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September 24, 2018

[PopInterview1] 'Mr. Sunshine' Kim Nam Hee "I can't speak Japanese, and for accented English I memorized the lines by phonetic alphabets"

Article: PopHerald


[HeraldPop=Cheon YoonHye Reporter] "I felt that, by performing villain worse, I could make the real history known better"

Are there better scene-stealer out there? Kim Namhee proved his presence strongly thru tvN Sat-Sun drama 'Mr. Sunshine'. He performed the role of Japanese Mori Takashi, who is through and through Imperialist, viciously tormented Eugene Choi (Lee Byung Hun), Go Ae Shin (Kim Tae Ri) and Joseon People.His acting skills befits the title of natural-born-actor, and amazed viewers. He took the fame as big as main leads for short while and gave strong impression to viewers.

HeraldPop met Kim Name in a cafe on Kyungheegoong rd, Jongro, Seoul. He started his interview with his impression of completion of Mr. Sunshine "It was really different. I didn't do much drama before, but I was able to take part in the great project despite my short career, and I really appreciate it. At the same time it was a heavy burden, so I tried to do my best. I'm happy everything ended well."

"Not many but people starts to recognize me. There are some people who wants to get my sign or photo taken with me. My SNS is also private, but I see more friends recommendation. It's all strange and amazing."

In 'Mr. Sunshine', the part for Kim Namhee wasn't that big. Even with small time allowed, it was Kim Namhee's acting skills that made people recognize him, and made him popular. Viewers who watched him thru drama thought him as a real Japanese, naturally. Kim Namhee responded demurely, "Any other actors/actress would get the same reaction. It's not my acting skill but the power of character and writer who wrote him".


He surprised us by revealing that he doesn't speak any Japanese. "I don't speak any Japanese. I had to learn all the lines and accents. I had Japanese tutor and learned from him. He's also in 'Mr. Sunshine' together. Major Sasaki(Gong Daeyoo) is him, he is 3rd generation Japanese. "

"I had to learn translations and accents of all lines. For Japanese accented English, I got consults from teacher's friend's audio files and listened to it. I wrote down phonetic alphabets and memorized it. "

For difficulties while acting in Japanese, he revealed, "To master one scene, initially it took minimum 1 week. After a while it took 3 to 4 days. (**here is 1 line I don't quite understand what he's saying so I'm omitting it ). I had to start when I had a script, so once I wasn't able to memorize all so shooting stopped. I tried to memorize it all night, but when I tried to act, I couldn't do it. I felt "Shooting stopped because of me". It was real stressful situation, I felt guilty, and burdened."

To make more realistic Mori Takashi, he changed Korean exclamation to Japanese while shooting. "Exclamation is instinctive. Writer doesn't like to change script, but she didn't say anything about this. " Maybe because of his efforts to make Mori Takashi real Japanese, viewers were angered by Mori Takashi in 'Mr. Sunshine'. Kim Namhee had to confront it even thou he was just acting for his role. It could be stressful for him, but Kim Namhee has passion for acting.

"I only thought of character itself because he's such a appealing one. Historically I don't agree with Japan's action. Of course there was difficulties, but I thought I should do this right to let people know about history."

"I felt responsible seeing viewer's reaction watching this drama. My acting may cause anger and rages from adults, but could have impact on friends who don't know the history. Look at how "Eyes of dawn" was shocking. I thought it has educational value too."

"If Takashi did something wrong, it's right for viewers to get angry. In those cases, I felt that people are immersed , and I'm doing things right. But I was sorry when they said "God-riddance!", "Clappings!" when I was dead. I wanted to be in the drama more, but I couldn't any more. " 

Meanwhile, Kim Namhee asked not to hit him if people actually sees him. "A while ago, some young men were watching me while I was having a drink. They were looking at their phones and me, became grim faced. It was fortunate that I was with my male friends, but I felt like they were saying "That's him!" . Haha"

[PopInterview2] Kim Nam Hee "Going against Lee Byung Hun, it was really hard to act with feeling of pressure"


Kim Namhee confessed moving stories with Lee Byung-Hun.

