Feb 29, 2008

BYJ Classics / The Scenes - Love Story

1. Dvorak's Symphony No.9 "From the New World"
(from the film “Clear and Present Danger”)

2. Puccini's 'Turandot, Nessun Dorma'
(from “The Killing Fields”)

3. Beethoven's 'Piano concerto No.5, Emperor'.
(from “Immortal Beloved”)

4. J.S. Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in D Major
(from “Love Story”)

5. Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No.2
(from “Brief Encounter”)

6. Barber's "Adagio for Strings" (from “Amelie”)

Feb 25, 2008

What a DOLL!

Japanese sister yoshikohan made FIFTEEN sets of these adorable "Winter Sonata" dolls, and pallet was one of the lucky ones to get a set!

The dolls are about 17 cm tall, and with the artificial leather shoes, they are able to stand on their own. Yujin's pink polaris necklace is so cute♪

(Incidentally, the snowman you see in the back are from the BYJ figurine set.)

Feb 24, 2008

Kim Hae-sook talks about BYJ

I remembered that I once translated Japanese sister Cranberry's sled from B.S.J. (satovic's circle) and posted it on KOB. Just for the record, I will repost it here.
(originally posted on KOB 12.25.2005)
photo from Amazon.co.jp

Annyong! Last week, Ms. Kim Hae Sook (Yujin's mother in “Winter Sonata”) came to Japan. As you all know, Ms. Kim appears frequently in Korean dramas – so frequent in fact, that you start to wonder if there is a shortage of actresses in Korea to play the mother figure. She ended up appearing in all four of Director Yoon Seok Ho’s drama series based on the four seasons, and is presently shooting “Spring Waltz”, which is the last drama in this series.And yes, although it was not a major role, she also played Jaeho’s mother as well.I think she always does a wonderful job in portraying maternal love in a variety of mother roles.Ms. Kim recently wrote a book of essays called “The Inside Story on Winter Sonata”. I attended the autograph signing & handshake session she held in Shin-Okubo (in Tokyo) on the 20th.For me, the rahmen-haired, overwhelming ‘onma’ she played in “Autumn in My Heart” left a stronger impression then Yujin’s mother. So, she caught me off guard when she appeared in front of us as a gorgeous actress. She certainly had the aura of a star, and was very beautiful. It seemed like she was on a very busy schedule, hence the event was short, but Ms. Kim was very talkative as she answered the MC’s questions rapidly. The interpreter must have felt very rushed. Even a chatterbox (‘oshaberi’ in Japanese) like myself (cranberry!) had to admit defeat! Ms. Kim said that she had visited Japan a few times in the past, but had suffered a sleepless night as she was worried about the attendance of the autograph session.The venue capacity allowed about 150 people, but as it turned out, the place was packed! Ms. Kim seemed very pleased, and somewhat excited.

Of course, she shared episodes on Yong Joon ssi as we had hoped. It is said that God only bestows one gift to each individual, but when it comes to Yong Joon ssi, he is “papekt (perfect)”! Not only is he good-looking, he is extremely diligent and thorough. He is caring towards those around him, and she claims she almost felt jealous that such a person exists. She said that he may give the impression of being soft with feminine qualities, but he is actually quite manly and very chivalrous. All of us in the audience nodded deeply in assent to this comment. We think we know everything about Yong Joon ssi that there is to know, but to hear the same information from someone who actually worked with him, makes it more convincing.Because dramas like “Winter Sonata” and “Autumn in My Heart” which are called mini series in Korea, are aired twice a week, she revealed that the exhaustion they experience for the shooting is beyond words. We remember seeing the NG video where Director Yoon Seok Ho fell asleep after giving his cue! As for Yong Joon ssi, he was not feeling well towards the end of “Winter Sonata” and had to receive injections to keep on working. The staff fell asleep while on their feet, and ended up destroying the set! It is no wonder that Yong Joon ssi fell asleep snoring, when he was shooting a scene where he was lying in bed! And of course, the battle against the severe cold…Mentioned also in her book, Ms. Kim claims that she never witnessed Yong Joon ssi rounding his shoulders, or massaging his hands even in the coldest weather. What a professional! We can just imagine how hard he must have worked.But I do remember seeing him walking at the ski resort with his hands in his pockets, fighting the cold.Oh, but of course that was him ACTING!!For Ms. Kim, the scene in “Have We Really Love” where she reunites with Jaeho who had gone blind, is especially memorable. In this scene, Jaeho suffers from both impaired sight and hearing, and therefore the mother had to communicate with her son by writing in the palm of his hand… Yong Joon ssi gave a beautiful performance in delivering the complicated and delicate emotions of this scene with great control and technique. She said that although it was not shown in the drama, she saw a trickle of tears running down his face in the end of the scene.

