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Kim Kang Woo 김강우

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The handsome in Le Grand Chef & The Aggressive



Kim Kang Woo @ Le Grand Chef - Photo Credit: Movist.com

Born: South Korea, 11 July 1978

Management: Namoo Actors (나무엑터스)

Official website: http://www.namooactors.com/star/kimkangwoo

Height: 180cm

Weight: 70kg

Status: single

Education: Joongang University (acting major)

Talent: tap dance

Hobbies: movies, excercise



1. The Coast Guard (해안선 - 2002)

2. Silmido (실미도 - 2003)

3. Springtime (꽃피는 봄이 오면 - 2004)

4. The Aggressives (태풍태양 - 2005)

5. The Beast and the Beauty (야수와 미녀 - 2005)

6. The War Of Flower (타짜 - 2006)

7. The Railroad (경의선 - 2007) --> Win Best Actor @ 25th Torino Film Festival in Italy

8. Le Grand Chef (식객 - 2007)

9. Mask (가면 - 2007)

10. Marine Boy (마린보이 - 2008)


1. Woori's Family (MBC, 2001)

2. Breathless (MBC, 2003)


3. Three Leaf Clover/세잎 클로버 (SBS, 2005)


4. Heavenly Dance (SBS, 2005)

5. Bichunmoo/비천무 (SBS, 2008. Prod: 2005)

6. Story of a Man (KBS, 2009)


Le Grand Chef

Official Website: http://www.bestchef.co.kr/

Sales or release dates & Box Office

Release date in South Korea : 2007/11/01

South Korea Box Office : 2,969,549 admissions ( 2007.12.16 ) - From Hancinema

The Beast and the Beauty (2005) - 야수와 미녀

Official Website: http://www.yami2005.co.kr/

Sales or release dates & Box Office

Release date in South Korea : 2005/10/27

South Korea Box Office : 1,294,021 admissions ( 2005.11.27) - From Hancinema


Le Grand Chef

From Hancinema

mms://mmc.daumcast.net/mmc/2/movie/trailer/2007/10/sikgek_m_tr.wmv (Trailer)

mms://mmc.daumcast.net/mmc/2/movie/trailer/2007/08/sik_tr_700k.wmv (Trailer)

mms://mmc.daumcast.net/mmc/2/movie/mvideo/2007/10/sikgek_mv_700k.wmv (MV)

mms://mmc.daumcast.net/mmc/2/movie/making/2007/10/sikgek_mf1_700k.wmv (Making)

mms://mmc.daumcast.net/mmc/2/movie/making/2007/10/sik_mf_700k.wmv (Making)

mms://mmc.daumcast.net/mmc/2/movie/making/2007/10/sik_hwang_700k.wmv (Making)

From Twitchfilm

http://www.showeast.co.kr/eng/movie/legran...railer(ENG).wmv (English Sub Trailer) (Trailer)

The Beast and the Beauty - From Hancinema

mms://nhnext.hvod.nefficient.co.kr/nhnext/movie/movieclip/trailers/T0002760_300.wmv (Trailer)

mms://nhnext.hvod.nefficient.co.kr/nhnext/movie/movieclip/musicvideo/M0002777_300.wmv (MV)

mms://nhnext.hvod.nefficient.co.kr/nhnext/movie/movieclip/interview/I0002794_300.wmv (Interview)

mms://nhnext.hvod.nefficient.co.kr/nhnext/movie/movieclip/interview/I0002794_300.wmv (Interview)

mms://nhnext.hvod.nefficient.co.kr/nhnext/movie/movieclip/making/20051017_report_concert_300.wmv (Interview)

mms://nhnext.hvod.nefficient.co.kr/nhnext/movie/movieclip/making/K0002759_300.wmv (On the set video)

mms://nhnext.hvod.nefficient.co.kr/nhnext/movie/movieclip/making/K0002758_300.wmv (On the set video)

mms://nhnext.hvod.nefficient.co.kr/nhnext/movie/movieclip/making/K0002571_300.wmv (On the set video)


(Right click and save target as to download the video)

[2007-11-07] DOVE MAKING (02:02)


[2007-09-28] PIFF PHOTO SESSION (01:21)


[2007-09-10] .............(02:06)


[2007-06-18] ..............(01:01)


[2007-06-14] HITE BEER CF (0:20)


[2007-05-28] THE RAILROAD (2:07)


[2007-05-28] T MAGAZINE (1: 58)


[2007-04-13] HANAFOS CF (15 sec)


[2007-03-28] ..........(1:38)


[2006-12-29] BEHIND THE STORY (1:14)


[2006-10-14] ............(3:02)


His bio from Movist - Korean (Anyone can translate?) :)

1978년 생. 단편영화와 연극무대, 드라마 등에서 착실하게 연기경력을 쌓아 온 준비된 연기자. <나는 달린다>(MBC)에서 힘든 현실 속에서도 세상에 주눅들지 않는 담담한 듯 빛나는 캐릭터를 훌륭히 소화해내며 차세대 유망주로 손꼽히게 되었다.

영화 <실미도>와 <해안선>으로 신인임에도 강한 인상을 남겼던 김강우는 차갑고도 싸아한 분위기 이면에서 감지되는 부드럽고 섬세한 따스함이 돋보이는 배우다. 이미 설경구, 안성기, 정재영, 장동건 같은 대 선배들 사이에서도 자신만의 선을 확실히 부각시키는 능력이 뛰어난 이 ‘똑똑한’ 배우는, <태풍태양>의 ‘모기’역을 통해 감성과 이성이 절묘하게 조화된 연기를 펼쳤으며, <야수와 미녀>의 '탁준하' 역을 통해서는 냉철하면서도 인간적인 매력을 가졌으며 반듯한 양복을 입고 조폭을 검거할 정도로 깔끔한 이미지에 킹카 검사로 나와 새로운 매력을 유감없이 보여줬다.

경의선>에서는 담담한 듯 열정적인 에너지를 발휘해 성실하고 묵직한 일상 속의 ‘만수’를 이끌어 냈다. 그리고 김강우는 <식객>에서 마음을 다해 요리하는 ‘성찬’의 캐릭터에 자신의 일에 대한 열정적인 모습을 담아 관객들에게 한층 더 편안하게 다가갔다.

그런 그가 <가면>에서 맡은 역할은 강력반 내 최고의 기대주 ‘조경윤’ 형사. 한 스포츠센터에서 발생한 의문의 연쇄살인사건을 쫓지만 수사가 진행되면서 점차 혼돈에 빠지게 되는 인물이다. 점차 변해가는 캐릭터를 연기하는 것이 쉬운 일이 아님에도 김강우는 <가면>에서 이전에 보여준 건강한 청춘의 이미지를 완벽하게 벗어던지고 남자의 성숙한 카리스마를 발산한다.

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'Rainbow Eyes' keeps climax a secret'

Yang Yun-ho, director of the mystery thriller "Rainbow Eyes (Gamyeon)," seemed as confident about his filmmaking technique as ever. But he was not so sure about the film's commercial potential.

"When I saw the screenplay for the first time, I was deeply drawn to the great storyline, but at the same time I instantly knew that it's not going to be a box-office hit here," Yang told reporters at a press preview held in downtown Seoul on Monday.

But it may be too early for such pessimism. After all, Kim Kang-woo, a talented award-winning star, has taken the title role for "Rainbow Eyes," to be released here on Dec. 27.

Kim played a central character in "Le Grand Chef," which became the biggest hit in the second half of this year, and he also won the best actor award at the 25th Torino Film Festival, adding much-needed credentials to his fledgling acting career.

"Rainbow Eyes" revolves around a serial killer who defies logic, and police scrutiny. The first victim is a sports center manager who seems to have suffered stab wounds. The second victim is a swimming trainer at the sports center, which confuses the police. The second victim's unexpected death breaks apart the police's hitherto assumption that the trainer is a key suspect.

Finally, the third murder takes place, sending the police and detective Cho Kyeong-yoon (played by Kim Kang-woo) scrambling for clues. But the serial killer, whose name is Lee Yoon-seo, is nowhere to be found.

As the investigation unfolds, it turns out that all three of the victims belonged to the same barracks when they served in the military. Incidentally or not, 10 years ago, they beat up a soldier, whose name is none other than Lee Yoon-seo, and they were transferred to a different unit due to the incident.

