but I haven’t been able to figure that out yet.'

SAMSOOKI!!! - He's talking about that role in YOUR space odysessy!
He must have heard about it in this blog! (if only eh?) Now remember I had volunteered way back, a couple of Open threads ago, to be on set dresser/make up artist to KJH AND Binnie OK?

Now back to reading comments.....

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

@12 hjkomo
"............Hwannie is waiting for Jajangmyun Space Odyssey"
hehe my thoughts exactly!

@24 hanjanman
'.....Ji Hwan ssi and me, we’re really on the same radar. We do have a connection(Samsooki and bspanda, are you reading this?)."

Hey hey hanjanman - I thought you were on my side to protect KJH from Samsooki's delusional thoughts on his and KJH supposed "connection"! Look
where that got Samsooki - hunted down. Now you too have a connection? @[email protected] Well as long as you know that KJH and I have a unbreakable connection then it's ok. :P

Speaking of which, where is Samsooki? Was expecting to see the creative genius of Jajangmyun Space Odyssey to appear here? Hmmm was he that scared of JB's threat? Not likely.....
Ooooh I know!
He has now taken a leave of absence from his day job to fully commit to working 24/7 on finishing the script so KJH can start filming ASAP!!! So considerated our PD Samsooki!!!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I lvoe Jihwan!!
He is my favorite actor...and man since Capital Scandal,

He is so natural, simple, intelligent, ordinary...and handsome :)

Thanks for the interview.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Huh!? He's the eldest son? I remember reading that he's the youngest child & is well known for his filial piety..
.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

funny thing about the "be strong" drama, it was the first drama i've seen with him in it and it was over 1 week of non-sleeping to finishg the 165? episode drama
my mom was watching it too~ insane
i really really like his personality
he's similar to me in a lot of ways as i can't watch my mouth in what i say
and i LOVE TO DRINk although im a total light weight and i do get upset when people put down their glasses to do "more important things"

:D
great guy great actor!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I don't see Samsooki's comment on this article. Oh..well, I guess he's not about to give up KJH so easily ^^

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I liked him in Hong Gil Dong, but I haven't seen him in anything else. I love the way his personality shines through this interview, though. I feel like he would be fun to hang out with, not a boring moment. Thanks for translating the article!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh your poor tiny liver !!!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Keenly waiting for Part 2 of the interview. Thanks JB.
I dont know what's in the second half, but in this section he mentioned many of his lady co-stars fondly, but he did not even mention Han Hye Jin his co-star in Be Stong Geum Soon, even though it was that drama thta shot him to fame.
I notice the same thing for his other interviews as well. Hmm...I feel sad...they dont seem like good friends ...they can't get along? Their screen chemistry was great....I got hooked on the drama & I am still watching it on Tv in Singapore. This is a repeat telecast airing on weekends. I hope to see them act together again, hopefully soon.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

omg, this KJH interview just made my day! thanks javabeans!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I like the last answer..."through thick and thin..."

And I had no idea Kang Ji-hwan was not his real name. lol. :p

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

@ bspanda and hanjanman.

Just you watch, Samsooki will suddenly pop up, with something SO profound we will all be dazed.
Now is he busy scripting ''Jajangmyun Space Odyssey'' or researching his ''Adoption Case for Hwannie''

Better prepare.......lol.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks for sharing! At least I get to know more about KJH now!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *