'I truly experienced the joy of acting and I'd like to continue. I hope to be able to balance my activities as a singer and an actor in the future.'
Singer Park Yoochun (24) shone as an actor in his debut piece 'Sungkyunkwan and Scandal'
Much like Rain and Lee Seung Gi, Park Yoochun, member of Dong Bang Shin Ki and JYJ, has proven himself to be equally competent as both an actor and a singer.
Yoochun, exhausted after having finally completed filming for his drama 'Sungkyunkwan and Scandal', was interviewed on the night of the 5th. Sporting his freshly cut hair, he cheerfully said 'Despite losing 10kg and being hospitalized twice during filming, I had a really good time.'
Unlike the serious, conservative Lee Sun Joon, the rookie actor Park Yoochun maintained a dazzling smile on his face throughout the long interview. Yes, this is the same person who won over every single fan and earned himself every single ear-splitting scream by constantly pushing himself to the limit, ceaselessly fighting to achieve his goal.
Q: You looked good in your costumes. Do you normally wear hanbok?
Definitely not, even during special events and festivals, so I was glad to hear that I looked decent in one. I was never really worried about having to appear in a hanbok and having my hair tied up, on the contrary, dressing up like that made it easier for me to differentiate between me as a singer and as an actor in a historical drama. I was quite awkward the first few times we filmed, so most of the scenes we shot were ones without dialogue. Hearing people say that I looked like a scholar really lifted my spirits, yet at the same time, those comments put a lot of pressure on me because it meant that I had to work even harder to portray my character convincingly so that I wouldnt' just look the part on the outside. My mom visited the set once, I heard that she was shocked to see me dressed up in a way that was so unlike me yet so fitting at the same time.
Q: Lines in historical dramas are long and difficult, aren't they?
They really are difficult. The producer said this was more of a 'fusion' historical drama so tones weren't as important as they would've been had it been a typical historical drama. But I really wanted to do it properly, so I tried as much as I could to use the correct traditional tones and pronunciations and that was quite difficult. I put a lot of work into learning my lines properly from the very beginning. When we first started shooting, people would beg the director to give me 2 hours of sleep in between (so he'd have time for rest after learning his lines). Either way, I was willing to make that effort so we wouldn't have too many NGs.
Q: Despite the overlap of your filming schedule and JYJ's activities, your acting has consistently improved throughout each episode.
The two times I was sent to hospital, I finally understood the hardships of being an actor. Whenever I had time, I'd either be eating or sleeping, but because of all the pressure, I was rarely able to eat properly, and when I did, I'd have a hard time digesting the food. Eventually I ended up eating junk food all the time, which is probably why I lost 10kg. Whenever I thought I could finally get some sleep whilst we were moving locations, I'd have to stay up to learn my lines. Under such conditions, I also had to make time for the JYJ promotion schedules. When you're in that kind of situation, your mind is basically cleared of all thoughts and I found that I was able to focus even more on the drama. Even at times when there were lots of people crowded around us as we were filming, I'd keep myself completely focused on the script. My schedule was probably the tightest during filming for the last few episodes, so I had to work especially hard. Knowing that I had to leave the filming crew because of the JYJ showcases made me determined to deliver; I didn't want NGs, I wanted to have my scenes done in 1 or 2 shots. Every now and then, I'd hear people comment that my acting had improved since the last episode, but I didn't really have time to notice or appreciate it myself.
Q: How do you feel after filming this drama?
It was interesting. I was really able to immerse myself in the joy of acting and I began hoping that I'd be able to do more in the future. Kim Gap Su played the role of Sun Joon's father in the drama and he gave me a lot of good advice. Whenever I had scenes with him, I'd feel the hairs on my nape stand on end. He has a really powerful presence. Thanks to him, I did a much better job than I expected.
Q: The scene where you confessed your homosexual feelings has become a classic. People were really impressed by your acting.
By the time we reached that scene, there was honestly no time left. If we didn't finish it, it wouldn't have been broadcasted. Even if there were NGs, there was no time for retakes. We were at a folk village, so there were lots of people watching us as we filmed. All of us knew that we had no time to lose so everyone tried as hard as possible to complete their scenes within one take. Fortunately, it only took two takes that time. There was an NG the first time because I cried too much. The tears just seemed to rush out by themselves, so I was actually quite satisfied. I used to wonder how actors cried on spot, I thought it was absolutely fascinating. I mean, once it's been shot and edited, you get the background music and everything, but when you're filming it, there's no music, how are you supposed to suddenly start crying? Do people just play music alongside? When I got to doing it myself, I realized that it really was possible; if you were truly engaged in portraying that character and those emotions, you'd be able to do it. Ever since, I've gained a lot more confidence in filming crying scenes.
Q: When were you the happiest as Lee Sun Joon? What was your best experience as an actor? Did you have any worries or concerns?
I didn't know it at the time, but on my way back after filming on the 2nd, I was going through the script and I realized that Sun Joon must've been the happiest on the day that his father congratulated him on getting into Sungkyunkwan. As an actor, I was glad to know that I'd probably be able to act again in the future. As for concerns, I feel that Lee Sun Joon is the type of character who really would've made an impact and left his mark on history… I'm not sure I was able to really get that across to the audience. The seriousness at the beginning and the development of his character throughout the drama should've had a better flow, but because of my limitations, he seemed more childish than serious at the beginning.
Q: There's a bit of controversy revolving around the final episode, what are your thoughts?
It should've been longer. It's true that we rushed the ending. To be honest, I didn't want it to be a happy ending. There were so many things involved at that point that I felt as though it should've had a more tragic end to it, but then I got my script for episode 20 and as I read through the ending, I decided that I'd at least try to have a little fun with it. If I hadn't added the funny parts, I think I would've regretted it even more.
(Most of the final scenes were spontaneously improvised)
Q: A lot of 30-40 year old women who hadn't heard of Micky Yoochun have become your fans.
So I've heard.. but I'm not sure why (laughs). As we were filming at the folk village, a grandmother recognized me and happily chanted 'Lee Sun Joon'. Her family told me that she'd been getting rather obsessed over Lee Sun Joon. I'm not sure if it's because it was a historical drama about the old times but I was glad either way.