All the signs point to Lee, but he has long disappeared after suffering from some schizophrenic symptoms, obviously initiated by the traumatic beating.

In addition to the mysterious suspect, detective Cho has more to deal with. Everyone around him shows a sort of uneasiness, adding to confusion and uncertainty. For instance, his girlfriend Cha Su-jin (Lee Su-kyeong) suddenly reveals a deep anxiety. Lee Yoon-seo's older sister, who is receiving medical treatment due to the stress related to her brother, seems suspicious. Ominously, detective Cho goes feel some serious anxiety himself, conducting his own secret investigation.

Since plot twists in this type of mystery thriller are somewhat important, the movie promotion staff repeatedly asked the journalists not to reveal the key developments or climactic events. Such strong emphasis on preventing the spoilers, in a way, suggests the gravity of the final scene in terms of the film's overall storytelling power.

Aside from the 'mysterious' plot, Lee Su-kyeong's sex scene, which turned out to be unexpectedly bold in consideration of her conservative television actor's image, attracted keen media attention at the press conference.

By Yang Sung-jin (insight@heraldm.com)

Kimchi’s hot, but Kim Gang-Woo’s hotter!

Written by Felicia Tan - Tuesday, 8 January 2008


The Korean wave has gotten Singapore viewers glued to their TV sets what with hit shows such as Jewel in the Palace, My Lovely Sam Soon, Goong, Goong S, Hwang Jin Yi (the movie and the drama series) and many more. With Korea’s latest offering Le Grand Chef in tow, the K-wave looks set to stay (for a long long time may I add). What’s more, Channel U recently unveiled their new K-wave ambassador: Kim Jeong Hoon!

Le Grand Chef is one of those feel-good movies that has the good guy (and usually the better-looking one) winning in the end. With mouth-watering Korean cuisine (palace food from the Chosun Dynasty!) as its theme and a pretty boy lead, anyone can see why the Koreans loved it (the movie is a box-office hit in Korea).

At a press conference in town to promote the movie last week, lead actor Kim Gang-Woo was a photographer’s dream as he stayed still and looked into the cameras every now and then. When he’s not looking too zonked out, that is.

Despite looking a little glassy-eyed, Kim Gang-Woo looked pretty comfortable in his seat and was pretty thorough with his answers while fielding questions from host YES 93.3 radio deejay Liyi as well as members of the media through his translator. Liyi (who is fluent in Korean) was also on hand to help with part of the translation.

Standing at a height of 180cm, Kim Gang-Woo seemed to tower over everyone before he took his seat. The height difference was also apparent during the photo-taking session after the group interview we had with him after the press conference. But I digress.

The actor’s flawless complexion might imply he’s never minutely suffered in his life, but apparently the gutsy dude did most of the (cooking) stunts in the movie himself! One memorable scene had him taking great care in carving up a cow as the production couldn’t afford any retakes for that particular scene. However, the actor admitted that he was a little bored with cooking lessons as he had to start from scratch (think chopping up 30 radishes every day and getting numerous cuts to his hand).

To further prepare himself for the role, the hard-working actor read the entire series of the popular manhwa Sik-gaek, which is currently his favourite manga. According to him, his fans have started treating him as a brotherly figure ever since the movie’s been out, as he was very much the boy-next-door in the movie.

With references to the cow (which is fast becoming famous), he finally showed his witty side when he said that he treated the cow as his pet during the entire filming process and that it was pretty difficult in the beginning as the cow wasn’t accustomed to him as yet. His hard work finally paid off after a month when the cow decided that he was harmless after all and got down to work with him.

Trust is a powerful tool. Asked if acting with the cow or the female lead Lee Ha-na was more difficult, he replied, “Both”, citing sensitivity as the reason, much to the audience’s amusement.

Not wanting the audience to remember him as a pretty boy, the actor wishes for the audience to remember him as an individual character in each of his shows and not remember him as Kim Gang-woo. He also feels that it is detrimental to have a stereotype and feels that he cannot indulge in just one image as an actor. So serious is he about his art, that he lost about 7kg and went on a protein diet for his role as a police inspector in his next movie Rainbow Eyes. Serious indeed.

So, one last thing we’re dying to know is, does he cook just as well as his Le Grand Chef character does? Well, the man himself says he thinks his cooking’s pretty okay, but he’s been getting mixed reviews about it. Sigh. Dreamboats are never perfect.

PS: We found out later in the interview that he was feeling “a little under the weather”, thus the glassy eyed look :D. We forgive the man.

Le Grand Chef opens in theatres on Jan 10 (News From: Youth SG)

Actor Kim Works to Enjoy His Calling


By Kwon Mee-yoo - Staff Reporter

``Enjoy One's Calling'' is the phrase written on actor Kim Kang-woo's cell phone. ``Talented people cannot beat people who know how to enjoy life. I went through hard times when I first started acting. But one day, I realized I was doing something I wanted to do and earning money for it. The point is to take pleasure in what I do ― acting,'' Kim said in an interview with The Korea Times at a cafe in Samcheong-dong in Seoul, Monday.

Kim, 29, debuted through ``The Coast Guard'' (2002), directed by Kim Ki-deok, when he was a senior at Chung-Ang University. ``The only role I could get without any acting experience was a soldier,'' said Kim.

He was then noticed when he played Mu-cheol in the MBC drama ``Breathless'' (2003) and starred in SBS's ``Three-Leaf Clover'' (2005). Kim has been known as ``Mr. Right'' since then for the honest and diligent characters he played. ``It's funny. I didn't know that I had that kind of sincere image in me,'' he said.

Kim also appeared in the films ``The Aggressives'' (2005) and ``The Beast and the Beauty'' (2005), but popularity was still elusive. Though he cranked up his last movie in spring, he had to wait longer than usual for the movie's release. In 2007, Kim's three movies were released consecutively. ``The Railroad'' received favorable reviews but failed to draw a large audience.

Fortune, at last, smiled on him. ``Le Grand Chef,'' a film remake of a popular cartoon, became the biggest hit of the second half of 2007. It drew an audience of more than 3 million and Kim shot to instant stardom.

Moreover, he won the Best Actor award for his role in ``The Railroad'' at the 25th Turin Film Festival in Italy on Dec. 1. ``I went to Turin as if I were just backpacking with director Park Heung-sik.'' However, he won the award, beating out 14 other actors. ``Of course I was excited to received the award. But I was also scared how this was going to affect my career,'' Kim said. ``I won't act much better all of a sudden because of the prize. However, people will anticipate better performances, and I have to live up to those expectations.''

Now, Kim is waiting for the release of mystery thriller ``Mask,'' which is to be released Thursday. Directed by Yang Yun-ho, ``Mask'' chases a serial killer related to an assault case in the army 10 years earlier. Kim plays the role of Jo Gyeong-yun, a tough detective. ``Detective Jo has a complex personality. He hides his gentle side and homosexuality and instead emphasizes a macho character. I focused on expressing the contrast of his two sides,'' explained Kim. ``Seong-chan (the lead character of `Le Grand Chef') was another solid and decent character I played. I wanted to break out of that image and that's one of the reasons I chose this movie.''

``Before shooting `Mask,' I was an ordinary, conservative Korean man who was not well-informed and ambivalent about homosexuality. To get to know more, I met transsexuals and talked with them. I now know that it is just their destiny, not a choice they made,'' Kim spoke frankly about the homophobia described in the movie.

Kim has not decided what his next project will be, but left the possibilities open. ``I don't have any specific characters that I want to play. I am still young and I will just do my best in whatever role that comes to me, whether it is a protagonist or villain in any genre.

``I want to be on stage someday. Plays require much time for rehearsals and the reaction from the audience is immediate. However, if I wait too long, I might not be able to do it, so I'll go for it anyway,'' Kim said.

While every other actor tries to bolster his or her individuality, this actor is a rather reserved character. ``I am not a very charismatic person with a unique personality. Rather, I want people to remember the characters I portrayed, not me,'' he said. ``I think it's better to be a little flexible as an actor since I don't know what kind of person I will have to represent.''

Kim secretly visited movie theaters to check what the audience thought about the movie. ``When I saw audiences smiling after the movie (Le Grand Chef), my heart felt full because I did something meaningful for them.''



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Actor Kim Kang-woo Wins in Turin

Old news from Korea Times

By Cathy Rose A. Garcia

Staff Reporter

Actor Kim Kang-woo won the Best Actor award for his role in "The Railroad" (Gyeonguiseon) at the 25th Torino Film Festival in Italy, Saturday.

