Yuchun Interview from ‘Motto Shiritai Kankoku TV Dorama’ (means Want to Know More Korean TV Drama) Magazine Vol.42.
Interview: Choi Hyo-Jeong
Text Kim Ji-Eun
Translated (to Japanese): Karaki Yui
—How did you feel when you first received the offer?
I received the offer sometime in early 2010. First of all I was very happy to receive the offer for the role of Lee Sun Joon. I said I definitely wanted to do it but the people in my agency and around me were very worried. Nicely put – they were worried, in not so nice words a lot of people said “Can this kid do it? You must be joking. He must have hit his head.” It was my first time acting and a historical drama on top of it. My agency told me “Sonjoon has a lot of lines and is a difficult role. Why don’t you do another role?” But I stubbornly told them “I will do Lee Son joon no matter what.” I really liked the character so I begged the CEO of the agency that I would do a good job and as a result I got the role.
—Was acting something you had wanted to do?
Yes, I always wanted to act. Acting was something I wanted to do before my debut.
—Did you start preparing for the role as soon as you were cast?
At that time the script wasn’t ready yet so I couldn’t start preparing. The script came out after the cast for the roles besides Yoon Hee was decided so I started to practice then. I think I lived with the script in one hand for 1 month while Kim Ha kyoon who played Daesasong tutored me.
—I heard that you had a hard time grasping the tone of voice for the lines.
Yes. I think I struggled with the tone of voice until the 10th episode. Until then I used some of the little time I had to practice saying lines in various tones, but after the 10th episode I got the hang of it and I was able to naturally say the lines (in the historical drama tone).
—In the earlier episodes there were a lot of scenes where you had to act with a stiff expression. Wasn’t it difficult?
Ｏn the contrary、I had a harder time in the scenes where I had to show a natural Son joon. For example in the scene where I tell Yoon Hee “Take your clothes off” (Epi.3), it would have been easier if it was after some time had passed and the actors had become closer. But it was near the beginning so even though I tried to act relaxed and natural I couldn’t and there was a lot of NGs. I myself felt the awkwardness while acting the scene. So I feel a sense of regret. I think that I would be able to do it better now.
—How was working with the director?
Most of the time we would start shooting based on what I had prepared and the director would add to that. I tried many patterns but one day he suddenly told me to act the scene differently. But I couldn’t do it at all. It kept on being the same because that was the way I had practiced it. It was a simple scene that was less than ten minutes long and the lines were very simple too. (sighs) I couldn’t say the lines well.
—I heard that the director was very attached to you.
He really taught me a lot of things. He said things like “That was good. You are good.” to me many times but most of the time I doubt he sincerely praised me because he was moved by my acting. So, to be honest, I had feelings like “If I do it this way will he be satisfied? I want him to praise me.”
—I heard that the director’s sense of humor and yours clicked.
The directors gag sense is still weak. (Everyone laughs)
—I heard that the director said something to you about building your body when you were shooting the scene in the 4th episode where you had to show your body.
He jokingly said “Why didn’t you beef up?” but I was not told to build muscle. Besides I didn’t feel that Sun joon would have a lot of muscle and my normal image is not muscular either. So I kept saying that and the matter just passed. At the same time Ahin was very into muscle building exercises. Ahin had to look good in sloppy clothes so he would go train as soon as shooting ended. But later as the shooting progressed there was no time to do that. Even now I don’t know how I managed to get through (shooting the drama) (wry smile) I feel like I had a good time shooting it.
—How did you feel the first time you went to the shooting site?
I felt like I was going to die. ( wry smile)
—Was your experience being in the Japanese cellphone drama any help?
It was completely different. I received the script for the BeeTV drama two days before shooting. I met the director as soon as I arrived in Japan, did the wardrobe fitting, practiced for 3 hours and started shooting. So it wasn’t something that you could really call practice either. It was just practice saying the lines naturally because the lines were in Japanese. I was very worried and also frustrated because we had to shoot all of my scenes in one week.
—Do you remember the day you started shooting?
I remember the day very well. I was due to start at 6:00PM but I was already there at 3:00. (laughs) I was too nervous to stay in the car so I kept walking back and forth and around the site. (laughs) The first day was all scenes without lines, such as scenes with just walking. The staff also had to adjust so it acted as a test shoot too. The second scene that I shot was with Soon Dol (the servant) and that was the first scene with lines.
—What was the scene about?
It was when Soondol gets on all fours and I get on him. But actually we shot it again later. (laughs) It was the only thing that I shot on the day that we reshot that scene. I thought to myself “Wow, this is what it is like to shoot just one scene a day.” I didn’t think much about it. Later on I was griping “I miss those days that I only shot one scene a day. I wish we could do that just for today.” (laughs)
—What was your first impression of Park Minyoung?
At first she seemed strong-willed, which is to be expected since she is an actress. But as I got to know her better she was even more strong-willed than I thought. (laughs) I don’t mean strong-willed in a bad way; she is very persevering. I think that she is stronger than a normal man. So she could get through the tough shooting with a smile and her mental attitude was really outstanding compared to others. We also worked together very well and she adjusted herself for me.
—So you really made an effort for each other.
My efforts and her efforts was fundamentally different because I am a newbie who just began acting but Minyoung was already an actress. Minyoung would do the reactions in the takes that she wasn’t in the picture to help me and would practice with me. Except for when she was exhausted she was there for me even in the crying scenes and the emotional scenes. So I did the same for her and almost died. (wry smile)
—You did a kiss scene too. What was shooting it like?
