November 9, 2022
Disclaimer: Article is roughly translated. It may contain inaccuracies. Please pardon any mistakes.
Na In Woo's Interview
Much has changed in over a year. His manly appearance is a given, and with his serious tone and wider range, Na In Woo (28), who returned with the movie <Ditto>, seemed to have grown a little more as an actor. Now, he has ‘evolved’ into an actor-entertainer, and is showing stable acting and a new appearance with every project.
In the movie <Ditto>, Na In Woo will act as Young Ji, Munee (Cho Yi Hyun)’s male friend for 7 years, and will show strange chemistry with their more-than-friends, less-than-lovers relationship.
We met with Na In Woo, who is close to turning 30, and may be at his turning point as an actor.
Q: It’s been a long time.
A: Last time, I think it was a casual photoshoot. This time, I’m doing a manly and cool concept, so I had fun. Also, the shoot was more fun because I put on a down jacket ahead of the seasons changing, and I felt the warmth with the cozy outdoor clothing.
Q: How are you doing these days?
A: The first time I (did a photoshoot) with AtStar1 (AtStyle) magazine was when <River Where the Moon Rises> ended, and I was about to start filming <At a Distance, Spring is Green>. Compared to back then, I’ve become busier. I’m in the middle of movie promotions, I’m also filming <1 Night 2 Days>, and I’m also preparing for my next drama, so I’ve been a busy bee. After we wrapped up <River Where the Moon Rises>, I was mentally and emotionally relaxed because I thought I already finished a difficult task, but as my schedule’s been so busy these days, (although) I’m thankful, I don’t feel as relaxed anymore. Still, I’m doing my best because my motto is “To do my best to finish (what I’m doing) even if it kills me.”
Q: You’re part of the cast of the movie <Ditto>. You might have felt a lot of pressure because it’s a remake of a very popular film.
A: I actually didn’t feel any pressure. That’s because it’s not (exactly) the same as the original, they also changed the characters’ genders, and the plot was adapted to suit modern times. So far, I’ve been playing older characters, but this time, my character is younger, so I considered that a challenge. In the beginning, I struggled to match the other actors’ tones when reading the lines.
Q: What kind of character is Young Ji?
A: He is Munee’s male friend for 7 years. (Yeo) Jin Goo’s character, Yong, is honest and expresses his feelings well, but Young Ji is realistic and thinks a lot. Even when he is having a hard time, rather than expressing what he feels, he is portrayed as a strong-willed character. He doesn’t show it, but deep inside, he is someone with various worries and thoughts. He is similar to today’s young people who still work hard even though the reality isn’t looking good.
Q: It must be a character that’s seen around us.
A: The movie also depicts what college students go through. If the original is mainly about romance that transcends time, the remake adds realistic problems so (viewers) can focus on and sympathize with each of the characters’ worries.
Q: Were there things you worked on to show a 7-year friendship?
A: I quickly became close with (Cho) Yi Hyun. And I thought, for us to have natural chemistry, she should feel comfortable around me, so I befriended her by purposely joking around, and playing her favorite mobile games. The relationship between male and female friends is more-than-friends, less-than-lovers. It’s a strange feeling. In terms of acting, I really pondered a lot about that. Since I can’t be too indifferent, nor look too happy, I worried about expressing that strange feeling.
Q: Your chemistry with the other actors must’ve been so good.
A: From our first meeting, I told them to treat me comfortably like a friend. Some of them dropped the formalities, and some of them spoke half-formally. And so, our chemistry was formed naturally. The atmosphere on set was comfortable and enjoyable, so it was really fun. Above all else, the director was always gentle with the actors, giving and accepting opinions, so I think we were able to create a warm movie.
Q: We have to talk about <Jinxed At First>. You showed stable acting through your role as Gong Soo Gwang, so I’m curious on what parts you focused on when acting.
A: While acting as Gong Soo Gwang, I thought about how much fear and guilt he had inside. Whenever I said my lines, I would think about it one more time. And it was the same when I was acting with another actor. People always have their own growth pains, circumstances, and fears. It feels great to find those things. And it’s the same with character analyzation. I pondered about it, and looked inside the character as if I were observing a person. Also the role of Gong Soo Gwang shouldn’t be done too soft or too pitiful. I thought a lot about how to express it.
Q: That was your second time working with Director Yoon Sang Ho after <River Where the Moon Rises>.
