[by Choi Song Hee, translated by Sora Ghim, photo by Kim Chi Yoon] He went beyond expectations. After ‘Sea Fog,’ Park Yoo Chun has more of an actor image now, than a singer. Regardless of the criticism and disbelief in him for acting in a big screen film, Park Yoo Chun proved them wrong.
I always thought he was only a shining star. He’s always been involved with other celebrities who always have a smile on their face, but as soon as we started to work, Park Yoo Chun showed he has a deeper side to him. Even with the start as an idol singer and peoples’ doubt in his skill in acting, he has come to the point where being called an actor is no longer awkward.
For his recent film, ‘Sea Fog,’ bntnews met with Park Yoo Chun for an early morning interview and pictorial shoot.
It started with a little conversation, asking about his health after hearing he was suffering from the effects of a cold, to which he replied, “Just a little [sick]” and laughing lightly. His confidence and quiet manner of speaking showed his ability to calmly overcome any hurdles in his way.
For his first movie, everyone though he would choose a genre he’s good at, such as a melodrama or romantic comedy, so it came as a surprise when he was casted for ‘Sea Fog.’ It seemed like he was prepared to hear this response. He became serious and expressed his true emotions about accepting the role and what he did to make it easier for him to meet the expectations set for him.
At the comment that his choice for his first big screen role considered to be unexpected, he merely shook his shoulders with the reply, ‘I don’t know. I never felt that it was unexpected.” After some thought, he added, “It does seem out of my usual genres. It’s the truth that I was attracted to this heavy and complex production.”
“I do like romantic comedies, but personally I prefer these types of stories. You can experience regular love stories any day, but this is a bit unfamiliar, no? It has a lot more charm.”.
His participation in dramas, ‘Sungkyunkwan Scandal’ and ‘Rooftop Prince’ slowly paved the way for this role. On these characters he said, “It wasn’t necessary for me to think of a new personality for the character, so I let myself act naturally. The parts I played, a rich man and prince, aren’t normal characters, which is why I felt more inclined to play the minor role of an average person in ‘Sea Fog.’”
Shedding his boyish image, from a certain point he started focusing on heavy and composed characters. This happened like a sudden personality change. On this Park Yoo Chun explains, “It wasn’t a personality change, but I should say the agency loosened its grip on me?” Questioning that last statement, he laughed it off saying, “There’s a bit of that in there.”
“In the beginning, the company made a lot of the decisions. It’s still like that now but now I can put in some of my own opinions. I didn’t think of changing my image. That’s not that easy either. And it wasn’t rebellion against the image people have of me. I just want to reach a balance.”
Park Yoo Chun has an antenna. He has a feeling of ‘this is the one’ when he takes a look at a scenario. ‘Sea Fog’ gave him that same feeling. With no information or anything, once he feels that surge in his body, he has to do it. It’s like he is stuck in a whirlpool and can’t escape. This sensation came to him with ‘Sea Fog.’
However, along with his first movie came a lot of obstacles. He had to act the part of a fisherman with a Yeosu dialect, along with a bed scene, showing a whole new side to Park Yoo Chun. When asked, “Wasn’t there a lot of pressure?” he replied, “It’s changes depending on the start.”
“I’m not the type of person to really think about those things. I do think, I want to show this image of me, but I don’t get nervous or stressed with the idea of showing a new side. I’m too preoccupied with the project itself and how I’m going to portray this character. I didn’t even think about how the public would respond to my bed scene. Rather than the bed scene itself, I was worried about how to express the emotions of that scene and how to show it, it didn’t bother me about how people would react.”
Besides the bed scene, there were other things from the film that proved that Park Yoo Chun was solely focused on his character and portraying him to the best of his ability. However, when carefully asked if he worried about what his fans would think, he coolly answered, “I don’t.”
“I try not to focus on that aspect. No matter what I do, I won’t be able to meet everyone’s standards. I think that it is better to just work hard. If you try to fulfill everyone’s expectations, then you lose your own opinion, which is troublesome when you’re working on a project.”
After speaking so bluntly, he asked, “Did it seem like I didn’t care at all?” giving a laugh. The interviewer responded with, “Fans asked for you to care more,” adding, “It seems like the fans support any activities the actor Park Yoo Chun does, wholeheartedly.”
“There are a variety of fans. When I cut my hair, there’s people who ask why. When I grow it out, there’s always a ‘why are you growing it out’. Everything is me, it’s all me but there are people who separate it. Whether I’m a singer or an actor, these types of comments come out. It has its good parts, but I can’t act solely for one person. I have to do it for myself, not for anyone else.”
The bed scene with actress Han Ye Ri was intense. Since it was expressing the love and sorrow the two people had in a place of life and death, making love made it more comforting for them in the tragic situation. When told, “It must have been difficult to express those emotions during the scene. I heard it was Han Ye Ri’s first bed scene,” he replied cocking his head, “It was her first?” questioning back.
“The atmosphere wasn’t a atmosphere to feel unfamiliar in… I didn’t think about it. There was adjustments in the lighting for the film, but when you’re in the engine room, it’s damp and dark. Because of that feeling, I didn’t have time to think about the outcome of the scene. My heart was filled with mostly fear and sadness. After filming ended, I couldn’t stop my tears.”
‘Sea Fog’ tells of a story of 6 fisherman who try to smuggle immigrants out of China into South Korea. In the plot, each character is so strong and different with many scenes depicting each fisherman’s personality. When asked if it was hard to film out of context and not sequentially, Park Yoo Chun responded with “It was difficult,” answering honestly.
“In real life, you don’t really film the ending first, in dramas and even in movies, however depending on the situation, sometimes you have no choice. I had a lot of pressure then. I had to bring out my emotions to match the rest of the movie which is difficult. But what can I do. Even though my lips were pulled into a pout (laughs).”
Scattered emotions. In the sense of the way of the meaning of ‘sea fog,’ Park Yoo Chun had to bring out the emotions of Dong Sik (his character’s name). He was asked, “What helped you the most to bring out those feelings?” to which he replied, “The captain.” His voice relayed the amount of trust he had in actor Kim Yoon Suk who played the captain of the ship.
“Besides me, there were others who felt pressure to act out the final scene first. However, the captain (Kim Yoon Suk) gave out ideas and helped us to grab a hold of our characters’ emotions. Looking at the film, even if we shot the movie in order, I feel that the ending wouldn’t be as good as this one. The pressure to do well made us focus more which is why I think it had a good result.”
Produced by Bong Jun Ho, directed by Shim Song Bo and starring actor Kim Yoon Suk, these great people said they would like to see Park Yoo Chun continue to act in more movies to which Park Yoo Chun said was the “best compliment he heard” hiding his embarrassment behind a laugh.
“After the press conference at the after party, Kim Yoon Suk told me, ‘You are really like a sponge. You must continue to do movies’. I was embarrassed because of his compliment but also thought that I must have done that much for him to say that.”
Park Yoo Chun’s passion and skill for acting has increased with this film. He has become a serious actor after overcoming the big screen.
“Drama or movie, I’m not sure which one fits me more. However, I like movies more. I get the feeling that I really got experience. I’m really pleased with my first movie, ‘Sea Fog.’”