The atmosphere on the set of the photo shoot was very quiet. To let him concentrate on the expression of his emotional acting, everyone was watching without a word, using our eyes to encourage him.
But once the shoot was over, he turned back into a person with a mischievous smile and honest speech, the extremely charismatic 28 year-old Park Yuchun.
“Compared to being grateful, there is more of an apologetic feeling.” This was his reply to the question regarding the April Tokyo Dome concert, for fans who have been waiting for them.
Fine features, bright-eyed, a cute smile even at the smallest joke, young Micky Yuchun who went through a worrying period like a youth who ran away from home, has now become a real man who can naturally act in a love story drama or an action film. Because during this period, everyone went through all kinds of joy, anger and sadness, the relationship/feelings between JYJ and their fans is even more special.
From ‘Sungkyunkwan Scandal’ to ‘Missing You’, for those who recently became fans of the actor Park Yuchun, they might often forget that he is originally an idol star. He did not choose the safe path to walk, and is also not the kind who cares only about himself when acting, and his acting is also not the kind that is deliberately created by a management agency.
Also there is a high wall of obstruction between JYJ and the general public. When we told him that we collected some questions from fans for this interview, he laughed out loud and said, “I’m so worried, because our fans are not so innocent.”
I suddenly realised that, before he became an actor who seems mysterious and isolated from the world, he was actually a singer who sweated on stage and interacted with the public. When he talked about acting, he was careful and always humble, saying that he is still a newcomer in acting. He is also a very warm, upright and well-mannered young man who looked you in the eye when talking, spoke with no hesitation but also did not go overboard; it was an interview with wit and wisdom. Thus, in the 50 minute conversation with Park Yuchun, it felt like it was only 5 minutes.
Q: JYJ will be having a concert in Tokyo Dome in April. As this re-starts your Japan activities, fans have very high expectations. How are the preparations coming along?
YC: We also feel that this activity is very meaningful. I hope I can do my best to show a varied performance. But to integrate so many elements into the performance, there is also a limit. Taking into account the existing conditions, we will try our best to expand the scale of this performance, and hope it will satisfy fan expectations. I will perform with the feeling like “this is really the very last performance”. We performed many times in Japan before, but I have never had the thought that “this is my last performance”. Now that I look back, I can’t help but think, “Ah, I should have performed better at that time.”
Q: You said this performance is very meaningful. After experiencing many restrictions and difficulties, I think you all feel the preciousness of fans more than before.
YC: Yes. Compared to vague ideas like “performing until we can’t hold the mike” or “until we become too old to do any more activities”, this time, it is again a bit different. Rather than feeling thankful, I feel more apologetic towards our fans. Regarding activities in Japan, I am always saying, “If we do this, we can do it in this very interesting way.” But reality is not like this. So to a certain extent, it makes me feel very down and also very apologetic. No matter when, as long as we have activities in Korea, Japanese fans will come to participate. I really feel very sorry and also very touched.
Q: Is there the feeling of “Starting anew from now”?
YC: Yes. I really like having activities in Japan. Honestly speaking, although this time the Tokyo Dome concert is possible, it does not mean that everything also became easy. Even now, Avex is preparing to interfere in our activities again. (JYJ won the 2-year lawsuit against their former Japanese agency Avex, and according to the verdict, their contract with Avex has ended and they can finally resume activities in Japan.) I really have this kind of feeling “it’s good enough this time that we have the chance and we can perform”. So when I get a chance like this, I will do my best to show as much as possible to our fans.
Q: When will you release your solo album?
YC: It would have been good if I could complete it before this concert. I want to show the feeling of a pastel tone in the album, and also some Rap. Because of this, when I was composing, there was a bit of chaos inside me. While writing the tune for a song, I would think, “Oh, I want to add this other feeling.” Then there would be a number of different elements added and the balance in the song could not be properly maintained. If my solo album is released hastily like this, I myself will not be satisfied. Even though I know fans are waiting in expectation of my album, but I think even if it is very late, it is better to slowly and completely finish the story in each song, and then release it.
Q: Something with a pastel tone, makes me look forward to it too! There are many fans who want to listen to the album of Park Yuchun-style ballads.
