As soon as he finished SHINee’s showcase in Fukuoka and Osaka and returned to Korea, Minho dashed directly to the studio. It was near 10 PM when he finished the photoshoot. “It’s Japan. It’s not like there’s a time difference.”
When asked if he was tired, his small face smiled from across the table as if saying it’s no big deal. While conversing, the sentence we heard the most from him was something like this: “I still think that I lack a lot. I want to learn a lot when given the opportunity.”
Q: As soon as the drama “For You in Full Blossom” finished, you returned to SHINee and carried out your schedules in Hong Kong and Japan. You must have been exhausted from filming a 16 episode mini series. Was it hard to adjust on stage right away?
While I was filming, I was busy to the point I couldn’t even remember how the day went by. That’s why when all of the filming ended, the feeling of emptiness was big at first. I spent quite a long time as Kang Taejun and the fact that this character was leaving me made me sad. It’s an experience that has left me special memories. I actually felt relieved to continue my schedules as soon as I finished. The busy lifestyle kept my mind off it and I believe it helped me. On top of that, I met my members again so I felt relaxed as if I had come home for the first time in a while.
Q: Did the SHINee members watch “For You in Full Blossom” often?
I think they didn’t watch it a lot. They were also busy with their own schedules. But it seems like they made an effort to watch. I was grateful.
Q: If you had to point out one person who monitored it sincerely, who would it be?
It’s Jonghyun hyung. He frequently gave me different kinds of opinions. He was very surprised at the amount of time invested in order to film 2 episodes a week.
Q: What did the members say most about your acting?
‘It’s childish’ (laughs). It seems that way since it’s a school story. There are also parts that don’t suit men’s preferences. Other than that, they also complimented me saying how fun I was and how my role isn’t like me.
Q: In which aspect did they think you looked the most different?
It’s because my image was drawn and cold at first. Anyway, I think they were amazed that I was acting on TV. It was a bit strange.
Q: Last time in “Salamander Guru and The Shadows”, you had many sunbaes to rely on like Im Wonhee, Oh Dalsoo, etc. However, in “For You in Full Blossom”, the importance of your role was bigger and your responsibility was heavier. Did you feel burdened by this before the filming started?
During “Salamander Guru and The Shadows”, rather than stepping up and trying to do something, I stood back and tried to learn a lot from the sunbaenims. But in this project’s case, I couldn’t help but get more nervous as the male lead. Of course I’ve had a desire to act for a long time so on the other hand, this opportunity made me excited. Anyway, I thought I had to work hard. I prepared for the project as I studied the character. In the end, I believe the nervousness affected me positively.
Q: The broadcast ended in early October. It seems like you’d have an evaluation of this project.
I’m watching the drama from the beginning again. I monitored it when I was in the midst of filming, but I see different things compared to then. It’s probably the same for other things but my dissatisfaction after it ended was especially big, maybe because “For You in Full Blossom”; was the first mini series I starred in. I thought, ‘I still lack a lot’ and ‘If I have an opportunity later, I have to show a different image.’
Q: Kang Taejun of “For You in Full Blossom” is a high jump athlete with popularity that comes close to an idol’s. He’s a high school student but he isn’t an ordinary one. In that sense, have there been times when he has overlapped with your teenage self? What did you worry about the most when you were around that age?
I debuted but I worried about how people saw me. I lacked a lot so I wondered if it was okay for me to stand on stage with this level of skill and I definitely lacked confidence. So I was the type to worry on my own even with my debut ahead of me.
Q: Looking at your past interviews, you often talked about how you are lacking.
I am not satisfied with myself that much. I’m not just saying that. I truly feel that I still lack in a lot of areas. Of course it’s not like there aren’t any times when I want to compliment myself… No, I guess I’m the type who grows through reasoning and scolding rather than compliments. I listen to people’s opinion but my own evaluation is more important.