If it was just about the kiss scene I would have wanted to do a good kiss and make it a beautiful scene, but when I thought about Sun joon I thought he was definitely not a good kisser. So I went with the concept of “Not good at kissing but has a lot of pride, wouldn’t lose to anyone as far passion goes, doing his best to hide that he is not a good kisser”. (laughs) I met the director today for the first time in quite a while and he praised me saying “it was better that you acted it that way”. We did the kiss scene after we had done all-night shooting for 3 days in a row. The staff would doze off while shooting. So it was not a situation where I could hear words like that and I was a little disappointed at the time. But hearing the director’s words today, I thought that my thoughts had matched the scene very well.
—In reality what is your style in dating?
I am very straightforward. Really. I haven’t dated in a long time so I’m not sure what I would do if I had a girlfriend now. Before something hot would flame up (uses hand gestures) and I would express all my feelings. I would think “when will I be able to express myself again, I might never have the chance to express myself” so I would do my best to express myself as much as possible when I could. But if you express your love like that, it seems like the other party suffers more when you break up.
—What was Song Joongki who played Yeorim like?
Joongki hyun was the one who was friendly and good to me from the first. He would read the script with me to help me relax. Even though we didn’t have much time to get to know each other because of the hectic schedule, we became closer as time passed and helped each other. Joongki hyun can be brusque at times. He would be speaking out of affection and concern, but sometimes it sounds brusque. But that is his charm point.
—What is your impression of Yoo Ah In?
Ahin struck me as the most insolent. (laughs) I told this to him too when the two of us were drinking together. “You seemed like an insolent guy.” At first I thought that he was strong-willed and rough, but when I got to know him I found that he was very pure hearted and sensitive. He is also kind-hearted and has a strong sense of duty. We talked about meeting after the drama ended but unfortunately we haven’t had the chance yet.
—Tell us some amusing episodes during the drama shooting.
(thinks back and starts laughing)
Jaeshin always wore a wig. After the shooting ended each day and Ahin took the wig off Ahin would pay a lot of attention to his sideburns for some reason. So I pressed him “Why do you pay so much attention to your sideburns?” Ahin is a sensitive and exact person but I didn’t know that at first. On the other hand when I tried the wig on I was told that it didn’t look good on me at all. Everything about such situations was amusing.
—In the last episode you wore a mustache.
The mustache… (deep sigh) That mustache nearly drove me crazy. I still can’t look at myself with that mustache on. Honestly it was weird, wasn’t it? And the viewers’ response was terrible saying “Mustache Sunjoon” (wry smile) As soon as I put on the mustache, I insisted “I will not go outside like this no matter what.” It was so weird and I was so embarrassed and nervous that I couldn’t say my lines properly. The staff around me kept saying “It’s okay. It’s okay” but their faces were laughing. (wry smile) Since they kept saying “It’s okay” while laughing I got even more nervous and I couldn’t concentrate on my acting at all.
—Thinking back again what do you think about Sunjoon?
After I finished shooting and reflected on Sunjoon I thought that between the first part and the last episode, Sunjoon solved his problems, matured and became less rigid by 5~10%. When Sunjoon laughs it’s not because 0% became 100%. But that 5~10% is still a big change for Sunjoon. Even little changes are big for Sunjoon. I think that Sunjoon will experience hardship and trials as he lives his life. Although the ending was peaceful, I don’t think that Sunjoon will live a life free from troubles. I think that somewhere in his heart he will always be preparing for trouble, and will never feel completely at peace.
—What improvising did you do that was memorable?
The last scene. The original script didn’t have the anything about looking at an erotic book in it. While we were preparing to shoot the director said “Why don’t we use an erotic book?” so I said “That’s a good idea.” and became enthusiastic too. “It’s about time for that book to appear.” I push down Yunhee. Then (demonstrates) I grope around for the book and pick it up because it would look funny if I got up again to pick it up. So I had to push her over and in that position pick up the book and improvise some lines.
—Did you get an okay in one take?
No. We got an okay on the third take, but the take that wasn’t chosen was funnier. I said “In times like this I am grateful to Yongha sahyun.” (Everyone laughs) It was so funny that everyone there fell over laughing. Personally I really wanted to use that one but the timing wasn’t right so I shot it again. Also I said “Sooh” (the sound that classmate Ahn Dohyun makes all the time). Most people didn’t notice but at the very last I say “Sooh”. My face doesn’t show; just the sound.” The last shoot was really fun. We shot till 6:00 PM even though the broadcast was 10:00pm. (laughs) After I finished everything and got home I got a fever and suddenly became sick.
—What was the most difficult aspect of the shooting?
The hardest thing was the hectic schedule. There was no time to sleep and no time to eat even.
—How did you get through it?
Kongjintan? (laughs) <Kongjintan is a Chinese herbal medicine for maintaining health> I took one a day religiously. I think the reason that the reason why I could endure through such a difficult shooting was because the actors truly thought that the drama was fun. That’s why the staff could endure too. This was my first drama so I didn’t know this at first, but it’s true that we receive power through the viewers’ response. When the viewers like it and look forward to the next episode, it makes me want to do my very best and gives me the desire to show a good performance. I think that gave me the strength to overcome.
—What has this production come to mean to you?
I believe that I will do various productions in the future and no matter what that production is, each one will be important to me, but of course the first one will be the most memorable. If ‘Sunggyunkwan Scandal’ was a person instead of a production it was someone who told me “Keep having fun acting”, who taught me many things and gave me the opportunity to broaden my horizons. Because of “Sunggyunkwan Scandal” I think I will be able to appear in another good production next time too. It gave me the desire to be a better actor, to challenge myself more and also gave me the chance to fulfill those desires.
Trans by: JiJi’s Paw
Shared by: JYJ3