Kim NamHee awed viewers antagonizing Lee Byung-Hun who starred as Eugene Choi in 'Mr. Sunshine'. It must be difficult to show strong impression against the great actor Lee Byung-Hun. But he was able to portray the vicious Mori Takashi against Lee Byung-Hun.

During the interview with HeraldPop in the cafe, Kim Namhee revealed it was stressful for doing scenes with Lee Byung-Hun.

"I was very afraid of acting against Lee Byung-Hun sunbaenim. But I shouldn't show it as a character, so tried to not let it show. It was really difficult hiding that feeling."

"Before acting together this time, I only knew Lee Byung-Hun sunbaenim as a star, but acting up-close and exchanging lines with him i realized that he loves acting and very passionate about it. " Kim Namhee talked about Lee Byung-Hun and thanked him. 

"Frankly I couldn't really say 'one more time' to director even if I didn't like the scene I did. But sunbaenim asked me before i said something and if I wanted to do it one more time, he told director for me. To someone like me, it was a big deal and i was really thankful. "


"Sunbaenim said 'The character Takashi is really appealing, I would like to do it too. I consider Takashi attractive when he shows some lackings. ' 'Try not to be serious character always.' but at the same time he said. 'Be confident, it's ok because the character is a real villain' . After a scene was done, he would pat my shoulder and show me thumb-up. He was really encouraging and someone I could rely on."

He died suddenly even though he showed such presence opposing Lee Byung-Hun. We all thought he'll torment Lee Byung-Hun and Righteous army to the last episode. Kim Namhee said. "I didn't know when I get to die either. It was a surprise and sadness for me when I died in episode 21. " "But frankly speaking now I can say I'm sad, but back then i didn't have time to feel it because it took so long to prepare for 1 scene. Time wasn't enough always. But last shooting was meaningful to me. "I'm done here" .

"I liked the ending. Only thing is that i wanted to torture main leads more but I died too early."

He said if he can take part again in this drama, he would like to do the role of Gojong (Emperor of Korea). "He seems to be an interesting character. Very mixed feeling about him. There's weakness that he as a king, cannot defend his country, and the agony because of it would be very fascinating, that's why I want to do Gojong if I can choose."

'Mr. Sunshine' has Righteous Army who sacrificed themselves to defend the country, but there are also villains who's fetching Joseon to the darkness. one of them is Mori Takashi by Kim Namhee. Then who would be the worst character in 'Mr. Sunshine' for Kim Namhee?

"For me it's Lee Wanyong. I want Lee Wanyong to watch this drama. Takashi and Japanese are doing their best for their country, but those Joseon people who helped them were really bad. "

"Drama deals with sensitive topics and based on history. There could be some people who feels ashamed. I want them to have a moment to regret watching this drama. And for majority of viewers, I want them to realize the presence of RA in our history. Back then, it wasn't King or military but commoners. I feels that it's the same now too. It's us commoners who need to protect the country. This may be too grandiose speak, and best thing is just to laugh and cry watching this drama. " He seems real proud being part of this drama.

[PopInterview 3] 'Drama Goblin, leads me to 'Mr Sunshine' 

Kim Namhee mentioned tvn 'Goblin' a project right before tvN 'Mr Sunshine'.

Viewers may know him as Mori Takashi in 'Mr. Sunshine' now, but he appeared as minor role in KES's last drama 'Goblin'. Now that he got popular in 'Mr Sunshine', people made clips of his scene in 'Goblin'. People realized he was that doctor from 'Goblin', and amazed by his acting.

"Because of the Gobin, I got a call for audition. Honestly, it's risque for director. Back then, I didn't just audition for Takashi but did other roles too. I think that audition was to see whether i can do minor role like 'Goblin' or something more."

Kim Namhee did the role of a doctor who died tending his patients. It was a minor role, but to give him call for audition may mean that he left quite an impression to production company?

