Ay the super fan has been ill, but for the love of SeungGi, she still managed to translate this super long interview at lightning speed! A million thanks to her for her hard work and dedication!
Lee Seung Gi refuses to be the ‘Muscle Man”.
He is the well-known and very popular ‘Nation’s Younger Brother’ and ‘Prince of Smiles’. On August 25th, he will come to Singapore for the first time for his fan meeting so that the local fans can experience the “the King’s” charms.
For this event, Lee Seung Gi took some time on the evening of August 6th to conduct this exclusive interview with Singapore’s U-Weekly so as to bring him closer to the fans of Singapore.
Date: August 6
Time: 7 pm
Place: Oh Joong Seok Photography Studio, Yeoksam-Dong, Gangnam-Gu
The Changes as an MC
UW: When you were a host on “Strong Heart” and “One Night 2 Days”, how much and what kinds of improvements did you make as an MC?
SG: People in Singapore watch “Strong Heart’ and “One Night Two Days’ too? Do they understand the conversations on the shows? Wow! The MC is the host of the show. He has to think from the points of view of the guests and create a spontaneous, relaxing atmosphere for the guests to talk freely. This is a big responsibility and I have to be well-prepared.
UM: Did these experiences influence your personality?
SG: Compared to the past, the biggest change is that I have learnt to listen to other people with more sincerity and empathy.
UM: Currently, your focus is on acting, singing and performing. Have you considered returning to host a new show as soon as possible?
SG: Oh….no, that was not the real intention. It was just a matter of timing. We had planned that I was to leave “Strong Heart” and “One Night Two Days” at the agreed time. And as more and more Korean artists are going overseas, I also started thinking about expanding my career abroad. Starting a few years ago, fans overseas have asked me to visit them but because I had to host the two shows, I could only spare four days a week. That was not enough for an overseas trip. Coincidentally, at the same time, I decided to take up “The King 2 Hearts” . So, people thought that I withdrew from the two shows to focus on acting. But that was really not the case. In the future, if there are any good shows, I will definitely return to hosting again.
Maintaining his Uniqueness
UW: Since Brilliant Legacy in 2009, you have been labelled ‘Nation’s Younger Brother”. As a 25-year-old young man, are you embarrassed by this?
SG: It is not very embarrassing. In Korea, being called ‘Nation’s Younger Brother” means a person has gained the love of many people. I am very grateful that I am called “Nation’s Younger Brother’. But I am 25 and not many people still call me “Nation’s Younger Brother’, especially after I played a more mature, manly role in ‘The King 2 Hearts”. Very few people now call me ‘Nation’s Younger Brother’.
UW: Then, maybe, you want to be the “Prince of Smiles”? If you had a choice, would you want to be “Mr. Sexy”? Do you think that since most people pay more attention to your handsome face, they have overlooked your well-toned physique?
SG: No, no. Recently, so many Korean artists have been showing their muscles and ‘chocolate abs’ that it seems to have become a trend. Bodybuilding is hard work and there are already too many “chocolate abs’. A person without muscles can actually be more unique. Haha. To me, the style and the figure that exude from a well-dressed body are more important.
UW: You have often been regarded as a model son, student and brother. Does this give you pressure?
SG: I can’t say that there isn’t any pressure but I don’t give it much thought either. I am not a pretentious person. As long as I don’t break the law, I think it is ok. Keke
Learning About Acting through “The King 2 Hearts”
UW: This year, although the ratings for ‘The King 2 Hearts” were not high, there were good reviews on the plot and script. Personally, were you disappointed with the results?
SG: When the ratings are not good, the actors will obviously not be happy. At first I thought that we had the best actors and director for this drama and the script was also very compelling, there should not be any problems with the ratings. But this is not your ordinary romantic comedy. It is a story about the marriage between a South Korean prince and a North Korean military officer. The audience might find it hard to identify with such a political story. God knows why the ratings were low. But I had no regrets as I learnt a lot through this drama.
UW: Being the King/Prince in this big budget drama seems to be very different from the roles you have played in previous romantic Korean drama. Did you intentionally try to become a serious actor through it?
SG: No, not intentionally. Honestly, I have always wanted to take on a role of a king. Haha. Being a king is really cool! Although I did not purposely want to play a serious character, the script about North/South Korea gave the impression that it was a serious story.
UW: How did this drama affect you? In the future, will you try other different roles?
SG: Really, this drama is a turning point for me. Before this drama, I was really nervous about acting. For instance, during ‘Brilliant Legacy’, before every shoot, I tried very hard to memorize the script and I acted according to what was required. So, when I was shooting, I really did not feel like I was acting. Going into a shoot was like going into an examination hall. I had a lot of pressure. But after ‘TK2Hs”, I have learnt to interact with the other actors, and I could make everyone at the studio happy and light-hearted. I have not been in a lot of dramas and I want to try any roles or challenges. As long as it is a good script, I am happy to try.
Admitting He Has Good Vibes with Women
UW: People say that it helps to be a good-looking actor. Have you ever struggled between being a handsome actor who only has to do roles that befits his image or making more efforts to change the image you have in people’s minds?
SG: Hahaha! You know, there are too many handsome men in Korea and I’ve never considered myself good-looking. So I never had this struggle.
UW: Among all the actresses that you have worked with, with whom do you have the best vibes ?
SG: I think I get along very well with women in all my dramas. Han Hyo Joo from “Brilliant Legacy” and I are of the same age. So, we worked well during the drama. She is a good friend that I still often keep in touch with. Shin Min Ah in “MGIG” is the dream girl of many Korean men. I was happy to be working with her. Sunbae Ha Ji Won is one of the best actors in Korea and I learnt a lot from her. During this drama, I realised how important it is to interact with other actors in a scene. After working with her, I felt that my acting has improved.
Cannot Sing Love Songs to Get a Girl
UW: In real life, when you see the girl of your dreams, will you boldly pursue her? Or will you wait until she has expressed feelings for you before you make a move?
SG: If I meet the girl of my dreams, I will try to make her fall for me. I will boldly pursue her and honestly express my feelings for her. I will not wait for her to make a move.
UW: You are so good at singing love songs. Will you use those love songs to woo her?
SG: Hahaha! I will not use that to get a girl. Even if I sing, she will not believe that the feelings are coming from my heart. Singing love songs on a stage and singing love songs for love are different.
UW: Can you visualize how your love story will turn out in a drama/ movie or MV? How do you wish it would be?
SG: I like romantic comedy, something like ‘Mr. and Mrs Smith”. A couple being ‘enemies’ should be a serious matter but it can still bring joy and happiness.
UW: Do you have a ‘plan’ for happiness?
SG: Just like what I am doing now, working hard to get the support of the audience. Since I joined KBS ‘Donghaeng’ 3 years ago, I have been helping the less fortunate ones. I am happy to see that they can overcome hardship and difficulties with our donations. I hope that in the future, I will continue to be able to take care of the people around me.
…… [I'm skipping some parts (the writer seems to think the epilogue is her venting corner, which is not to be expected from a professional reporter).]
After liaising with the manager, we confirmed to meet at 7pm. Right before the interview, two codys gave me 4 sets of clothing and asked me to choose one for the interview. The management of the top star was also very meticulous…
Before the interview, I thought he would be pretentious. But after the interview, I realized that he is everything a top star should be. For example, he was very natural and friendly with the press; he tried to give an answer to every question from different perspectives; he was direct, open and did not give standard answers. After the interview with me, he had to go and change clothes for another interview.
Being a top star can be tiring.
English translation by Ay, special contributor to Everything Lee Seung Gi