Lee Jong Suk who harbours an ambition of ‘being an actor that is irreplaceable’ starred as Go Nam Soon in recent KBS 2TV drama ‘School 2013’, and showed that he was the only one who would perfectly reprise such a role.
In KBS 2TV ‘School 2013’ which ended its run on January 28th, Lee Jong Suk played the role of Go Nam Soon who was an awesome fighter and known for his good looks in middle school. Due to a painful memory with his once best friend Park Heung Soo (Kim Woo Bin), Go Nam Soon transfers to a new school and lives his live aimlessly without a purpose. Nam Soon becomes the class president in name during his second year of high school, but finds himself facing Heung Soo again after he gets transferred to the same class as Nam Soon in Victory High School.
Filming for ‘School 2013’ ended more than a month ago, but Lee Jong Suk still has memories of his role as Go Nam Soon. “How could I forget Nam Soon totally?” showing his fond memories of his role as Nam Soon, which he had reprised for more than 3 months during filming.
He said, “After finishing filming the first episode, I fell in love with the name ‘Nam Soon’. It’s a name that makes you want to show concern for, light and weak, and fits in perfectly with the personality of the character.”
But Lee Jong Suk didn’t have the intention of appearing in ‘School 2013’ from the beginning. He felt that the character of Go Nam Soon was somewhat similar to the role of Ahn Jong Suk he had in MBC TV daily sitcom ‘High Kick 3: The Revenge of the Short Legged’. During discussions, Lee Jong Suk also outlined his concerns honestly to director Lee Min Hong of ‘School 2013’.
Lee Jong Suk expressed, “After discussions, the director told me to give him a call every day from tomorrow. So after ending my schedules the following day, I called the director. But he didn’t say anything much, and I was also considering other offers. But the director called me one day and said, “Let’s work together” and that was when I decided to accept his offer.”
‘School’ as a series, has helped to produce lots of stars that are still active today. Names like Jang Hyuk, Jo In Sung, Bae Doo Na, Gong Yoo, and Im Soo Jung are just a couple of them who come to mind. But Lee Jong Suk said, “I did not feel anything special about the fact that it created lots of stars. Perhaps it’s because the generation gap was too wide, and that because it's a series, the sequels would be frequently compared to its predecessors. Furthermore, I had also experienced ‘High Kick 3: The Revenge of the Short Legged’. So I did not want people to compare my role of Go Nam Soon with my seniors like Jang Hyuk or Jo In Sung.”
Prior to ‘School 2013’, Lee Jong Suk starred in a daily sitcom and was the host of a music show. Thus, he was worried that his acting would be severely panned by critics, and he had the pressure of ‘wanting to put on a good show’ in the earlier filming. Besides the delivery of lines, Lee Jong Suk had to be mindful of his facial expressions. As a result, he faithfully reprised the character of his role, and also made a lot of facial expressions, although it left some feeling confused and bewildered.
He said, “I was very mindful of facial expressions. I would usually rehearse them in advance. But in order to put on a good show, I rehearsed a lot, so it felt pretty bewildering in the end. When that happens, the director would help me out by guiding me to the correct spot. Through ‘School 2013’ and Nam Soon, I learnt that there were a lot of things that I could have cut out from my acting, and I managed to film my parts in the end on the right note.”
Besides viewers, his ‘School 2013’ cast members felt that it could only be Lee Jong Suk for the role of Go Nam Soon. With regards to that, Lee Jong Suk said with surprise, “Really? My only dream is to be an irreplaceable actor. And that is to possess a style and aura that is entirely different from other actors. But when I was filming my scenes, I did not derive a full sense of satisfaction one bit. But I was very happy to hear such praise from everyone,” showing his cheery smile.
“When I was filming ‘High Kick 3: The Revenge of the Short Legged’, I wasn’t really pleased with my acting, and rarely watch the episodes. I did not like my voice then. My voice didn’t break then, and it felt husky when I shouted in anger. I was satisfied with the acting but my voice just wouldn’t come out, so it was pretty frustrating. But I still continued filming. So I knew my own performances, and didn’t want to watch it. After filming concluded, I watched the entire show once, and tried to spot my problems, and look for solutions to correct them. So I felt that I have solved all my previous issues for this drama. But the road ahead of me is still long.”
During the course of filming ‘School 2013’, there were plenty of happy memories, but Lee Jong Suk also had a lot of regrets to go along with it. With the conclusion of his story arc with Heung Soo in the middle of the drama, Lee Jong Suk had an easier time in the latter half and wasn’t as focused compared to the beginning. Lee Jong Suk said, “I was really into it when I first begun acting out my role. After filming the scene when I said to Heung Soo while pinning him to the wall and said,”Didn’t you think of me, ba***rd” before we started to cry which aired around the 12th or 13th episode, I felt like Nam Soon’s drama had ended. So I wasn’t really focused in the latter half. I guess it’s because my inner mentality is still lacking, so it was quite a pity.” The reason for Lee Jong Suk feeling this way is probably because of his deep love for his role as Nam Soon.
Kim Woo Bin once said, “At the film set, Lee Jong Suk is constantly checking his acting, and has never showed his laziness even once. He constantly rehearses his lines, and asks himself whether his acting got a passing grade.” With regards to that, Lee Jong Suk gave a big smile, and found his poise as an actor again. Lee Jong Suk said, “The only thing that makes me develop a desire in my life is acting. I don’t like to do anything else, but I find happiness just by watching television at home. But when I start to act, I begin to develop a passion. When filming concludes, and I failed to reach the desired level regarding the delivery of my lines, I would feel dejected. I still think of my lines even when I am having a meal with Woo Bin. I even asked him for opinions even after filming has concluded. Woo Bin often says, “Not bad.” But I will continue to rehearse my lines, and then ask him again, which leads to him saying, “That’s enough,” as he laughs.
Another regret that Lee Jong Suk has about ‘School 2013’ is the loss of his love line. In the earlier half of the drama, there was actually a formulation of a story arc for the love line between Go Nam Soon and Song Ha Kyung (Park Se Young). But in order to have a better focus on problems faced by students at school, the production team decided to do away with the love line story arc. Lee Jong Suk felt a tinge of regret over the omission and said, “In the mid stages, I asked the director to add on some love line story arc for me, but the director went on his own way and didn’t listen to me (laughs). I knew that there was a love line for me at the start, so it was a pity to see it fizzle out. I also often say to Ha Kyung, “We should have a love line now right?” but in the end, I had a love line with Heung Soo instead,” before breaking out in his trademark laughter.
After concluding filming for ‘School 2013’, Lee Jong Suk has viewed dramas like tvN ‘My Flower Boy Neighbour’ and SBS TV ‘That Winter, The Wind Blows’. He said, “I really want to try romance dramas.” He added that what attracts him greatly now are traditional romance dramas like ‘That Winter, The Wind Blows’ and ‘Nice Guy’.
“I really want to appear in romance dramas like ‘That Winter, The Wind Blows’. ‘Nice Guy’ is also pretty interesting. I really want to try acting as bad guys like Jo In Sung and Song Joong Ki. I think I can, and definitely would be able to, that are two guarantees. I really desperately crave for such roles, haha. I will definitely make a comeback as a dangerous guy.”
By: Park Jin Young