"It wasn't a big role in Goblin. I was really nervous shooting, but heard something like 'wasn't bad in real shooting'. The current company was also after Goblin. I'm thankful to that drama. "

Kim Namhee appeared in subsequent PD LEB and writer KES projects, and his part is getting bigger. There are some group of supporting actors/actresses who shows up KES dramas frequently, some considers Kim Namhee as one of them too. But Kim Namhee denied it. "I don't think that way. I told writer "I want to do next project too" but writer avoided answer. So I didn't think that way. "

Kim Namhee left strong impression thru 'Mr Sunshine'. It is a happy event for an actor to receive such love, but it could make picking next project harder due to image from this drama. "I don't worry about that too much. People may thinks of me as Takashi, but then I need to show I'm not Takashi in next project. I should be that character, so that people say 'That was Takashi?"  instead. Haha"

"But this character was a bloody villain, so I hope for not so much of villain in next project."

The future Kim Namhee dreams is simple but very honorable one for actor. "I want to be an actor who really acts well. Even just doing one project, I want to leave a strong impression by acting well  in good project. Thru 'Mr. Sunshine', I want to be an actor for Japanese role for 10 or 20 years. If young juniors can refer my acting as how to act like Japanese, it'll be big achievement for me."

'Mr. Sunshine' Kim Namhee "Practicing Takashi thru watching Choo Sunghoon.. Want to be an actor with proven acting skill."(article)

"It must be a risky move for director. To give a chance to me, who doesn't speak Japanese nor never in a big role, it's a chance one never heard of"

Gamble was successful. We're talking about the actor Kim Namhee (32) who did the role of Japanese Colonel/nobleman 'Mori Takashi' in tvN drama 'Mr Sunshine'. His character with fluent Japanese/awkward Korean - even the blood vessel in his temple seems to be terrifying -  made him popular and viewers thought him as a real Japanese.

But in reality, he didn't look like someone with wicked laugh after he killed Hongpa. He was smiling free and easy when we met him in Kukminilbo building in Yeodo, Seoul. "I'm glad I portrayed a villain really evil way."


'Mr Sunshine' tells us history of Righteous Army in Hanseung in early 20th century. Kim Namhee explained that because Takashi represented the cruelty of imperial Japan, he tried to show it real. One of them is how he speaks. 'Gong Daeyoo, who was Major Sasaki in the drama was my Japanese teacher."  "For Korean words, I broken down all words syllable by syllable to show Japanese accent and then memorized it. For Japanese, started from memorizing words/sentences/accents, added acting on it and repeated it indefinitely."

"In the beginning, the script was all in Japanese, but later Korean lines were added, which made it more complicated. I need to find the pronunciations where Japanese will not be able to pronounce in Korean. I was able to find solution from athlete Choo Sunghoon(Korean Japanese). I watched all his talk show appearance with him and his daughter. Also, on youtube, there are lectures by Japanese native teachers, I listened their Korean instead of Japanese.(laugh)"

He spent one month in Japan with a friend who lives there, after he got confirmed for role of Takashi in July, to perform Mori Takashi better. On the drama site, he got help from Lee Byung-Hun (Eugene Choi).

"Sunbaenim showed Takashi character he analyzed, and showed his acting of this character. He gave me really helping advise , to use various expressions like laughing, serious face, and other expressions. When I felt the scene wasn't satisfying, he caught it before I said anything, came to me to ask about it, being very caring."

"I'm a bit wimpy" "Because I want to act well, I get stressed and burdened easily." The early morning he had to shoot the intense reappearance scene, he had to go emergency room. "Maybe due to stress, I got stomach cramps and had to get a shot. I wasn't able to eat anything til shooting the scene. " "If you look at the scene when I was on horse to meet Lee Byung-Hun sunbaenim again, dark circle around my eyes were really bad. If that made the scene more intense, it's fortunate."


Chance visit to acting school on his way to high school made him majored acting in college. He started as a theater actor, debuted in the movie 'Ode to Youth' (2013), left strong impression as a stalker of 'Mindle' (Jang Seuhee) in drama 'Big sister is alive'. In 'Goblin', he did minor role as emergency doctor who died of overwork. To our question of what he dreams as an actor, he answered "A man who's happy when he's acting".

"I want to be an actor who usually look easy going, but look like a different person when he's in the role. I think people who needs to act to live, who finds happiness when he acts are like that. Some may worry about not losing the image of Takashi in other roles, I want to surprise people in next project that "That was Takashi?".


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