Interview : The Dual Life of Joowon

From fighting scenes, emotional scenes to romantic scenes, Joowon has totally mesmerized the audience.

Adapted from Huh Young-Man’s manhwa “Bridal Mask”, as the Imperial Japan loyalist Lee Kangto and as the one who follows the footsteps of his elder brother to become the nameless hero Bridal Mask, Joowon plays a dual role. In the drama, his acting ability has increased over time, rising to be a top actor, gaining a foothold as the king of viewership.

In reality, the casting of Bridal Mask has been difficult; it was not smooth from the beginning. Due to the theme of Imperial Japan’s occupation, many Hallyu stars have rejected the role. Under these circumstances, Joowon a new actor took on the role and it became a topic of discussion.  Many people felt he could not carry the drama and were unconvinced and had many concerns. But the result was the opposite and instantly all the concerns were swept away. Joowon’s acting was even more solid and won a lot of accolades. The drama also brought in the highest viewership on Wed & Thurs. On the net, many left comments such as “This role belongs to Joowon”, “It will not do without Joowon”, “Cannot imagine another actor besides Joowon to play this role” and many praises. This interviewer caught up with Joowon on the set of Bridal Mask.

Q: How do you feel about Bridal Mask capturing the hearts of the family viewers?

JW: Gathering the highest viewership amongst the 3 dramas, I am very happy. However, the burden was very heavy from the beginning. Especially after Kangsan died and Shin Hyun Joon left the set, I and the other younger actors felt the burden increased. I also worried about the audience’s reaction to the way my character was in the beginning, towards his country, his friend and love.

Q: Leading the drama to be the top must have weighed heavily on your shoulders?

To be the lead actor and make the drama the top, there is a lot of pressure. Also the role of the  bridal mask is a very different, I was very worried. In the beginning, I thought “ The script is good, the director is good, everything is good, if the viewership is not good, then it’s because of me” and I got more burdened, thinking that way.

As a result, I prepared a lot for this role. Horse riding and martial arts are fundamental to the role. Also, to understand the character Lee Kangto, I made a lot of effort. Lee Kangto loved his family more than anyone else, yet he did a lot of things that upset his family. He could do anything for his family, yet he also brought harm to them. This complexity of his inner being, in order to express the right feelings, I discussed a lot with the director

Q: Was it convenient to wear the mask?

To prevent the mask from slipping, I have to tie the rope very tightly, making my nose hurt. My eyes are also how I expressed my feelings, but because of the mask, my gaze cannot be seen, it was regretful. The mask also blocks my line of vision, hence it was also dangerous. There were a lot of inconveniences (laughs). There was a good thing; I didn’t have to put on make-up so it was convenient.

The unexpected thing was the mask goes well with the Korean traditional wear. There was a lot of discussion, whether to use the best looking clothes or the Korean wear. My thought was to follow the original work and wear the Korean costume. When it comes to fighting, it actually looked good and when you run, it makes a “pucha pucha” sound which was very cool.

Q: Did the first Gaksital(Kangsan) Shin Hyun Joon give you any advice or suggestion?

When I was with Hyun Joon Hyung, we praised each other. Whatever he did, I said it was good. Whatever I did, hyung will say I did well. When hyung finished his filming, he will watch the show and said I did very well; it gave me a lot of strength.

Q: How about with Jin Se Yeon?

Every time I got to the martial arts training room, JSY will be there. In the beginning, she couldn’t even do a somersault. But she got better and better with time and now she could even hang from the wire. Due to her cheerful personality, whenever we are filming together, she always makes people feel good. That’s why all the elders and staff love her very much. Every time JSY appears, the mood of on the set becomes very good.

Q:  I am very curious what happened behind the kiss scene with Han Chae Ah?

We were filming at XX(can’t translate the name of the place) , there were a lot of poultry farms and factories nearby. Hence, there were a lot of insects. When we were filming the kiss scene, there was a fly that flew around HCA. So what was originally a simple shoot, turned out to have many takes, my luck was very good (laughs)

In the show, he is a hero. Out of the show, he is an aegyo man.

