Bupyeong Cultural Center was filled with excited faces in late afternoon of February 15 despite the rainy weather. People gathered to meet the nation's super star Ahn Sung-ki
. Ahn made his debut as a child actor, but returned as an adult with determination. He has played many different characters in a number of movies, and faced the public to talk about his life and involvement in the film industry. The audience created friendly atmosphere and showed interest by asking questions and actively engaging in the conversation.
Ahn acting career began unexpectedly. Back in the time when "child actor" was not a defined profession, he followed his father who worked in the movie industry to a filming site. The director called for a real orphan to play the role of a war orphan, but his performance was less than satisfactory. The director saw Ahn roaming around the set, and asked him to try out for the part.
"I can't remember very well, but I must have done pretty well. Even though it wasn't something my parents or I planned for my life, I appeared in many movies after the rumor about the incident spread. If you watch old Korean movies, you will probably see this naughty boy who pops up in every movie. That's me. (Laugh) But there weren't many roles I could take on between my high school and college years. I put aside my career as a film actor for a while".
Maybe it's because acting was what he was born to do, but Ahn said that the high school years was the hardest time of his life. Many unattended classes resulted in bad grades, and he was never ranked higher than the fiftieth in a class of sixty students. He wanted to find out whether it was because he didn't have much time for studying or because it was because he was just bad at studying.
"Since I got into high school, I studied at the library. But I didn't have much to build upon, so my grades didn't get much better even though I tried really hard. I thought to myself, 'it's the effort that counts,' and I just kept on going. Some people even called me the librarian for it. When I was in the 12th grade, even my advisor thought that I wouldn't get into college. Fortunately, I was accepted to the Vietnamese Study Department at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. I continued putting forward my best in studying, and I graduated as the department as a valedictorian. I tell my children that it's okay to get bad grades but it is possible to change it with continuous effort. I live by the saying "Do the Best", which is really the ultimate truth. What I can say for sure is that I have been rewarded for all my effort".
After focusing on studying during the high school and college years, Ahn pondered to figure out what he was cut out to be. The conclusion was he was a born actor. He made his debut as an adult actor in 1978. He had appeared in four movies as a supporting actor for the first two years in which he did not catch many people's attention. He wrote movie scripts and exercised to relieve himself from stress. He lived in the French and German Cultural Centers watching foreign films and training himself.
"Everything I did during that time helped me as an actor and as a person for the next twenty years. The script writing experience, in particular, allowed me to look at a role from the varying perspectives of a director, camera, light, and an actor".
There have been some difficult times for Ahn even after he became a star. He was a supporting actor for a movie Nowhere To Hide
screened a few years ago. When he received the script, he wondered, 'how come I'm commissioned a supporting role?' He liked the story and acted the part; however, he was only given supporting roles after that.
"The Romantic President
was an exception, but I now definitely play more supporting roles than lead roles. But I have changed my view to think that my role is to make the movie better as a whole. The role may be smaller, yet I am not any smaller. It hurt my pride at first, but I think I'm over that stage. I hope that everyone is playing their part from wherever they are".