"The Railroad", directed by Park Heung-shik, also won a special award given by the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI).

Kim's agency Namoo Actors quoted the 29-year old actor as saying: "I'm very glad to have received this big award, but what I cannot forget is the response from the audience". He was referring to the screening of "The Railroad, which was attended by 500 people at the film festival last week.

"As I saw the audience squeeze into the seats, laughing and crying along with the movie, I realized that movie allows people to communicate regardless of borders", Kim said.

"The Railroad" is about two lost souls (played by Kim and actress Son Tae-yeong), who find themselves stranded at the last railroad stop before the Demilitarized Zone on a snowy night. As they spend the night together, they learn to reveal their inner pain to each other.

The 45-year old Park, who also wrote the screenplay for "The Railroad", received favorable reviews for his debut film "The Twins" in 2004. "The Railroad", his second film, premiered at the 11th Pusan International Film Festival last October.

Kim recently starred in the hit film "Le Grand Chef", and previously appeared in such films as "The War Of Flower" and "Silmido".

The Torino Film Festival, which ran from Nov. 23 to Dec. 1, is a low-key event compared to the Venice International Film Festival. It focuses on independent and art-house movies.

The festival's main section, International Feature Film competition, is dedicated to discovering new cinematic talent. This year, 15 films from France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Latvia, South Korea, Philippines, Malaysia, United States, Canada and Australia were screened.

Chinese-American actress Joan Chen won Best Actress for her role in the Australian film "The Home Song Stories". Best Film award was given to "Garage" by Lenny Abrahamson from Ireland. (korea times)

His movie review

'Le Grand Chef' depicts story of talented cook

Huh Young-man, one of the most celebrated comic strip artists in Korea, began to serialize "Le Grand Chef" (Sikgaek) in a major daily in September 2002. A dramatic portrayal of a young, aspiring Korean cook, coupled with delicate sketches of various foods, appealed strongly to readers.

The series was published into several books, and some 540,000 copies have been sold so far. Huh's now famous graphic novel is also available on the internet, attracting 400,000 hits a day. Moviemakers never miss such an interesting work, and "Le Grand Chef" is now being produced as a feature film.

Its production staff and actors are upbeat because comic artist Huh's another series "War of Flowers" (Tazza), was recently adapted into a tantalizing gambling box-office hit that sold more than 6 million tickets.

"The success of 'War of Flowers' is good news for us, but I also feel some pressure," said director Jun Yoon-soo who took the helm of the "Le Grand Chef" project at a news conference in Yongin, south of Seoul, on Wednesday.

Prior to the news briefing, director Jun was filming a scene where Seong-chan (Kim Kang-woo) and Bong-ju (Lim Won-hee) were confronting each other at a cooking contest. Since the film was primarily concerned about cooking and the two characters were competing in a contest, real cooks were busy making various 'real' foods for the scene in the corner.

"Le Grand Chef" revolves around the conflict between Seong-chan and Bong-ju - longtime rivals intent on staying ahead in the competition. Five years before, the two were working together at Yunamjeong, a famous Korean restaurant.

To succeed the restaurant's owner, the two fought each other at a lethal inhouse contest. For some unknown reason, those who tasted Seong-chan's swellfish got poisoned, and Bong-ju grabbed the much-coveted 'best cook' spot at the restaurant.

The scene shot on Wednesday is set in the present: Seong-chan and Bong-ju meets again at a national cooking contest, a crucial opportunity for the warm-hearted and talented Seong-chan to prove his talent against the cold-hearted and vicious Bong-ju.

And the drama is heightened due to Jin-su (Lee Ha-na), a beautiful television producer who is covering the contest to uncover a mystery hidden behind the colorful event.

Kim Kang-woo, who plays the main character, said the main cast have been practicing cooking to act more realistically. "I have attended a cooking class for one and a half months and I have learned new tricks. But I cannot do my part without the help of cooking experts because the film covers a wide range of high-quality dishes all the time."

Lim Won-hee said his role - Bong-ju - is also based on solid cooking skills, so it's tough even with help from experts. "I receive instructions and tips from those who have been cooking for 10 years to 20 years. But even after I practiced a certain sequence, many times, I made mistakes in the actual shooting. It's really tough," he said.

Lee Ha-na, who made a silver screen debut through "Le Grand Chef," remained cheerful - her trademark characteristic demonstrated in a popular television drama which was well received in the first half of this year.

"I just love working with other cast members for this movie because I can travel to new places. Unlike a television drama, I visit different places in the course of filmmaking, and sometimes I think I'm just having fun," Lee said.

Since Lee takes the role of a television producer, she has learned how to handle cameras in order not to look amateurish. "I learned the basic camera skills from video journalists at SBS station for this film," she said.

Director Jun said the movie version has incorporated some new subplots to amplify the dramatic element of the original comic series. "There are many new scenes which are not in the comic series, and we believe such scenes will meet the expectations of the audience," he said. (*)

Really sorry I forgot where I took this.

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He's helping out also @ the oil spill area in Taean with Kim Hae Na....


Photo credit: Shenyuepop

Mask Press Conference on Cinema Today

Credit: ahboo.wordpress.com


Download link: http://www.infernoupload.com/dl.php?file=1...2918a7f6d122d37

Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=862kZaaqWBQ

Le Grand Chef Preview Highlights on Cinema Today

Credit: ahboo.wordpress.com


Download link: http://www.divshare.com/download/2938606-448

Mask Preview on Cinema Today (2008-01-28)

Again it's from Sharing is Caring website in wordpress by ahboo. :)



Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WSfoxkCIck

Stills from The Beast and The Beauty. Taken from Hancinema.

I love this movie. So cute!




After 2 years 1 day, I finally have the courage to create a thread here in soompi. :)

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Guest scarlet'galz

i love him when the 1st time i saw him in beast & beauty...

kwon sang woo lookalike, but i love him more...

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Anyone can translate? An article from Movist.

The original link: http://www.movist.com/article/read.asp?type=32&id=14681

2007년 12월 28일 금요일 민용준 기자

살이 잘 빠지는 편 아닌가?

놀면 금방 찐다.

예민한 성격처럼 보인다.

맞다. 예민해서 일을 하거나 신경을 많이 쓰면 살이 금방 빠진다.

우여곡절 끝에 출연작들이 개봉됐다. 올해 초중반엔 조급하지 않았을까 싶다.

그런 생각은 안 가졌다. 만약 내가 생각하기에 작품의 질이 떨어지거나 메리트가 없어서 개봉이 연기됐다면 불안했었을 텐데, 그런 건 없었기 때문에.

올해 개봉한 작품들은 사실 하나같이 개봉이 미뤄진 작품들이었다.

작년에 찍었거나 찍기 시작했던 영화가 다 올해 개봉을 했는데, 글쎄, 뭐 그건 내가 의도했던 것도 아니니까. (웃음) 작년부터 올해까지 영화 시장이 힘들었던 것도 있고, 그래서 개봉이 미뤄진 탓이 큰 거지.

<식객>같은 경우는 원작에 대한 기대도 어느 정도 있었을 거라 짐작되고, <타짜>의 흥행을 지켜본 입장에서도 어떤 예감이 있었을 법하다. 나름대로 기대될만한 작품의 개봉이 미뤄진다는 것에 대한 아쉬움은 없었나?

아무래도 인지도가 있는 작품이다 보니, 우리가 어떤 노력을 더한다고 해도 한편으론 부담이 있더라. 원작이 워낙 많이 팔렸고, 많은 사람들이 알고, 일간지에 연재까지 됐던 만화이기 때문에 기대되는 한편으론 부담감이 생기지. 기존에 작품을 좋아했던 팬이 많은데 우리가 그에 대한 기대치만큼 할 수 있을까라는 부담감. 그리고 우리가 <식객>을 찍기엔 다소 적게 느껴지는 예산을 가지고 촬영에 들어갔기 때문에 보여지는 면들이 좀 미흡하지 않을까라는 나름대로의 고민들은 있었다.

결과적으로 흥행이 됐다. 더욱 기쁜 일이 된 셈이다.

흥행하면 당연히 배우들은 기분 좋다.

앞서 올해 개봉한 두 편의 영화들이 나름의 보답을 해준 것 같다. <경의선>으로 토리노 국제영화제 남우주연상을 수상했고, <식객>은 흥행배우의 타이틀을 줬으니까.

