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[ENG TRANSL] Ahn Hyo Seop - Marie Claire Interview (2021) Interview

October 1, 2021

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

Ahn Hyo Seop’s Questions

Don’t stop learning, keep thinking and asking questions.

Actor Ahn Hyo Seop’s attitude that he doesn’t want to lose.

Q: We have to talk about the drama Lovers of the Red Sky first. Watching it, I expect you had a lot of worries at first. It is a historical drama, where you have to play a character from an era you never lived in, your role is one of the characters leading the drama, and the plot is complicated.

A: I felt a lot of pressure and worries. First of all, doing a historical drama is imagining a period in which I didn’t live in, and acting with a tone I don’t normally use. I tried this genre in the drama Splash, Splash Love before, but I didn’t have that many lines, so it was less burdensome. But I felt a lot of burden with Lovers of the Red Sky because there were times when I had to lead the scene. Despite that, the reason I chose to do this is because I enjoy challenges, and working with Director Jang Tae Yoo also played a big role (in deciding to do the drama). Above all else, I was really interested in the character ‘Ha Ram’. I think my curiosity about how he will live after an unfortunate incident, led me to this drama.

Q: It is also a fantasy drama where you have to act without knowing how it’s going to turn out.

A: Exactly. It’s also my first time acting in front of a blue screen for so many scenes. While doing this drama, I was very confused at that point. In particular, it was difficult to look for a reference for the Demon (Ha Ram turning dark because of the Demon inside him). Since it was a situation where I had to create something out of nothing, I constantly thought, “Am I expressing this right?”, or “Would this be convincing?”. I think I was able to make it by talking with the director and the CG director. So I was even more curious as to how it would come out in the drama.

Q: How did you feel when you saw it?

A: I had the intention to see the result of it, but when the drama started airing, I forgot about it, and I watched it while being immersed in the drama. I think that’s how well it came out. I was mostly curious about what the Demon inside me looked like since I filmed this whole time without knowing it. But it looked so magnificent and cooler than I expected it to be.

Q: Apparently, you thought that your Demon appearance would be CG, but you put on the full makeup.

A: I was flustered because that was my first time dressing up like that. Should I say I felt fascinated and lost at the same time? The more I did it, the more I thought about the Marvel actors. It gave me a different perspective on the movies I’ve seen comfortably at home or in theaters, and I have respect for them. (smiles) Anyway, it was a difficult experience yet interesting and worth trying.

Q: Ha Ram is a character who embraces a lot of unfortunate narratives. After losing his family at a young age, the only thing left was vengeance. The unknown Demon dominates his body, and he becomes blind.

A: In any way, I was aware that his narrative has no choice but to gain sympathy. I also sympathized while reading the script. However, he isn’t also someone who cannot remain pitiful, because he has to seek revenge. I wanted to express that well. So I tried to show Ha Ram’s sharpness and firmness. In fact, there are many unavoidable physical limitations because (Ha Ram) is blind. But there are scenes where I move like a person who can see and even fight to save Hong Cheon Gi, so it could look like a fantasy. Though, I understood that it was possible since Ha Ram trained for a long time to strengthen himself. In that way, Ha Ram tried to show that he was a person who doesn’t kneel down in front of his unfortunate circumstances and sink helplessly, but he could overcome adversities with his own strength.

Q: It’s a challenging drama in many ways.

A: I always think of all my projects as a challenge. Unless it’s a documentary, there’s always something I have to worry about, and that I’m stepping into an uneasy world I don’t know about. But still, this one had many challenges like having to mix strong melodrama and fantasy elements, acting like a blind person, meeting characters with unfortunate narratives; also, experiencing the historical drama filming set was a challenge every time.

Q: It’s a lot to take in.

A: It’s a drama that I worried about and worked hard on.

Q: I heard you also lost a lot of weight.

A: I lost about 8kg, but it’s always the same for every project. There were many things I paid attention to, and I think I lost weight naturally since I chose sleep over food when the schedule is tight.

