Sep 13, 2006
A Close Look at the Charisma - Part 1
The Real Bae Yong Joon Seen Through the Staffs of “April Snow”
This article is from the Japanese magazine
“We Love Korean Dramas!”
Mr. I.H. who was the director of the making of “A.S.” DVD ( and others) reveal the REAL B.Y.J. they saw while working with him for four months.
[No.1 – The BYJ They Saw Everyday]
☆ What was B.Y.J. usually like during the shooting of A.S.?
B.Y.J. always came to the site an hour early. From the moment he arrived, he would say hello to us in a good humored manner. Then, after changing into his costume and briefly putting on his make up, he would sit next to Director Hur and start to discuss the scene for the day.
The talks usually lasted for an hour, and sometimes it could go on for as long as 3 to 4 hours – the two would exchange ideas on the emotions Insu experiences that day, along with the means of expressing that emotion. In this way, the shooting would begin by harmonizing their views.
After they go through this dialogue and by the time the camera starts rolling, BYJ had already transformed into Insu. He concentrated on the character, and at times, he seemed to be agonizing on his acting. That is the BYJ we always saw on the site.
[No.2 – Mood Maker]
☆ What impressed you the most in terms of BYJ’s character?
Because he is such a big star all over Asia, I first felt a distance between him, and found it hard to approach him. But since BYJ likes photography, it was he who came to us first. The photography team, the direction team, and a lot of other staffs all became a photogenic subject for him, and through that process, he and the staffs became close. Maybe, BYJ was using photography as a means of approaching us.
He was exceptionally supportive of the younger staffs who were tired from the overnight shootings, and acted like a big brother to them. He was always cheerful on the set, and brightened up the atmosphere. Those humane qualities left a deep impression in me.
The long shootings that took all night must have been very hard on him too, but he would never avoid his fans that came to see him on the set, and tried to greet them if only briefly.
[No.3 – When BYJ was in a Good Mood]
☆ When was BYJ in a good mood?
In order to keep himself in top shape, BYJ was constantly exercising, and he took very good care of his physical condition. The efforts paid off, and we always saw him in an energetic state.
However, when I look back on the times that he was in the best of his moods, it was of course the times when he was satisfied with his own acting. The scene that he sings in the car and the scene in which he cries while drinking with his younger colleague are among the ones he seemed to feel satisfied with. Also, on the day we shot the scene he went on a date with Son Ye Jin to the cave, he claimed that he was able to act in a better way than what was expressed in the scenario, and seemed pleased with himself.
Also, he seemed most moved when he met with fans who truly loved him. When he met the fans who waited for him in the cold for several hours in the back section of the shooting locations, he expressed his deepest appreciation. When he received gifts that showed their affection for him, such as Korean ginseng juice, BYJ looked truly happy.
[No.4 – When he was not satisfied]
☆ At what times did B.Y.J. seem frustrated?
It took some time for even B.Y.J. to get accustomed to Director Hur’s spontaneous way of directing. He even confessed many times that it was hard on him in the press conference – the style was that stressful for him. So, when he felt that the emotions of the character he was playing was not expressed sufficiently, he seemed extremely sensitive.
For instance, when he was shooting the scene where he watched his wife having an affair on the digital camera, he agonized over his acting until dawn. In the scenario, Director Hur set the situation to have Insu confirm the scene of his wife’s betrayal on the camera, and then had him run to the bathroom to vomit. But when it was time to shoot, BYJ seemed to have a hard time accepting Insu’s behavior.
BYJ was really a perfectionist with a rational personality, and he really seemed to dislike having to proceed with the filming when he was not convinced with what was going on.
[No.5 – His exceptional acting]
☆ When were you most impressed with BYJ’s acting?
I think his acting in the scene when he cries while drinking with his younger colleague was exceptional. During rehearsal, BYJ empathized with Insu and immediately started to shed big drops of tears – the director and the staffs were amazed to see him do that.
After rehearsing the scene once, we did about two takes, and BYJ himself said he was surprised that Insu’s sorrow was really surging in on him. Because he is the type of actor who takes time to grasp the character, all of us had anticipated that the day’s shooting would take all night, but unexpectedly, we cleared it in two hours. His acting was that special.
[No.6 – His shyness]
☆ BYJ claims that he is a shy person – did you think that was really the case?
