[05.05.09] Kang Ji Hwan – The Story Behind His Debut
A person who is constantly consoled by his friends who say “We can’t understand why you’re not in first place,” but can only cry when he looks at his report card. Actor Kang Ji Hwan (32) can be said to be that type of person.
That’s because even though the dramas Kang Ji Hwan starred in drew avid fans, he lost the ratings to the big hit dramas that aired on the other stations. 90 Days to Hwang Jini, Capital Scandal to Money’s Warfare, Hong Gil Dong to New Heart…they were all completely knocked out by the competition.
Switching over to movies, Rough Cut brought critical acclaim, but the spotlight was on So Ji Sub who returned after 4 years in this movie.
I met KJH on the 15th. He started talking in his usual quiet fashion. “My position is a little vague. I’m neither a top star nor a supporting actor, and although I canbe a leading actor, I’ve never had a drama where I got top ratings…”
In spite of baring his “scar” he talks cheerfully because he’s confident of 7 Grade.
He is recognized as an actor now, but we might have encountered the “singer” Kang Ji Hwan first. “I wanted to go into the entertainment business in my early 20’s, but at that time I had no connection whatsoever. Then I remembered a Miss Korea saying “I would like to thank the owner of Sera Beauty Salon.” A friend from my military days happened to be working as a staff at “Park Sung Chol Hair Studio.” I asked him to introduce me to anyone in the entertainment industry, that I would take care of everything if only I could get an introduction.
That’s how he met the person in charge of drama music. “He told me he’ll make me a singer. I practiced at a karaoke box for several weeks, and eventually was called over to his house. After inviting me for a drink, he told me “I’m really busy right now. I heard a friend who’s producing musicals is holding auditions right now.” In other words, he passed the buck.
People around were saying “he’s not going to make it,” but being reckless, he found courage. Others were wearing sweats and dancing shoes, but KJH alone was in a suit and leather shoes. When asked at the audition, “Are you a good dancer? Do you frequently go to clubs?” he immediately answered he often went to Juliana, a popular club at that time, somehow thinking that if he mentioned a club in the Kang Nam district in Seoul that he would “appear rich.”
“People who frequent clubs seem to have natural rhythms. Not knowing what to do, my movements were definitely different from others. That was truly the most embarrassing moment of my life. Even so, I begged the director “please give me a chance. I’ll clean or do anything.”
And thus, Kang Ji Hwan went on stage. He was only one of the dancers, but he says he can’t forget to this day, the excitement and the tingling feeling he had that time. It was then that he acquired his first “fan.” “There were 2 girls who came almost everyday. Strangely, in the audience I felt four eyes that were looking only at me.”
After that, he got a fan club. Maybe because of the love they shared from the unknown days, KJH is called Minister Kang by his fans. The 4 eyes of those days became 4,000, and will soon be 40,000 eyes. Is it because he can’t forget those eyes? KJH said he will continue acting for the rest of his life. “There are actors like George Clooney and Sean Connery who are sexy even when they’re gray. I want to be an actor like that too.”
Credit: KangJiHwan Thread@Soompi