Many thanks to AY for helping with translations amidst her busy schedule as well! 😀
“Among all the dramas that I have done, this has the most intense ending”
The curtain finally came down for Gu Family Book, the drama which has dominated the leadership position in the Monday/Tuesday drama slot in the last three months. It was a bittersweet ending with sadness and happiness blended together, an ending which the male lead actor regarded as most intense and emotional.
During the interview, Lee Seung Gi said that Gu Family Book kept him so busy everyday that he did not even have time to feel its popularity.
“To begin with, the make-up was very time-consuming. And the filming took place mostly in rural locations. The fact that I could not even go home and have a good sleep was very stressful to me. At first, I had a tough time trying to adapt to the rhythm of a sageuk, especially when the emotions are usually much stronger in a saguek than in a drama set in modern time. It was really taxing to film so many scenes of fighting and killing with swords.”
In the drama, Lee Seung Gi is the son of the beast Wol Ryung and human Seo Hwa. Seung Gi worked very hard to make the fictional half-beast, half-man character convincing.
In order to make Kang Chi appear more alert and dextrous, he went on a diet to lose weight. He focused on expressing the emotions of Kang Chi. He put a lot of effort in his acting to allay the viewers’ doubts of ‘why Kang Chi would want to be human”. And the scene in which he cried and told General Lee Soon Shin that he wanted to become human is one of the best scenes in the drama.
Lee Seung Gi believed that the charm of Kang Chi lies in his imperfections. Kang Chi is charming when he is silly and not being serious. It is Kang Chi’s imperfections that makes him appealing.
To portray a fictional character, Seung Gi started with reality. When he was transforming between man and beast, he used up all his energy, even to the point that he became unconscious.
“I took the myth in the script as reality. When I transformed from man to beast, the blood vessels in my body seemed to have expanded and I was completely drained. In the scene where I met my mother, I was chained up. To make it look real, I acted till I passed out.”
When faced with the question, “Was it hard to snap out from Kang Chi?”, Seung Gi quoted the words of sunbaes Han Suk Kyu and Yoo Dong Geun.
“I once read the interview of sunbae Han Suk Kyu. He said he had never turned 100% into the character. I felt the same way. Some actors say that they get so involved in the character they play that they cannot come out of it. I am not very sure about this. Sometimes, I think that’s because my acting is still not good enough. But each actor is different. Yoo Dong Geun sunbae had warned me not to let the actor appear in my daily life. Like sunbae Lee Soon Jae , he can play several roles at the same time and still be able to adjust. In fact, the moment standing right in front of the camera is the most important.
Although Gu Family Book was the no. 1 drama in its timeslot, the ratings did not reach over 20%. Lee Seung Gi felt a little bit of regret but he said that was alright.
“Ratings are important but I think the ratings of the heart is more important. Word-of-mouth praises are more significant. The (KangChi) bracelet even appeared in elementary school vending machines. The drama has penetrated into people’s lives. Through Gu Family Book, I got a lot of new kid fans. Many children came to the filming location to see us and asked me to transform.”
In 2004, Seung Gi debuted with “Because You’re My Woman” and touched the hearts of all noona fans and was called ‘Nation’s Younger brother”. He started acting in KBS’ “Famous Princess”, followed by SBS’ ‘Brilliant Legacy” in 2009 and with “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho” in 2010 and ‘The King 2 Hearts” in 2012, he advanced further and became a matured actor.
“5 years after I debuted, everything was smooth-sailing. Drama, Variety. Everyone said it was my era. But it’s scary to even look back at that period of upswing. Whether it be variety or drama, achieving 40% ratings was not very difficult. I was not arrogant but I had that thought that, “such a result can be expected of me, no matter what I do.” But after TK2H did not reach expectations, I learnt to adjust that thought. Although it was frustrating, it was a test of my emotional strength.”
That explains it. Lee Seung Gi showed a bit of concern when he had to face the situation where everything revolved around him and yet he had to make others shine.
“Before Gu Family Book, I never felt that I had to push myself to the limit and at the same time bear the responsibilities. But the story in Gu Family Book was centred around Choi Kang Chi. I understood that I could make others stand out by how I interacted with them. Through Gu family Book, I understood that there are many things that the lead actor has to bear, including patience and acceptance towards others and the efforts to instil a harmonious filming environment.”
source: hankooki via nate
English translation by AY, special contributor to Everything Lee Seung Gi
Based on Chinese translation by 甜甜 @ baidu tieba