찍을 때 마음고생을 했던 작품들이 보답해준 것 같다. 물론 흥행이나 수상 같은 건 내가 노력한다고 다 되는 것도 아니고, 그냥 하던 대로 했을 뿐이다. 어쩌면 적은 예산 때문에 주목 받지 못할 수 있었던 영화나 저 예산 영화였기 때문에 이를 악물고 더 열심히 했던 것도 있는 것 같고.

예전에 인터뷰했던 기사에서 언제쯤 기회가 오는가가 중요하다고 생각한다는 답변을 봤다. 올해 그 기회가 왔다고 볼 수도 있을 것 같은데.

사실 <식객>에 캐스팅될 때도 난 아무것도 없었다. 메인으로 주인공을 맡았던 것도 전작인 <경의선>밖에 없었고, <가면>도 <식객>촬영 중에 캐스팅됐으니까 어떻게 보면 아무 것도 없는 나를 써줬다는 자체부터 운이 좋았던 거다. 그게 나한테 기회였을 수도 있고. 그렇지만 한편으로 그래도 지금까지 뭔가를 해왔기 때문에 내가 노력해서 잡은 기회일 수도 있겠지. 그냥 해나가는 과정 안에서 언젠가는 (기회가) 올 거란 생각을 하긴 했는데……글쎄, 잘 모르겠다. 이게 그 기회인지. 물론 나를 더 극대화시켜 줄 수 있는 기회인 건 맞는 것 같다.

데뷔작이었던 <해안선>을 비롯해서 차기작이었던 <실미도>까지 초기 출연작 두 편이 군대와 관련된 영화였다.

내가 아무것도 없는 신인배우로서 영화를 고를 단계가 아니었기 때문이다. 또 두 작품이 공개 오디션이란 기회를 통해서 할 수 있는 작품이었기 때문이기도 했다. 아무래도 신인 배우들을 공개 오디션으로 뽑는 영화이기에 나한테는 그나마 기회가 있는 거였다. 처음 두 작품 이후로 하게 된 드라마 <나는 달린다>도 그런 식이었다. 보통 드라마는 신인들의 공개 오디션을 보지 않는다. 그런데 <나는 달린다>는 신인이건 기존 배우건 망라하고 그냥 공개 오디션을 통해 실력으로 캐스팅하는 특별한 경우였다.

군인은 명령에 복종해야 되는 신분이고, 동시에 자신의 결정권이 없다. 이는 자신의 정체성이 원숙하게 자리잡지 못한 청년의 과도기와도 비슷하다고 생각한다. <경의선>이전까지는 위태로운 청년의 내면을 드러내는 캐릭터를 주로 연기했다. 아마도 초반에 출연했던 작품들의 영향력이 아닐까 싶더라.

우연히 하게 된 <나는 달린다>의 이미지가 굉장히 독특했던 것도 있었다. 치기 어리지만 자기 의지대로 가는, 자기만의 세계가 있는 듯한. 그 이후로 <태풍 태양>도 그랬고, 그런 이미지들이 쌓여오게 되더라.

그래서 그런지 몰라도 서른이란 나이에 비해 어려 보이는 느낌이다. 물론 동안은 아니라고 생각한다. (웃음) 캐릭터를 통해 드러낸 이미지의 응축 때문이라고 생각하는데.

나이를 먹어도 눈동자는 변하지 않았으면 좋겠다. 이건 특히 남자배우에게 가장 중요하다고 생각하는 것이기도 한데, 소년의 눈동자를 가지고 있어야 나이를 먹었어도 예전의 감정들을 표현할 수 있다고 믿기 때문이다. 그래서 그러려고 노력한다. 사람은 모든 감정을 가지고 태어난다고 생각한다. 그래서 어렸을 때는 감정 표현을 가장 잘 한다. 그런데 교육 과정과 사회 생활을 거치면서 감정을 하나씩 없애버리게 되고 점점 나이 들면서 감정은 단순해져 가는 것 같다. 그래서 난 그 느낌만큼은 버리지 않으려고 한다.

지금까지의 캐릭터들이 청년기의 불안함이었다면 <가면>의 조경윤이 지닌 불안함은 어른의 것이었던 것 같다. 이전의 캐릭터들은 자신에게 다가온 불안을 충돌로서 극복했지만 조경윤은 도피하려고 했으니까. 그 불안으로부터 달아나서 안주해버리려는 태도는 어른의 습성에 가깝다고 본다. 그래서 조경윤은 지금까지의 캐릭터 중 어른에 가장 가깝게 느껴지더라.

내 생각에도 <가면>이라는 영화가 나한테 주는 의미는 나에게 소년과 청년의 중간 사이에서 성년으로 뛰어넘는 과정이다 싶었다. 또한 그 역할을 하게 된 것 같았고. <식객>에서도 마찬가지였지만 지금까지 내 이미지에 풋풋한 모습들이 남아있기 때문에 <가면>을 통해 그에 반(反)하는 이미지를 가하려고 했다. 그렇기 때문에 그런 느낌을 얻을 수 있을 거다. 나 역시도 그걸 어느 정도 염두에 뒀으니까.

그 동안은 본인이 가지고 있던 표정을 토대로 연기한다는 느낌이었다면 <가면>은 새로운 표정을 만들려는 시도가 있었던 것 같기도 한데.

<가면>이 스릴러 장르라서 힘들었다. 일단 그렇게 느꼈다면 내겐 성공인 것 같다. 왜냐면 캐릭터 자체가 어떤 과거를 숨기고 있기 때문에 현재에 지니고 있는 어떤 생각을 눈을 통해서 얘기할 수 밖에 없었기 때문이다. <가면>이전의 영화들은 다른 상대 배역들과의 대화를 통해서 캐릭터를 구축해나가는 것이었다면, 조경윤은 내 스스로의 눈으로 모든 걸 말해야 되는 캐릭터라서 쉽지 않았다. 그래서 어느 정도 그러한 것들이 읽히게끔 만들어야 했다. 동시에 오히려 그걸 어느 정도 숨기기도 해야 했고. 그런 것들이 제일 힘들었던 부분이었다.

<가면>의 엔딩은 출연작 중 <실미도>와 함께 가장 극단적이었다.

속이 후련했다. 왜냐면 조경윤이란 캐릭터는 자신의 의도와 상관없이 운명에 이끌려서 그로부터 빠져 나오려고 하지만 결국은 그 상황으로 다시 가서 자기 의지로 풀어버리니까. 어떻게 보면 <태풍태양>과도 비슷하게 뛰어들지만 그건 결국 도피였다. 결국 모기라는 아이는 결말을 짓지 못한 거다. 그게 바로 청춘, 청년의 이미지에서 벗어나지 못했다는 걸 의미할 수 있고,

내 스스로에게도. 하지만 <가면>은 다른 이상향을 찾아서 결말을 지어버린다. 이젠 자기 의지대로 삶과 죽음을 가를 수 있을 정도가 됐다는 거지. 그냥 내 개인적으로도. 물론 그것도 운명일 수 있지만 마지막에 악셀을 당기는 건 자기 의지였다고 생각한다.

상황만으로 보면 언해피엔딩이지만 인물들의 뉘앙스는 해피엔딩처럼 보였다.

둘은 행복한 거지.

어쩌면 지금까지 출연작 중 가장 절절하면서도 유일한 로맨스 영화 아니었을까?

맞다. 내가 말하고 싶은 건 조금 특별한 사람들의 가슴 아픈 사랑이야기라는 점이다. 둘은 그렇게 손가락질 받지 않는 세상으로 떠나는 거지. 둘만 있으면 그게 남자건 여자건 뭐가 중요하겠어. 세상에 아무것도 없는 곳으로 가는데.

하지만 그게 너무 특별한 사랑이라 당황스러울 수도 있다. 처음 시나리오를 받고 이야기를 접했을 때도 본인에게도 어떤 당혹감은 있었을 거라 생각한다.

내가 올해로 서른이니까 아직 나이가 그렇게 많지도 않지만 대한민국의 남자로서 쌓인 고정관념이라는 게 무시할 수 없더라. 처음 시나리오를 읽었을 때 조금 충격 받긴 했다. 배우는 ‘내가 만일’이라는 개념으로 연기를 시작하게 되는데 절대로 이해가 안가는 경우가 있으니까 고민하게 됐고, 그 지점에 대해서 감독님과도 제일 많이 얘기했다.

