I met actor Lee Joon-gi
(25 years old) near Incheon Harbor, which was filled with large containers and cranes and the scent of the salty air from the sea on July 3 . He was shooting an MBC TV soap opera, "Time Between Dog and Wolf - Drama
", or "Gae-wa Neukdae-ui Shigan" in Korean (airing at 9:55 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays), which will hit the airwaves on July 18. He seemed very tired of the extremely hot and humid weather and lit a cigarette when he spoke.
"It is less hot and humid here than when I was shooting in Thailand. It is physically hard but I am more concerned about how I can become absorbed into my character".
In the TV drama, main character Lee Su-hyeon (played by Lee Joon-gi
) becomes a secret agent to take revenge for his mother's death on the Thai criminal organization "Chungbang". He disguises himself as Kay, a gangster, and infiltrates into the organized crime ring. Lee said about Soo-hyun, "He is wild but very gentle in love. His personality is very similar to me as he is very insistent and unyielding".
Lee added, "Su-hyeon can be sometimes sad, happy, vengeful, and loving. This is the most emotional and moodiest character I have ever played, so it is hard for me to become Su-hyeon".
This new drama has many action scenes such as participating in a Muay Thai competition or fighting with gangsters. He looks completely opposite from Gong-gil, the pretty clown that he played in the movie The King and the Clown
. He said, "I am very careful not to be too stylish nor put on much make-up". He cut his hair, which covered his entire neck before, as well.
Lee said, "I had hard time last year because it seemed that I was trapped in a pretty boy image. People like that image. But it is up to me to break that image".
Last year he tried to break the mold when he played Seung-seok, a fighter in the movie "Fly, Daddy, Fly
" but the movie felt short of the expectations in terms of box office goals. Many movie fans were critical of his performance, calling it "awkward".
Lee says he is not obsessed with statistics and that he wants to be known as real actor and a "cool wolf". He gained stardom with his looks so quickly, which led to people misunderstanding him as fastidious.
He said, "I am down to earth, unlike my looks. I am uncomfortable with being called as a star. I don't like special treatment. I need to learn more until become a true actor respected by all".
While having a meal at a harbor cafeteria with staff members, he joked, "The cook here must be a vegetarian. This meal contains no meat at all".
The title, "Time Between Dog and Wolf - Drama
" comes from French expression: "L'heure entre chien et loup", which means the time of sunset between afternoon and night when it is hard to distinguish dogs from wolves. I asked Lee when is such a time for him.
"It is when I feel rivalry toward an excellent actor whom I have a close relationship with and respect for. As recently as when Jeon Do-yeon
received the Best Actress Award at Cannes, I thought I wanted to do better than her someday. I hope that the time of dogs and wolves comes to me many times so that I can become a fierce actor".