Q: In your acting debut one-act play “Pianist”, you had a kiss scene with your partner Han Jihye. If the romance in “For You In Full Blossom” is suited for teens, then “Pianist” is a more mature melodrama. The two-shot you did with Han Jihye who is 7 years older than you came out more romantically than we expected so we were quite surprised. We saw an expression of a different emotion than when you sing on stage as SHINee..
It was my first time so there are scenes I actually did confidently without calculations. It was obviously difficult, but on the other hand, it was comfortable.
Q: What is your reason for choosing that project? Many idols also take up acting but they mostly start with a light toned sitcom. Although it is just a one-act play, “Pianist” is full of emotions so it was not an easy project for a new actor.
Acting has been my goal and dream even before I debuted. I was already known as a SHINee member so when I started to act, I had a lot of thoughts about the direction I was gonna take. I wondered if starting acting could be my future direction since I was known as a SHINee member at first. I was in the middle of thinking which method and which project I should start with. I considered taking the one-play act and I was able to get a good scenario. As soon as I read it, I wanted it so I immediately met with the director and got the OK. The people around me were clearly worried though. Not only the director but even my management was not certain I could pull this project off. That’s why I wanted to prove it to them through the finished product. Even before I started, I told myself not to worry or to worry later after being confident. I think I was like that because I wanted to do it so badly.
Q: It appears that you had an interest in acting before singing.
That’s true. The offer I received before I joined the company was, “Do you plan on acting?” But seeing as how SM is a musically powerful company, I first came to be known through SHINee. It didn’t seem like debuting as an artist would hurt my acting career later. Back then, I had no spare time to draw out my future plans on a big scale. I was a boy who was running towards an ambiguous dream while devoting myself to the practice I was given. I worried over how to do better with my part that I was responsible for. I never once thought, ‘If I become an artist, will I grow further with acting?’
Q: That was deep despite your age. Do you think you matured earlier than your peers around the same age?
I think it’s because I started working earlier than others. If you look at it one way, I advanced and if you look at it another way, I just happened to skip certain parts. I suddenly get those thoughts when I hang out with friends who attend school normally. ‘Ah, so this is what people around my age talk about and this is how they act.’ I actually hear my friends calling me a grown-up quite a lot. When I’m together with people my age, I feel like I’ve returned to the days prior to my debut. It feels like I’m making up for the school days that I skipped out on.
Q: Don’t you envy your friends who are living the lives appropriate for their age? It’s a time when it’s natural to do things like date..
That is true. I know this is but obvious but I have gained as much as I have lost.
Q: What do you consider to be your greatest gain?
It’s experience. The things I could not learn at school, I learned through work. I think that’s how the mold of inexperienced thoughts broke early.
Q: We don’t know if this influences you but have a biological hyung and many sunbaes. It’s a contrast from your fellow member Key who is the same age as you yet leads a group of his age.
That doesn’t mean I don’t get along with people my age. However, I learn a lot of things when I’m beside the hyungnims. They are the ones who have already experienced what I haven’t and what I will. I learn trivial manners be it filling a cup of water when we eat together.
Q: It seems like you listen to other people’s stories attentively.
It seems like it. I talk to my dongsaengs just as much as I listen.
Q: Your manager must not get upset that often.
It’s not like that either.
Q: What do you usually complain about?
I act like a baby playfully, saying I don’t want to work. It’s because we’re always together and we’re that close. I think about how I shouldn’t do that but there are times when I can’t act that out. There is this though: I feel the 10 wrongs or mistakes I made when I was unaware of what I’ve done wrong can then be lessened to 5. I think actions speak louder than thoughts between people who are comfortable with each other. I think I am still quite young.
Q: Do you think you are young or youthful?
I think I am still young rather than youthful. This is a slightly different topic but I think men become different in their 10’s, 20’s, 30’s, and so on. It feels like we don’t become different after every year but after every 10 years. That is why I think I’ll have the mind of a 20 year old all the way until I’m 29.