결과적으로 작품을 선택하게 된 직접적인 계기는 뭐였나?

하지만 어쨌든 이야기는 재미있었다. 이건 새로운 소재이고 내가 연기할 새로운 꺼리가 있는 캐릭터란 생각이 들었다.

그 전에 본인을 납득시키는 과정도 필요했을 것 같다.

그렇게 생각하면 되겠더라. 남자, 여자라는 성별을 떠나서 본능적으로 끌리는, 인생 단 한번의 대상인 거다. 그렇기 때문에 그걸 매몰차게 버리고 갔더라도 나이를 먹고 다시 우연히 만났을 때, 상황이 바뀐 것에도 불구하고 다시 끌리는 거지. 그래서 본능적으로 끌리는 운명에 따라가게 됐지만 또 그 안에서 자신의 의지를 찾아간다고 생각했다. 이 친구도 결국 자기도 모르던 사실을 깨닫게 되는 거다. 그리고 그걸 감추려고 더 남성적인 직업인 형사를 택하게 됐고, 마초적으로 살아갔던 게 결국은 이중적인 모습인 거다. 그리고 그게 비로소 조경윤의 가면이라는 거지.

그런 과정이 본인에게 극복이었나, 포용이었나?

도전의 대상이었다. 생각해보면 지금까지는 내가 가지고 있던 모습 중에서 하나를 꺼내 부풀려놓은 캐릭터를 연기했다면 <가면>은 나한테, 어떤 남자도 대부분 지니지 못한 요소를 만들어내야 하는 과정이었다. 그래서 도전의 대상이고, 처음에는 두려웠었다. 내가 이것을 할 수 있을까라는 두려움이. 그런데 그만큼 성취감도 있었다. <식객>같은 경우까지만 해도 사람들이 나한테 기대하는 이미지에서 플러스 마이너스였을 뿐이지만 <가면>은 지금까지 해왔던 그런 이미지와는 정반대로 가는 거니까 그에 대한 두려움이 있더라. 이걸 안 받아주면 어떻게 하나, 내가 잘 해내지 못하면 어떻게 할까, 이런 두려움이 셌지.

캐릭터의 이중성에 염두를 뒀을 것 같다. 이전까지의 캐릭터들은 직설적으로 자신을 숨김없이 드러낸 것에 비해 조경윤은 자신을 감춘다는 점에서도 차이가 있다.

그게 어른들인 거 같다. 연령이 낮은 친구들, 어린 친구들은 자신을 솔직 담백하게 드러낸다. 흔히 대표적인 예로 정치인들만 봐도 너무 이중적이지 않나. 그건 정치인이라서 그런 게 아니라 사회 생활을 겪은 모든 성인들이 결국은 그렇게 이중적으로 변해갈 수 밖에 없는 거 같다. 자기의 약점들을 감추려고 들기 때문에 그에 반하는 겉모습으로 드러내는 거지. 그래서 센 척하는 사람들이 오히려 약한 것처럼. 조경윤도 마찬가지다. 그도 성인인 거지. 그렇지만 본연의 순수함이 남아있었던 거다.

그런 의미에서 <경의선>의 만수는 청년에서 성인으로 가는 길목 같은 느낌이었다.

그럴 수도 있다. 왜냐면 자기의 직업을 가지고 있으니까. 모기까지만 하더라도 자기가 좋아하는 걸 하는 것뿐이지, 그걸 생계수단으로 이용하진 않는다. 그렇기 때문에 사회와 자꾸 부딪히게 되는데 만수는 악몽을 꾸면서까지 생계 수단에 담근 발을 빼지 못한다. 결국 거기서부터 시작된 거다. 그리고 난 <식객>의 성찬도 초반에서 후반으로 가는 동안 완벽한 성인으로 성장했다라고 가정하고 싶다. 결국은 자기의 목표를 이룬 거고, 새롭게 꿈을 실현한 거니까. 그러나 그전의 모기는 그렇지 못했다.

조경윤은 다른 의미에서도 이중적이다. 평소엔 껄렁껄렁하게 곧잘 장난도 치다가 내면적인 혼란 속에서 진지함도 엿보이고.

나 역시도 그렇다. 사실 모두 다 그런 면들이 있지 않나? 양아치 같은 모습도, (웃음) 진짜 한없이 진지해질 때도.

아웃사이더의 느낌이 드는 캐릭터가 많았다. 그게 어쩌면 본인의 것이란 생각도 든다.

그게 내 성향인 거 같다. 주류를 좋아하지 않고, 사람들과 어울리는 것도 좋아하지 않는 그런 성향. 솔직히 잘 하고 싶다, 나도. 그렇기 때문에 어쩔 수 없이 그런 것들이 보여지나 보다.

뭔가 밖으로 드러내는 걸 많이 꺼려하나 보다.

난 남들이 내 사생활을 알거나 나에 대해서 알려지는 걸 별로 좋아하지 않는다. 심지어 우리 가족들한테도 나에 대해서 속속들이 얘기하지 않는다. 한 2~30년쯤 후, 사람들이 나에 대해서 모르거나 관심 없어도 상관없다. 다만 내가 원하는 건 캐릭터로서 남는 거다. 물론 내가 만약 그때까지 스무 편의 영화를 했다면 스무 편의 영화를 다 본 관객은 별로 없겠지. 많아야 세네 편일 텐데, 그 영화 속의 이미지가 각자에게 남는 이미지였으면 됐다. <식객>의 성찬이 각자의 머릿속에 남아준다면 그건 배우로서 정말 해피한 삶이 될 거다.

베드씬 같은 경우도 처음이었다. 긴장되지 않던가?

긴장되지. 사람이 가장 민망한 게 자기 알몸을 보여주는 순간인데. 배우들이 연기의 일부분이라고 얘기했을 때, 이해하지 못했는데 많이 수긍하게 됐다. 물론 중요하지 않은 상황에 베드씬이 들어간다면 그건 얘기를 해봐야겠지만 <가면>에서 베드씬은 초반에 빠질 수 없는 중요한 장치이기 때문에, 이건 당연히 가야 하는 씬이니까 긴장은 됐지만 수긍하게 됐지.

기자시사 이후, 포털 사이트에서 <가면>을 검색해보면 그 베드씬에 관한 기사로 도배가 되어있더라.

좀 부담스럽다. 하지만 <가면>은 참 홍보하기 애매한 영화라는 생각이 든다. 기자 분들한테도 숨겨야 할 부분이 많고, 일반 관객에게도 공개를 감춰야 할 부분이 많기 때문에 그건 그냥 반사적으로 다른 걸 찾게 된 상황에서 베드씬이라는 게 튀어나온 거 같다. 그래서 그거에 대해서 큰 의미를 두진 않겠다는 생각이다.

지금까지 연기했던 캐릭터들이 나름대로 본인과 잘 어울렸던 건 기존에 자신의 이미지를 특별하게 각인시키지 않았기 때문이란 생각이 든다.

나에 대한 고정적인 이미지가 없다는 게 좋고, 계속 그렇게 살고 싶다. 만약에 내가 대중들에게 많은 노출이 되는 사람이었다면 그런 고정적인 이미지가 생겼겠지. 하지만 그렇지 않기 때문에, 배우가 관객들에게 캐릭터에 대한 이입도를 높일 수 있는 것이기도 하다. 관객이 영화를 보러 온다면 날 보러 오는 관객은 소수다. 결국은 영화 속의 캐릭터를 보러 오는 건데, 내 대중적인 이미지로 인해서 영화에 대한 몰입도를 떨어뜨린다면 그건 분명 그 배우의 책임이라고 본다. 난 적어도 그렇게 생각한다. 그런 생각을 가지고 있기 때문에 내가 가지고 있는 면을 많이 드러내긴 싫다. 어떻게 보면 저만의 전략이지.

그런 면에 있어서 같은 소속사(나무 액터스)에 속한 김태희 같은 배우가 반대의 케이스로 느껴진다. CF를 통해 쌓아온 스타 이미지가 작품 내의 캐릭터적 몰입도를 떨어뜨리는 게 아닌가 생각된다.

그런 몰입도에 있어서 떨어지는 부분들이 분명 존재하는 거다. 그건 본인도 굉장히 속상할 거다.

