CNBLUE’s Lee Jong Hyun’s career can be divided into before and after “A Gentleman’s Dignity,” which recently wrapped on SBS. Lee Jong Hyun played Jang Dong Gun’s son Colin, and that’s how people began to know him. He had been known to their teenage fans but hadn’t really had a chance to appeal to the older audiences before.
The following is a recounting in Lee Jong Hyun’s own words.
It’s almost been a month since I parted ways with Colin. The disappointment that was left at departing is now changing into a strange longing but I haven’t been able to let him go just yet. He’ll probably be in a corner of my conscience for the rest of my life. The anxiety that took me when I first met him is now a very precious memory.
When I look back, I sometimes think, “I could have done better,” and then I also think, “Perhaps if I had enjoyed the ride a little more, Colin could have been a better character.” Colin, who gave me great memories, opportunities for future challenges and many other things, is my unforgettable friend.
1. Stubborn Lee Jong Hyun
I was a member of the band that had no interest in acting and especially within CNBLUE. Even when Jung Yong Hwa and Kang Min Hyuk started, I never thought of it. Is it because I have an accent? No, I never fixed my accent because I never wanted to act.
I had a strange stubbornness for the phrase, ‘Once a singer, always a singer.’ Even when my company suggested acting, I said, “I only want to sing.” I only wanted to show people the Lee Jong Hyun in the songs and on stage. But Colin was the one who won me over. An amazing dude!
I only went back on my word because Colin was a very attractive character. My management CEO left a script of “A Gentleman’s Dignity,” and I found it so fun that I couldn’t wait to see what the next story would be.
However, stubborn me couldn’t just say, “I want to do this.” I instead took on the role as if I couldn’t refuse them any longer, even though I really wanted to do it. If I had kept on being stubborn, I might have really regretted my decision.
The really difficult stuff came after I said, “I do.” What was I going to do about my Busan accent? I even thought of perhaps giving up but Jung Yong Hwa said I’d regret it forever and I took that to heart.
2. Deciding to be Colin
Regretting things later is absolutely useless. I made up my mind to do it and auditioned for the part. It wasn’t easy as there were a lot of competitors and the camera test wasn’t simple. However, the crew, who were looking for a more westernized image for the character, liked me. Happiness aside, this was the real deal. I had to fix my accent and I had to practice.
However, when the time came, there was nothing I couldn’t do and it was the first time that I thought people can really do anything they put their mind to. 6 months is long if you make it long and short if you make it short. I was able to conquer my accent and though it may be slightly awkward for those raised in Seoul, it was a huge improvement for someone like me.
Minus the accent, I prepared myself to become Colin. I put in my best to figure out how I would be able to make Colin the best that he could be.
Then there was the problem of acting. I had never received training when I had just finished getting rid of my accent for the part. Jong Hyun! What have you done??
Until the first day of shooting, I focused only on Colin. I never let my script out of my sight and as the day approached, everything was putting pressure on me. I worried if I would be a burden for the production, which I didn’t want at all. Thanks to that, I lost 6-7kg of weight and my skin became worse as I began to have lack of sleep and rest. I wanted to appear on TV at my best condition but alas, it could not be so.
As the anxiety began to fade away, D-Day finally came around.