Standing in front of the camera after 1 year. Without a reason, the area around the pit of his stomach feels strange. Though he has been up on multiple stages and have acted in various films, standing in front of the camera still makes him tremble. Park Yuchun (28), will be a making a comeback through SBS’s new Wednesday-Thursday drama <The Girl Who Sees Smells>. Much earlier on, he has confirmed his appearance as the lead male role while waiting for the decision of the beautiful leading lady. As he is expected to be enlisted for military service this year, this drama by the looks of it would be his last project. But then what meaning would the word ‘last’ hold when he would resume acting and his other activities upon his return? Anyhow, his heart is somewhat full of the determination to do well this time.
‘The Girl Who Sees Smells’
While resting for almost a year, watching Seol Kyunggu’s movie <My Dictator> jolted his feelings. What met his feelings of “Ah…I really want to act.” “I want to do as well as that” in the end was this drama. The thing that he is most occupied with these days is this <The Girl Who Sees Smells>. We asked Park Yuchun about the things he is most engrossed in lately.
The news of the script reading was published. Did you have a good hunch with regards to it?
Hunch…haha. What type of hunch? I don’t think there was anything like a special hunch. Script reading is indeed fun. There were staffs whom I’ve not met for a long time and also acting coaches. Also, it is not the director’s style to conduct script reading like a study session so we it more cordially than anything else; then we wrapped up and went for a drinking party. Haha. It was my first time going to ‘Saint AugusXX’ [T/N: The place they went to was Saint Augustine, a Thai restaurant but it is not appropriate for the magazine to name-drop the name of the restaurant]. Originally, I wanted ‘bugeoguk’ (dried pollack soup) with soju but I had Thai food and made ‘somaek’ (beer + soju) to drink.
It was your first time meeting Shin Sekyung, right? How did it go?
Awkward. Kk~ We did not have many opportunities to talk that day. Myself, Lee Wonjung sunbaenim, Jung Chanwoo sunbaenim and the director gathered together to chat. We [T/N: referring to himself and Shin Sekyung] were at a different table. We did talk for a while but of course, it was awkward.
It’s your drama after a 1-year lapse. Are you thrilled?
I’m nervous. In fact, anyone who undertakes a project will feel the pressure or some kind of fear. For me it’s only been a year since I last acted but I’m already feeling the fear/dread of standing in front of the camera. Because I could not find the angle and expression…Also, because it’s my first shooting tomorrow and I can’t seem to grasp the thoughts of the character.
Do you like Mugak’s character?
It’s not a one-dimensional character. It’s a friend [T/N: Yuchun called Mugak ‘friend’] who is multifaceted and to get into a grave mood (character) while expressing all the diversity/facets is difficult. Now, I’m continuously thinking and trying this and that. In the past, he is a character who is joyful, he loves his sister and was mischievous but after the ‘incident’ his nature changed and he’s not an ordinary character. Something like a personality disorder, so to speak? It’s not easy for me to come up with the way of speech and actions of people with personality disorder because I have never experienced it. Though he is multifaceted, the main point is his ‘senselessness’ which I can’t seem to portray…Of course, in later filming I’ll speak with the director while cultivating emotions and eventually I’ll get a grip of how much something should be done but right now, I’m still uncertain. As I’m having lots of cockeyed ideas, I become extremely sensitive in the mornings these days. I’m thinking a lot on my own. This is because filming is immediately right under my nose [T/N: means filming is just around the corner].
Looks like you have much worries about acting. I take that you would also be concerned about your visuals [T/N: appearance]?
Nope, but for the past few days my stamina is at its lowest. Due to diet. Haha. Within just a week, I’ve lost 4 kg. I don’t eat and I move a lot. I still have 2~3 kg to lose but…alcohol? I’ll still drink alcohol. I won’t eat snacks though [T/N: in this context, he meant snacks which are served with alcoholic beverages].
Do you worry about hair or wardrobe and also your style in the drama?
