This is one of the longer and more comprehensive interview articles. A big thanks to jerseygirl0420 for her hard work in translating this! 😀
It’s been 10 years since his debut. Lee Seung Gi, (age 26), who is at the stage where he has gotten used to everything, had a special experience. Although he has made countless appearances in productions, this is the first time he has experienced the feeling of being the main character. What has made him so strong on the inside?
Last week, on June 25th, MBC’s Monday and Tuesday drama, “The Gu Family Book”, ended and Lee Seung Gi has moved forward definitely looking more relaxed than before. The reason was not because he had lost weight to the point of being unrecognizable. It was because he had learned how to empty out what had been kept inside. This emptiness has returned back to him as fullness. The nature of life is mysterious and profound.
“I don’t think the role of the bright and cheerful Choi Kang Chi set him apart from the crowd because he isn’t a character that carries weight like Wolryung (played by Choi Jin Hyuk) or Gon (played by Sung Joon). When I was together with them in scenes, I didn’t purposely try to stand out. That’s because it’s not something that would be good for both me and the drama.”
In the past, he thought that shining among the crowd was important. However, through “The Gu Family Book”, he realized the importance of teamwork with his fellow costars. In addition, he learned that respecting others was crucial in keeping the entire drama alive. He has developed an eye for seeing the big picture through this drama.
Yoo Dong Geun’s advice, with a fresh shock
“Yoo Dong Geun teacher advised me by saying ,”Don’t get possessed by charisma.” A character that is full of life and cheerful is hard to appeal to viewers. In order to avoid that, intentionally give the character a serious manner. It’s not necessary to be pretentious without any substance. To me, those words of advice hit me with a fresh sense of shock. Before this, my thoughts were very different from his.
Yoo Dong Geun accurately picked Lee Seung Gi as one of the actors who would think that acting in the reverse way would look sophisticated. Afterwards, Seung Gi’s thoughts changed. His wish to look good vanished into thin air. Of course he wanted to have a chic and fetching role to help him earn popularity, but what he learned was that qualities that could only be seen from the outside were not important. What was important was working with the cast as an ensemble.
In “The Gu Family Book”, Lee Seung Gi was in a position where he had to look after his senior as well as junior actors. Although in his past productions he was always the “maknae” (meaning the youngest) on the set, in “The Gu Family Book”, he had to look after both his seniors and juniors. Although he felt burdened, at the same time he says that it was an enjoyable task. More than anything, he worked with a younger actress for the very first time. He also said that he had fun for the first time as the lead actor.
“Because my costar was younger than me, she tended to depend on me. ‘This has to flow well’, ‘I can’t cause any inconvenience’ was what I was thinking as well as the thought that with this production, I couldn’t afford to fail.” Because Suzy was comfortable to be with, we were able to share all sorts of ideas. I was able to go all out with my acting and do whatever I wanted.”
Due to Suzy and Lee Seung Gi’s chemistry, they received the highest ratings from viewers. Viewers were very satisfied with Lee Seung Gi and Suzy’s teamwork. Even trivial skinship scenes were filmed after the two shared their thoughts on the scenario.
“Bad manner hands on Suzy, only a heroic sacrifice”
“When you’re feeling uncomfortable with your costar, one’s acting doesn’t come out very well. Suzy always made me feel comfortable so that I could do whatever I wanted. For example, if the script called for a scene with one kiss but I felt that two would be better to convey the lead character’s emotions, I shared my opinion with Suzy freely. Suzy took this well. Ah, but if I say such things, wouldn’t I be misunderstood? I think I will receive harsh comments again.”
Lee Seung Gi spoke frankly about his “Bad manner hands” scene which became the hot topic of conversation. In the drama, Kang Chi finds out that Dam Yeo Wool (Suzy) is actually a woman when his hand accidentally lands on her chest. What was the problem? After the scene, Lee Seung Gi instantaneously became the #1 topic on internet portal sites. He remained all day as the highest ranked search related to the scene.
“I expected to have severe reactions against me by (Suzy’s) Uncles, however I had no idea that reactions would be so extreme. It was the first time hearing all sorts of abusive language and insults since my debut. It was pure profanity. Haha. Screenwriter Kang Eun Kyung had sent me a text saying “thanks for your heroic sacrifice.” Ah, this was really a sacrifice.
More than anyone, Lee Seung Gi understood Suzy. “In the past, I also was called “the Nation’s Younger Brother”. At that time, the noonas’ (older women’s) chi (inner force or power) was very strong. Suzy must also be in a similar limelight. I think that Suzy’s fans became mentally stronger because of me. Whatever one does, it’s nature’s law for a pioneer to go through difficult times.”
“Having a deep relationship with a girlfriend, disappointed because it was never done properly”
Nowadays, it is difficult to see a trace of him as a younger brother. As time has passed and although he has aged, he has grown tough and manly better than expected. Thinking that it has been 10 years since his debut seems to surprise even himself. After this long period, there have been no shameful incidents nor has he been involved in any scandals. What is his secret to not having any scandals?
“I am also a person and if I said that I’ve never dated during the past 10 years, it would be a lie. However, due to my schedule, it can’t be helped that dating for me is different than a dating relationship between ordinary people. So it is difficult to form deep relationships. We may meet once every two weeks; after becoming neglectful, it was difficult to maintain a long term relationship.”
Lee Seung Gi expressed disappointment because he stated that he didn’t have many memories of dating. After living a very busy lifestyle, he says that his feelings towards dating have become dulled. He says that of course this doesn’t mean that his relationships with past girlfriends were taken lightly. However, he hasn’t fallen in love yet with anyone to the point where he earnestly has wanted to promise his future with. Now, he really wants to find true love.
Who will be that woman who can captivate his heart? Lee Seung Gi says that during the filming of “The Gu Family Book”, this matter was discussed with Yoo Yeon Suk (Taeso) and Sung Joon (Gon). He said that everyone had their individual preferences. Yoo Yeon Suk preferred a woman who sat quietly at home but knew how to make biting remarks. On the other hand, Sung Joon liked femme fatales. Lee Seung Gi preferred a radiant and energetic woman as his ideal.
“I want to take up the challenge as the MC of a new variety show”
However, for many years to come, whether he has the time to date remains doubtful. His plans include being involved in music and variety shows. Lee Seung Gi said that he “has received proposals from all kinds of variety programs” and that if it is based on a new concept, he would definitely like to take up the challenge. Instead of a variety show that draws instinctive laughter, an entirely new and upgraded variety show is what he would like to MC.
He also wants to combine his activities as a singer. Acting, variety shows, and music, if he were pressed to choose just one among the three, it would be music. Music is a friend that cannot be separated from Lee Seung Gi. However, even if he actually revealed his music, the fact that there is no stage for him is disappointing. Because he is a “performance type singer” during the more instrumentally oriented musical culture of today, he cannot help feeling disappointed. He said that someday he would definitely like to stand on stage with a good song.
“I don’t have any particular plans for this year. However, I don’t think I’ll be able to rest for a long time. I had plans to go on a vacation after finishing “The Gu Family Book”, but because my CF filming got backed up, I’m afraid that will also be difficult. Still, I plan to relax my mind and regain my energy.”