Updated: Jun 17
* Edited for redundant parts
Q: You've done a lot of musicals. Which one would you say is the "musical of your life"?
A: Regardless of how successful they were, each musical taught me something. If I had to choose one, it's 'Dracula,' largely because I've been a part of every run but it also gave me a sense of achievement because they thankfully accepted a lot of my input. I have a lot of affection for the musical.
Q: It's already your 4th Dracula. How does that feel?
A: There've been many scene changes across the first, 2nd, 3rd and 4th runs. Compared to the first run, the musical has been developed a lot. Not only are the sets new but 3 new numbers have been added. I'm satisfied that it's progressed farther than its first stage. The video effects are especially powerful this season. I think the audiences like this a lot.
Q: Do you have a favorite number?
A: My favorite number or scene changes every time I perform. 'LYKMA' made me want to do the musical as soon as I heard it. The audience really loved 'Fresh Blood' in the 2nd run. I liked 'Before the Summer Ends' (Jonathan's serenade for Mina) during the 3rd run. These days, I feel the Train Sequence is the most important scene in the musical. I think it's the pivotal scene that drives the story to its end.
Q: It must be hard to play a supernatural character like Dracula
A: (Laughs) I always feel troubled before I start acting. I'm playing a vampire after all, something I've only heard of. I try to achieve 2 things. First, not to make it childish. Second, not to make it cheesy. A supernatural being can't be expressed just through spoken lines and song. Physical movement and gestures are important. (Laugh) I think my idol background gives me an edge in that department.
Q: What is your appeal compared to Shin Seongrok and Jeon Dongseok?
A: This is so embarrassing and I'm cautious about saying anything but if I must.. (long pause) If you want to see a Dracula that's a bit different, a bit more like an insane person or psycho, I'd be grateful if you choose me. Oh god, I can't do this (laugh) Laughing an unusual laugh, walking with an unusual gait and expressing [the character] differently are the things I think I might be better at.
Q: Don't you want to change your red hair?
A: To be honest, I don't know how long I'll maintain this. I have to dye it all the time and the upkeep is hard. I didn't want to do the red hair this time but I was afraid people would say I'd lost my drive. If I change the hair next time, I hope people won't take it as a change of heart. It will be because I want to try something new.
* from another Q&A
The stage is so dark that I thought I would need a very distinctly contrasting color to inject some visual energy. I can't say I'll keep the red hair next season. I want to present a slightly different Dracula next time. Also, I can't walk around outside with this hair. It scares people who don't know me. And every time I shower, it's like a bloodbath on the floor (laugh).
Q: Isn't it hard to be in the coffin? It must be suffocating in there.
A: That's a great question. Not that I wanted people to know this (laugh) It's so hot and tiring. I just lay there, half-dead. I thought how nice it would be to have air conditioning in there. I think the musical needs to be a lot more successful to do that.
Q: A diverse audience fill the theatre each night. How does it make you feel?
A: A sense of responsibility towards those coming for the first time; pressure towards fans who came yesterday and are coming again today; a sense of duty towards the people for whom I will play a decisive role in forming their impression of musicals. I feel too many emotions. All I can do is give my best and hope they'll discover how fun it is to watch musicals.
Q: How do you feel towards the Kim Junsu from 11 years ago, starting out in musical theatre actor from an idol background?
A: I think there was an unfavorable gaze upon idols who were offered lead roles. I was always in the middle of these controversies. That really made me tighten my bootstraps. I thought I needed to do well to make it easier for my juniors (hoobaes). I didn't want it to look like I was just snooping around musicals. I wanted people to feel that 'Kim Junsu is giving authentic performances and has really immersed himself in his role.' I thought if I just worked hard, some day they'd recognize that fact.
Q: Don't you feel empty after a performance?
