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Lee Seung Gi talks The King, manly charm, donuts, military readiness, and 1N2D vs Strong Heart PDs

Lee Seung Gi ‘Made concrete plans for military enlistment… Not worried’

English: LSGfan via ISplus

[June 11, 2012. Reporter Yoo Ah Jung].  I thought he was the smart boy-next-door, but now he’s become a manly man.  Through MBC drama ‘The King 2 Hearts,’ top star Lee Seung Gi (25) moved womens’ hearts through his portrayal of a king who faced sleepless nights worrying about the safety of his country, and as a man ready to put his life on the line for the woman he loved.  Having gained and learned more through this drama, over any disappointments, I met him at a cafe in Chungdamgdong.

– The TV ratings began at first place but ended last.  Were you disappointed?

“Well, I was conscientious of the ratings at first.  I mean, the best staff had gathered together.  I was taken aback when the ratings fell beyond what I had thought.  The drama was a little different compared to other past and present dramas, thus I think it it may have been lacking in its ability to communicate with many viewers.  However, I was happy throughout the filming of the drama.”

– I’m curious as to why.

“Through this drama, two of my wishes came true. One was getting to do a project with Director Lee Jaekyu. After watching ‘Beethoven Virus,’ I wanted to make sure I got to participate in one of his projects. While the subject may not be popular, he is great at drawing characters that are, with good reason, not very commonplace. I heard he was also a good acting coach, and I wanted to learn with him at least once.”

“And the other wish was to work with Ha Jiwon sunbae, and both wishes came true through this drama. I first met her at the Savings Day event last year. I told her ‘Sunbaenim, I really want to work with you sometime.’ But since she only smiled and didn’t answer, I thought ‘Woah, she doesn’t like me.’ But we were able to meet through this drama. For me, ‘The King 2 Hearts’ was like winning the lottery.”

– The set-up of a monarchy and king was unique.

Position and status-wise as well, it will be hard to meet this type of character again. Fearful that he would someday have to be king, Lee Jaeha was immature and purposely cared for no one but himself. However, as North-South Korea relations worsened, the king’s sense of responsibility couldn’t be shaken off. He has to transform into a real man at a crucial time.  Even worse, as Ha Jiwon was my woman, I had to protect her. As the king is in a position to do anything, of course, I had to take care of my woman. I think all these aspects helped in revealing a manly type of charm.”

– There was an issue with excessive PPL. Do you like donuts in real life?

“Haha. I like all foods.  Actually, donuts do not  appear often in the drama.  However, I think it left a strong mark on viewers because those moments had a strong impact.  When I presented Ha Jiwon with the heart-shaped donut, it was my idea to form a heart-shape with my hands.  Rather than just giving her the heart-shaped donut, I thought it would be fun to manually form a heart shape with my hands.  When you see that scene without thinking about the brand, that gesture was charming.  But it became problematic with all the buzz.  I felt sorry toward the staff.”

– In reality, when you have a girlfriend, do you think of those kind of ideas?

“Haha.  Using props are more for hijinx.  Aren’t products used when one is feeling anxious and nervous.  That’s not my style.”

– You haven’t gone to army yet, but your salute form was cool.

Even though I haven’t done my military service yet, I experienced army life conditions through ‘1 Night 2 Days.’  Because of that, it doesn’t feel unfamiliar to me.  I also liked hearing compliments that the uniform suited me well.”

– Your plans for military enlistment?

“I’ve already made concrete plans in my heart.  The decision has already been made.  However, as there are many variables in life, it’s difficult for me to rashly say when.  Long time ago, leaving for military was viewed as the end of an entertainer’s life, however, I don’t fear it since the sunbaes these days have paved the way well.  They’ve shown us that they are just as manly and cool during military life.  I think there will be a more manly image upon returning from military.”

– Your stock index as variety MC was high and yet you left to work on the drama.

“Personally, I think I withdrew at the appropriate time.  Even though I hadn’t been doing variety for a long time, I was presiding as sole MC over a program with over 20 entertainers on SBS ‘Strong Heart.’  However, I take a lot of pride in having wrapped things up well, and having taken on that challenge without being scared.”

