Song Sae-byeok at the dawn of his acting

Song Sae-byeok at the dawn of his acting

Actor Song Sae-byeok is not the most well-known actor in Korea, but he has infused his characters with an intensity and unique likability that makes people remember him.

Following a brief appearance in Bong Joon-ho's "Mother" (2009), his supporting role as the perverted, corrupt official Byeon Hak-do in the period film "The Servant" (2010) drew laughter on account of his nonchalant, comic poise and earned him a best new actor award.

Recently, he played the part of a violent stepfather in "A Girl at My Door" (2014), which was screened at this year's Cannes International Film Festival in May.

The 34-year-old is not afraid of trying new roles. Instead, he is capable of putting his own stamp on all the roles he plays -- even the smaller ones.

This time, Song stepped in front of the camera to play another unconventional role, the second of five siblings in the comedy-thriller "Five Eagle Brothers." He plays Dong-soo, who has tattoos all over his body and curses every second, but also has a hidden soft side.

"Dong-soo's character has charm," Song said during an interview with The Korea Herald at a cafe in Seoul on Monday. "He is very outspoken, a fist-over-words type."

"But he also wants to open a nail shop," said the actor. "I thought that was hilarious."

Song admitted that cursing continuously in the film was very difficult, citing his reserved personality: "For some reason, people think I am very funny, but I am actually very quiet."

He just has the natural ability to make people laugh.

"If you approach the audience with the strong intention of making them laugh, it can't be funny," said the actor. "You just have to fully immerse yourself in the situation."

Maybe that is the reason why people think Song is funny, because he approaches comedy with seriousness and nonchalance.

"Dong-soo is a serious character as well, he is very serious about opening the nail shop," said Song, who got his nails done for the first time in his life for the film.

His name, Sae-byeok (Dawn), had an influence on the actor's childhood, causing him to become more introverted.

"Think about it, my name is Sae-byeok, a very peculiar name," he said.

"I didn't want to be noticed, so I acted very conscientiously, and refrained from doing anything that made me stand out from the crowd, including raising my hand in class or studying too hard.

But ironically, he chose a career which requires him to be noticed and stand out. He explained that he is still nervous in front of a camera or on stage. "I still have nightmares like forgetting my lines on stage," he said.

But there is a certain unexplained palpitation and tension he enjoys.

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