Lee Min Ho reveals his thoughts on military service and his new movie Bounty Hunters
It was recently reported that Lee Min Ho will fulfill his military service as a public duty officer, possibly next year. Let's hear about it from the man, himself, in an extensive interview with Sina. He was very relaxed and open in answering fun and serious questions, such as whether he would swim nude if Bounty Hunters becomes a box-office hit, and whether he wants to become a director. Here is the translation of the 17-minute-long video.
(Note: Lee Min Ho was helped by an interpreter, and my translation is based on the Chinese dialogue and subtitles on the video.)
LMH greets in his gentle voice: Hello everyone. I am Lee Min Ho.
00:06 Sina: Bounty Hunters movie is your first project in China. what do you see as the difference between filming in Korea and in China?
LMH: I don't see much difference, actually, because the production's filming environment and processes are very similar. But since this is my first Chinese-Korean joint production, the language environment is a bit different, but still mostly the same.
00:36 Sina: Why did you choose Bounty Hunters as a touchstone to enter the Chinese movie market?
LMH: Actually, many people have been asking me when I'll do a Chinese project, and fans have been asking when I'll film a Chinese movie. I actually feel this project is a little different from the original plan, but it still fulfills a vision that I've been having anyway.
01:10 Sina: Is the character Yi San similar to any of your previous roles?
LMH: Like Kim Tan of Heirs, there is a lot of playful charm. I also see some similarities with Lee Yoon Sung of City Hunter.
01:38 Sina: Compared to your other works, does this film have the most fight scenes? Did you suffer any injuries?
LMH: (laughed) There were some big action scenes, so it was definitely tiring physically. The five characters in the film have different personalities and duties. Yi San is responsible for fighting with his body, so it was a bit tiring. There were no other problems. There was sufficient preparation for using the sanjiegun (three-section nunchaku), so I didn't get hurt.
02:21 Sina: Aren't there a lot of action scenes with Tang Yan (Tiffany Tang)? How is your rapport with her in acting?
LMH: Tang Yan is very outgoing, optimistic and positive, so our personalities are quite similar. We interact often and get along well during filming.
02:46 Sina: At the press conference, you mentioned that Tang Yan and you were supposed to practice fight scenes, but you two ended up being playful and joking with each other.
LMH: We filmed a fighting scene the first time we met. Although we had practiced at the dance school, it wasn't enough. We spent some time to practice coordination at the film site, but we ended up joking with each other.
03:19 Sina: Any romantic scenes with Tang Yan?
LMH: There isn't very strong romance between us, just nice feelings with a little heart flutter.
03:31 Sina: Are you familiar with Chinese actresses? Who would you like to work with the most?
LMH: There are a lot of excellent Chinese actors, so it's difficult to point to a particular person. I would enjoy having the opportunity to work with a good project and a suitably matching actress.
3:53 Sina: You worked with Wallace Chung this time. What do you think of him? Did you know his nicknames such as Xiao Wow and Little Sun?
LMH: His acting experience is much more than mine and he has also been acting longer, so he is my sunbae (senior in Korean). He is older than I am too. Therefore, he is a professional in every aspect. Our director is from Korea, so communication problems are naturally expected, but Wallace handled them really well. There is also a lot to learn from him in how he prepares for every scene. He is a role model that we can learn from.
4:43 Sina: Wallace and you are both representative of male god for China and Korea, respectively. Have you compared to see who is more handsome?
Q：Wallace and you are representatives of male god for China and Korea, have you ever pk for which one is more handsome ?
LMH: No comparison. Wallace is more handsome.
4:56 Sina: Did you ever chat about how to maintain your looks at the filming site?
LMH: Actually we didn't talk about personal topics that much. Mostly we discussed about work. Because I was still unfamiliar with the Chinese filming environment, we often communicated around that topic. I might say what we would do in Korea, and he would say what it's like in China.
5:22 Sina: Can you reveal some tips in facial care?
LMH: Actually I am not the kind to pay special attention to protecting my facial skin, but now I feel I need some suitable maintenance. Still nothing special, but just clean the face regularly, and put on a moisturizing facial mask before going to sleep. Also, don't let yourself endure too much pressure, because it'll be reflected on your skin. Both your physical and mental health are important in keeping your skin in good condition. For good skin, I recommend people to stay in a good mood and exercise often.
6:04 Sina: Bounty Hunters was shot in many countries. Where did you feel the most fun in shooting?
LMH: The last scene in Thailand was the most memorable.
6:24 Sina: Have you thought of what "fan service" to give if the box office breaks 5 hundred million yuan (USD 76 million) or 1 billion yuan (USD 152 million)?
LMH: I don't think I know. What do they usually do in China?
Sina: Like swimming nude... yes, mostly something like that.
LMH: (eyes widening) I'll discuss with Wallace Chung. (That's a very diplomatic answer!)
Sina; If you really swim nude, any restriction?
LMH: (laughing really loud) I don't know.
6:58 Sina: Will you have a new drama this year?
LMH: Bounty Hunters will be released too. There is no specific confirmation for afterwards, but the plan is to find a project for this year.
7:17 Sina: Is it possible to participate in a Chinese drama or variety show?
LMH: It's been thought about, but it's probably too difficult considering the time and energy required to participate.
7:44 Sina: During one variety show, actress Anita Yuen openly admitted that she was addicted to you in front of her husband Julian Cheung. Have you been in touched with the couple about this fun segment?
LMH: Aside from that show, she has often mentioned me in other shows. I'm very appreciative, but I haven't had the opportunity to interact with them privately.
8:07 Sina: If your girlfriend is addicted to another nansheng (male god) in front of you. How will you react?
