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[ENG TRANSL] Ahn Hyo Seop - ELLE Korea (2021) Interview

August 31, 2021

Disclaimer: Article is roughly translated. It may contain inaccuracies. Please pardon any mistakes.

Lovers of the Red Sky, Ahn Hyo Seop, how many faces does he have?

[Interview Portion]

Q: Although you have a solid image of a “handsome man,” many people say that it’s surprising you show a different face in every project. You did a photo shoot today as well, and you kept showing a different face.

A: I often hear things like “I don’t recognize your face well,” or “Seo Woo Jin from Dr. Romantic 2 is that rowing athlete?” I think it’s because the left and right sides of my face are different, but I’m not sure as it’s a face I always see.

Q: You also look more mature than when you starred in Still 17 and Top Management 3 years ago.

A: I also got older (laughs). My roles in those two dramas boasted fresh innocence, so I may have looked younger.

Q: I heard you were filming Lovers of the Red Sky, which is about to air, up until the other day. And yesterday, you had a script reading for another drama, Business Proposal. You have a series of busy days.

A: Still, I ate what I craved, and went to sleep happy yesterday. I also feel relieved cutting my hair, which I couldn’t cut for a while because of the drama.

Q: I’m looking forward to your acting in the fantasy, romantic, historical drama Lovers of the Red Sky. What’s the most challenging part about playing Ha Ram, a mysterious man with red eyes?

A: Acting blind, filming all CG scenes was also a challenge, but above all, it wasn’t easy playing different characters at the same time. I had to go back and forth between Ha Ram, the one who loves Hong Cheon Gi, ‘Ilwolseong’, a person that comes out when Ha Ram desires revenge, and the ‘Demon’ who lives in Ha Ram’s body. It was difficult because I wasn’t sure which character to immerse myself into in a given situation. I could say it’s the first work I did that I felt proud of myself after filming wrapped up.

Q: Did veteran Director Jang Taeyoo, who directed Tree with Deep Roots and My love From The Star, help you solve your worries?

A: It was a filming set where the actors worked their lines with each other, and spent a lot of time rehearsing, while considering the details of the previous and continuing scenes. I think that kind of atmosphere was created because the director is a good listener. Whenever I’m not sure about my acting, I tend to try it first, and he would accurately lead me by saying, “I think you went a bit overboard,” or, “I see Hyo Seop instead of Ha Ram.”

Q: He also directed War of Money, a drama you picked as your favorite childhood drama.

A: I didn’t know at first! I found out after looking him up, and I was shocked. It was interesting (laughs). It’s the fact that I’m working with the director who directed the work that made me see the charms of being an actor, for the first time.

Q: Lovers of the Red Sky gained attention in the beginning because it is based on the novel of the same name, written by Jung Eun Gwol, who wrote Sungkyunkwan Scandal, and The Moon Embraces the Sun. Have you read the original novel?

A: Yes, I did. Maybe because the central subject is a painting, I got the impression that it is softer compared to the author’s previous works. The romance of Ha Ram and Hong Cheon Gi, is closer to a real sorrowful romance, rather than a heart-fluttering one. So I tried to immerse myself in the lines that might make me cringe, such as the line, “I love you. What I’ve been searching for a very long time wasn’t my eyes, it was you.”

Q: You’re thoughts on working with Kim Yoo Jung, the ‘Master of Historical Dramas.’

A: She’s an actor who always shows stable acting. No matter how I act, she responds to it. She’s also a senior actor, and she actually feels like one. She always welcomes me with her peculiar smile on set.

Q: There are many supporting actors that we look forward to including Prince Suyang, played by Kwak Si Yang, Ha Ram’s assistant, and the painters. Any memorable characters?

A: Man Soo who always sticks by me. He is played by (Kim) Hyun Mok, who is four years older than I am, but in the drama, his character is 15 years younger (laughs). We filmed from when it was the coldest to when it was the hottest, and he stayed next to Ha Ram, being his eyes and feet. (Hyun Mok) worked really hard. I think of him a lot.

“I’m always afraid at first. Everyone has their own safe zone. All the choices I made so far, felt like a brave first step. If I start that way, and slowly inch myself forward, it becomes my territory.”

Q: In no time, you became an actor with 7 years experience. What kind of colleague do you want to be to other actors?

A: I wish to be someone they can communicate with. Whether it’s work or something else, it won’t be good just because I am good at it on my own. Therefore, we have to share opinions, and sometimes, our feelings, so if possible, I want to be someone who can make such a process smooth.

Q: Do you have the confidence you gained from consistently starring in recent dramas such as Cha Min, a wholesome man in Abyss, and Seo Woo Jin, a feisty surgeon in Dr. Romantic 2?

A: It’s still too much for me to focus only on my character and acting. Whenever I wrap up a work, I look back and think “I’ve gone over one step again this time,” but it also feels like I’m immediately given a new mission. I’ve learned a lot while filming Lovers of the Red Sky, but I think I’ll learn new things with Business Proposal.

Q: You spent your childhood in Canada. You challenged acting after coming to Korea alone at age 17. Are you not afraid of a new environment?

A: I’m always afraid at first. Everyone has their own safe zone. It takes a lot of courage to take a step out of there. All the choices I made so far, felt like that brave first step. If I start that way, and slowly inch myself forward, it becomes my territory.

Q: Still, I don’t think there are a lot of Korean high school students who would cross the continent alone to chase their dreams (laughs).

A: I think at that time, I was just excited to come back to Korea. I had a strong impulse to be independent ever since I was a kid.

Q: What kind of person are you to your family?

A: A good-for-nothing son? (laughs). I think being a filial son is saying at least one word a day rather than earning lots of money and buying good things, but that’s hard. My parents know I’m busy, so rather than calling me unannounced, they wait for my calls. Whenever I feel their consideration, I feel bad.

Q: Whenever you have an interview, you constantly recommend a philosophy book. How do you think philosophy is used?

A: Since I was a kid, I was very interested in questions such as, “Where did humankind come from?” “Where do we go when we die?” I think those led to my recent interest in philosophy. Of course, when I was younger, I just wanted to know the answers to my curiosities, but now, I place more importance in the process. I try to determine whether it’s really right when someone says it is, and I always feel that having the attitude of looking at the world with questions, makes my life better.

Q: If you mind sharing the secret to reading a philosophy book?

A: There are a number of times where I finish a book in a month. If that’s a secret know-how, then I’ll say it is. Rather than having the goal of completing the book, you stop and give time and thinking for whatever comes to mind, after reading a sentence.

Q: Does this interest (in philosophy) help you in your work as an actor?

A: I think it helps me look at a character from a broader perspective. When there are unexpected difficulties, energy doesn’t easily fuse into a situation where one has to vent out emotions, when the understanding of the character becomes too broad. While filming Lovers of the Red Sky, I felt bad for the ‘Demon’ in Ha Ram, as he was supposed to be expressed in an evil way, so I often faltered while acting.

Q: Do you dream of living a life other than being an actor?

A: It’s true that acting has its charms, but I’m curious about another world I can experience. I’m not sure what it is, but if it will evoke in me a burning desire to do it, I’ll go for it.

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