A: Feeling empty or feeling lonely because you're a star.. I think this is a self-indulgent way of thinking. I'm always grateful to be on stage. I didn't always think like this. I realized a lot while I was enlisted. Happiness is not something grand. Eating a Choco Pie when you want to, sleeping when you want to - this is happiness. Sasaeng fans and the lack of freedom made life tough for me in the past. I was preoccupied with all the things that was making my life difficult. When you gain something, you also lose something in life so I don't know why I was only seeing the things I lost. That kind of thinking feels self-indulgent to me now.
* from another Q&A
I don't feel emptiness [after a show]. When I was doing <Mozart!> everyone was really worried I'd pass out from exhaustion because of how much I cried on stage. Even my fans and parents would ask, 'Junsu, are you okay? After watching your show, even I will feel heartbroken until the moment I fall asleep.' But there really is no need to worry. No matter what the performance is, I start feeling okay as soon as I take off my costume. (laugh) I give all of myself on the stage but I'm not the type to carry those emotions home.
* from other Q&A
Q: How do you regain all the energy you pour out on stage?
A: I go on every stage with gratitude and what could fill me more than the applause I receive on stage?
'The loneliness of being a celebrity, the emptiness after coming down from the stage' - I think these sayings are self-indulgent. In the past, there was a time when I could only see the hardship of celebrity. But now I wonder why I couldn't look beyond that and realize that for as much as I lost, there was a lot that I gained, too. You only have to look around a little to notice that everyone gains something and loses something, across all ages, occupations and social statuses. So loneliness or a feeling of emptiness is something everyone must feel. All that remains for me now is gratitude for being able to go on stage and meet audiences.
Q: What is a value you consider worth standing by?
A: To be an honorable person. As a person, as the human being Kim Junsu, I don't want to be ashamed of myself. For fans that support me, I want to at least keep them from having to feel ashamed of liking me.
* from other Q&A
Q: If there's a principle you would stake your life on, like Dracula does for love, what would it be?
A: To be an honorable person/Not to become someone I'd be ashamed of. As the human being Kim Junsu and as the actor Kim Junsu, I want to live a life that I won't be ashamed of. And that's largely because the least I want to do for my fans and the people who support me is to not embarrass them. It's up to me to be faithful to this principle so that I won't cause shame to those that like me.
Q: Last words?
A: Please comes see 'Dracula' this summer to beat the heat. I'd be so thankful!
"Dracula has been dealt with in many other art forms but rather than highlighting his image as a blood-sucking vampire who harms people, the musical focuses on the reason why he had to become Dracula. It's not an ordinary love story but a vampire's love story, which makes it more unique and special."
"드라큘라라는 소재는 너무 많은 곳에서 다뤄졌었지만, 뮤지컬에서의 '드라큘라'는 흡혈을 즐겨하거나 사람을 해하는 이미지보다도 그런 드라큘라에게도 그렇게 될수밖에 없었던 동기가 있다는 이야기를 전하는 데 집중해요. 그렇게 일반적이진 않은 사랑에 대한 접근이지만, '뱀파이어의 사랑' 이야기를 다루기 때문에 이 작품이 더욱 독특하고 특색있게 관객분들께 다가갈 수 있다고 생각해요."
"I cherish all my musicals but 'Dracula' is the only one I've done for 4 seasons and I'm grateful to the musical for having guided me along the path of a musical theatre actor. I can't help but feel different towards doing 'Dracula' because it's been so loved by the audience. I feel a different kind of pressure in the 4th run compared to the 1st. I try to make it a moving performance each show, always performing as if it's my last day."
"제 모든 작품들이 소중하지만, 4연까지 올린 작품은 '드라큘라' 뿐이기도 하고 이 작품이 힘든 길 속 저를 뮤지컬 배우로서 잘 안내해 준 작품인 것 같아서 너무나 감사한 마음이에요. '샤큘'을 하면서 많은분들이 사랑해주시니까 더더욱 '드라큘라'를 할 때 마음가짐은 남다른 것 같아요. 그 무게감 때문에 초연 때와는 또 다른 의미로 부담이 있죠. 그래서 매 회 '오늘이 마지막인것처럼' 감동적인 공연을 보여드리고자 해요."