After reading the book, I learned that although Ms. Kim Hae Sook is now considered the “Mother of Korean Dramas”, she experienced much difficulties in the past. Once an actress who played lead roles, her career took a great tumble. In her recent book, she wrote of episodes that she never revealed to the Korean media. She said that it would please her if the stories about the times of difficulty would help the women readers of her book.We can guess that this work means a lot to her.She was very friendly as she signed my book, saying “Annyong haseyo, OO-san!”In the beginning of this book, 11 Korean actors who she had worked with gave congratulatory comments:Celebrities such as Choi Ji-Woo, Jang Dong-Geon, Won Bin, Song Hye-Kyo, Park Young-Ha….And needless to say, our prince appears at the very beginning.The photo must be the one that he always carries around with him when he gives out autographs.On the photo was his autograph and a heartfelt message.”I have had the pleasure of working with Mother Hae Sook in many works. I am very excited to hear that your book filled with your stories is coming to the world.I pray that this book will become a memorable one for many readers.”Bae Yong Joon Even in such messages, you are PA-PEKT! as always!

Have a wonderful Christmas Eve!


Feb 22, 2008

The "Mothers" Who Supported BYJ

The Two "Omonis" of "Have We Really Loved"
Interview by Maki Tsuchida
(AERA 2005.9.30 edition)

Kim Hae-sook

Proud of Her Hands Rough from Housework
The Roles in films influenced her real life.
"My 2 year daughter kept on crying saying she wanted to go with me. I felt as if my heart was being torn apart - so much that I almost considered giving up my acting career."

KHS who is called "the omoni of Korean dramas" for her many portrayals as a mother, and her kind and loving expression looks back on the days when she was struggling as an actress, wife and mother. The conflict makes her treasure her time with her time with her family all the more, and she manages all of the housework on her own. She shows her hand rough from the wet work and laughs somewhat wryly but also proudly, that they are not the hands of an actress.

"I am optimistic by nature. Don't you think it's more pleasant to think about the positive side of things, rather than worrying? And the fact I have a family makes my job more rewarding."

Rather than her affection towards her family reflecting on her acting, KHS claims that her performances influence her real life. Because she is the type that immerses herself in the role, the boundary of her real self and the mothers she plays in dramas and films tend to become obscure.

Loved by Young Actors
"The Affection of Real Mother and Child"

"I had an interesting part in a recent drama - she couldn't carry a tune, but loved karaoke, and spoke in a sugary way. I couldn't get out of that way of talking, and my daughter laughed at me. In reality, I am not such a good mother like I play in the dramas, but I am supported by my family's understanding."

Although she has played many parts, the role that left the greatest impression was those in "Tale of Autumn" and "Pearl Necklace". Both were mothers with a complex character, but they were challenging roles as an actress.

"When I was playing the mother of "Tale of Autumn", I felt depressed. Just reading the script made me cry. The mother of "Pearl Necklace" had emotional problems, but it is a role I would like to try again."