With people he was close to, and with people he got to know on the set, he seemed very assured and acted in an open manner. But when he met someone for the first time, his sensitive side was revealed. In that sense, he seemed like the shy type.
Even though he is always studying Japanese and English diligently, when it came to saying hello to his Japanese fans in Japanese, he would shy away. Turning back, he would say “I can’t do it. I’m embarrassed” with a shy expression on his face.
[No.7 Animated conversation]
☆ What kind of things did BYJ talk about at the location site?With the staffs, he mostly talked about the things related to each staff’s specialty. For example, with the recording staff, he seemed to talk about the performance of the microphones or its position, and how it was really hard to hold them up for a long time.Also, BYJ always took photos of the staffs while they were working, and created a lively atmosphere on the set by sharing these photos with them. He took interest towards online games that were popular among the staffs, and that became a major topic, too.While maintaining a glamorous image as a star, he also had interests which were quite similar to other men his age, and that made it possible for staffs to have enjoyable conversations with him.
[No.8 On the chemistry with the director]
☆ What kind of relationship did BYJ and Director Hur have?Because BYJ was not used to the director’s style of working on a scene with out a concrete storyboard, we often saw the two of them exchanging ideas. You can say that the two were polar opposites in terms of their approach. The director was not the type to give clear-cut answers – he would only give vague opinions like “yes, I guess you can say that….” BYJ on the other hand liked to come up with the best solution, and start from there. With these differences, both of them seemed to have difficulties in adjusting.Due to the difference of their styles, we ended up shooting the telephone scene in the hallway of the hospital more than 30 times.But I think both of them maintained their own position as either actor or director, and trusted each other to the very end. Consequently, even though their personalities and work styles were considerably different, by the time we finished shooting the film, it became easy for them to create the images they sought together without relying on lengthy conversations.
[No.9 On his partner]
☆ What was the relationship between BYJ and Sohn Ye Jin like?As the Director Hur requested for the two to remain distant from each other, BYJ and SYJ avoided dining together or hanging out with each for about two months. The shooting took place by faithfully following the emotional flow of how Insu and Soo Young became attracted to each other, opened themselves up, and eventually fell in love.After the mid-stage of shooting when the two of them became close, BYJ and SYJ joked around casually between shootings, and also had serious conversations on their acting, SYJ respecting BYJ as a senior, and vice versa. As an actor, BYJ envied SYJ’s innate acting abilities, and I think SYJ respected her partner for his magnetism in attracting people.
The Real Bae Yong Joon Seen Through theStaffs of “April Snow”
This article is from the Japanese magazine “We Love Korean Dramas!”Mr. I.H. who was the director of the making of “A.S.” DVD ( and others) reveal the REAL B.Y.J. they saw while working with him for four months.
[No 10 Sense of Humor]
☆ What kind of jokes did BYJ make?BYJ was very careful with his words, and was not someone who joked around very much. But there were times when he made us laugh with his spontaneous behavior on the set. For example, when we were shooting him from the back as he walked away alone in a lonely manner; immediately after the director called “cut!” he suddenly turned around towards the staff and laughed really loud. During another scene when he was throwing snowballs, he imitated a famous pitcher and smiled…. At times he seemed like a child, and he had a kind of pure sense of humor that seemed to come from innocent personality.
[ No. 11 Tension]
☆ Were there times when BYJ became difficult on the set?Hardly any. BYJ is not an actor who gives the impression of being “difficult”. But of course, since he is a top star, people paid attention, and were very careful around him. That kind of atmosphere created a certain amount of tension, but that was not due to BYJ himself.
[No.12 When he was drunk]
☆ Were there any changes in BYJ when he drank?In “April Snow”, there were about 2 scenes where drinking was involved. One was the scene where he drank with his younger colleague, and the other was when he dined with Son Yejin – for both of these scenes, BYJ actually drank in his acting. He was drinking shochu and beer - because he is the type that gets red in the face when he takes in alcohol, he seemed somewhat embarrassed with that, and there were times when he avoided our camera for the making film.But as the amount of alcohol increased as the shooting continued, he actually became even more considerate. He showed concern for Son Yejin asking her, “you must have drank a lot, are you drunk? Are you, alright?”, and towards the actor playing his younger colleague, he gave thorough advise on the balance of his acting. When we finished the drinking scene and were cleaning up, BYJ in a tipsy mood joked around with Director Hur saying things like, “you pick on the actors and give the staff a hard time – you are a bad director!” and made us all laugh.