Passion, giving it your all, and solid acting ability is the basic 3 criteria towards being a successful actor. Actor Lee Byung Hun is one of those who have exactly those 3 criteria.
Lee Byung Hun’s upcoming film ‘Gwanghae: The Man Who Became King’ will be airing from September 20th, and sees him acting 2 roles in his first ever period production, one of that as King Gwanghae and the other as commoner Ha Sun.
Lee Byung Hun often gives off the impression of a modern day manly image, and many have been wondering whether he’s suitable to star in a period production. But with the conclusion of several preview screenings, those doubts have disappeared over time, and are proof of the hard work that he has put in. And because of his steady climb and hard work, he has now broken into Hollywood and become one of the few Korean stars who can command a profit at the box office.
Lee Byung Hun said, “Before filming this film, there were actually other offers for me in the past to act in a period production. But I didn’t have any interest and rejected them. But I found ‘Gwanghae: The Man who became King’ to be really interesting. You can either mark my past films as good or bad, but for ‘Gwanghae: The Man who became King’, I feel that it’s suitable for viewing by the whole family. But I am worried about whether I filmed the comedy scenes in a right way.”
‘Gwanghae: The Man who became King’ represents Lee Byung Hun’s first attempt at a comedy, and he revealed that although he looked mightily at ease during the film, he actually had to put in extra effort during filming, and ensure from time to time that he doesn’t go overboard.
Lee Byung Hun expressed, “There were a lot of impromptu inputs from me during filming. The scene where I used my head to hit the house beam was my idea. There were also many inputs from me for the toilet scene. For example, if the script wrote ‘don’t come over’, I would add a sentence, ‘why should I die’. The scene where I accidentally swallowed water meant for gargling only after I see Eunuch Heo was also added on the spot.
Lee Byung Hun revealed over the course of filming, he often goes into discussions with director, Choo Chang Min. So many scenes not only involve on the spot acting improvements, but also ideas and creativity inputs from Lee Byung Hun. If Choo Chang Min is said to have created ‘Ha Sun’, then ‘Gwanghae’ was created by Lee Byung Hun.
Lee Byung Hun continued, “I had hoped to portray Gwanghae in a different manner. A king no doubt is often portrayed as one who screams at the top of his voice or just giving orders. But I hoped for Gwanghae to appear dispirited, and talks without much energy. I also emphasized on his clothes to be longer than normal, but nevertheless, he still has the aura of a king around him.”
In contrast from ‘Gwanghae’, the image of ‘Ha Sun’ was seen to personally by director Choo Chang Min. But it’s to be said that all the cast members gave their all while portraying their roles. Lee Byung Hun also put in lots of effort in his role as Ha Sun.
He revealed, “It was actually easy for me to act as Ha Sun. My quirky personality is somewhat similar to that of Ha Sun. But because I often play roles that are detached from reality, the public tends to view me as a perfect man. But that’s not the case. I love to joke around, and sometimes rile up people around me with my antics.
Lee Byung Hun has said that he often takes jokes too far with close friends. So is he a close friend with his co-stars, Han HyoJoo and RyuSeungRyong? Lee Byung Hun replied that he hasn’t met Han HyoJoo for a while now because of her busy schedules, while RyuSeungRyong is described as a lover who makes one feel queasy.
Lee Byung Hun expressed, “RyuSeungRyong loves to joke with work. There was once when I messed up big time though, mistaking soap as chocolates. I gave production staff chocolates I received for Valentine’s Day. But the chocolates were actually given to me by a close fan that I know, and it was made out of soap. In the end, I had to apologize to everyone I saw.”
As the interview went on, Lee Byung Hun was able to let go of his inhibitions and revealed that he was so curious about the reaction from viewers, that he secretly attended 2 preview screenings, and was particularly sensitive about their opinions.
Lee Byung Hun concluded, “I am not able to be a king, because it’s hard to make decisions without any emotions involved.
But Ha Sun allowed me to experience being a king. The last scene where I had to hold it all in before vomiting over and over again, felt really good. Just like Ha Sun’s ending, it is hard to find a leader that is perfect in reality.”
- Lee Byung Hun