YC: I had some difficulties writing the lyrics. In the past, I always wrote the lyrics first, and then while reading the lyrics, the tune that came into my mind would be put in. But this time, I changed the way I work. I gave more importance to the score and the melody flow. But when I finished the arrangement, I could not find suitable lyrics. The arrangement and the bassline were gorgeous, but when I put everything together, I found that the lyrics were not distinct and did not go well with the melody. So I couldn’t write suitable lyrics. From now on, I will proceed step by step to complete them properly, one song by one song.
Q: After drama ‘Missing You’ ended, your haircut attracted a lot of attention. Why do you change your hairstyle so often?
YC: Frankly speaking, my body does not only belong to me, it is not so easy to change my hairstyle. Because of my job, I have to follow certain rules. But I think I still have some selfish motives, “I want a haircut that is my own style”. Finding a suitable hairstyle is very important, but changing hairstyle helps to relieve stress for me. Because there are too many things that I can’t do freely, I have this way of thinking, as long as I don’t have to report to the prosecutor’s office, it is ok to do it. (laugh) People around me asked, how to shoot a CF like this (with this hairstyle)?! Ah, frankly, it is very good to have many commercials, but if I don’t get a single one, I would think that I am not the type that they want. Then I hope I will meet their requirements through my next work. But if it’s because of my hairstyle that I cannot get commercials, then this seems to be a different issue. (laugh)
Q. All the hairstyles you have had til now, which one do you like best?
YC: Actually this time I wanted to shave bald like Hareem, and then have a tattoo on my scalp. Haha! Just kidding! For me, I like long hair. After shooting ‘Sungkyunkwan Scandal’, my hair was so long that I could tie a ponytail. Long hair that is about that length. But once I cut it short, I could no longer grow it long as I wished. I think I finally understand why girls find it hard to grow their hair long once they cut it short. . My mother is also like that. Also, if I want to grow my hair long, I have to stop work for one year. But I am working throughout this year.
Q: In a past interview, you said that if you couldn’t work, you would go to the countryside with your members to do farming. Do you think this can happen?
YC: At that time, I really had this intention. I would really give up being an artiste, and with this thought, I left my former company. I seriously thought of giving up everything, and just live with my family and take care of them. But my members held on to me; we held on to one another.
Q: Because you have always lived in the spotlight, for you to give up everything, it must have been hard.
YC: I am the type that does not care for this kind of things. What I wanted in the past was just to live somewhere quietly. I can do any kind of job. I have already done manual labour before, so what is there that I can’t do? (laugh)
Q: When did you do manual labour?
YC: It was before debut, to make money to travel to Korea.
Q: With the recent drama ‘Missing You’, you got the nickname “Leader of Chemistry”. To have chemistry between actors, you have to listen to the lines and actions of the other actor; for a newcomer, it is a bit hard to understand the acting of your counterpart, but Yuchun’s first drama already gave us that, that you are acting based on watching and reacting to your counterpart’s acting.
YC: The senior actors and directors also mentioned this and said it is my best point and also my strength. The first time, I really just went into it without knowing anything. I heard the other person talking and so I listened. Normally, we listen to others when they talk. At first, I did not know what it meant, but now I know that listening to others is so important. So it is the same when memorising the script, when I get lines that are very long or when we have to shoot almost immediately after getting the script, saying the lines like having a dialogue with another person, then I will naturally remember the lines. In this way, doing the shoot is more interesting and the acting is more natural and attractive.
Q: Idol-turned-actors, few have good results; actors need a life with more freedom but idols’ lives usually do not have that. Yuchun can be said to be living more freely, and also experienced a lot of things between people, so compared to other idol stars, you have richer emotional expression.
YC: I have personal experiences and also experiences as an artiste, these accumulated experiences are very helpful to acting. Having personally experienced it, knowing how it feels like and then expressing it, it becomes easier. I see some senior actors go travelling when a drama shoot is over, although sometimes it is for a photo shoot, but to see more, to rest more, to encounter more, they are all part of the process of accumulating experiences; it is necessary for an actor’s life, and it is beneficial.
Q: When you first started filming for ‘Sungkyunkwan Scandal’, did you expect that acting would take up a large part of your life?