"Each actor has his own appeal and interpretation. I try to bring out Dracula's psychopathic side. Jeon Donseok gives the character gravitas. Shin Seongrok gives it a very classic feel."
"다른 배우들도 자신만의 해석으로 이끌고 있지만 저는 좀 더 사이코적인 기질을 부각시키려고 하는 것 같다. 전동석은 중후한 매력이 있고 신성록은 가장 고전적인 느낌으로 잘하고 있는 것 같다”고 덧붙였다.
"'Dracula' provided a shortcut along the arduous path of being a musical theatre actor and made me feel worthy of calling myself one. I'm thankful. I'm also thankful to OD Company for hiring me every time (he says with a wide grin)"
"뮤지컬이라는 힘든 길을 좀 더 지름길로 안내해주고 뮤지컬 배우라고 불리는 게 부끄럼 없게 해준 작품이다. 감사하다. 매번 저를 기용해 주시는 오디컴퍼니 감사하다”며 활짝 웃었다.
"I feel enormous pressure because of the audiences' expectations and because I feel I have to show improvement, be it in my acting or my singing, and to give a performance unique to Xiacula."
"노래든 연기든 뭐든 발전한 모습, 혹은 샤큘만이 할 수 있는 공연을 할 수 있어야 한다고 생각하고 (관객분들의) 기대감이 있다 보니 부담감, 중압감이 엄청난 거 같다."라고 말했다."
"While the script is the same, I have pride in the Korean production of Dracula because I feel it's the most polished. It has been received as such since the first run and I'm proud to have been a part of it from the beginning."
"같은 시나리오여도 드라큘라라는 작품만은 한국 버전이 가장 완성도 있는 버전이라는 것에 자부심이 있다. 또 그렇게 받아들여지고 있는 게 초연부터 함께한 배우로서 뿌듯한 마음이 있다."
"Sometimes I regret the red hair. I wasn't planning on it - I was actually gonna go with black hair in the first run." He says he got the idea for the red hair 2,3 days before the premiere. "I also had an image of Dracula with black pomaded hair. But I thought it would be nice if there was a visual accent to express the blood-drinking during 'Fresh Blood.' What if the blood seeps into his hair, too? From white to blood-red. That was the initial idea. I take extra special care of my scalp since I've been doing this for 4 runs (laughs)"
"후회하기도 하는데 초연 때 그럴 생각이 없었고 당연히 블랙으로 하려고 했다."라고 답하며 웃었다. 공연 2~3일 전에 문득 '빨간 머리'를 하면 어떨까 하는 생각이 들었다는 김준수는 "드라큘라 하면 블랙 포마드 헤어, 그렇게만 생각을 하고 있었다. 그러다 'Fresh blood'(조나단의 피를 흡혈해 노인에서 젊은 모습으로 돌아가는 장면의 넘버)를 부르는데 흡혈을 했다는 상황을 표현하는 시각적 포인트가 있으면 좋겠다고 생각을 했다. 그래서 피가 머리에 전이 된 듯한 느낌이 나면 어떨까. 백발이 피 색깔로. 거기에서 힌트를 얻었다."라고 빨간 머리가 시작된 계기를 밝혔다. 그러면서도 "4연 때까지 이렇게 하면서 두피 관리에 엄청 신경을 쓰고 있다."라며 웃었다.
Junsu says he had a hard time grappling with how to express Dracula's emotions [in such an unrealistic love story] "I think most people find Dracula's love story and the musical attractive because it is an impossible kind of love."
김준수는 초연 때부터 드라큘라의 마음을 어떻게 표현할지를 초연 때부터 고민이 많았다며 "가능하지 않아서 이 뮤지컬, 드라큘라의 사랑 이야기가 관객분들에게 매력적으로 다가오는 게 아닐까 싶다"
When asked how his Dracula differed from that of Jeon Dongseok or Shin Seongrok, Kim Junsu shyly replied "I bring out more of Dracula's gruesome and psychopathic sides and make him feel like a character out of the imagination."