A: I loved working with him. Maybe it’s because it’s my second time working with him, but I learned a little about his directing style, so I kept that in mind while acting. For example, Director Yoon likes to distinguish the spaces in his works. Even in <River Where the Moon Rises>, the atmosphere is different when it’s with the villagers compared to entering the palace. This time in <Jinxed At First>, you’ll see that it’s different when the scene is with the market vendors, and when it’s in the secret room. So I kept the director’s directing style in mind, and thought about how to show a difference in my acting. Also, the director doesn’t express dark atmospheres in a dark way, so to match his directing style, I also thought about how to control my acting pace to let a bit of air into the (dark/heavy) atmosphere.
Q: You had good chemistry with Seohyun, who you worked with.
A: We still contact each other (smiles). We also congratulate each other when something good happens.
Q: Aren’t you also from Girls’ Generation era?
A: Ha ha. That’s right. I loved it when I met Seohyun for the first time before filming. I thought, “I can’t believe I’m meeting Seohyun.” Ha ha.
Q: You have energetic and positive charms, but you may have a jinx. What do you think?
A: I don’t know if it’s a jinx, but if I work so hard, it doesn’t end well, and if I do things without thinking too much, it ends well for me. Ha ha. I noticed this when filming <1 Night, 2 Days>. If I do my best in winning to sleep indoors, it ends up backfiring. And say when I lose a game like rock-paper-scissors, and just stay put in last place, I end up winning. If I try so hard to win and get too much, I end up losing, so it’s not good. Ha ha.
Q: <Jinxed At First> and <Cleaning Up> aired around the same time [Note: JAF aired June 15 - August 4; CU aired June 4 - July 24]. Did you feel any pressure about the results?
A: Actually, it would’ve been a lot of pressure if the airing time overlapped, but it didn’t so it’s okay. Although, personally, I don’t think it’s that good for an actor to be too prolific. When you’re in so many things (at the same time), you gain certain images you might not want. Then I worry that a person’s color may become dull.
Q: You’re showing a different image in acting and in variety shows. Do you have any concerns about this?
A: None at all (smiles). In the variety show, you see my bright side and me just having fun with the members. When I’m acting, I analyze and study to create and bring out a character. I don’t have time to do that in entertainment shows. But of course, I don’t want to do that either. The image you see in variety shows is just myself. So I think it’s natural for my image to be seen differently between variety and acting.
Q: What does <1 Night 2 Days> mean to Na In Woo?
A: There’s still a bit of pressure. When I go to set, there are so many cameras filming me, and the microphone is on for 24 hours. When the camera is rolling nonstop, I sometimes feel anxious and I feel like I have to do something. Still, the program is like a gift to me. It lets me experience things I’ve never done before, and I love seeing the members every week. It’s my first time having such a bond like the members. I’m a homebody, so I’m always at home on my days off. So when filming for the show, there are things I’ve never done before like barbecuing and sleeping in a tent.
Q: Then you might have unforgettable experiences on the show.
A: Sleeping underground. That was also my first time meeting them, and I felt how much they tried to take care of me. Thinking about it now, I’m so thankful.
Q: As an actor who constantly works hard, what is the source of that strength?
A: I think it comes from the people who watch and support me. I’m still not used to seeing myself on TV. Nevertheless, seeing myself on TV and thinking about the people who support me, I’m able to do my best in acting, just like I do now.
Q: Recently, you held your first fan meeting.
A: I prepared a lot. I had thoughts such as “What if the fans are disappointed when they see me in real life?”, and “What if I make a mistake?” but when I saw the fans, all those thoughts vanished, and I loved it. I tried to put all my energy into it, I wanted to show them more. As soon as the fan meeting ended, I was exhausted. Ha ha. Still, I was very happy because I visited the night market and ate a lot of delicious food (smiles).
Q: As an actor, is your goal still the same as before?
A: Of course. It’s exactly the same. I want to act with sincerity, build up my filmography, and become a senior who can be a role model to my juniors. I want to be an actor who keeps growing.
Q: Then do you have any goals outside of acting? A: To be a happy and good person. I want to be a person who perseveres, gives, and respects. If I become a good person, I can become a good actor, right? Although it’s probably a lifelong homework (smiles).
Q: Come to think about it, you’re about to turn 30 years old.
A: The 1N2D members said that the older I get, I become less talkative and more careful. I feel more responsible. It hasn’t hit me yet, but before I know it, the year will change and I’ll realize that I’m leaving my 20s and entering my 30s, right? When that time comes, please ask me again how I felt.