Q: Have you wondered about what you’ll be like when you’re in your 30’s?
I haven’t thought deeply about it. Just that I want to be like this? I want to be a cooler person. I want to achieve the goals I set myself to achieve by that time..
Q: Is there such a goal?
I want myself to become the best in my area. That’s why I’m in the middle of running with all my strength at a young age. There are moments when I think that the present where I’m just running restlessly is nice. If it’s not now, there will be too many things I won’t be able to do. Even having a photoshoot like this today is really fun for me.
Q: What do you think “manliness” is?
Isn’t it responsibility? Taking responsibility for his work until the end. Doing his best passionately.
Q: Do you think you are responsible?
I’m working hard to be. If there is one thing I cannot do, it’s waking up in the morning. Aside from that…
Q: Among the hyungs you are close with, who has the biggest age gap with you? Is there a name that we might know?
It is director Jang Jin. I think it’s because the director is a smarter person than I am. We share personal stories and spill our problems to one another.
Q: The director gives you advice on your problems?
You’d think there wouldn’t be anything in common between someone in his 20’s and someone in his 40’s but interestingly enough, the director and I can relate. People assume we are close because of our occupations as actor and director but we didn’t meet through work in the beginning. We are close hyungnim and dongsaeng who came to know each other just by chance. When we meet up, we talk a lot about the sports we like and text each other often like friends.
Q: Don’t you also have a hyung?
We are particularly close. He’s the one I go to first when something happens. I ask my parents for advice afterwards.
Q: Are you the type who often shares stories with your family about your activities as singer or actor?
My mother says a lot about it to me especially. I talk about it the most with my mom. But no one in my family has touched upon my work personally. They have never let out any opinions such as “This is uncomfortable.”
Q: Have you ever felt embarrassed by a concept while promoting in SHINee? You are a team that especially makes daring attempts in stylings and performances.
I’m actually not very flexible. In the beginning, they ordered me so I just did it like it was homework. But a lot of the thoughts I had were broken as I promoted. I learned that new attempts create interesting products. I worried about it the most around debut. I wondered how people would react to a group of young kids coming out saying noona is so pretty and throwing fast balls. But the response was really nice. That experience was a huge one. After that, I was able to naturally accept even bolder concepts. Having the members who filled the areas in which I lacked was definitely a big support.
Q: What if you get a role that you’d be after as an actor but SHINee’s fans oppose of? Will it be a problem?
That is something I haven’t thought of. But I still want to do it for sure. If it’s something I have to do, then wouldn’t I try it out? If people can love even that side of me, I think that’d be nice..
Q: Do you have any plans for the short remainder of 2012?
Looking back, I was preoccupied with “For You in Full Blossom” for almost half a year from the preparation period to the actual filming. Before that, I did album promotions for SHINee. I was so busy that I couldn’t accomplish any of my goals that I thought of in the beginning of this year. I barely did one out of ten? Therefore, I want to use the rest of the year to finish what I couldn’t do. And I want to spend as much time as possible with my family.
Q: Out of the goals you have yet to accomplish, which is the most urgent?
Reading books. I planned on reading 1.5 volumes every month, but I’ve barely read 2.5 volumes in the past 10 months. It’s basically the same as not reading a book. And I’ve thought about watching not only recent movies but good movies that I missed out on when I was young. I didn’t do my homework properly though.
Q: Your answer is too much like a model student’s.
Is it? I want to spend that much time on it but I don’t have time so it’s a shame. Another thing I haven’t been able to do is vacation? This one seems difficult… So I just want to read a book first.
Q: What book are you reading now?
It’s been a long time since I’ve held a book in my hand so now I’m deliberating over what to read. I’m thinking about putting on a cap and going to a large bookstore to pick one out tomorrow right away.
Source: W Korea Magazine
Translated by: kimchi hana & raaaf @ shineee.net