Happily she claims that she has many children. In "My Brother", she played the part of Wonbin's mother. Being loved by the young actors, she receives many offers to play mother roles.

"I always order the actors who will be my children to call me "mother" even off screen before the shooting starts. They are bewildered at first, but we eventually begin to develop an emotional relationship resembling that of a real child and parent. Even when we meet after some time has passed since the shooting, they still call me mother."

Double Role of Actress and Mother
"It's fun once you get used to it"

The most difficult role was the mother role in "Have We Really Loved". Because the character setting indicated she had abandoned her young child (BYJ), it was a big topic among the viewers who would play this part, and that became a big pressure for her.

"Frankly, I had my grudges against the director. In order to express motherliness, I need to work closely with the actor playing the child. To express the sadness, I continuously listened to sad music from the previous evening right up till the shooting, and tried to build up my emotions. When I got an OK with just one take, I couldn't help clapping right there and then."

Playing the role of an actress and mother. It has never been easy, but it does not bother her. When she feels she is not fulfilling either, then is the time she must give up one of them.

"Even if I am not perfect, if I can show that I am doing my best, my family will understand. Fulfilling both roles is indeed difficult, but by working, I build a sense of responsibility, and because I am doing something I like, doing both is fun once you get used to it."
Yun Yeo-Jeong

Questions the Significance of "Good Wife and Wise Mother"
Always Works to Improve Herself

"Every mother is different. There are mothers who even abandon there children and family. I always try to portray the mothers that exist in the real world," declares Yun Yeo-Jeong. She too is a veteran actress who has played many mothers. Rejecting the conventional styles of acting, the reason she always takes on the challenge of new roles is because she has her doubts with the "good wife and wise mother" model. YYJ once left the drama scene after she got married and lived in the U.S. for 13 years. When she came back as an actress many people working in the drama world saw her as a woman with a "Western air". Having acquired an objective perspective of Korea from her experience abroad, she reflected that in her acting, but people turned their backs to her attitude.

"I had experienced divorce as well, and when you think differently from the ordinary Korean women, people did not like it so much back then. Because of that, I came to think I would do the parts that pleases me and for this reason, I feel close to the majority of the roles that I have done till this day."

Failure of Entrance Exams Lead Her to Acting
"I became free"

YYJ is very modest about her career, and is always striving to be better.

"Unless you are truly gifted, your talent as an actor could always deteriorate. Even now, I practice acting. Some of my colleagues say, 'why are you still practicing at that age?' but I think the reason I am capable of continuing my job as an actress is because of my training."

A quiet and shy girl in her youth, YYJ chose to become an actress when she failed her university entrance exam. It was the age when television broadcast started in Korea, and the new media caught her interest.

"People around me opposed, but since I had lost my purpose in life at that time, I think I wanted to do something new. Failing the exams, I felt I had become free from what had been tying me down. My film debut was in "Fire Woman" in which I played a girl who ruins someone else's home- I guess I had the foundations of my present acting even back then (laughs)"

In terms of a role as a mother, she claims the one that left the strongest impression was that of HWRL. She was originally cast for the role of BYJ's aunt, but the actress who was scheduled for Kim Hye-soo's mother left the role, and she was suddenly asked to become the pinch hitter. YYJ acted out the complex emotions of a mother who gives approval to her only daughter's marriage to a young man who was suffering an incurable disease. The controlled performance characteristic of YYJ brought out the reality of the drama.

Later, she again performed with BYJ in “Hotelier". Seeing that he had grown as an actor, she felt his charm as a man.

"BYJ is an actor with a very sincere attitude towards acting. He is the type that cannot get into his acting until his emotions are heightened, and I am sure the shooting of "Hotelier" must have been difficult for him involving a lot of specialized terminology. Looking at him when he went out to smoke in order to calm himself, he was so attractive that it came me the chills."

A Born Actress
"Will act in any role."

