The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] Zo In-sung says getting older has set him free to pick coveted projects, roles

By Kim Da-sol

Published : July 25, 2023 - 16:25

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Zo In-sung (Iok Company) Zo In-sung (Iok Company)

In director Ryoo Seung-wan’s new crime action flick, “Smugglers,” Zo In-sung stars as a veteran smuggler known nationwide, Kwon Pil-sam. Contrary to newbie Jangdori (Park Jung-min) who is timid and anxious all the time, Kwon is a calm and coldhearted character who wants to get things done with his own hands.

It is undeniable that the energy and vibe that a character exudes at least partly come from the actor who plays the role. In that context, many have said that Kwon Pil-sam could be Zo In-sung’s career-defining role, depicting the 41-year-old actor’s skillfulness and mature charms in the film.

Because the shooting for “Smugglers” was conducted while he was busy promoting his 2021 film, “Escape from Mogadishu,” which was also directed by Ryoo, his appearance in the film is very limited compared to that of other characters. Nevertheless, his impact was huge.

When asked why he thinks the audience got that feeling, Zo said it was because he was “getting older.”

“I think there is an advantage to getting older, especially for actors. Aging is nothing that I, as an actor, abhor. From an actor’s perspective, getting older means that you get mature, also that you increase your bonds and chemistry with industry insiders like directors,” Zo told The Korea Herald in an interview in Seoul on July 21.

“Getting older has also given me a wider scope in acting and choosing projects and roles, based on the trust that was built between myself and the audience. Now I’m free to approach coveted roles or projects with certain directors. I love how my age has given me that courage,” he said, adding that he wished to play Kwon Pil-sam after hearing the role the character plays in the movie as a bridge connecting other characters like Choon-ja (Kim Hye-soo), Jin-sook (Yum Jung-ah) and Jangdori.

Over the past 25 years of his acting career, Zo has shown versatile acting on both TV and the silver screen, but he has also recently ventured into different content formats such as variety shows or original series on streaming services because he wanted to have chances to meet the audience.

“At least once or twice a year, I’d like to meet with an audience. During the pandemic, everything stopped and there was no way to communicate with the audience. So I thought about approaching fans first, which was through a variety show. Films and dramas have relatively longer periods of production compared to such short-length variety shows. I really loved it,” said Zo.

Starting with the film “Smugglers,” he will have many opportunities to connect with fans. His Disney+ series “Moving” will be released in August and he will be departing to the US later this month to shoot the third season of TvN show “Unexpected Business.”

Ultimately, Zo’s primary focus lies in portraying a memorable character regardless of the significance of the role.

“I’ve entered my 40s and feel like the audience is now accepting actor Zo In-sung to be selective in choosing to play a memorable character, regardless of the size or the importance of the role,” said Zo.

“All I ask for the audience is to receive pleasure and excitement from our film,” he added.

“Smugglers” hits local theaters on Wednesday.

Zo In-sung stars as Kwon Pil-sam in “Smugglers.” (NEW) Zo In-sung stars as Kwon Pil-sam in “Smugglers.” (NEW)
Zo In-sung stars as Kwon Pil-sam in “Smugglers.” (NEW) Zo In-sung stars as Kwon Pil-sam in “Smugglers.” (NEW)