전동석, 신성록과는 다른 김준수만의 드라큘라의 매력을 묻는 말에 "말 그대로 드라큘라스러운 괴기하고 사이코적인 느낌. 상상 속 드라큘라라는 느낌적인 느낌을 표현하는 점"으로 꼽으며 쑥스러워했다.
When asked what type of variety show he would like to appear on, seeing as Kim Jaejoong (former band mate) is making appearances in varieties like 'Travel Buddies,' Kim Junsu says he would also like to do travel shows. "I wish Jaejoong hyung will take me with him. Who would refuse a job that allows you to travel at the same time?"
같은 그룹 출신 김재중은 최근 '트래블 버디즈'라는 예능에 출연하고 있기도 해 출연하고픈 예능이 무엇인지 묻기도 했다김준수는 이러한 여행 예능을 하고 싶다며 "재중이 형이 저를 데려가면 좋겠다. "일을 하면서 여행을 간다고 하면 누가 마다하겠나."라고 답했다.
He says that in the past he "wanted to receive awards but not anymore. As I age, there will come a time when I won't suit Dracula anymore. I don't want to insist on lead roles but choose roles that fit my age and appearance. I think I'll be happy to gracefully ride the passage of time on stage. That's the mindset I have every time I perform."
그는 "예전에는 '상을 받고 싶다'는 마음이 있었다면 그런 건 이제 전혀 없다."라며 "나이를 먹다 보면 내가 어느 순간 드라큘라에 어울리지 않는 모습이 될 수 있다. 그렇다면 그때는 주인공을 고집하는 게 아니라 내 모습과 내 나이에 맞는 역할을 맡고 싶다. 세월의 흐름에 맞게 무대에 은은하게 남을 수 있다면 배우로서 행복하겠다고 생각한다. 그런 마음으로 매회 공연에 최선을 다하겠다."라고 의지를 다졌다.
"The special romance, a clumsy but animalistic kind of love is the appeal of 'Dracula'."
일반적이지 않지만 특별한 로맨스, 서툴지만 짐승적인 사랑이 뮤지컬 ‘드라큘라’의 매력이다”라고 말했다.
New questions about the musical that occurred to him this run: "Dracula has grotesque hands. How can Jonathan not run away when he sees them? Also, how can Mina not turn away from Dracula given the way he looks. These were burning questions I had this season and I talked them over with the producer. The answer I arrived at was: 'because it's fate.' The audience seems curious about whether Mina is really the reincarnation of Elisabeta or just someone who looks similar. The musical doesn't give a definitive answer. When I'm acting, I believe she's reincarnated."
새롭게 느낀 '의문점'으로는 "드라큘라 손이 괴물이지 않나. 그런 모습인데도 조나단이 도망가지 않고 있을 수 있나 하는 의문이 들었고 미나도 드라큘라의 모습을 보고도 왜 빼지 않을까 하는 의문이 들었다. 이번에 크게 와닿아서 연출님과 얘기를 하기도 했다. 그러면서 '운명이니까' 라는 답을 찾아갔다"며 "관객분들도 엘리자베스가 환생을 한 건지, 엘리자베스와 미나가 닮은 건지 많이들 궁금해하시더라. 작품은 열린 결말이기 때문에 정확히 알려주지는 않는다. 제가 연기하면서는 환생이라 생각했다"고 덧붙여 설명했다.
"Dracula comes to the realization that his love might be in the wrong and I felt it was an important scene to get right."
"드라큘라가 본인이 생각했던 사랑이 틀린 것일 수도 있겠다 깨닫게 되는데 그 부분을 잘 해야 할 것 같았다."
When told that the theatre actress Cha Jiyeon once expressed her wish to play a gender-free Dracula, Junsu remarked "She's an actress I love but I've never been able to work with her. With her height and cynical tone, I think she'd be great as Dracula and even Death."
