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Entertainment’s elder statesman Lee Soon Jae’s take on idol actors, smart sensible young actors, and Lee Seung Gi

Entertainment’s elder statesman and veteran beloved actor Lee Soon Jae (77) is well-known for taking the acting profession and craft VERY seriously.  Known to be a supportive colleague and sunbae, he’s also notorious for telling it like it is about younger actors!  (You can do that when you’ve lived that long, are respected, and have a string of movies, dramas, plays to your name!)  He created a lot of buzz last year when he called out Jang Geun Suk’s handlers for not doing a good job of scheduling, preparing, and being on time for filming.  It wasn’t a diss to Geunsuk or his acting, but tied to an overall sentiment that young people these days should take things more seriously.  In a recent interview, he talked about “unprepared” idol-turned-actors, but also expressed affection for younger actors, and mentioned our Actor Lee Seunggi…

Scolding from Lee Soon Jae
English: LSGfan.  Source: Busan

[April 14, 2012] Actor Lee Soon Jae is well-known for saying the hard-truths to young actors.  Related talk about this also came up during a recent interview on April 6 for the play, ‘Father.’

“I’m not critical of all actors who began as idol singers.  I’m just critical of those actors who don’t do a proper job.  I don’t like it when acting isn’t taken seriously and idols are used for commercial purposes.  It takes years to prepare as a singer, yet how come that’s not the case with acting?  I don’t understand why that happens in this area?  It’s hard even after majoring for 4 years in a theater and film department.  This is an insult to the acting profession.”

Lee Soon Jae stated that many of these idol singer actors think they’re simply “going to learn on the filming set.”  Of course there are opportunities to learn new things and develop while filming, however, he said it was irresponsible and careless to for those who think they’re going to simply learn during filming despite not having properly prepared beforehand.

However, Lee Soon Jae was also generous in his affection and praise for young actors.  “Smart, and a good grasp on understanding.  I’m currently filming ‘The King’ with Lee Seung Gi and he is very keenly aware of things.  You know, kids these days are good-looking and have a good physique.” [edited]

Like that of entertainment’s veteran elder statesman, he also had some advice.  “An actor can continue working as he/she gets older.  Kids these days make a lot of money, and don’t have to worry about their livelihood like we did when we were younger.  It’s great that they can choose good projects, as well as projects they want.  However, young actors don’t continue to act if they make money now.  That can be disappointing.”

Affection for acting and and self-respect and pride for the acting profession.  His reason for scolding rookie actors.  Having a senior veteran like this in the play and drama industry is a huge blessing and asset to young actors.

He’s 77.  He lived during a different time, unlike the affluent life many entertainers enjoy now.  I mean celebs in their 20s are ranking as top earners in K-entertainment, so I get where he’s coming from.  Which makes his compliments about smart and sensible younger actors all the more striking!  You know, since grandpas can be sorta cranky, while still being sweet.  They always love to give their 2 cents!  And coming from Lee Soon Jae, it’s definitely very worth it!  Of course, fans can never can get enough of the praise and love for Seunggi from other veterans and public figures!

Ok people, I can ONLY imagine how nervous Seunggi felt at working with Lee Soon Jae in The King 2 Hearts!  Not only is he acting with a senior veteran, Lee Soon Jae’s character is that of SECRETARY to the king!  The Lee Jaeha character requires Seunggi (25) to speak rudely and antagonistically to Lee Soon Jae (77) all the time!  Omg, I could never talk to my grandparents like that!  And considering Korea’s strict adherence to honorifics and etiquette associated with age, to me, this aspect alone has been one of the impressive markers of Seunggi’s performance of Lee Jaeha.

Seunggi’s always been the youngest on drama sets, like in My Girlfriend is a Gumiho and Brilliant Legacy, but with this drama, he’s like WAY the youngest and among a sea of acting veterans!  Sure, I know the ratings outcome has made all TK2H fans “Ah, STRESS~~!”… but I think Airens now fully understand what Seunggi meant early on when he said no matter what the outcome, this will be one of the most amazing and awesome experiences he’s had doing a drama.

So from hereon, despite the ups and downs, no matter what, let’s super appreciate the dignified acting, due diligence, and awesome chemistry on and off-set of Actor Lee Seunggi and the entire cast, as well as the production team!  That’s the stuffs which last and are remembered for a long time about the actors and the drama, especially considering how the landscape of K-entertainment changes on a dime.