사실 <가면>은 불쾌한 영화로 느껴질 수도 있다. 그건 영화의 적나라한 태도 때문일 수도 있고 어떤 혐오감을 드러내는 시선을 배치했기 때문일 수도 있지만 결국 그것을

인식하는 관객의 무의식적인 고정관념을 자극하는 탓일 수도 있다.

어떤 사실이 분명히 있는데 모두가 그것을 소외시하고, 꺼내지 마, 덮어, 들추지 마, 하는 것이 있다. 분명 우리나라에서도 백년 전이나 이백년 전에 존재했던 사실이다. 예전에 발견된 오래된 화첩에도 동성애가 묘사된 그림이 있다는 기사를 얼마 전에 신문에서 봤다. 하지만 유교 문화에서는 더더욱 터부시됐겠지. 외국은 그런 성향을 공개하는 것에 대해서 그런가 보다라고 생각하는 정도지만 아직 우리나라는 초기 단계인 것 같다. 하지만 난 이런 문제는 우리보다 어린 세대들이 봤을 땐, 별거 아니라고 느낄 수 있을 거란 생각이 들었다. 처음에는 이걸 받아들일까라고 생각했지만 오히려 해가 지날수록, '이게 뭐가 세?' 라는 반응이 나오는 게 더 무서운 것 아닐까라는 그런 생각이 들더라.

<가면>은 현재 우리 사회가 소수의 취향을 어떻게 다루는가에 대한 시선처럼 느껴지기도 했다.

자기들과 다른, 평범하지 않은 특별함은 동서고금을 막론하고 씹히기 좋은 가십거리가 분명히 된다. 게다가 성경의 기독교 사상에도 그에 대해서 죄를 치러야 된다고 명시되어 있고, 더군다나 유교문화를 바탕으로 했던 우리나라는 더더욱 그렇겠지. 물론 그에 대해서는 나도 확실히 말하긴 힘들다. 외국은 지금 동성결혼을 허용하느냐, 마느냐까지 발전이 됐지만 나도 역시 대한민국 남자고, 30년이란 세월을 그 틀에서 살다 보니까 그걸 깨는 게 쉽진 않을 것 같다.

데뷔 초기에 인터뷰했던 내용들을 보면 자신만만한 포부가 많이 드러났던 것 같다. 아마도 그건 그만큼 긴장이 돼서 어깨에 너무 힘이 들어간 게 아니었나 싶더라.

내가 가지고 있는 게 자신감밖에 없었던 거지. 아무 것도 없기 때문에 그거라도 없으면 나의 장점이 뭐라고 말할 게 아무 것도 없는 거다. 그러면 주문처럼 외우는 거지. 촬영이 들어가면 나는 최고다라는 주문을 외우는 거다. 그 기사를 보면서도 자신감을 되찾는 거지. 지금도 그 때 마음 그대로 똑같다. 지금 내가 연기가 나아져봤자 얼마나 나아졌겠어. 그냥 그런 마음가짐을 가지고 다시 도전하게 되는 거지. 그래, 할 수 있어, 이렇게. 나한테 모두 다 없는 면들이거나 있는 면들일 수도 있다. 다만 자신감이 없다면 내가 몰랐던 그런 면들을 꺼내놓지 못한다. 일종의 주문이지. 나에 대한 주문.

결국은 그것들이 자신을 위한 기록이 되는 셈이다. 마치 자신을 되돌아보게 만드는 일기장 같은.

난 인터뷰는 최대한 솔직하게 하려 한다. 가끔 어떤 분들은 자신을 꾸민다는 느낌을 많이 받게 된다. 사실 그래 봤자 아무 소용없다. 그냥 인터뷰는 그 당시 자신의 생각이 잘 묻어나는 게 가장 중요한 거라 생각한다. 물론 내 약한 모습을 감추기 위해서일 수도 있고.

지금은 예전에 비해 어느 정도 안정감이 생긴 것 같다.

그냥 대처하는 법이 늘었을 뿐이지, 항상 두렵다. 작품 할 때마다 항상 무섭고, 항상 대본이 옆에 없으면 잠을 못 잔다. 정신적으로 굉장히 디테일하게 가야 하는 편이다. 항상 갖춰져 있어야 하고, 준비되어 있어야 되고, 긴장해야 되고. 그래서 작품 하면 살이 쭉쭉 빠지게 된다. 그래서 살이 안 찌냐는 질문도 받게 되는 거겠지. (웃음)

확실히 올해 초에 촬영 현장에서 봤을 때보다 지금은 살이 쪘다.

그때는 의도적으로 음식도 안 먹었었고, 더 예민해져 있었고. <식객>끝나고 7kg 정도를 뺐으니까.

그런 예민한 성격은 <경의선>의 만수를 많이 닮았다.

거기에 내 이미지가 담겨 있었다. 초 단위로 살아가면서 굉장히 괴로워하는, 그런 면이 있었지.

연출을 배우기 위해서 연극영화과에 진학했다고 들었는데 결국 배우로서 살아가고 있다. 그런데 배우라는 삶을 굳히게 된 계기가 궁금하다.

대학을 들어가고 나서 4년 동안 정신 없이 연극을 하고 나니까 내가 할 줄 아는 건 이거밖에 없더라. 결국 이제 사회에 슬슬 나가야 되는데, 할 줄 아는 게 이거밖에 없었던 거지. (웃음) 그냥 그렇게 자연스럽게 흘러갔다. 어쩌면 운명이라고 할 수 있겠지. 이제 내 용돈은 내가 벌어야 될 나이가 돼버렸는데 할 줄 아는 건 이것뿐이고, 남자라면 이해되지 않을까.

용접공이나 요리사, 지하철 기관사처럼 영화나 드라마에서 쉽게 묘사되지 않는 전문직업에 종사하는 인물을 종종 연기했다. 그런 분야의 연기를 위해서는 나름대로 그 직업에 대한 탐구도 선행됐어야 했을 텐데.

탐구보단 먼저 중요한 게 이해더라. 그래서 나는 어느 한 곳에 안 꽂히려고 노력한다. 그러니까 어떤 걸 너무 좋아하지도 않고, 너무 싫어하지도 않고. 솔직히 난 특별한 취미도 없다. 예전엔 난 왜 그럴까 그랬는데, 이젠 오히려 그게 좋더라. 어디든 쉽게 동화할 수 있다. 정치적인 색깔을 드러내지도 않고, 누가 좋지도 않고, 누가 싫지도 않고. 배우는 어떤 편에 들어야 되는지, 또 어떤 직업군을 갖게 될 지 모르는 거 아닌가.

<세잎클로버>나 <야수와 미녀>같은 작품을 선택했던 건 상업적인 강박이 있었던 것 같다고 종종 피력했던 걸 봤다. 아무래도 한때 배우로서 지명도에 대한 강박이 있었던 것 같다. 올해는 그와 반대로 흥행 배우의 타이틀을 얻게 됐다. 어떤가?

물론 그것도 나한테 중요한 과정이었고, 그 덕분에 여러 가지 느낌도 가질 수 있었다. 그런 건 나의 모습이 아니라고 말하고 싶진 않다. 열 손가락 깨물어서 안 아픈 손가락 없듯이 다 내 작품이니까. 모두 그 당시 내 모습이다. 다만 조급할수록 그런 모습이 그대로 보인다는 걸 느꼈지. 그때는 그게 나한테 어쩔 수 없는 최선의 선택이었다고 생각한다. 이것저것 고를 수 있는 입장이 아니었고 선택 받는 입장이었기 때문에. 하지만 마음가짐을 조금 더 길게 가져가야 한다는 걸 깨닫는 계기가 됐다.

사실 초반에 출연했던 작품들이 대중에게 나름대로 어필됐었다. 하지만 그 이후로 출연작이 흥행에 실패하고 캐릭터에 대한 비판도 있었고, 개인적으로 혼란스러운 시기가 있었을 것 같다.

색깔을 찾아나가는 과정이었다. 나한테 어떤 옷이 맞는 건지, 나도 나에 대해서 몰랐으니까. 그건 지금도 마찬가지고. 그래서 배우를 그만 두기 전까진 계속 색깔을 찾아가는 과정인 거 같다. 지금에 와서 그것들이 안 맞는 옷을 입었던 게 아닌가라고 생각할 수도 있지만 그건 또 아닌 거 같다. 또 한번 그런 과정들이 다시 반복될 것 같다. 지금 작품이 흥행됐기 때문에 그것이 나의 옷이라고 인식하는 숫자가 많은 것뿐이지, 또 다시 계속 순환될 것 같다. 그리고 난 또 계속 찾아나갈 거고.