한편 앞서 차지연은 젠더프리로 '드라큘라' 속 김준수와 같은 드라큘라 역을 맡고 싶다는 반응을 드러낸 바 있다. "워낙 좋아하는데 차지연 배우와는 같은 작품을 한 적이 없다"는 김준소는 "키도 크시고 시니컬한 목소리를 갖고 계셔서 드라큘라도 그렇고 죽음 코드도 그렇고 잘 하실 것 같다"는 기대감을 드러냈다.
"I try to do as many original productions or first runs as possible. I always want to challenge myself when choosing a new musical. I tell myself 'let's try it even if it ends up not doing well' and prepare the best I can. Some productions got terrible responses in the beginning but, on the whole, I think most were favorable. Some people tell me I have a good eye for choosing projects but I think it was just luck."
창작극이나 초연극을 많이 하려고 한다. 항상 도전을 한다는 심경으로 작품을 선택하고 깨지더라도 한번 해보자는 마음으로 열심히 준비한다. 어떤 작품은 초반에 엄청나게 욕을 먹기도 했지만 그래도 전체적으로는 좋은 반응이 많이 있었다. 어떤 분들은 이런 저에게 작품을 보는 안목이 좋다고 하시던데, 운이 많이 따랐었다"라며 겸손한 마음을 드러냈다.
"Sometimes I say 'You're already married' or 'You're married to me' or 'You're already married to me' and even thought they're minute differences, they touch the audience and me differently."
‘당신은 이미 결혼했어, 나와 결혼했어, 이미 나와 결혼했어’ 등 미세한 차이라도 저나 관객에게 와 닿는 반응은 달라요.
"When Mina discovers the portrait of Elisabeta, she realizes how genuine Dracula's feelings are. Yet at that point, Dracula suddenly pulls away from her and lets her go. Creating that arc feels like something I have to accomplish with every show. Dracula's idea of love was possession. He thought turning Mina into an immortal being like him and living together with her forever was the best thing he could do for her and himself. But watching Van Helsing hunt him to avenge his wife changes Dracula's mind and makes him realize he was wrong. He realizes a life being hunted down, lusting after blood and sleeping in coffins is selfish. It's like the movie 'Passengers'. Eternal life was more valuable than gold to him but the other side of that is the fact that living forever doesn't guarantee happiness. The scene where Dracula comes to a reckoning is very important. Even if it prolongs the run time, I think the scene needs time to play out in order to convince the audience and seamlessly transition to the final scene."
“어느 순간 미나가 (엘리자베스의) 초상화를 보면서 드라큘라의 진심을 깨닫는데, 갑자기 드라큘라는 그녀를 거부하고 보내주려고 해요. 그 여정이 공연 할 때마다 숙제 같아요. 드라큘라가 생각했던 사랑은 갖는 것이었어요. 미나를 불멸의 존재로 만들어 영원한 삶을 사는게 그녀를 위하고, 나를 위하는 사랑이라고 생각했죠. 그런데 (아내를 찾기 위해 드라큘라를 쫓는) 반헬싱을 보면서 내가 생각했던 사랑이라는게 틀릴 수도 있겠다. 쫓김을 당하고, 피에 굶주리고, 관에서 잠을 자며 살아가는 이것이 이기적인 것 아닌가 하는 생각. 영화 ‘패신저스’를 보며 느끼는 심리 같아요. 영원한 삶이 금보다 귀한 거라고 생각했는데, 이면에는 죽지 못하는게 마냥 행복이라고 볼 수 없다는 것. 내가 생각했던 방식이 틀릴 수도 있겠다. 이 장면이 아주 중요하다고 생각했고, 호흡이 길어질지라도 시간을 할애해서 관객을 납득시켜야 피날레가 자연스럽게 연결될 수 있다고 생각합니다."
After he talked about Mozart's genius in 'Mozart!,' the cynicism of Death in 'Elisabeth,' and the heartbreaking melodrama of 'December,' he explained that Dracula is a character that has all these traits.