She later came back on the screen with "A Good Lawyer's Wife". Presently she leads a busy life, taking part in 2 dramas simultaneously, and she feels that she might be just a bit too busy, but she enjoys acting. She is an actress by nature.

"There is no role that I want to do in particular. It's not something that would come true by wishing for it. If there is a possibility that I can play it freely,
I am looking forward to any challenge."

Feb 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Jun Sahng!

We love you!

BYJ and Jung Sahng

From "The Diary of Winter Sonata" by PD Yun Seok-ho (2005)

Dec.15 2001

... Shooting JS's solo cut also required a long time. The issue was - how much should BYJ's face be covered by the book? BYJ is the type who cannot get into his acting until he can fully accept the situation he is playing, and to have him understand the necessity of the scene I gave my explanation. Of course I could see his point too, but I had my idea as well. We came to an agreement after talking it over, and resumed shooting.

The shooting of the high school scenes are indeed difficult.

Grow up fast everyone- please!

Feb 14, 2008

Another Hidden Treasure from WLS

Happy Valentine's Day!

Speaking of hidden treasures of WLS, here’s a HOT one wuri Satovic introduced in her book “satovic Yon-sama Theater” (2005)

In episode 17, Yujin is discouraged because her mother opposed to their marriage. JS tries to cheer her up by preparing a dinner at the mountain lodge cafĂ© and makes the decision of “living their lives together”. That evening, he suffers a nightmare. The following day, JS suggests having their photograph taken – but before this scene, there was an episode we never got to see…

JS wakes up from a nightmare. He hears a loud banging on the door, and Yujin is crying out “Jun Sahng! Jun Sahng!” When he opens the door, Yujin is standing there crying.
“I had a terrible dream. You disappeared… you went away alone. I was so scared.” As Yujin lets these words out in tears, JS holds her tight.
“Don’t be stupid, you know I’ll never go anywhere.”
“Don’t go JS. Please don’t go away”
Yujin sobs uncontrollably. After awhile, she falls into a deep sleep (AS usual). JS kisses her face softly.

The next morning, Yujin wakes up on JS’s bed AND as usual, is in the state of “where am I? Who am I?” Enters JS, who has just come out of a shower – and what do you know! According to the script, he has come JUST out of the shower, with his hair still wet and naked down to his waist! Yes, you can say he’s clad only in a towel. Ooooh, his broad chest … (no, that’s not included in the script, but you can easily imagine!)

It doesn’t stop here!
Yujin cries out, “come on, put on your clothes!”
JS – “This is my room. I can put on my clothes, leave them off, do whatever I like. Hey, does it bother you? Don’t you remember about last night?

Here, JS acts like the playboyish Min Hyung in the way he teases Yujin. (He’s probably not wearing his glasses, don’t you think?) Ooooh, why oh why did you have to cut this scene, PD YUN!!!

Feb 11, 2008

Another Story Behind Episode Two of WLS

This is another excerpt from the book “Another Winter Sonata”. The writers reveal the inside story behind episode two.

The Alternative Episode for JS, Yujin, and Sang Hyuk (SH)

The setting of the tragic parting between Yujin and JS was already decided in the very beginning, but we had prepared many alternatives for the process of their parting. Under normal circumstances, it is usual to write many versions of the script for episodes one and two because those are the most important in a drama, and this one was no exception. We had prepared more than 10 versions of these two episodes.

For example, in episode 2, the final version only included Yujin getting lost in the mountains and JS finding her, but initially, we thought of inserting a scene with Cherin drowning herself deliberately to gain JS’s attention. This was an episode we thought would allude to Cherin’s role of becoming Yujiin’s rival. But considering the briefness of the school days they share, we decided that we must concentrate on the love between Yujin and JS, and we cut this scene from the final script. For that reason, the explanation behind how much Cherin really liked JS and how she had been obsessed with him may had been lacking somewhat. We feel the scene that ended up being cut may have been useful in having the viewers understand that JS was Cherin’s first love as well.