YC: No, I didn’t. At that time, I just really wanted to try acting, but I was not confident and I felt the burden because it was a historical drama. So I was just trying it out, and if I was interested, I would continue acting. (laugh) I realised acting is a very hard job, you need give it a lot of care and attention, but it is very attractive.
Q: With the end of each drama, you will know some emotions or techniques that you did not know before; it must be very interesting. How was it after the last drama?
YC: This drama ‘Missing You’, I could understand it with my mind and I could imagine the picture, but at the start, I felt like I did not blend well into it, my way of expressing was sometimes not suitable for that situation, so I suffered a bit. But fortunately, the character that I played was very different from the past, fans watching the drama also saw something different, and that made me feel very satisfied. In fact, this part is the hardest; it is obviously still the same me, but I have to show a different person, it will not feel different just because of a change in a person’s speech, behaviour, eye expression, tone of voice etc, so I became a little sensitive. But fortunately, everyone saw him as “Han Jung Woo”, so I was very happy.
Q: Actually, if Han Jung Woo is not acted well, he will become a stereotype. Traditional love story plus a detective with a wound in his heart, normally it would be acted with intensity and sorrow. But Han Jung Woo, despite his hurts, is a very cheerful young man with a kind of tenderness, this is one of the reasons why I like this character Han Jung Woo; I feel that it is only because of “Park Yuchun” that there is this “Han Jung Woo”.
YC: At first, I did not have such intention. (laughs) Although when discussing with the director, there was such a feeling, but it was not the Han Jung Woo that I portrayed. But as I acted, it naturally became like that. (laugh) So I just went with the flow. That’s why I am troubled when thinking about the next drama, for example, if acting as a doctor or a medical intern, it is not just portraying the role of a doctor, but you have to see what kind of character that doctor in the drama is. When I take on my next drama, I hope I can act out something that is totally different from Han Jung Woo in ‘Missing You’, but right now I still don’t have that confidence.
Q: In an interview, Oh Jeong Se who acted with you in ‘Missing You’ praised your acting skills. He said that in the script, there were instructions like “tears are going to flow” and “tears forming in the eyes” and they were all expressed very well.
YC: “Tears forming in the eyes” is the most difficult, haha, honestly speaking, when I saw the expressions that were instructed in the script, the burden was very big. (laugh) This time, the script had very detailed acting instructions and I spent a long time thinking and worrying over how I was going to express them. For example, a line has 3 rows and all 3 rows have acting instructions, to express them linked together is so difficult. Because sometimes when I am saying a certain line, I just feel like tearing at that part, but the scriptwriter knows which are the best parts for tears to fall and it is all written down, I tried very hard to follow the script, but actually I could not do it properly. (laugh)
Q: But it looks like you did well. For “tears forming in the eyes”, what do you think of to focus?
YC: I think of my lines and the other actor’s lines; when I’m acting, I hardly think of anything else. But crying scenes really take up a lot of energy. This time I really cried a lot, a lot. Really cried too much. So everyday, when I got the script and I saw that there were no crying scenes, I would feel happy inside for a while, because I know that acting sad scenes and tearful scenes is more stressful compared to memorising lines, and is also physically draining. It is much better to have long lines. But then when I really saw very long lines in the script, I would say, “Oh~NO~~!” (laugh)
Q: As an actor, are there any seniors that you most respect?
YC: There are many. But all the seniors that I like have one thing in common, this is what I think….. just….. they are all very cool. (laugh)
Q: What is the meaning of cool? To Park Yuchun, what does being “cool” mean?
YC: The type that is very natural. I like that kind of feeling. Honestly speaking, I am the kind that needs my hair and make-up to be done to look just alright. I want to become the kind that does not need any make-up but looks cool with his natural acting. But now I am not at that stage yet, and I am not that kind of person, but that is my aim. I started out as a singer, to change suddenly is very difficult. But when I am over 30 years old, I believe I will have the chance to show the things that I want to show. When that time comes, I really want to act with “very casual acting”. (laugh)
Q: Very casual acting?
YC: Really very casual acting. That means “acting in whatever way that you want” that kind of acting. Camera and lights are all done by others, I don’t have to care about that, just focus on acting and act with lines that are very natural.
Q: Do you want to try a very strong role?
