Lee Dong Wook recently participated in a pictorial and interview for Area magazine where he talked about his career!
Dong Wook began by explaining why he wanted a little break for himself.
For the past few years, I worked almost like an idol. Idols are busy all year round. They release albums and prepare for concerts, but they are also always doing something out of the public eye. I learned how to relate when they said, ‘I’m so happy to have a week off.’ I was like that.
—Lee Dong Wook
The actor shared that this busy point hit right after Goblin became popular. He toured seven Asian countries back then, and it all started to blur together. 2019 was also extremely busy as Touch Your Heart came out, Strangers From Hell was released, he started Because I Want To Talk, and he was chosen as the MC for Produce X 101. Not to mention filming for Tale of the Nine-Tailed happened, and only recently did he finish filming for Single in Seoul.
The interviewer mentioned that K-Dramas are becoming more pre-produced, with typically half the episodes being produced before broadcast. They asked how Dong Wook felt about that as an actor.
I think that it’s right for things to change. I’m from the past generation and have been doing this job since 1999. I’ve stayed up countless nights and worked countless brutal schedules. There was a time when I became afraid of doing K-Dramas, because it’s difficult to live for that long with two or three hours of sleep. As the system changed, actors could rest for about one day per week, and sleep about six or seven hours a night. I think this is a good development.
—Lee Dong Wook
Dong Wook also weighed in on the debate of there being a difference between filming TV series and movies. He stated that it had been a while since he did a movie, but he didn’t really notice a difference when filming Single in Seoul. “Both mediums use the same tools most of the time.” He explained, “Not just the equipment, but the production conditions are similar as well. I think as these changes continue, it will be meaningless to differentiate between movies and K-Dramas.”
The interviewer observed that that must mean that the quality of Korean dramas is improving, to which Dong Wook agreed. He shared that streaming services allowed the budget of K-Dramas to increase significantly.
He went on to explain that there was, however, a difference between telling a story in two hours versus 16 hours or so. He confessed, “I’ve often thought that dramas could break free of the ’16-episode’ expectation and go for 10 or 12 episodes instead. Even if the production time is the same, there’s a qualitative difference between airing 10 episodes and preparing to broadcast 16.”
Lee Dong Wook finished by sharing how acting has changed during COVID-19.
I think that we have had to become less transparent about filming schedules. It’s also more difficult to scout locations for filming. In the past, we’d get permission or sponsorship from public spaces, but those spaces are closed due to the pandemic. Single in Seoul was supposed to end filming a week ago, but it was pushed back because of location issues.
—Lee Dong Wook
He added that they wear masks everywhere except in front of the camera, including bathrooms and getting their hair and makeup done. It’s not difficult, but it is strange.
Check out his full interview in Arena magazine!