Upcoming KBS TV series "Sungkyunkwan Scandal", set to premiere on August 30, has been garnering attention from viewers for a while now for two reasons. One, because it is based on hit romance novel, and two, because of its cast composed of stars Park Yoo-chun (playing the role of Lee Seon-joon), Park Min-young (Kim Yoon-hee) and Song Joong-ki (Goo Yong-ha). That is why the questions the four main characters were asked focused on asking the differences between the original novel and the drama, the atmosphere on set and the teamwork. Below are excerpts from the press conference held at the W hotel on Tuesday.
Q: Do you think there have been any changes made to your character in the drama compared to the original novel?
Park Min-young: While my character was more of a lady of refined manner in the novel, she will be more of a playful and mischievous person in the drama. She has become someone who is more cheerful and lively although I don't know whether it's because I'm playing the role or because it's a historical drama with young characters. My character changes more toward the latter half of the show so I think her cute and loveable personality from the first half will have a dramatic effect on it.
Yoo Ah-in: In the novel, my character Jae-shin is so manly and comic-like that I thought, 'Nobody like this exists in the whole world'. So I'm keeping the elements that may help add to the fun of the show but trying to leave out the cheesiness. From a realistic standpoint, I guess you could say that he now isn't annoying?
Park Min-young: Jae-shin in episode 8 is cuter and funnier than any guy you've ever seen. Like Yoo just said, you'll get to see a lighter version of Jae-shin.
Yoo Ah-in: I'm worried whether I've done a good job of taking out the cheesiness but I'm also very worried whether I'm betraying my character from the original work that viewers may be looking forward to seeing.
Q: You had said at a previous press conference that you're working very hard to become your character Lee Seon-joon. What about now?
Park Yoo-chun: The aspect in which I related to Lee Seon-joon the most was in how he feels a pressure that is invisible. I think the reason he becomes so strict about principles is because of how he always tries to read his dad's mind, and I actually felt a lot of a similar sort of pressure from my work. It's not something I feel as a star, not that I am even one.
Song Joong-ki: Yoochun, you are a star!
Park Yoo-chun: Anyway, it felt like I was starting to forget who I was although I hadn't meant to, so I think I was able to related to him a lot in that sense.
Q: How would you rate your own acting based on what's been filmed so far?
Park Yoo-chun: I'm gonna have to start building up on the points. I don't think I'm in the position to rate myself.
Song Joong-ki: I realized that Micky is really a hard worker. I actually was had somewhat of a prejudice about idol singer-turned-actors but I was very moved by how hard Micky works. I once gave him advice on his acting which could hurt his pride as an actor but he listened to me with modesty. I hadn't expected that so I was surprised.
Q: Then how do you feel Song, you who have been considered to sync the best with your character Goo Yong-ha who likes to make jokes and is interested in indulging in sexual relationships?
Park Min-young: Earlier on when the 'hanbok' fashion show with Miss Koreas was on, Song looked at the que sheet and said, "The Miss Koreas go out in the first part and then the actors. I guess I'll just sneak out when the Miss Koreas go out". There's a reason the sync rate is so high. (laughs)
Song Joong-ki: (Sighs) It's true that I said that. My mind woke up even after I had stayed up all night shooting yesterday when I heard Miss Koreas were going to be here. But this is all just part of my concept -- I'm not actually like this. Um, and I'm a man too so I guess there is a side to me that's somewhat like that. Ah, Park! You! (laughs)
Q: Then who do you think is prettier between your fellow actors Seo Hyo-rim and Park Min-young versus the Miss Koreas?
Song Joong-ki: Ha... That's a really hard question. I think Hyo-rim and Min-yeong are prettier. It's actually because it hurts my pride to see that the Miss Koreas are taller than me. (laugh)
Q: There are four main characters in "Sungkyunkwan Scandal" but it's true that the attention is turned to Micky. Don't you feel disappointed about that as a fellow actor?
Park Min-young: Our show is receiving a lot of attention because of him so I feel that we've all been blessed. And Micky's fans send tributes to the set three times a week.
Yoo Ah-in: That's right. (laughs)
Park Min-young: There isn't much to eat on set because it's in the Mungyeongsaejae Provincial Park but they sent lunchboxes from a family restaurant to every crew member. There was so much to each. It feels like we're working with a newcomer actor who is extremely popular.
Yoo Ah-in: A popular newcomer? That's kind of ironical. (laughs)
Q: But don't you also feel pressured by such fans? Park Min-young, you in particular must be envied by them because you get involved with Micky in the drama.
Park Min-young: A fan once pinched my back on set. (laughs) It stung but I felt that she would do it again if I showed that it hurt, so I just walked by quietly. And then I rubbed it when nobody was looking. (laughs) But I think it's so cute how she would do that to the actress her idol singer is acting with. I've also received notes online saying how much they envy me. But I've already been through that with Big Bang so it's okay. (laughs)
Q: I heard that Xiah Junsu visited the set too with 100 fried chickens. Was it good?
Park Yoo-chun: It was really good, all cold. (laugh) But I was really touched. He spent his own money for it... And he's not the type to.
Q: You must sometimes miss being a singer when you see your fans who visit the set?
Park Yoo-chun: I recently held a concert in Japan and the memory from it is still there because I was standing on stage with a mic for the first time in a while. I'm holding a mic right now too but holding it as a singer is very different so I miss it a lot.
Song Joong-ki: What are you talking about? You held a mic at a karaoke room a few days ago. (laughs)
Q: Lastly, what do you expect the ratings to be for the show?
Song Joong-ki: I'll be happy if the ratings come out well and sad if they don't but I don't think an actor should obsess too much over the ratings. I do however, want our show to do better than "Dong Yi - Jewel in the Crown" and "Giant". (laugh) I'm personally hoping for about 17 percent? Oh, no. I once was in a drama that hit 17 percent on its premiere episode but the ratings kept falling after that. I feel uneasy now.
Park Yoo-chun: It's the first time I'm paying attention to viewership ratings. I guess you could say we're safe if we get about 15 percent?
Song Joong-ki: Oh, yes, I'd like it around there too. If it looks like the ratings are going to drop, I'm thinking of suggesting to the scenarist that Micky to a bed scene. That'll probably boost ratings, right?
Q: Didn't you say at the last press conference that he doesn't have such a great body?
Song Joong-ki: Oh, that's right!!! Then I guess they'd [ratings] fall. Nevermind!
Photographer : Chae ki-won ten@
Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@, Lee Ji-Hye seven@
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