Part II for the interview conducted with Big Bang’s resident bad boy T.O.P. about his experience being a part of the highly anticipated movie ‘Into the Fire’ with Nate News report Nate News Reporter 배선영[Bae Seonyoung].
*Note: For all the readers who haven’t seen the end of IRIS, there is a spoiler about what happens in IRIS that T.O.P mentions during this interview, so you have been warned!
Big Bang’s T.O.P. Even when he appeared in the drama ‘IRIS’ as professional assassin Vic, not many people accepted his transformation from a singer to an actor as being sincere. Now T.O.P. has a lead role in the war movie ‘Into the Fire’ (directed by Lee Jae Han) with a budget worth 113 million won, and even before its official premiere, it is already known amongst critics that ‘this movie is T.O.P.’s movie,’ ‘this is T.O.P’s rediscovery,’ and expectations are high.
I met T.O.P. on May 20th at a café in Seoul for an interview to promote ‘Into the Fire’. With this move to be his big screen debut, which will be released in a few weeks, T.O.P. expresses pride rather than nervousness. He worked so hard to the point he could say that “I put myself aside and completely committed to the role.” The day after filming finished for a scene in the drama ‘IRIS’, he went to the set of ‘Into the Fire’ in Kyeong Nam Hap Cheon, and “as soon as I heard the synopsis I got sucked into the character of Oh Jang Beom. Usually if I’m working on one project I don’t think about anything else, but as I was filming ‘IRIS’, I received the script for ‘Into the Fire’ and as soon as I got cast I felt as though I was transforming into Oh Jang Beom. At the end of ‘IRIS’ when Vic dies, I think the smoothness of Oh Jang Beom got projected without me even realising it” says T.O.P. It’s easy to see how much he wanted to be a part of such a project.
T.O.P. initially said that he found no meaning in acting: “I can’t just easily do anything. I think about it a lot first before starting. I’m the type that hates doing anything that I decide to do half heartedly; when I decided to step foot into acting, I looked back on myself and spent a lot of time thinking about how I could make my own colour. In music as a member of Big Bang, I developed my own know-how but when it came to acting… of course the road won’t be the same or easy, but a desire to become an actor who acted well developed in me. I have the mentality that if I don’t give my 100% effort then I’ll become an indolent person, and I also think that before you put in that effort you should put a lot of thought into it first.”
It became known that T.O.P, in whom the desire to become an actor began to grow, would often visit the home of Lee Byun Hyun during the filming if ‘IRIS’ to receive advice on acting. About this, T.O.P says, “Lee Byun Hun would call me over often. If he called me over just to hang out, I would then go and seriously ask him for advice on how to improve [in acting]. He found that funny. Those times helped me a lot.”
While filming ‘Into the Fire’, T.O.P. received acting guidance from Kim Seung Woo, Cha Seung Won, Kwon Sang Woo and other acting seniors. “Seung Woo would remember back to when he was my age and give me lots of good advice. Seung Won filmed in Hap Cheon by himself a lot, and whenever I had a hard time he would take care of me. Once he took me all the way to Dae Gu and watched the movie ‘Avatar’ with me. I was really touched. Also, Seung Woo would hang out with me and monitor scenes with me and give me lots of advice. I was truly thankful.”
Due to being the only single guy in the cast, T.O.P. revealed that he “learned a lot about stability from his seniors”.
“All my seniors are married. While filming, we’d always eat together and sometimes have a drink or two, and those times because really comfortable. From filming this movie and meeting up with my seniors, the people around me commented mostly on how I had changed in my sense of stability. I thought about where I’d been influence in this and it turns out it was from my three seniors. They all have stable families and the way they’d always call home was admirable. On one hand I’m still young and growing, so I’m still confused and my head is always busy thinking about things, but I felt like I was watching complete and grown men and I think I started becoming like them subconsciously.”
In this way, T.O.P. has matured, and now his growth is being judged by the masses.
The film ‘Into the Fire’ is set during the Korean War of August 1950. It is known to realistically portray the lives of 71 soldiers in the student force. Its official release is slated to be this June.