The staffs know better so, I let them do it for me. Kk~ The experts will know what to do when the time comes so, I’ll just trust them. It’s enough for me to do my part in acting. Except for dieting, I do not have to worry about my outer appearance.
You seem to worry a lot about acting?
I just want to do well. I want to show the different colors of my image…Be it in expressing emotions or the usual acting. Isn’t there something called life acting? I want to do that naturally. “I’ve become familiar!” “I’ve become more heartwarming…” If I’m able to feel that way, that would be great.
It’s spring now. Your routine will revolve very much around filming.
It’s better this way. If I’m not filming then even though it’s spring, I think having soju at some street stall will be all that I do. Even though it’s filming, I honestly find myself going here and there more often when filming.
What did he do when taking a break from acting for close to a year? He must have had a lot of time to himself apart from some schedules on-and-off. He was indulging himself in the replay of cooking programs and movies. Even though he likes watching cooking shows on TV, the skill itself is challenging. Recently, he has been thinking that So Yujin’s husband, Baek Jongwon is cool. He enjoyed going out drinking to his heart’s content with the seniors in the same agency, Choi Minsik and Sol Kyunggu while chatting about acting.
What were you doing during the break?
Just staying at home watching TV and movies to the extent of replays. I met almost no one. Last Lunar New Year, I invited our staffs to my house and we had sashimi, snow crab, abalone, ‘maeuntang’ (spicy fish stew) and stuff like that together. If it was in the past, I would probably travel but now, the house just feels comfortable. If I go out, I need to dress up, drive, that’s troublesome. Haha. Not too long ago, when the price of gas was at its lowest I thought, “Should I take a drive and go out?” But then, I didn’t. If there’s no schedule, chances are I’m at home.
What interesting shows are you watching on TV lately?
JTBC <Refrigerator, Please>! It’s absolutely fun. It’s really good. I watch movies over IPTV [T/N: Video On Demand TV which users have to pay for monthly] but within a month, it summed up to a few hundred thousand Won. I re-watch the movies I’ve watched before and look for movies I’ve never watched to watch. Because Yuhwan calls me to watch with him, I watch it again. Haha.
Not only <Refrigerator, Please> but lately cooking programs are very popular.
Indeed. I’m having fun watching it. I don’t miss an episode of <Refrigerator, Please> and I’ve watched it all, ah, I’ve also finished watching <Korean Food War>, Chef Baek Jongwon? He looks really cool. Haha. All cooking programs are interesting. Originally, I would only tune in to SBS <Law of the Jungle> and MBC <Infinite Challenge>. Now, I won’t miss watching <Refrigerator, Please> as well. MBC <My Little Television>? That is also fun to watch. One more! I like XTM <The Bunker>. I’m originally a person who likes cars. I’ve tried doing car servicing/maintenance in the past, so I’ve got a lot of interest towards it.
So now, are you even cooking on your own?
No! I don’t cook. Kk. Stress unleashes even when I’m just watching the show. Even in <Law of the Jungle> I only concentrate on the eating segment of the appearing guests. The looks of them eating deliciously is just fun to watch. Actually, there was once when I went into the kitchen to cook kimchi fried rice but I almost turned the rice into rice cake. I pressed it too much that it became like ground porridge. After that, I try as much as I can to not cook. I can still cook ramyeon though.
You have a new interest and hobby lately?
Mmm, I developed an interest for Chinese language. I would like to try to master it. Just recently, I sang two Chinese songs during my Chinese fanmeeting tour. As time passes, the curiosity seems to develop. After this drama ends, I will try to study (Chinese language). I hope to study until I’m able to engage in daily conversations.
A co-star whom you still contact and is close to?
Uhmm…(Lee) Taesung-hyung, (Han) Jimin noona, (Choi) Wooshikie and (Jung) Sukwon-hyung? And who else, ah, (Oh) Jungse-hyung! Almost everyone in the SBS <Rooftop Prince> family. At that time, filming was really exhausting but we all grew closer instead. Actually, we contact each other constantly but we are not able to meet. Sometimes we will invite one another to movie premieres or at times we will go for a glass of soju.