YC: Yes, I really want to. Now my acting skills are limited, but if nothing goes wrong, I believe the chance will come later. When the chance comes, I will grab it and work hard at it. If it goes well, my mother and my agency won’t have to worry about me any more. I want to give them a sense of security that “Yuchun can actually do very well”, because now everyone is worried about me.
Q: Why are they worried about you?
YC: They say I look shaky. One time, I felt alright mentally and physically but when I went for a drink with a noona (t/n. big sister) from the publicity team, she said, “You look shaky.” Not long after this, I fell very ill due to stress. Then later, when that noona saw me, she said, “I told you right, you look shaky.”
Q: You are the type that will bear with it even if you are sick?
YC: I really dislike going to see the doctor. I will only see the doctor if I am feeling very very unwell. Even the medicine that is bought, I don’t really take it. This time, I was really feeling unwell and so I took a few pills.
Q: How do you maintain your energy? When filming for a drama, you can only sleep one or two hours a day.
YC: Working with a happy mood, and the staff take very good care of me, I’m not lying, they really take very good care of me. Not just preparing my food, of course that is also done, but when moving between filming locations, everyone talks and laughs, and it makes me feel very comfortable inside. So after a shoot, boarding the car, on the way home, I feel very happy, all these give me a lot of strength.
Q: The people around you are also very happy because of you, isn’t it? You are the mood-maker on the set, right?
YC: It’s good to work happily. Everyone is tired; laughing a bit more can’t be bad, right?
Q: Because there are no other activities, you seem mysterious to people who have only just become your fans. So they often forget that you are actually a very cheerful and humorous person.
YC: Yes, I am very cheerful. But everyone will also look cheerful when they are in a good mood and look a bit depressed when they are feeling down. I just have a few more cheerful moments than other people. (laugh) Especially when the weather is good, I will be even more cheerful. On a day with beautiful sunshine, when I’m moving around in the car, I will be feeling very blessed.
Q: Do you want to go on variety shows?
YC: For talk shows, I will feel a bit of stress, and also I think they won’t invite me. (laugh) I prefer the variety shows that have a bit more freedom. In a very comfortable atmosphere, having a happy chat, that kind of show. Recently I watched “March — Friends’ stories”, if there is a chance, I want to try this show.
(t/n. for some info on this show, see link below)
Q: What is your next schedule for acting?
YC: Basically, for the TV stations, the dramas for the first half of the year are already confirmed. I may have to see how it goes in the 2nd half. Korean TV stations are not that many. I also want to do movies. Just want to let everyone see a different me. But during ‘Missing You’, Song Ok Sook senior told me, “I didn’t think you would choose this drama.” It is very different from ‘Rooftop Prince’ and ‘Sungkyunkwan Scandal’. For an actor to change his existing image, it is a very big risk; sometimes even if you can act well, the viewers may not be able to accept what they see. At that time, I just wanted to let everyone see a different look of mine, I didn’t think that much. So now that I’ve heard those words, there are more points to consider when choosing the next work.
Q: To take up new challenges in acting, for an actor, that has always been a very natural thing to do. But now it has become something that needs courage. Nowadays, young actors are very careful when choosing a script.
YC: How do I put it? Some people like me with long hair, some like me with short hair, but I won’t care too much about that, because this is me. As long as I don’t go over certain limits, no matter what my look is, I think everyone would like it. Putting it another way, it may be a certain self-confidence, I have this bit of self-confidence. This may be unfavourable to me, but I want to try many different roles, as much as I can that is within my range. This is also one way that I find joy in my work. Of course, not everyone in the country is my fan, so I do have to consider that. (laugh)
Q: You have a lot of fans, and also many over-excited fans. In fact, you have talked about “sasaeng” (t/n. stalkers). Celebrities who have those problems usually hide them, but it seems like because of JYJ, these problems were brought up to the surface and discussed.
YC: Based on our personalities, more issues could have been raised, but our agency solved a lot of it for us, that’s why it is only to this degree. Now it is a lot less, so I am very happy. I feel that, when I am filming or something like that, it is work, so it is ok to follow me. But if you follow me on my personal trips in my private life, and keep following, sometimes accidents will happen, it is very dangerous. Moreover, in this world, how can people live just for themselves, just to satisfy their own desires. Even though there were good intentions at the start, but if the consequences are not good, then it is not right.
