While back in spring it was the "Gu Jun-pyo syndrome" that took the TV scene by storm, with the arrival of summer it was Tae-bong who received the baton. When "Boys over Flowers
" was in full swing, its dashing characters seemed to be invincible. But that turned out to be wrong. While the "Gu Jun-pyo syndrome" was powerful and intense, the "Tae-bong syndrome" took longer to take off but in no time it spread all over. Tae-bong's sweet voice also added to his popularity. We met with actor Yoon Sang-hyun
, who rose to stardom by portraying Tae-bong in the MBC TV drama "My Wife is a Superwoman
", which ended on May 19. Though the drama has ended, Yoon still exudes Tae-bong's charm. During the interview he would say, "Eh?" just like Tae-bong did in the drama.
Here's the interview.
-How have you been recently? Your life must have changed.
I can't go outside as freely as I want. I went hiking last Saturday, forgetting that it was a weekend, and I almost got into trouble. (Laughs.) I like hiking, so I went to Mount Gaman for the first time in a while, but it was crowded with people. I thought nobody would recognize me because I was wearing a mask and glasses but women who were passing by recognized me in no time. I climbed as fast as I could without looking back but once I reached the peak there was another group of women who also recognized and approached me. I was hungry but I had to skip my meal and descend the mountain as soon as possible. I almost ran. I wonder how they recognized me with my face covered. Now I can't even go hiking. I should probably go hiking on weekdays when nobody is there. (Laughs.)
-You've been receiving many offers to appear on TV commercials. How many TV commercials have you appeared in?
Five or six.
-You're appearing on many variety shows these days.
I only have one show left. Last time, I was embarrassed to see myself appearing on two shows simultaneously on different channels. When I saw myself telling the same story on different shows, I told myself that I should probably stop. I've been receiving many offers since "My Wife is a Superwoman
" ended, but I had no idea how scary the showbiz world was.
-You rose to stardom 5 years after your debut. What is it like?
You can't have your cake and eat it. To be honest, I liked the way things were in the past. Few people recognized me even when I appeared in TV dramas, and I could go anywhere I wanted. Many viewers even get the titles of my dramas wrong, like for instance, instead of "Fireworks" they say "Candlelight". I felt more at ease when people didn't know my name.
-You must have wanted to become famous someday…
I had no idea I would ever become a star. Before I was offered to appear in the MBC TV drama "Winter Bird", I was going to quit show business once my contract with my agency was up. I just wanted to do business. I never felt comfortable acting. It was like wearing clothes that don't suit you. Going to tapings was torture for me. Back then, I tried to find Solace
in drinking and smoking. I didn't have any friends among actors and it wasn't fun whatsoever. Somehow I debuted as an actor but I never dreamed of becoming one. If I played the part of, say, a manager, all I did was just look cool and drive a cool car, plus there were few lines for me to say.
-Did the role of a "mama's boy" in "Winter Bird" change your views on acting?
At a glance, Ju Kyung-woo of "Winter Bird" is a typical mama's boy, but the director of the drama told me to make him look cool. I was wondering what that meant. (Laughs.) I pondered a lot about my character and I persuaded the director to make my character fun to watch because the mood of the drama was too gloomy. Luckily he agreed with my opinion. I was elated. i devoted three months to studying my character and that's when I discovered the fun of acting. That was the first time I realized what acting was about and what it's like to act with other actors. Actress Park Won-sook
, who played my mother in the drama, congratulated me on Tae-bong's popularity. (Laughs.)
-How was Tae-bong created?
At first, the director told me to act like Park Shin-yang
and Hyun Bin
did when they portrayed CEOs. But I couldn't do it. As a CEO, Tae-jun is a meticulous and fastidious guy but once he becomes Tae-bong, he is completely different. I couldn't find the break-even point between those two personalities. So I just portrayed Tae-bong as close to my real-life personality as possible and the director didn't mind that. Portraying Tae-bong was real fun. And working with Kim Nam-joo
was also easy. While acting as Tae-bong, I wanted him to remain undercover as long as possible. When his real identity was revealed, I felt sorry for him. (Laughs.)
-What did Cheon Ji-ae (Kim Nam-joo
) mean in Tae-bong's life?
She was a very unusual person. I liked how she sacrificed herself for her husband and always tried to look upbeat. That's not what love for a person of the opposite sex should be like. Even if Ji-ae had divorced her husband, Tae-bong wouldn't try to achieve anything with her.
-What kind of love is there in your real life?
I feel love only when my heart flutters. Though Tae-bong was supposed to be a playboy, he wasn't one. He just turned his eyes to other women because he failed to develop any feelings for So-hyun. But he never cheated on her. He simply wanted to give up on her. So-hyun was a good woman but she failed to move his heart.
-What was your dream in the first place?
As a child, I wanted to be a scientist, but when I was in high school, I wanted to become a singer. But I failed all the auditions. No matter how well I could sing in karaoke bars, strangely enough my voice failed me at auditions. When I didn't have a place to practice singing and did it in my room, people called me "crazy". When I was in my mid-20s, my mother told me to stop singing. (Laughs.) And I never thought of acting. The agency that had promised to make me a singer offered me only roles in TV dramas. It was frustrating.
-Are you still dreaming of becoming a singer?
No. Now I'm all into acting. I have ambitions as an actor. It's fun for me to be on filming sets and I'm not scared of acting anymore. I want to try my best. My next role is in a TV drama that will air in the fall. I want to take a comical role, which I'm good at. I want to give joy to viewers before I take on a different role.