Among the episodes that were cut, there is one scene we are very fond of. We will share it with you briefly… In the story that was aired, there are no scenes in which SH, Yujin and JS spend time together in an intimate way. Actually, in the original version, there was a scene where after fighting with each other fiercely, SH and JS finally become friends with the help of Yujin.

Wittgenstein is a famous Austrian-born English philosopher. And the “Wittgenstein game” is a game he invented for fun when he went on walks with a married couple he was intimate with.

Three people take on the role of “sun”, “earth”, and “moon” respectively. As we all know, the earth revolves around the sun, and the moon revolves around this earth which is revolving around the sun. In the game, the players imitate this action – obviously, the one who has to walk the most among the three is the “moon”. He must always stick with the earth that is revolving towards the sun.

On a day with snow lying thick on the ground, with JS’s suggestion, the three of them decide to play the Wittgenstein game. JS mischievously offers to play the role of “sun”, and ignorant of the situation, Yujin and and SH end up with “earth” and “moon”. JS who is the “sun” easily walks through the fields with snow softly falling on them. Yujin, as “earth” tries hard to go in a circle revolving around JS. SH on the other hand continues to walk steadily staying close to Yujin who makes big circles around JS. Working up sweat, it does not take long for Yujin and SH to realize why JS had offered to become the sun. JS, who was walking alone with ease, laughs heartily, and Yujin and SH cries out they’ve been tricked. The two throw snowballs at JS, and the three of them end up in a snowball fight. Thus, they spend the most peaceful and beautiful moment of their lives together… that was how the story went.

The earth that goes around the sun and the moon that just continues to revolve looking only at the earth… The relationship of the sun, earth, and moon seems to imply that of JS, Yujin and SH. No matter how much the moon continues to revolve around the earth, the earth would never revolve towards the moon. Yujin would walk looking up to JS, and can never look at SH. That was their fate.

The director also liked this scene, but regrettably, it was cut. However, the imagery of the sun, earth, and the moon was always expressed throughout the drama taking on different forms. If you ever have the chance to walk through the fields covered with snow on a snowy day with some friends, why don’t you try this Wittgenstein game? If you can spend time with the person you love during the snowy season, it should be fun even if you are not the sun. But for those of you who are enduring the heartbreak of unrequited love, whatever you do, don’t accept the role of the “moon”. It would no doubt make you very sad…

Feb 7, 2008

Leslie Kee's Interview from "We Love Korean Dramas"

Happy Lunar New Year to Everyone!
The following is an excerpt from Leslie Kee's interview on his impressions of BYJ from the Japanese magazine "Aishiteru! Kankoku Dorama" (We Love Korean Dramas!)
Vol.19 (Feb.2008)
Leslie Talks About Bae Yong Joon

Interviewer: Looking at BYJ through the viewfinder, was there anything unique about him compared to other artists?

Leslie: When I met him for the first time, I ran up to him and said “Thank you for (coming?) today”. He seemed surprised. I guess he was not used to being greeted like that. The reason I acted that way was because I imagined that since BYJ is such a big star, people would not talk to him very much. But I had a feeling that a man big as him is actually interested in what people are thinking - he probably wants to talk more with all kinds of people. I wanted to convey my own excitement, and he too opened up to me in return. To be honest, before actually met him, I imagined him to be the same as the other Hanryu stars. Why? Always the smiles, bright lights - I had thought this was the only style he was willing to compete with. But when the shooting began, and I made my requests in English, he immediately began to show the artistic side of himself for me. Also, he was such a gentleman - like an English gentleman. Even when he was speaking to the stylists and interpreters, he was really polite. I think you can say he does have prince like qualities.

I: So you felt that what is reported through the media is true?

Leslie: Yes I did. I thought it was not a lie. In the way he walked, and the moment he entered the room, you could feel this special aura. What’s more, it’s not like an intentional act, it's perfectly natural. He possesses elegance and qualities of a gentleman. Going through many sessions with him, I felt this very strongly.