We heard of many stories that you get along well with your seniors/juniors who acted with you in previous films like SBS <Rooftop Prince>. Even in the movie <Haemoo> you were particularly close to the seniors.
It does seem like it. Previously we couldn’t click but I purposely adjusted my personality a little. Supposedly, it takes a very long time for me to get close to people and even going out for soju will take two years. Come to think of it, I was criticized a lot and caused many misunderstandings. So, from then onwards I became the first to approach others and make jokes. I also changed my personality and put in effort. Now I am more comfortable with this better personality. From then on, I started gaining more. I think in whatever that we do, the most important thing is communication and resolving matters through a relationship of understanding.
There are many great senior actors in your company like Choi Minsik, Sol Kyunggu, Lee Jungjae, etc.
Mmm, I’m happy about it. While watching <My Dictator> last year, I was very touched by Kyunggu-hyung’s acting. I was drinking with hyungnim and I told him, “Hyungnim, I would also want to do well in acting.” and he said, “Thank you very much. Yuchunie, thank you for telling me such a thing.” He said, “I’m very thankful that you have such a thought after watching my film” and it made me feel touched…Haha. Having someone who is like a father to me to say it doubles the emotion. I recall that day when we drank until morning…Sol Kyunggu, Kwak Dowon, Song Saebyuk, Park Sungwoong, Choi Minsik hyungnim…their drinking capacity is unbelievable. After the VIP preview of <Haemoo> during the after-party, hyungnim said, “Yuchun-ah, go and sweep all the Rookie Awards this year.” I felt really good when they said that and in reality I was able to receive those awards. It’s something I’m really thankful for.
‘Jaejoongie-hyung, I will definitely see you off~’
The news of JYJ family Kim Jaejoong’s enlistment was announced. Will he feel sorry about it? Firstly, how does he feel about seeing him off? Park Yuchun is surprisingly composed and cool. He thinks that the future after military service is more important than military service itself. The duty to serve in military service is something expected and it is like becoming a member of the society again but he confessed that the though of returning is more of a concern. Park Yuchun’s formidable inner endurance is seen through his discernment towards something that’s slightly further in the future than what is approaching in front of his eyes.
Kim Jaejoong will enlist on the 31st. How do you feel?
I found out about the exact date through the news. The concerned party (Kim Jaejoong) himself would probably feel a little more depressed but I’m not worried. Actually, where we’re living at right now (T/N: referring to the entertainment industry) it’s rather different so, when it comes to adaptation it can be quite a worry. Also, enlisting when we’re 30 can be a concern too but anyway, Jaejoongie-hyung is naturally sociable and is nice to people so, I believe it will go well for him.
You’re also scheduled to enlist this year, aren’t you?
Anyhow it’s something that I have to do and since it should be that way then I think it is only right to fix my mind on the good side of it. In fact, compared to my enlistment, my drama is more of an immediate worry.
For now, it should be difficult for the three of you to gather it seems. Do you always meet up?
Honestly, meeting up together with Jaejoongie-hyung and Junsu is difficult. It is almost impossible for us to meet up for a drink. Jaejoongie-hyung was initially busy with the filming of <Spy> while Junsu was recording an album and has many overseas schedules so, we could not see each other. But I’m free. Haha. Before Jaejoongie-hyung’s enlistment and right after Junsu’s concert ends, the three of us will gather for sure. The three of us share a peculiar relationship. We are close but awkward? It’s like even though we love each other a lot but we also have many solo activities and because we are aware that we should respect each other’s thoughts.
Will you be able to have a farewell party and see Jaejoong off for his enlistment?
Since Jaejoongie-hyung’s <Spy> has ended and Junsu’s concerts are ending, the three of us will definitely meet up. We are seriously considering to see him off. For now I have to commence the filming of <The Girl Who Sees Smells> but even if I have to reschedule for his enlistment, I would want to go see (T/N: to see Jaejoong off).
ㅡ The End ㅡ
(Translations are done based on the original interview in Korean)