The King 2 Hearts~~ Fighting! 

Love this BTS photo of detail-oriented Seunggi noticing that this not a solid black tie!

And I still can’t get over all the fun, relaxed BTS cuts and photos!  I can’t believe this is the BTS of that dramatic hallway walk with the entourage, his first as king!  I love how the actors are really able to switch it on and off during the seriously heavy scenes!


Images: MBC, MBC cupitter, Naver

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9 Responses

  1. I so agree. I got so depressed at first with all the talks about the ratings and all, but not anymore. I am thankful that he chose to take this “risk”, because his acting capabilities were challenged, and boy, did he deliver! This drama made him shine even more, and put him on a higher level. The newfound respect for him is just overwhelming. All the praises and accolades more than make up for the ratings.

    I know he is really happy right now with all these. Aside from that, working with Lee Seon Jae, PD Lee, and Ha Ji Won is definitely a risk worth taking. He knew that a project like this may never come again. A manifest of how intelligent Seunggi is, in choosing his projects.

    Lastly, seeing that many international fans have become fans has made me excited and giddy! It’s really amazing that he has come this far. Another feather in Seunggi’s cap…just DAEBAK!!!

    • I have the same problem as you. Was affected by the rating. I was worried for him that media(overseas media who knows nothing of the reasons for the drop in rating) will use the rating to write negative articles about him.

      I went on to watch the 2nd time of epi 7 & 8 with sub and he blew me away with his acting. I watched the live streaming but my Korean are really limited, so most of the time I’m not sure or do not know what they are talking about, only watching the 2nd time with sub will let me understand & also let me focus on his acting.

      I have to say that giving up Strong Heart & 1N2D is the right decision, even though we missed heodang & Emcee Lee. He is able to focus 100% on the drama which allows him to study the character even better.

      And I’m always so proud of him when Sunbaes praise him, whether is personality, acting, emceeing or singing. I believe Seung Gi will apologize to the Sunbaes(eg. Lee Soon Jae sunbaenim & the actor who acted as Hang Ah’s father,etc) after the filming as they have to bow to him(even though SGi is the maknae of all the cast) or he has to speak informally to them in the drama..

      After watching Epi 7 & 8, my mind & heart finally agreed on 1 thing. I will ignore the rating and continue to watch the rest of the drama focusing on Seung Gi’s acting.. In epi 8, he made me cried 3 times when I see his tears rolling down from his cheeks (I’m a stone-hearted person, I’m able to control my tears watching k-dramas when other were pulling out tissues after tissues..but not in TK2H)…

      Sorry for the long comments, I better stop here before it gets worst, hahaha..

      Thanks Ann for the translation of what Lee Soon Jae sunbaenim said.

  2. I forgot about the etiquette (honorifics etc) thing totally! Omg, especially when Seung Gi is so mindful and sincere about paying respects to his elders.

    Totally agreed with what Mr. Lee said in the interview. Why people think acting is easier than singing or dancing?

    Saw some BTS photos of Seung Gi laughing with the queen mother, in Jae Kang’s funeral scene (from the picture I think he was tickled by something she said, so cute)! Felt relieved by the fact that he could step out of the role to relax a bit and not be carried away by the drama. I confess at times I have problems with that, as a viewer LOL!

    Love what you have been doing, actor Lee! Show us more!

  3. Hi,,regarding the bts scene,i wonder why he told hang ah to not address him your majesty..i dont get the idea of that part…thanks! if you may! :)

    • You mean actual broadcasted ep? Becoming king was the thing Jaeha NEVER wanted. He hates responsibility and doesn’t like to feel burdened. So to have all these people formally address him as King (“Jun-ah” in korean) is a constant reminder of that responsibility and burden he now carries, as well as a constant reminder that his brother, the previous king, is no longer living.

      So I think he doesn’t want Hangah, whom he loves and feels most comfortable with and happy around, to address him with such distanced formality. his brother and Hangah were 2 important people in his matured evolution, and were the two he felt he could just be himself the most. Silly, immature, loved no matter what. Now his brother is gone… and only Hangah remains.

  4. ah..i see,,for some reason i thought he don’t want hang ah to call him that coz he’s kinda mad at her..it still didnt occur to me that he’s already in love with hang ah until i read your recaps…thank you alot btw..i love to read your recaps makes me understand the whole scenario..hehehe!

  5. Hi

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