As promised on Friday, here is my interview with "Remember O Goddess" lead, actor Kim Jung Tae. Well ok, I promised it would be during the weekend. I got busy. Sue me (please don't).
Kim Jung Tae should be a familiar face for all of you, as he can be seen in many hit films such as "SIU" or "The Apprehenders" (hard to pick two from that huge list) as well as dramas like "Bad Guy" and "Can't Lose" (among others). Those of you who watch variety shows probably know him well too.
Before this piece, let me remind you of my interview with the lovely lady who made this possible, director Yoon Jung Lee. Part 1 and Part 2.
Orion: What was it about "Remember O Goddess" that attracted you, despite it being an independent and potentially tough to make film?
Kim Jung Tae: I was captivated by the story of lost. Moreover, the director and the producer were all women. When I found out that both of them are married, it was too close to the first day of the shoot. ( I hope that my joke will go over in Greece.)
(Orion: I laughed a very loud Greek laugh when I read that. Yes, that joke would do well in Greece)
O: Most movie protagonists have some type of character or story to them which define how they behave and what kind of persons they are. Other characters and the interaction define that as well. When we meet "Kim Jin Young", he himself does not know who he is or what he should be like. Did this give you more freedom as an actor who had to portray this "clean slate" person or was it more challenging than usual to form his character?
KJ: It created a huge space for me. I feel more comfortable in the setting like that.
O: As an actor, do you find there are any major differences between working in mainstream, bigger films and an independent one?
KJ: I feel more responsible in an independent film. The condition of the production is not so easy. And it requires more energy to express many things in a short story. The biggest difference is that independent films need more implicative expression.
O: During your career, have you had much interaction with foreign fans beyond Southeast Asia? Are actors in Korea aware and informed about the foreign fandom and how does it feel to have so many people all over the globe admire persons and works which are mostly promoted for the local market?
KJ: Through twitter, I learned that I had a few Japanese and Southeast Asian fans. Haha. I reply to the fans who are located within 500 kilometers. It seems that international fans are growing not only for Korean films but also the whole culture. I hope that the international fan communities will become stronger so that more Korean films will be able to reach out to the larger audience.
O: My final question would be "Why". Why do you act? What is it about your work that makes it worthwhile?
KJ: In the first place, I began to act, recommended by my mother, no matter if I was talented or not. As I continued to act, I received more attention and compliments, so I naturally kept going. For me, acting is a fate. It’s the best method and equipment for me to live and understand life. It’s so natural to me, and it allows me to make money. I’m very grateful that I can act. I think that it’s rather individually important than socially meaningful.
O: Feel free to give me and my readers any comments or additional words. We're listening. Or rather, reading. We're paying attention anyway.
KJ: When I think of Greece, it first reminds me of Vangelis and Nana Mouskouri. Also the first play that I was in during my college was Greek tragedy. Actors learn about Greece when we study introductory acting. So, I am so happy that Greek audience is interested in us. Please let me know good Greek movies and supporting actors like me. I am very curious. Lastly, please keep following the progress of REMEMBER O GODDESS.
(Orion: Modern Greek cinema is unfortunately not good, but older Greek movies were lovely. Especially after WWII and with some nice pieces until late 1980s/early 90s. We had lovely comedy movies and actors back when movies were still black & white. The "Golden Sixties" had a lot to offer.)