I: I understand you had opportunities to photograph him even after the “Superstars” project.

Leslie: Yes, I had a session with him just a few months ago, too. One was for an advertisement for a Japanese company, and the other for the promotion of “TWSSG”. I also worked with him four or five times before that. For example, the photographs for the CD jacket of the compilation album of classical music selected by BYJ himself, and the poster for the Japanese version of the drama “Hotelier”. The more I work with him, I discover that he has various dimensions in him.

I: Do you know anything about BYJ’s own interest in photography?

Leslie: I know that he takes photos on his own, but I don’t know what kind of photos he takes. But I heard that he gave a photo that he took with his own camera to President Sohn of IMX as a birthday present. I understand that it was photo of a bicycle.

Feb 2, 2008

The Bashful Side of BYJ

The following is another part from the book "Another Winter Sonata" written by the scenario writers of WLS, Kim Eun-Hee and Yoon Eun-Kyoung (published Sept. 2004)

Our first encounter with BYJ and Choi Ji Woo (CJW) took place in the elevator of the annex of KBS. On that day, all the actors were to assemble for the first reading of the script. Arriving there with mixed feelings of excitement and anxiety, we hurriedly jumped into the elevator as it was half closing. Pardoning ourselves the moment we got on, we saw two people who looked familiar. Greeting them with our eyes thinking, “I know them… who were they…?” It only took a half a second to realize the truth.

“You stupid! It's BYJ and CJW of course!”

This is how we first met Yujin and JS.

On Bae Yong Joon

Indeed He was a Handsome Man

The first impression of BYJ –ssi who appeared wearing a black leather hat low over his eyes, was that he was truly “Jun Sahng” himself. The slightly dark skin, sharp intelligent eyes, and the stiff expression he wore when he asked quietly about his character showed “the JS –like charisma that made him difficult to approach”. Perhaps it seemed so all the more, because the character he played in his previous drama was that of a cold person like JS. However, as you all know, JS may seem cold on the outside, but he is actually a boy of a very sensitive and shy nature. When we met for the first time for the script reading, we realized instantly that “BYJ also had these qualities”.

To be honest, the most embarrassing and awkward time for scriptwriters is the day of the script reading when we meet the actors for the first time. As much as it is a happy moment for us to have the imaginary characters come to life with the help of the actors' voices, it is unavoidable to have the feeling of sitting on a bed of nails, under the pressure that “we should have done better”.

CJW has to get into becoming the 18 year old Yujin and run around the lake with JS…, BYJ has to identify with JS and drop leaves over Yujin pretending it’s snow, promise to go on a date with her on the first snow of the season… As scriptwriters, we were afraid that we had ended up writing something that would give one the shivers. We felt responsible, and wanted to crawl in a hole to hide ourselves.

Frankly speaking, the script of episode 1 and 2 had too many scenes that were way too corny for a grownup man over his 30s to play (We were aware of this. But JS was still a high school student, so even if it seemed like a corny scene from a grown up’s perspective, we needed to put it in).

The highlight of the day was the scene of the first kiss between Yujin and JS. When JS made the 2 snowmen kiss and jokingly say, “you lucky guy”, BYJ got stuck in the middle of his line, and ended up bursting into laughter as he was not able to get it right. Most of the other actors in the room laughed, too. Feeling guilty (!) for making the lines so “corny”, we took a peek towards BYJ and tried to see how he was reacting. He seemed to be finding it uncomfortable to act out such a scene, and with the script covering his face, he was expressing great embarrassment. In that moment we thought, “Huh? This is rather unexpected…” The “cold, intellectual charismatic young man” we were used to seeing on TV was no where to be seen, and instead, sitting in front of us was a bashful boy … “Oh, Yonsama, who would of thought you possessed these endearing qualities!”