The Art of the Actor

This interview was conducted by Ariel Lee, thanks to Joonghoon Park, who is an actor, director, and star in the media industry.

What were some initial perceptions of acting and how did this differ from reality?

When you’re acting as an amateur, it’s really fun because you get to do what you want without real pressure. I’m great in front of an audience. If there’s 500 people, I’m comfortable. It there’s 5,000 people, I’m even more comfortable. So it’s great. But when you’re acting professionally, you really need to be responsible. The audience, director, and film crew are all paying you for you to give an authentic performance. This sort of responsibility can be a pressure that you don’t feel when you first stat acting.

What type of scripts do you most want to work with?

There’s a saying in my industry that the script does 90 percent of the acting for you. When I read a good script, before I even know it I’m already acting. So you really know in the first couple moments when a script is really good.

What kind of directors do you most like to work with?

The worst director tells you exactly what to do, giving no room for personal creativity. The worst director also tells you to do anything at all. The best director is someone who is able to put you in a range

What is it like working a heavily emotional role?

When you’re acting, you have to believe in the role you’re taking and really live in that situation. If you don’t believe yourself, then the audience knows and no one else will believe you. Once, I had to act as a king who slaughtered his wife and three children. In reality, I also have a wife and three children. So I had to kill Bason and Sophie and Meehee, at least in that moment. This really does have emotional effect on the actor. Acting is an emotionally burdensome profession, and you have to be willing to feel these emotions in order to create a convincing scene.

[intense_image image=”” align=”middle” caption=”Standing at the microphone in front of the audience, Joonghoon Park delivers a review of his profession while expanding on his own career as an actor and director.”]

What does a director have to do to make sure to be both friendly with the actors and maintain creative vision?

The question of the line between creativity and mere stubbornness will be an eternal question for all artists. Sometimes when a director asks an actor to do something in a very specific way, it really doesn’t contribute to the artistic quality of a film, but sometimes it does. Things like these will always be contended.

Why did you decide to be an actor?

I wanted to be an actor because I wanted to. To me, what I wanted was more important than what I should do or what people were telling me to do. My father worked for the government, and back then, it was even more scandalous to become an entertainer. When I first told him that I wanted to be an actor, honestly, he hit me. Luckily, I’ve been able to star in 40 films as a lead role and I’ve been a successful movie star in Korea. But others have not been so lucky, because very few get to this level. And my father knew this too, so he wanted to prevent me from taking the harder road of life.

How do I know whether I should or shouldn’t try acting?

I have to be really honest right now, because I’m talking to students. And when it comes to acting, you really need talent. In my industry the success rate is very low, and many actors practice and practice but they struggle to gain recognition. This doesn’t mean that you should give up immediately because you think you have no chance. If you’re not sure whether you’re talented or not talented, you should try.