Actor Son Suk-ku continues to look for 'Nothing Serious'

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Actor Son Suk-ku continues to look for 'Nothing Serious'

Son Suk-ku [CJ ENM]

Son Suk-ku [CJ ENM]

 
Whether it’s romance or thriller, a good guy or a bad guy, actor Son Suk-ku believes that all of the characters he has portrayed are manifestations of himself.  
 
In the film “Nothing Serious,” currently ranked at No. 3 in the local box office with 200,000 moviegoers since its release on Wednesday, Son plays an ordinary magazine columnist named Woo-ri tasked by his chief editor with writing a column about a topic that will hook readers — sex.  
 
Through a dating app, he meets Ja-young (played by Jun Jong-seo), a 29-year-old start-up entrepreneur, who is very straightforward about her opinions and desires. Woo-ri becomes immediately interested in her, leading him to write his column based on his experience with Ja-young.  
 
Son as Woo-ri, a 33-year-old magazine columnist who meets his romantic interest Ja-young through a dating app in "Nothing Serious." [CJ ENM]

Son as Woo-ri, a 33-year-old magazine columnist who meets his romantic interest Ja-young through a dating app in "Nothing Serious." [CJ ENM]

 
Perhaps due to his sharp facial features and tough demeanor, the actor has featured as a mobster, a loan shark, a police detective, a military captain and a chief presidential secretary, making 33-year-old Woo-ri a stark contrast in comparison to his previous roles. 
 
“I think that all of the characters that I took on are all part of who I am,” Son said in an online interview on Nov. 19. “I’ve never tried to become someone else through them. For instance, when I portrayed a military captain in Netflix series ‘D.P.,’ [my character's slyness] was also a part of me, and in ‘Nothing Serious’ I feel like Woo-ri is more like myself because he leads an ordinary life [compared to my other characters] so Woo-ri is, in fact myself. I don't think he's that different from me.”
 
The 38-year-old actor debuted in the local film industry through the 2016 independent film “Black Stone” but “Nothing Serious” is his first lead role in a project and his first in the romance genre as well.  
 
“I had probably seen all of director Jeong Ka-young’s films and thought that they were all very distinct,” Son said, explaining the reason why he decided to take on the lead role. “I think Jeong herself is a distinct kind of genre, so I wanted to feature in one of her films. Even before I read over the whole script, I had already half-made up my mind to do it. But of course, the script contained Jeong’s original, witty style as well as elements to make the film commercially popular.
 
“Actually yesterday, there was a screening where we invited our close friends,” Son continued. “And I never thought I was the type to get nervous, but I was. I talked gibberish on the stage and that’s when I realized that I felt pressured and had been secretly anticipating how the film would turn out, and it was a different experience showing the film to my friends. Since I was involved in this film, I felt that I could not watch it objectively, but after seeing my friends truly enjoy it, now I feel confident.”
 
However, despite the positive experience, the actor has no desire to start solely focusing on lead roles. 
 
“I think I like the role better when my part is small,” he said. “The biggest reason why is that as impact of my character becomes smaller, it’s more fun to act.”
 
Son said he felt pressure to play a lead role, a feeling he shared with Jun, who also featured in a romance film for the first time. 
 
“It was the biggest role that I’ve ever played,” Son said. “Chronologically, I filmed ‘The Roundup’ [a sequel to the 2017 film ‘The Outlaws] prior to this project, which was another big role. But in ‘The Roundup,’ the entire production crew was from ‘The Outlaws’ and it had a definitive centerpiece — actor Ma Dong-seok — so I didn’t face any pressure at all. But for ‘Nothing Serious’ I felt a sense of responsibility weighing on me, like I should be contributing something, anything, as a lead role in a film.
 
“We [Jun and I] became more acquainted with each other once we realized we were under similar pressure,” Son explained when discussing how he and Jun created chemistry between them. “Although Jun is younger, she earned international acclaim from such a young age and is more successful than I am in terms of career, so I think she was worried about this film in that sense. We naturally started talking about this movie, and other films that we liked, and that’s how we got close.”  
 
Son Suk-ku [CJ ENM]

Son Suk-ku [CJ ENM]

 
Unlike the character he portrayed in the film, Son is skeptical about meeting people through an app.  
 
“I think it could be dangerous,” he said. “I don’t exactly know how the mechanisms of a dating app works, but isn't it all anonymous? I think there are risks that stem from that [...] The Jun that I know would never try an app to meet people either (laughs). I looked over her press interviews [that she’d done the day before] and she said that she was something of a conservative. That’s true. She’s very much of an introvert.”  
 
The actor said that he did not particularly draw from his personal dating experiences or past relationships, but he did sympathize with his character at one point in particular.  
 
“Woo-ri makes a huge mistake reagrding Ja-young [at one point in the film],” he said. “When a guy does wrong by his girlfriend, then that just makes me feel absolutely horrible, like I’m the most wretched person in the earth. That I could sympathize with Woo-ri — the feeling of being forlorn when I’ve done something wrong.”
 
When asked what love meant to him, he paused for a moment before answering.
 
“Love is a very abstract and comprehensive term,” he said. “When expanding on that definition of love from merely being just lovers, I think love in relationships in general is about feeling hurt over another’s tragedy as if it had actually happened to me.”
 

BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]
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