This is Part 2/Final of PD Lee Sang Yeob’s interview which appeared in the April 2015 issue of the Japanese magazine “Korean TV Drama” (No. 66).
This part is really very difficult to translate. I had to ask the help of Ms. Hiromi and Ms. Kimy Kukuchan several times so I could understand the answers. Thank you for your help, dear ladies! My translation is not perfect, but I think I managed to convey the essence of PD Lee Sang Yeob’s replies.
Had so much fun shooting the kissing scene, so obsessed with shooting it that I forgot the time.
Question 6 (Q6): What kind of person do you think he is? (Editor: Interviewer is referring to Jo Hyun Jae.)
PD Lee Sang Yeob (LSY): I think he is like a young boy. hahaha. 😀 When I meet an actor, I try to fill the blank spaces of my knowledge about him. I checked JHJ’s looks. I saw that he looks great even though he has been resting for quite some time. But, is he perfect for the role of Myeong Nong? (Editor: Of course he is! I can’t think of anyone else who could have done the role justice as JHJ did!)
Frankly, my first impression of him is that he is too well-mannered. I know he is a very good actor, but I feel that he has been typecast in pure-hearted male roles. But, then I thought it wouldn’t be bad to let him do comical acting for once. Writer Hwang Jin Young said that Myeong Nong will also have a funny side. I was very confident that JHJ will be able to deliver on those funny scenes.
JHJ seemed awkward at first. From time to time, he would ask “Am I acting too stupid?” Then he would just laugh at himself. Eventually, his awkwardness doing the funny scenes disappeared, he was able to relax and act his funny scenes naturally and comfortably. When I watched the drama when it was broadcast, I was very pleased with his performance.
Comment: It is interesting that PD LSY thinks that JHJ is like a young boy, because that is how I see him too. Physically, he is very manly; the way he thinks is very mature; long-time fans know that he also experienced loss and hardships in his life. But despite all that, JHJ still exudes an air of innocence that you see only in someone very young.
Q7: Wouldn’t it have been great if the love story of the 2 main characters had been introduced sooner?
LSY: I felt the romance was short. The number of episodes of this drama was reduced from what was originally planned. While viewing rate was going up, we had to reluctantly shave 12 episodes from the original number of episodes to give way to the live coverage of the Sochi Olympics. Because of that we were not able to devote as much time as we wanted on the romance of the 2 main characters.
But it is also good that the number of episodes was reduced. Because the romance was short, love is more bittersweet. You can look at it that way… (laughs)
However, the two main characters are tied not just by love alone. In this drama these 2 characters are the most important centers around which most of the story revolved. For example, the resolution of the problem regarding their respective identities has to be shown, etc. In any case, the story progressed as originally planned, but with less number of episodes.
Q8: The love scenes of the 2 main characters really made me smile. It was reported that the 2 actors felt shy while filming the scenes because the other actors were watching them from the side.
LSY: hahaha, Yes, that is right. Filming the love scenes was really hard for JHJ and SHJ because both are very shy. If I try to make the scene a little bit richer, there would be a fuss. Particularly SHJ. Even after we filmed the scene where Myeong Nong pulled Seolnan to his lap, she was wondering if we should remove the kissing scene. She has no confidence to see it broadcast. And it was very long. (laughs) But, as a matter of fact, it turned out to be very cute, right? I was very happy while watching it on the monitor.
Q9: What is your #1 favorite love scene?
LSY: The kiss under the bridge (or the kiss under the red moon). I really had so much fun filming that scene because all the shooting conditions were met perfectly. Even though it was cold, we spent considerable time to film that scene. Only 1 kiss, but we filmed it dozens of times. I kept saying to the 2 actors, “one more time”, or “I am still filming”. When I looked at the clock, I was surprised to realize that we have spent so much time filming just that scene. It was as if time has completely stood still.
Comment: Awww, that is one of my favorite scenes too. They filmed that dozens of times? It seems JHJ and SHJ’s lips got a good workout… 😀
Q10: After the kiss under the bridge, you also showed Kangbok with some dialogues. I think such eye for details is very impressive.
LSY: The scriptwriter has a great sense of humor. While the 2 people in love share a wistful kiss, Kangbok says, “Crown Prince, I guess it is good.” I think that was an exquisite scene.
If you will also remember, in an earlier episode, it was also Kangbok who made that gesture with his hands together with a strange look on his face signifying that “Seolnan is a crazy woman.” Kangbok turned out to be a funny character as well.
Editor: LSY is referring to the first meeting of Crown Prince and Seolnan in Episode 17. Seolnan embraced Crown Prince Myeong Nong and called him “hubby”, so Kangbok gestured to Crown Prince that Seolnan is probably crazy.
Editor: There are a few more Q & A after Q10 but they don’t have anything to do with JHJ so I did not include them anymore. Maybe someday when I find myself with plenty of free time, I will try translating it. But for now, my head is already spinning and I don’t have the energy to translate anymore, so I will end the translation of this interview at this point.
Credit: Japanese transcript from Hiromi @ club.brokore.com/sodonyo; Photo 1 from DC/JHJ; all other photos from Hiromi. Thanks!