Even a brief encounter showed how much energy he has. ZE:A member Kwanghee makes regular appearances on a number of variety shows but never shows he is tired or exhausted. He said he is drinking only a mixed grain drink these days to lose weight but his voice was still the signature high tone. When asked if he isn’t having a hard time because he is so busy, he answered with a loud laugh, “Oh, everyone is busy these days. So I’m not going to complain either.”
It can’t be easy to maintain the energy he has, whether it is on or off camera, but Kwanghee says it isn’t that hard to do. “Honestly, of course I get tired and exhausted. I can’t be happy all the time. But what I’m so thankful for is that I can give happiness to viewers. The moment I get my hair and make-up done, and a camera is in front of me, I become happy. Maybe it’s become a habit but the moment I arrive for interviews or work, I change immediately. But whatever it is that you do, it’s good to have fun with it, right?”
That’s why his experience of voicing a character in animated film “Gladiators of Rome,” released in March, was not just work but a new form of enjoyment for him. “When I was first offered the role, I thought, ‘I know I’m hot these days (laughs) but would I fit the role of a warrior?’ Because I’m not masculine. But I understood once I watched the movie. He was a character that was extremely lazy and not even courageous in the beginning. It was interesting and fun because my voice was in an entire movie.” Even after pouring his heart out on his experience on how he was so busy that he had to make time to practice his lines, and that it took several days to record the complex fighting scenes, his conclusion was: “I think dubbing is extremely attractive!” And then he went on to do a bit of cute bragging as well. “I got to dub a commercial after the film. And the staff had set aside about two hours for it. But I finished syncing my lines in just ten minutes so they applauded me. But come on, what could be so hard about dubbing to my own lips? (laughs) Like so, Kwang-hee is a guy who can make you happy just by being with him. Below are his movie picks.
1. Cinderella (1962)
Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske
Cast: Ilene Woods, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton
Plot: The only child of a widowed aristocrat is mistreated and abused by her stepmother and stepsisters but with the help of her fairy godmother, she meets with the prince.
Kwanghee: This is the first movie ever that my mother showed me. It was when I was four or five, and I watched it without subtitles because she said I had to study English (laughs). At the time, I thought people that look like the animation characters existed in real life because they were on TV. I thought there were people with such skin tones and that mice could speak. My illusion of them shattered when I went to the zoo when I was seven because they wouldn’t speak (laughs). It was a confusing time for me.”
2. Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes
Plot: Shakespeare’s famous play “Romeo and Juliet” is updated to the hip modern suburb of Verona.
Kwanghee: I think I watched the version with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes when I was in eighth grade. It was extremely sweet and moving. And the scene I remember the most is when Romeo and Juliet notice each other’s gaze from across the fish tank. I think it’s also when I started feeling the urge to do plastic surgery after seeing Leonardo DiCaprio’s face (laughs). I looked at the mirror as well after wetting my hair but I looked completely different from DiCaprio. Anyway, I downloaded the movie because I wanted to be able to watch it for a long time. And of course, legally. I’m a good downloader! (laughs)
3. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Uma Thurman, David Carradine
Plot: A woman who was a former member of an assassination team, wakens up from a 4-year coma to find that the child she carried in her womb is gone. She seeks to take vengeance on the team of assassins that betrayed her.
Kwanghee: This is a movie I watched while I was training hard as a trainee. It can seem violent but I had liked action movies so much since I was young that this was a movie that was very satisfying. I’ve also liked director Quentin Tarantino’s films so much that I’ve watched all of his other films as well like “Pulp Fiction” in which Uma Thurman was in as well. I like all of his movies but I think the color to them is pretty in particular. In a way, they seem like animated films.”
4. Hear Me (2003)
Director: Cheng Fen Fen
Cast: Ivy Chen, Peng Yu Yuan
Plot: A delivery boy falls for a young girl who’s hearing is impaired.
Kwanghee: I think that people these days like cinderella-type stories where a rich man meets with a poor woman, but this movie wasn’t like that. I felt jealous of their beautiful yet quiet love, maybe because I can’t have what they have (laughs). And I hadn’t thought much about it when I went there for work, but the landscape in Taiwan looked amazing in the movie. When I asked others where the film was set, I was told, “It’s where you went last time,” so it surprised me.
5. Love (2012)
Director: Yoo Seung-taek
Cast: Vicki Zhao Wei, Qi Shu, Mark Chao
Plot: The story of eight men and women who fall in love with each other.
Kwanghee: I came to look up this film because of Peng Yu Yuan and Ivy Chen who were in “Hear Me.” There are a total of eight main characters in the movie and it’s about their love, but was very lyrical. I fell in love with Taiwan after watching “Love.” But honestly… I don’t watch these kinds of films that much anymore. I become jealous when I watch love stories, then I want to fall in love, and then I can’t handle the emotions (laughs).
Reporter. Hong Ji You firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographer. Lee Jin Hyuk
Translator. Jessica Kim