8:17 Sina: You've been appointed as honorary ambassador for the Korea Visit Years and for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. What have you don specifically in those roles?
LMH: Mostly recently is to increase interest for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. I cannot attend the games, but I will encourage others and personally pay more attention to it, to fulfill my duty even in a small way.
8:42 Sina: What is your favorite sport? And, which Olympics program do you love to watch the most?
LMH: I like all types of ball games. During the summer I prefer surfing. In winter I enjoy skiing. I like short-track speed racing in the Olympics.
9:01 Sina: What do you recommend for traveling in Korea?
LMH: I would recommend Jeju island, because the air there is really great. It's also nice to visit a city. To me, the point of traveling is to rest. So if you want to rest, then Jeju island is a good destination.
9:31 Sina, if you have the time, where would you like to travel to outside of Korea?
LMH: I would actually like to visit the rest of China. I come to China frequently, but it's always for work in cities like Shanghai, Beijing, or Guangzhou. I haven't been to other places. I want to visit places where other Chinese people want to visit in China too.
Sina: What will you do if you're chased by the fans?
LMH: (laughing) I'll have to hide myself well.
10:04 Sina: You attended the Beijing International Film Festival for the first time yesterday. What is your impression?
LMH: I feel very honored to attend BIFF's opening ceremony. My attendance was through the film Bounty Hunters. I hope I'll make more quality works and continue to attend this kind of big film festivals.I felt a little unfamiliar being the first time, but there were many friends who welcomed me. I was able to get involved and felt happy.
10:40 Sina: There were many Chinese filmmakers and Hollywood stars. Did you get a chance to interact with them?
LMH: There was no time to.
10:49 Sina: Producer Raymond Wong said that Bounty Hunters has many new breakthroughs and innovations. Can you tell us about the breakthroughs and innovations?
LMH: The film will be released in the summer. When you think about summer, it's a fun and happy feeling. I hope viewers will happily enjoy the movie at the theaters. I personally think that's the biggest charm for this movie.
11:26 Sina: Which film festivals do you pay attention to?
LMH: As an actor, I think we look forward to the Cannes Film Festival, because it is an authoritative event in the industry.
12:03 Sina: Which director do you want to work with the most in the world?
LMH: (laughing) That is such a big range. There are so many directors who I respect in the world. I would of course be very honored if I ever have the opportunity to work with a famous director. But I would want even more to work with new directors who have new ideas.
12:32 Sina: Let's narrow it down to China only.. Which Chinese directors would you want to work with?
LMH: China also has many famous directors. I know quite a few already, like Feng Xiaogang, John Woo, and other well-known ones. There are also some new directors. If there is a good project, I would be willing to try if the opportunity rises. Whether it's a Chinese-Korean collaboration or Chinese production, I would be willing to take on the challenge.
13:04 Sina: Have you thought of moving to behind the scenes and work as a director in the future? Or maybe become a producer?
LMH: There is no specific plan or project right now. I am focusing on being an actor now. Maybe when I have achieved my goals, or when I have doubts about the current field, maybe I'll give it some thought, but right now I don't have such thoughts.
13:31 You have learned some Chinese during filming Bounty Hunters. What's the Chinese phrase you are best at saying?
LMH: ”Sha Gua!” ("Fool" or "Dummy")
LMH: (laughed) It's just joking. When I meet the crew at the filming site, I say "sha gua, sha gua." I also remember a particular dialogue, "Wait a sec, I think there's something wrong." (He said it in very good Chinese.) It's a memorable line."
14:00 Sina：Who taught you to say “Sha Gua”?
LMH: Tang Yan (Tiffany Tang). (He broke out into a big laugh.)
Following are questions from fans:
14:07 Sina: Which is more difficult to learn: Chinese or dancing?
LMH: (laughs) Dancing is more difficult.
14:15 Sina: If there only 2 foods left in the world, cucumber and parsley, how will you choose?
LMH: This question is too difficult (laughed out loud)... maybe parsley?
14:32 Sina: Fans always give you candies at the airports. You usually open some right away to eat. Why do you like eating candies so much?
LMH: I don't eat all of them. Let me use this opportunity to tell the fans that there are too many candies already. Please stop giving me candy. My teeth are about to rot away. (Uh oh, can you imagine Le Min Ho without his teeth?)
14:53 Sina: So, what gifts would you like to receive the most from the fans?
LMH: On special days. I hope fans will take care of those people who need help, give them gifts, and doing meaning things. My fans are all very warmhearted.
15:20 Sina: There was news about a fan who shaved her head to support your entering the military service. What do you think about this incident? (This really happened in China.)
LMH: I saw the news. My fans really care a lot. I could feel and appreciate her sincerity. I was touched. But the plan for my military enlistment has not been formulated and there is no firm date yet. By the time when I'm really going to the military service, maybe that fan's hair will have grown back.
16:06 Sina: Maybe other fans will support you in different ways? Do you have anything to say to them?
LMH: Something that I feel happy and grateful about is that, as an actor, I can do something helpful. I can encourage them. I can energize them or help elevate their life. This is very meaningful to me.
16:48 Sina: Are you concerned that fans will switch to another idol when you are at military service?
LMH: I can't say that I haven't thought about it. But, if I thought of myself as a book, I am an unfinished book. It's still a work in progress. No one knows what the ending will be. But I believe the process of write a page or a chapter will be remembered. I will work harder to complete the book to everyone's liking. It's my responsibility and my duty.
17:25 LMH: Thank you. I love you all. (In Chinese and in Korea again)
Did you enjoy his interview? Did you learn more about Lee Min Ho as a man and as an actor?
(Photo/image credit as referenced or as tagged)