Q: It looks like you get much more sensitive than usual whenever you’re working.

A: I’m sure everyone is the same, but it’s more stressful than I thought to adapt to new filming sets and characters. Still, I gained some weight while resting after filming. And then, as I recently started working on a new project, I am, once again, losing weight little by little.

Q: Your new drama is The Office Blind Date, right? Anything you can tell me in advance?

A: First of all, I’m a third-generation rich heir. I ride a nice car, wear a nice watch, and my office is spacious and comfortable. (Laughs) That’s all I can say for now.

Q: If Lovers of the Red Sky was a challenge, you once said that Dr. Romantic 2 was the turning point of your acting career.

A: You’re right. It was a filming set where I learned that I can act with joy. The staff, actors, and directors all had great teamwork, and it was a very pleasant set. It was to the point where I eagerly went to the set every morning. Above all else, I still think about Han Suk Kyu sunbaenim a lot. I’m pretty sure everyone at ‘Doldam Hospital’ has the same thoughts because, from a certain point, he was really like a father. He gave me a lot of advice regarding acting, but most of all, he would wait and cheer on me so that I wouldn’t be discouraged. Looking at him, I thought that I should live my acting life like that as well.

Q: Since your debut in 2015, you challenged a new project every year. You’ve been taking steps calmly from supporting roles to leading roles. What do you think of your life as an actor?

A: When I first started, I saw a tree called ‘acting.’ Then, after finishing the work, I saw another tree. I kept seeing new trees, and at some point, I realized that this was a forest. I realize so many things every time I work. I thought this forest was everything, but I kept seeing something else. It’s mysterious, scary, and fun. It’s terrifying that there seems to be no end, but it’s exciting, and I think acting is like that for me. No matter how much studying I do, I just keep exploring since there’s no end to it.

Q: Are there still areas you haven’t explored as you continue on?

A: The technical parts. No matter how good I feel, if that doesn’t get delivered well to the viewers, then I think those would be emotions that I’m only feeling. So, when I thought about how to effectively convey my emotions, I felt the need for some skills, and I’m in the process of polishing that.

Q: Is that why you went to a voice acting academy, and also learned Pilates? I heard you’re learning a variety of things to improve your emotion conveying skills.

A: Yes, that’s right. Whether I use them or not, I want to gain as much as I can.

Q: Apparently, you have something you always keep in mind while acting?

A: “Don’t stop learning.” Even if I get older and think that I know everything, I always think about this. To be able to do that, I think it’s important not to lose the desire for learning. But I don’t think I’ll lose that, because I have a great desire for knowledge. That is, whether it’s acting, life, or other areas, I want to learn and understand.

Q: I think anyone who has a great desire for knowledge lives with a lot of questions. What kind of questions do you have these days?

A: I am trying to see myself from a third person’s point of view. But there are times when I miss that line of attention. How do I keep a consistent attitude of observing myself? How can I be more objective and without prejudice, listen to people? And how can I clearly look at myself? I am asking myself these questions.

Q: What if you can ask someone else a question? If you can ask anyone a question and get an answer from them, who would you ask?

A: It may be boring, but there’s this philosopher and psychologist I’ve recently come to like. He’s Alfred Adler, the person who established individual psychology. The world he envisions is so perfect, that in some ways, it doesn’t seem possible. However, I think his theory is perfect. If he’s alive, I would ask him, “Can you really do this?”, “Is this something you practice and maintain?”

Q: Are you an ideal person? Or are you someone who stepped into reality?

A: I think I’m a person who stays in reality but wants to be ideal. But I’m leaning more towards ideal. In the past, when I would watch incidents on the news, I would only get annoyed as I wondered why the world was like this. But now, should I call it love for humanity? That’s what I feel. I want to help everyone and overcome it together.

Q: You’re very broad-minded.

A: For now, I am. I might change. I can’t guarantee what the future holds.

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