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[Herald Interview] Actor Son Ho-jun shows off chemistry with ‘Stellar’ co-star -- a car

Korean actor Son Ho-jun (CJ CGV)
Korean actor Son Ho-jun (CJ CGV)
Actor Son Ho-jun, who rose to stardom after appearing in tvN’s hit drama “Reply 1994,” said his latest project challenged him to build on-screen chemistry with an unlikely co-star -- a car.

Son, who was cast as the main lead in the movie “Stellar” directed by Kwon Soo-kyung, said it was much harder than working with human actors.

“Performing with a car was not easy since there was no reaction from it,” Son said during an interview with a group of reporters on Thursday.

In this circumstance, he figured that what he had to do was to focus even more on the script.

“I had to lead most of the scenes alone. I was not sure if I was sufficiently qualified to do that so I felt pressure at first. My solution was to stick to the script and rely a lot on the director,” Son said.

In “Stellar,“ Son plays Yeong-bae, a top rental car dealer who inherits a Hyundai Stellar from his father, with whom he has not been on good terms. Yeong-bae ends up having to use the car to track down a supercar that was stolen by his best friend Dong-sik (Lee Kyu-hyung), before his boss (Huh Sung-tae) catches him.

Although the actor initially had many worries about working with a car, Son said he found it entertaining to drive the old-fashioned vehicle.

“There were engineers at the shooting site since the car we used was very old. But to our surprise, the car was fine and did not cause any trouble,” he said. “The car is actually over 30 years old but it was an automatic car, so I did not have a problem driving it either. Actually, I had to pretend that I was driving a stick shift and that was a bit challenging.”

Korean actor Son Ho-jun stars in the comedy film “Stellar” directed by Kwon Soo-kyung. (CJ CGV)
Korean actor Son Ho-jun stars in the comedy film “Stellar” directed by Kwon Soo-kyung. (CJ CGV)
Son also talked about a scene where Yong-bae fries eggs on the car’s overheated engine.

“I was surprised to find out that it actually works. In the movie, I say ‘It really works!’ and that was not in the script, it just came out of my mouth naturally,” he said.

Yeong-bae’s special attachment to the car in the movie is not unfamiliar to Son, speaking about the car his brother bought him.

“Before I got the role in ‘Reply 1994,’ I stayed at my brother’s place in Incheon. Since I had to wake up early to leave for auditions which usually took place in Gangnam (in Seoul), my brother bought me a car. He had to take out a loan for that,” he said. “Fortunately, I got the role for ‘Reply 1994’ not too long after that. I earned enough money to pay back the loan.”

The Korean actor also talked about fellow co-star Huh, who became popular after appearing in the hit Netflix show ”Squid Game.”

“We filmed the movie before COVID-19 and the release was delayed several times, so we had worries,” he said. “And then Huh Sung-tae rose to stardom after ‘Squid Game.’ I think he played a big role in helping our movie being released in theaters. So when I met him for the promotion of this film, I jokingly thanked him,” he said.

Unlike many Korean actors who say they are open to opportunities overseas, Son said he wants to focus on Korea.

“I think I should become a better actor in Korea first,” he said. “It feels awkward to think about me acting fluently in English. I should work on my Seoul accent more if I have time. To be honest, I do not have a big dream.”

Instead of being a global actor, he said his goal is to create content that can help actors with potential.

“I have a YouTube channel. There, I introduce rookies who don’t have agencies. I want to continue to create content to introduce them,” he said.

“Stellar” will hit local theaters on Wednesday.

By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)
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