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The Electric New Paper, Singapore

He's stirring up a storm as a dishy chef

Korean star Kim Gang Woo is tasting success as his new film Le Grande Chef draws in hordes of female fans

By Chang May Choon

January 09, 2008


TEENAGE girls scream when Korean star Kim Gang Woo is spotted on the streets of Seoul.

Aunties pack the cinemas to catch his latest film Le Grand Chef.

Even restaurants are happy to welcome the boyish actor and waive his bill.

But there is one woman who is less than overjoyed at his sudden rise to fame - his girlfriend of five years.

This is because the busier Gang Woo gets, the less time he has for her.

'I always feel very sorry that I have no time for my girlfriend when I'm filming,' Gang Woo confessed in a recent interview with The New Paper.

Surely she would protest?

'She's already given up on that!' he added with a laugh.

But, don't be too quick to jump to the conclusion that the 30-year-old actor makes a bad boyfriend.

In real life, he actually dons an apron and cooks up a storm for his girl.

For a romantic date, the actor said he would even whip up bean paste stew with egg rolls and other side dishes.

'A simple Korean dinner has a uniquely refined, graceful appeal that Western food may not have,' he told The New Paper.

Spoken like a true chef, not unlike the one he plays in the movie Le Grand Chef, which is helmed by Korean director Jeon Yun Su.

In town last week to promote the movie, which opens here on Thursday, Gang Woo was every bit the nice, humble guy he is known to be in Korea.

During the press conference held at the Korea Tourism Organization office at Samsung Hub, he spoke earnestly and smiled easily for the camera.


Kim Gang Woo in Singapore to promote "Le Grand Chef" on January 3rd. [photo=Namoo Actors / Chosun]


On screen, he has a knack for choosing honest, sincere and diligent roles that fans love, like the supporting characters he played in dramas like Three Leaf Clover and Breathless.

But it was only in the last few months that the Kwon Sang Woo lookalike truly shone.

After the commercial success of Le Grand Chef made him a household face in October, he went on to win critical acclaim by snagging the Best Actor award for his film The Railroad, at the Torino Film Festival held in Italy last month.

His new crime thriller Rainbow Eyes, which opened in Korea late last month, also drew rave reviews.

But Gang Woo, who debuted in 2002, is not about to let fame get to his head.

'Of course I realise that people's expectations of me have become higher and that I've got to try my very best to live up to them.

'But just because a movie is commercially successful doesn't mean my acting is good. I'd still like to improve,' he said through an interpreter.

When it comes to work, he pours his heart and soul into every new project.


For Le Grand Chef, the actor spent one-and-a-half months learning how to cook, chopping 30 radishes a day.

He plays a top cook who fights with a rival to win a royal chef's long-lost knife.

A bigger challenge was to gain the trust of the cow that 'plays' his pet in the movie - he spent a month having eye contact with it and feeding it water.

Gang Woo said he cannot juggle two things at one time, so when he is filming, he has no time for friends.

And he can be very ambitious.

'I'm a go-getter and I'm competitive. I'd do everything to promote my film. Otherwise I'd have sleepless nights!'

That would explain why he squeezed time out to visit Singapore. Gang Woo is no stranger to the Lion City.

He first toured our island 10 years ago after graduating from university, and visited again last year to do a magazine photo shoot.

Jurong Bird Park, Sentosa and the Merlion are some of the places he's seen.

He also had chilli crabs at Jumbo seafood restaurant.

While he is still a relatively new face among K-pop fans here, Gang Woo gets mobbed in the streets of Korea.

All thanks to the commercial success of Le Grand Chef.

'Fans feel a closeness to me now, whereas last time I was more distant and they didn't dare to approach me.'


'People also like it when I go to restaurants, since I play a chef in the movie, and they'd give me free food,' he added with a satisfied smile.

And yes, he can create pandemonium in the streets.

'If one girls recognises me and starts screaming, the rest will just follow. I'd just greet them, shake their hands and be friendly to them.'

Won't he feel like fleeing the chaotic scene?

'No, because all these teenage girls are my audience. They'll be coming to see my next movie.'

That's the go-getter in him speaking, of course.


Director says: Food should be prepared with dedication

YEARS ago when he was a small-time assistant director-writer sharing an apartment with five other people, he had to cook for everyone.

How things have changed. Today, Jeon Yun Su has become a hotshot Korean director whose biggest claim to fame is the box-office hit film, Le Grand Chef.

Adapted from the popular manga Sik Gaek, which tells of two top chefs engaged in a culinary battle to win a royal chef's long-lost knife, this is arguably the first movie on Korean cuisine and cooking.

In an e-mail interview with The New Paper, Yun Su, 37, said he was 'fascinated by the simple, honest stories of the characters in the original story' and decided to adapt them into a screenplay.

'I wanted to show that dedication and care in making food are more important than the visuals and taste of the food. I hope it will be evident to foreign viewers, too.'

But venturing into unchartered waters had its risks, he admitted.

'Taking on a new subject matter that no one has done before is a very difficult and lonely task which requires countless trials and errors,' wrote Yun Su, who also helmed the film My Girl And I, which starred Song Hye Gyo and Cha Tae Hyun.

'But the fruit it bears is extremely sweet... I believe it was a...worthwhile struggle.'

For one thing, it was tough to 'capture the essence' of the original manga by Hur Young Man without omitting any of its funny episodes, and at the same time, create some new visuals.


Given a limited budget, he also had to replace some first-rate ingredients necessary for the cooking competition with cheaper alternatives that appear no less exquisite.

But, Yun Su's efforts paid off when the film opened with stunning box-office success, despite it getting mixed reviews when it was first shown during the Pusan International Film Festival in October.

Still, the film managed to attract more than 3 million admissions, making it the top-grossing film in Korea in the second half of 2007.

It opens here on Thursday. Singapore is the first country outside of Korea to show it, and rights have also been sold to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand.

In the movie, the two rival chefs are required to recreate a beef soup that supposedly made Korea's last emperor cry, after he lost his kingdom to the Japanese during war.

Yun Su had declared then he would not edit even one second of the film, be it for commercial or historical reasons. After all, the film celebrates the unbeatable Korean spirit. To the director, what sets Korean cuisine apart from other international styles is the warmth of a mother's touch.

'The essence of Korean cooking is dedication and care - carefully preparing the ingredients and cooking it to such perfection that it tastes like a warm home-cooked meal by a mother. Korean food has the unique appeal of such warmth and heart.'



The Korea Herald 2008.01.01

[NEW YEAR SPECIAL] Actor Kim now better prepared to be more professional

Korean actresses have long been showing their creative prowess at major international film festivals, with Jeon Do-yeon, for instance, grabbing the best actress award at Cannes in May last year. The consensus was that there's a shortage of talented Korean male actors. A notable exception is Kim Kang-woo.

Kim, 30, won the best actor award for his role in "The Railroad (Gyeongiseon)" at the 25th Torino Film Festival in Italy in December, pulling off a rare breakthrough for Korean male actors saddled with lower international recognition.

"The Railroad," directed by Park Heung-shik, is a low-budget film depicting two lost souls stranded at the last railroad stop before the Demilitarized Zone on a snowy night. As for why he chose to act in a low-budget film, Kim said, "I told my manager to find a screenplay that offers something that I haven't done yet, and I believe both low-budget and big-budget films are essentially the same for actors."

Aside from his artistic recognition at a major filmfest, Kim emerged as the most visible up-and-comer at the Korean box office last year, playing central roles in two movies. "Le Grand Chef," starring Kim as a pure-hearted cook, staged a strong run at the box office. In the movie, Kim plays Seong-chan, who confronts Bong-ju (Lim Won-hee) at a national food contest where the contestants' delicate presentation of food goes hand in hand with sparkling display of cooking skills.

Helped by Kim's solid performance, "Le Grand Chef" emerged as one of the most popular Korean films of last year, attracting more than 3 million moviegoers.

Kim also plays the lead in Yang Yun-ho's latest mystery thriller "Rainbow Eyes (Gamyeon)," released on Dec. 27. The film revolves around a serial killer who defies logic and scrutiny, and Kim plays a detective named Kyeong-yoon who has to unravel the complicated mystery while carrying a traumatic memory about his friend deep inside.