"Honestly, every role was a challenge. I was heavily criticized for taking on Death and it was the same with Dracula. I wondered myself if I'd pull it off. Either way, I decided to try. With 'Death Note,' I had to be particularly careful about approaching L since he has such a hardcore fandom. So each role was challenging in its own way and I pro-actively took on original productions, luckily all with good results. It wasn't because I made good choices but because I was lucky. And I was always ready to take on a challenge."
모차르트!’의 모차르트는 천재성, ‘엘리자벳’의 죽음(Tod)는 시니컬하고 멋진, ‘디셈버’의 지욱은 인간적이고 애틋함을 이야기한 그는 드라큘라에 대해 ‘이 모든 것을 다 보여줄 수 있는 캐릭터’라고 설명했다.
“사실 모든 캐릭터가 도전이었죠. 죽음이 들어왔을 때 엄청 욕을 먹었고, 드라큘라도 마찬가지였어요. 개인적으로도 잘할 수 있을까 했어요. 깨지더라도 해보자고···. ‘데쓰노트’ L도 코어한 팬들이 많아 더더욱 건드리면 안될 것 같았거든요. 매번 도전하는 마음으로, 그래서 창작극도 적극적으로 임했는데 운이 좋았던 것 같아요. 모두 제가 잘 고른게 아니라 잘 된거죠. 항상 도전하는 마음이었어요.”
When asked what kind of musical he'd like to try in the future, Kim Junsu answered "an upbeat musical like 'Kinky Boots'. I've always done musicals that end with me dying or killing someone. There was never a happy ending but when I saw 'Kinky Boots' I asked myself why I always had to end a musical in tears when some could have a happy ending like this. I'm also confident about the dancing parts so I'd love to do a musical that showcases my dancing."
김준수는 "'킹키부츠' 같은 밝은 뮤지컬을 하고 싶다"라고 했다.
"항상 죽고 죽이고 울고 이러고 끝났어요. 마냥 해피앤딩이 없었는데 '킹키부츠' 보면서 이렇게 행복하게 끝날 수도 있는데 왜 울고 끝냈을까 생각했어요. 춤도 자신이 있어서 춤을 보여줄 수 있는 그런 뮤지컬도 하고 싶어요."
"While the response has been great every season, I can't slow down because of that. I don't think I'll be able to move audiences who've already seen the musical that way. I feel the pressure knowing there are many repeat viewers and I think they would hold me to higher standards."
"매번 할 때마다 좋은 반응을 주시긴 하지만 그렇기 때문에 똑같이 안주하면 안 된다. 미리 보신 분들에게 같은 감동을 드릴 수 없다고 생각한다. 워낙에 재관람하는 분들이 많아서 기준선이 높지 않을까 하는 부담감이 있다"라고 털어놓았다.
"However, 'Dracula' made my name known among theatre-lovers so I approach it each time with new resolve. I don't know when it will have another run but I'd like to be part of the cast any time it does."
그러면서도 "그럼에도 '드라큘라'는 뮤지컬을 사랑하는 많은 분들에게 김준수라는 이름을 알리게 된 작품이어서 더더욱 할 때마다 남다르다. '드라큘라'가 언제 또 올려질지 모르지만 그때마다 배우로서 함께 가면 좋겠다는 마음"이라며 애정을 내비쳤다.
"Personally, I feel I'm giving my performance more cadence this time around. Last year, I was like fortissimo-fortissimo-fortissimo from scene to scene to scene. This time, I soften myself in places where I don't have to go all out. I am trying to make the differences in my gestures, facial expression and movements more pronounced."
"이번 사연 때는 개인적인 느낌으로는 강약을 많이 느낄 수 있게 하려고 했다. 작년에는 처음부터 끝까지 '강강강'으로 갔었는데 이번에는 굳이 '강'으로 가지 않아도 될 것 같은 부분에서는 초연, 재연, 삼연 때보다 더 약하게 하려 했다. 대사 톤이나 제스처나 표정, 몸짓에서 극명하게 차이를 주려고 연기에 임한다"라고 답했다.