The Korea Herald


[New on the Scene] Kang Tae-ju on giving 100 percent for acting roles

By Kim Da-sol

Published : July 11, 2023 - 17:17

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Actor Kang Tae-ju (Studio New) Actor Kang Tae-ju (Studio New)

After rookie actor Kang Tae-ju beat 1,980 candidates to land one of the main roles in the action noir flick "The Childe," all he could think about was being able to deliver a stellar performance for his first-ever film project.

“It was important for me fulfill my duty. There were so many things that I had to complete in a short period of time, so there was no time to worry (about how to do well) but to focus on what was in front of me,” the 28-year-old actor told The Korea Herald in an interview, recalling his experience after being cast in director Park Hoon-jung’s latest work.

Kang played the role of Marco, a Korean-Filipino boxer who is chased in Seoul by mysterious killer Gwi Gong-ja (Kim Seon-ho) from the Philippines to Seoul. The film hit local theaters on June 21.

He steeled himself for the tough shoots ahead, reminding himself not to cry, he said.

“When I’m given a role to act, I believe it’s my duty to give my 100 percent. So even if I get scolded from the director (for not acting well), I told myself not to cry and to not get hurt because that feeling should not be the priority when acting,” Kang said in the interview in Seoul on June 22.

Many of the scenes were physically demanding, he said.

“I had to run a lot, like a lot. Not only did I shoot the running scenes all at once, there were some scenes in which I had to look exhausted, having being chased for 3 to 5 kilometers," Kang said.

"So I thought a lot about how to run and how to show Marco getting worn out after a chase,” Kang added. Park gave him specific directions like telling him “in this scene think about Marco running after getting shot at.”

A scene from “The Childe” (Studio New) A scene from “The Childe” (Studio New)

Kang said acting with Kim Seon-ho, Kim Kang-woo and Go Ara in “The Childe” was a good experience.

“They all created a pleasant atmosphere on set and their sense of humor is great. I cannot keep up with their level of reacting instantly to the situation or acting directions,” he added.

Kang, like many others, had stumbled into the industry. He had wanted to do marketing at a fashion company and studied advertising at university.

"It was by coincidence that I got to do a photo shoot as a student model, which led me to meeting people in the entertainment industry. And then I started to do acting,” Kang said.

Kang began his acting career at the age of 23, a comparatively late start, he said.

“I’ve lost so many opportunities, rejected by so many auditions. So I continued to study and do part-time jobs, hoping my time would come,” said Kang.

Before he had gotten the part as Marco, he had isolated himself from friends during the auditioning period because he didn’t want let people around him down.

“That was the most difficult part for me. People around me kept encouraging me but I could not call them, because I didn’t want to disappoint them (with negative audition results),” he said.

Now, he wishes to be an actor who can tell stories of the underprivileged in our society.

“Before, I was in hurry to become the role that was given to me. But as I build up my acting career, I want to focus on what I want to do to expand my acting spectrum,” said Kang.

A scene from “The Childe” (Studio New) A scene from “The Childe” (Studio New)

The following article is the sixth in a series that introduces Korea’s new and emerging actors and directors. -- Ed.