Kim began to attract public attention in 2003 when he appeared in "Silmido," and filmmakers are recently paying greater attention to his refined acting as a sign that Kim might become one of the biggest stars with a distinctive style on the domestic film market.

Kim has landed largely "good guy" roles, despite his not-so-soft image - intense eyes and sharp-edged facial lines. "I had wondered whether I was getting the right roles due to the discrepancy with the given characters and my own image, and it took a while to get them right. But in retrospect, I think I have taken the right path because I'm now better prepared as a professional actor," Kim said.

By Yang Sung-jin (insight@heraldm.com)


English donga

Actor Inspired by Hungry Spirit

DECEMBER 04, 2007 04:15


Actor Kim Kang-woo, 29, must feel like flying by now.

Although “Le Grand Chef,” in which he played the leading role, opened in theaters during the slowest season (November), it has attracted more than 2.6 million movie goers nationwide. Moreover, he won the Best Actor’s award on Saturday (local time) at the 25th Torino Film Festival for his role in “The Railroad,” which was directed by filmmaker Park Heung-sik and opened in Korea in May. Simply put, he earned recognition as an actor who can garner both critical acclaim and box office success.

Although many Korean actresses won the Torino Film Festival, only a handful of Korean actors won this prestigious international award. Surprisingly, his voice was calm when he was asked on Sunday about winning the award.

“I couldn’t imagine this could happen when I came here. I was nervous when the announcement was made, but I felt rather composed when I walked up to the platform. When I gave a few words in both English and Italian, the response was really great. It perked me up,” Kim said.

Kim, however, said that there was a moment that seemed more thrilling than when he received the award: the moment when he realized that Italian audiences responded exactly the same way to some of the scenes in “The Railroad” as the Korean audience did, either laughing or shedding tears. At the beginning, he suspected whether foreigners could also understand the movie, but his suspicion changed into the conviction that the “Korean sentiments and their sincerity worked!” Although “The Railroad” received rave reviews in Korea, it did badly at the box office.

“It opened in about 10 theaters. Although I was upset because the public did not even get a chance to have access to the movie, I diligently appeared on the stages of theaters all alone as I believed that I had to do my best,” Kim added.

What’s more, he was hurt when he heard rumors about “Le Grand Chef,” such as “The film could not attract investment because there is no star actor,” and “The filming has been postponed because there is no money to pay for food.”

When asked whether he felt pleased to get revenge on those critics with its box-office success, he just kept smiling. However, he pointed out that the secret behind its success was the “hungry spirit” which helped the director and actors bond even stronger, despite all odds.

On December 27, “The Mask,” a psychological thriller directed by Yang Yoon-ho, the director of “Holiday,” and Kim starred,, will also hit theaters. Kim plays a detective who finds out an unexpected secret during his investigation into a mysterious serial murder case. In order to play a more convincing role, he stayed closely with the detectives of the Jung-bu Police Station in Seoul. He almost lived with them at the police station for a while.

“It is easy to imitate a detective. You can see a lot of them in movies. However, I wanted to know their inner side. I drank soju with them and listened extensively to their difficulties. I also read a lot of materials about crime cases.”

His low tone is almost monotonous when he speaks. He also has the image of a serious man like that of Seong-chan, the main character of “Le Grand Chef.” However, director Yang told the audience at a recent press conference, “I thought Kim was a gentle man, but he is good at dirty jokes. He is truly a third-rated person.” Director Lee’s comment made the audience burst into laughter. Although Kim has not even turned 30, he has a lot more to show.


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Guest ryklle

oMO! :w00t: finally!!! a thread for him! :lol:

correct me if I'm wrong..I don't know if he's the guy in a drama in KBS before but I forgot what's the title... :sweatingbullets:

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Guest Matahari_Biru

Thanks for sharing... I love him at Beauty and the beast... Soooo funny.. his character!

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Seems that Kim Kang Woo and Park Shin Hye have been added to the cast.



A quote from kdramafanusa in Bichunmoo thread too

Korea Herald 2008.02.04 - Scrub up the dubbing, say 'Bichunmu' viewers

A star-studded cast and state-of-the-art stunts might not be enough to save SBS' latest drama "Bichunmu" from a bad time slot, awkward dubbing and a poorly written script.

"I felt like I was watching a pathetic Chinese movie," a viewer wrote on the drama's official bulletin board, after the first two episodes aired last Friday.

Jointly produced by Chinese and Korean companies, "Bichunmu" features a combination of both Korean and Chinese actors. The first two episodes solved the language issue by dubbing all the Chinese actors into Korean.

But Korean audiences aren't responding well.

"Are they trying to ruin the drama?" wrote one viewer.

Yet another viewer recommended switching to subtitles, writing, "If it weren't for the dubbing, it would be an acceptable drama. It's not too late to change to subtitles now."

Viewers will have to wait till next Friday's installment to find out if SBS takes the hint and starts subtitling. But the dubbing isn't the only problem this drama faces.

The epic martial arts drama originally aired as a 24-episode series in Hong Kong and Taiwan before coming over to Korea. To better suit Korean tastes, the drama has been revamped into a much shorter 14-episode series.

But by re-editing this classic love story, the whole plot becomes choppy. And the romance between the hero and heroine, played by Korean actor Joo Jin-mo and Korean pop star Park Ji-yoon, moves along too quickly. By the end of episode two, the ill-fated couple has already declared their undying love for one another.

Add to it the sappy lines and awkward delivery, and viewers definitely won't be watching this series for the script.

Viewers, however, may tune in for the spectacular Hong Kong-style action scenes, gorgeous costumes and the sweeping landscape of China, where the entire series was filmed.

Ninjas and skilled sword fighters battle it out in swaying bamboo forests. Maidens draped in airy silks and linens dance and stroll against a verdant backdrop. Joo Jin-mo, who starred in the blockbuster "200 Pound Beauty," makes for an excellent martial arts hero, while Park Ji-yoon, looks lovely in her billowing gowns.

The eye-catching stunts and seamless computer graphics match the over-the-top production costs. According to news reports, "Bichunmu" production costs totaled a whopping 8 billion won ($8.4 million).

But with a Friday night time slot, all those great special effects might go to waste. Playing at a time when most people are out enjoying the upcoming weekend, the drama faces the daunting challenge of reeling Koreans into their living rooms.

It seems that "Bichunmu" is up to the task. The first and second episodes, which played back to back, brought in viewer ratings of 12.8 percent and 14.3 percent (AGB Nielsen Media Research), respectively. The ratings are similar to those of SBS' previous Friday night drama "In Search of Son," which, according to news reports, recorded viewer ratings of 12.5 percent and 14.7 percent for episodes one and two.

Featuring a strong cast, including Korean actor Kim Kang-woo, who won the best actor award for his role in "The Railroad (Gyeongiseon)" at the 25th Torino Film Festival in Italy in December, "Bichunmu" just might be able to up its ratings this coming Friday.

Based on Kim Hye-rin's popular comic book series, "Bichunmu" is a love story about a sword fighter of Koryo descent, and a Mongol-Chinese woman.

"Bichunmu" plays on Friday nights at 9:55 p.m. on SBS.

By Jean Oh (oh_jean@heraldm.com)

Ha, I didn't know that he once played this kind of drama... :)

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Guest coreana_ira

cant wait for the mask, i saw the trailer & it looks good.

kim kang woo is a great actor, i do love him...

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Guest kmoviekpop

I saw the movie Mask... WoW! it's extremly good.

Just seeing the trailer and poster, I didn't know it was a gay movie.

I would say it's a thriller movie that have strong gay theme.

It's rather graphic, so people should be warned before.

Anyway, I am very impressed by Kim Kang Woo again! He is a very good actor!

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Guest coreana_ira

^ so you saw it already, ah i envy you, hehe...

anyway, thanks for the warn, i think i can take it.

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I saw the movie Mask... WoW! it's extremly good.

Just seeing the trailer and poster, I didn't know it was a gay movie.

I would say it's a thriller movie that have strong gay theme.

It's rather graphic, so people should be warned before.

Anyway, I am very impressed by Kim Kang Woo again! He is a very good actor!

Gosh! Yes, I envy you. You watch his latest movie. As for me, i just finished watched Le Grand Chef yesterday! And just jumping with joy cos it's such a feel good movie. I like more and more of him in this movie. I just want more of him... :)

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