By nature, Joowon has lots of aegyo, he is very good to his hyungs. We can see in 2N1D, with Kim Seung Woo, Uhm Tae Woong, when he displays his aegyo side, he’s just like a child. HTW said: “If there is a mini-Joowon, will be very adorable” He behaves likewise during the filming of Bridal Mask. He does it all the time with his onscreen friend & foe, Kimura Shunji played by Park Ki Woong. Whenever there is a NG, he will immediately go and hug PKW. He’s turn to being adorable and cute has shocked other co-stars. Han Chae Ah said: “He is usually like a little child, loves to joke and also does a lot of aegyo” But once the director says Cue, he will immediately become Lee Kangto, his immersion into the role amazes people, acting skills are good. Co-stars who act with him says that he is able to focus very well and they feel that Joowon is an excellent actor. On the show and out there, many praised his acting skills.

Q: This role involves a lot of emotion and martial arts; you must have expended a lot of strength.

JW: Kicking Hyun Joon Hyung, seeing mother had died, at the grave of hyung and mother, the emotions while filming those scenes were very intense. Many times, I strained the veins in my neck, felt my blood pressure going up. After that whenever an emotionally intense scene came up, I will have a headache, the director was worried about me.

Q:  The crying scene at the discovery of his mother’s death, gave viewers a very deep impression. The way Joowon immersed himself in the scene was admirable.

JW: The sequence of the filming and the actual broadcast was entirely different. In reality, when we were filming that scene, it was my 2nd time meeting Song Ok Sook, who played my mother. Although it was acting, no matter what, it was necessary to have built some relationship then it’d have been easier to get into the role. However, there was no choice so I had to create my own feelings, it wasn’t easy. Especially during the beginning when Kangto had so much pain, it also agonized me.

Q: Your acting has won good critics. Have you thought of the reason?

I learnt a lot from filming Special Investigation Unit. The film set was like my learning centre. Uhm Tae Woong hyung, Seong Dong-il, Jeong Jin-yeong ,the seniors were all my role models for learning and they each had a different way of acting. Gradually, I found my own method. At first, I thought I should just act my role very well, now I realize that the atmosphere on the set is even more important. Previously, I only prepared myself; I never really grasp the dynamics on the set. From then on, I started to pay attention to the situation at the filming set.

Q: Recently, on 1N2D, the way you slept on your member’s tummy created a lot of talk. How tired were you that it led to that?

JW: There are 2 teams doing the filming. If team A films from 6am in the morning to 8pm. Then team B will film from 8.30 to the next morning. (this was left out but he said elsewhere that they continue to work throughout even as team A&B changed shifts), under that condition, I filmed 1N2D, without knowing, I opened my mouth (laughs).

All the cast worked in this manner, we couldn’t even see our beds. Usually in filming outdoors, we’ll sleep at the hotel. But we couldn’t even do that. We’d just go to a nearby washroom to wash up and then we’d return to the film site. When we see our co-stars, we’ll be very happy as we are in the same boat. Since everyone worked in this manner, there was no unhappiness. Being tired physically does not matter. However, unfamiliarity with the script resulting in errors makes one worried. When there is a lot of dialogue with PKW in important scenes, I’d worried and think that I must not make mistakes.

Q: In 1N2D, we saw a lot of facial products; you seem to pay a lot of attention on your skincare.

JW: Originally, I only used moisturizer. I don’t know when it started but things began to pop up on my face, it must be that I have the make-up on for too long a period. During the entire day, I’d be without makeup for only 30 minutes. Thus I have been more careful recently.

Q: You seemed to have lost a lot of weight.

JW: In order to have more sleep, I gave up meal times. That’s why I lost weight. Frequently, I will be having my make-up done and eating snacks at the same time. I ate a lot of things in place of rice, like yoghurt and milk cereals. I even have a nickname ‘Yoghurt Youth’ (laughs)

Q: This show has been extended from the original 24 episodes by another 4. You don’t seem to be unhappy about it.

JW: When I first heard it, I felt the director’s and producer’s thoughts were the most important. If it is due to viewership and got extended, then it’d be a problem. However, if it is to bring forth a better production then it is necessary to get the extension. This is good news to the actors. Anyway, we’ll just need to film another 2 weeks only.

source: Gaksital Soompi Thread

Translated by Mrdimples (soompi)

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