Q: You have said before, “If you are in love, you will make it public”, is that right?
YC: That is why, all the more, I will make it public. If I decide to tell the public, that means I have already thought about it for a long time. So it is alright to make it public.
Q: Then what will your girlfriend do? (laugh)
YC: Of course, there is a bit of worry there. Frankly, it is very hard for us to date someone, from DBSK til JYJ now, everyone has too deep an impression of “sasaeng”. So in reality, even if I meet someone and we like each other, she will be the first to go far away. Every woman wants have love that is sweet. Who wants to be suffering in love; this I can understand. Because of this, there is some regret. If the other person is also a celebrity, the load that she has to bear is different; she will want to be loved a little more comfortably at least. Who likes to be scolded for being in love? And her parents also, if their daughter is scolded because she is seeing Yuchun, will they be happy? Because of these thoughts, people are scared, and so it is hard to be seeing someone.
Q: If it is made public, that means you love that person very much and you are thinking of getting married, that’s why you are making it public?
YC: That’s right. It is not that “we have been together for one year” that kind of thing, but it is after discussing with my agency, my members, and my family, that I decide to make it public. I feel that I should tell it to all the people who like me.
Q: A question from fans, what does it mean to become “Park Yuchun’s person”?
YC: To become my person means I have also become their person. After I left SM, my family and my people became very important. Because I was in a very tiring and very helpless situation, I really needed those people, I couldn’t do without them. Then after some time passed, I realised it is not most important that these people are mine, but whether or not I have become their person, that is the most important. Because if I am their person, then they are also mine. So I changed my way of thinking. Although it is not so easy, I encounter some situations and it is not so smooth, but it is best to think in this way.
Q: You speak very well. You read a lot, isn’t it?
YC: No, recently I’ve been playing games, haha.
Q: What games?
YC: That’s a secret. I can’t tell you. In that game, my image is not so good because I use a lot of bad language. (laugh)
Q: I heard that you also like comics and movies. Any recommendations?
YC: Recently I watched the animated movie ‘Wolf Children’, it was very good. I felt a lot for it. A girl fell in love with a boy, but the boy is actually a wolf. Knowing it, she still married him and they had a daughter and a son. When they were small, the daughter had the habits of a wolf and the son had the habits of a human. But as they grew up, it changed; the girl wanted to be human and the boy wanted to be a wolf. I could understand the mother’s feelings amidst all this, seeing how she brought them up, I was not sad but very touched.
(t/n to watch this movie, see link below)
Q: Do you cry when you watch a movie or drama?
YC: Usually when I watch a sad movie and cry, it is in the morning, at about 8 o’clock? Usually it is when I wake up early or I have not slept yet, with my room door closed, lying on my bed watching a movie or drama. Sometimes I watch a very sad scene and I don’t cry, but sometimes it’s nothing much and I cry madly. But as much as possible, I will finish watching it on my own, vent out all my emotions, watching it secretly at home, even my mother doesn’t know.
Q: When was the last time you cried?
YC: (looking at the people around, embarrassed and laughs loudly) ahahaha
Q: You cried recently?
Q: This morning?
YC: No…. ahahahaha
Q: Ok we understand. (laugh) I heard you like to drink. How much can you drink exactly?
YC: I don’t know. Today after practice, I also wanted a drink, haha, after we sweat, we should drink. So usually after practice, I will drink with Jaejoong hyung.
Q: So it’s like a drink of labour.
YC: Yes, that’s right, drink of labour. (laugh)
–end of interview–
Chinese translation: JYJ台湾粉丝同乐会(分享&翻译：J&W) 2013.03.22
English translation: melodysky@ParkYoochunSingaporeFC
Picture credits: as tagged
Shared by: Park Yoochun Singapore Fanclub + JYJ3
TAKE OUT WITH FULL CREDIT to ParkYoochunSingaporeFC
For some info on ‘March–Friends’stories’, see here. (Detective Hyung aka Wifey from ‘Missing You’ is in it.)
For the movie “Wolf Children: Ame and Yuki” : see HERE