– ‘Strong Heart’ Park Sang Hyuk PD says ‘Lee Seung Gi is a variety prodigy.’

“Haha.  Park PD has a talent for making people feel happy and comfortable.  As ‘Strong Heart’ was a program with one MC, it was important that the person was in a good state and condition, and Park PD put a lot of effort into those kinds of things.”

– Then, what is ‘1 Night 2 Days’ Na Young Suk PD’s style like?

“Just as ‘Strong Heart’ and ‘1 Night 2 Days’ are entirely different programs, the two PDs are also different in personality.  We would set out happily on ‘1 Night 2 Days’ but it would become so hard that we would want to come back mid-way.  As such, you need to thoroughly plan for laughter and such a system.  Perhaps because of that, Na PD was all over us from beginning to end.  If he were to take on a different program, his personality would probably change too.”

– You will be a torch bearer at the upcoming summer London Olympics.

“A lot of people think that torch bearers run from start to finish, but you only run about 500m to 1km.  I’m just worried about ‘hudang tendencies’ such as the shoelaces coming undone or tripping along the way.  Haha.  I will make sure to leisurely run the 500m as if I could run more than 500km.”


Gosh, Seunggi is too hard on himself.  Please, excessive donut PPL criticisms were more about the donuts being so prominent, typically during serious or crucial scenes!  Making a heart-shape with your hands (your idea) and presenting a heart-shaped Dunkin Donut (production/script idea) are two very different things!

Lingering talk about ratings will get old and die out.  Lots of people watched TK2H in re-runs (broadcast lots on various MBC-affiliated channels) and online.  Plus, lots of buzz.  I’m sure it’ll show in re-runs later on, just like how reruns of My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, Brilliant Legacy, and even Infamous Princesses are still shown.

Again, the ratings rank talk is so amusing since EVERYONE knows the 3 Wed-Thurs dramas all had ratings in the same ballpark, with no clear stand-out.  And that all 3 were received favorably for their acting and chemistry.  TK2H just started a lot higher and was more anticipated than the others.  Viewers were expecting mostly a romantic love story between the two leads, and instead got a weighty North-South Korea and political storyline in the foreground.

LOL at his response about how he’d be with his real girlfriend.  Not his style to be all about products and props!  Ha.  Love it!  Maybe something more like Jaeha… making his own personalized products and then doing an awesome proposal under cherry blossoms?!?!  I’m sure he’d get his girl a nice, thoughtful (expensive!) gift too!

His take on Park PD and Na PD are so on point!  Wonder if  Na PD texted Seunggi.

Love the confident, positive, and ready outlook on military enlistment!  And awesome respect for sunbaes in military!  As military service is a big deal and seen as super favorable and respected for entertainers, no one fits this image better than LSG!!!!

(Images: ISplus, Sportsseoul)

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5 Responses

  1. That’s real Ann

    Thanks for translating this, your translation is always the best, it convey Seung Gi’s emotion at the best. And for each time I read his interview, That much I adore and respect him. How could a 25 y.o being this hard working and wise? I feel shame for myself.
    About TK2H..yes…it portrays a lot of issues, that’s why dramabeans comment thread for TK2H always growing and has giant number of comments…But those issues only apparent for them who are willing to see and open their mind (and yes, it’s tiring because it required brain too), it’s unforgottable for them(read: we, hearties) who invest their heart and mind, because it’s not just a drama, TK2H is a lesson for life.

    After TK2H end, I’m crying because I don’t wanna end the joy of learning something every thursday and friday…and still feeling empty, even until now..
    I’m sorry for blabbing here, but I want to say that TK2H marked not only seung Gi’s life, but also the hearties :)

  2. Thanks for this and translations of all the other interviews.

  3. gosh.. I want to know about their kiss scene translation..

  4. Tk2h may not received high ratings in SK but it praised by intrnational fan..im sure A LOT kdramas fan love this drama..so dönt worry..quality make ur identity…seung gi-ya, hjw was not ur woman but hang-ah..dont get cönfuse..hehehe…

  5. yes i agree with you… The King 2 Hearts is the best… I super-like Seung gi there… Sooooo handsome! and great acting skills with ha Ji Won.

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