Monday, June 30, 2008

[Trans] TWSSG... 6 interviews

quite a nice read, this one.... thanks much much, sweet sister!

original in japanese: Josei Jishin 6-24-08 p.70-72
scanned & posted by: Rosie Baba
translated into english: a sweet sister / bb's blog

TWSSG 6 Interviews

Lee Philip,

“I Received 2 Lenses from YJ for Birthday at Gorilla”

“That mask was created to fit my face, so there is only one like it in the world. It is very heavy because it is made of iron (laughs).

On top of that my vision was obstructed and I was almost blind. It was very scary filming the scene riding a horse and swinging a sword.”

Reflecting back on the location filming was one of the four gods, Lee Philip, who played, the blue dragon, Cheoro.

He laughs saying that when he first saw himself wearing the mask, he looked like Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lamb but such a sweet face lay hidden behind the mask.

He was raised in the US and for the Washington University graduate, this project is his first attempt as an actor. His original short hair was also grown out for the role.

He says that the drama’s lead, Yonsama, is a wonderful role model as an actor and as a person.

“He is always showing concern about me. I learn so much from him just by watching him go about his daily activities, and seeing how he shows concern for other people. He is a senior whom I respect and he is really like an older brother to me.”

Even after the crank-up, the two have continued their exchanges, saying that they often go drinking together.

“To enjoy alcohol, I think the ambience is important. Depending on whom you go with, I think the flavors change, but drinking alcohol with YJ is exceptional. We talk about personal matters but because neither of us have girlfriends, we do not talk about women.

What type of woman do I like? The number one thing is that she should have a good personality. What about a much older woman? It depends

On Philip’s birthday, May 26, he said that they celebrated it by reserving the second floor of Gorilla.

“About 30 people gathered including Oh Kwon Rok, Park Sung Woon and others for my party. I received two Canon lenses as a gift from YJ. I also like photography.”

He said this in closing with a smile. "I am happy for the interest that everyone has shown in TWSSG. Please continue to show your support. I will do my best!”

'The face behind the mask' was sincere to the end!

Park Sung Woon,
“Making a Toast with YJ”

“Yonju-go? 45? What!”

Park Sung Woon lay back against the soft and laughed.

He seemed really shocked at the reporter’s frank comment that he “looked 45 years old in the drama.”

The man appearing in front of us appeared to be really open, while having a big city sophisticated air about him. On the other hand, as Jumoochi (one of the four gods, white tiger) he had an unconventional appearance and swung an axe in the animated role.

That he raises the age gap and gives the impression of being a different person is due to his immersion in the role.

“The first time I rode a horse was in Kyrgyzstan with three days' practice (laughs). It was difficult swinging the axe while holding the reins in one hand.

During the location filming, I ended up breaking six of the hardwood axes.”

“I also had a 'close call' falling off a horse. A herd of horses came up behind me and I got pinned to the ground.

“Jumoochi fell off! and it caused a big stir. I’m a former student of an action school. I had my pride, so I quickly got back on the horse and said, 'I want to re-take that scene' with a calm expression. That night while I was showering, I realized that there were several tree thorns stuck in my back. The pain, the pain (laughs).”

There was the time that filming ceased for two months and resulted in stress.

“We were able to finish because of the strong mutual confidence between YJ and the director. We also encouraged each other on.

To help me so that my part would be easier to act, even when it was not his scene, there were times when YJ would lie on the ground, out of camera range, because he has that much of an acting spirit. He does not know how to compromise.”

On the difficult film set, while the two continued to eat out of the same rice pot and strengthened their bond. Even now they deepen their friendship while they raise their glasses to each other.

“Even now I often meet YJ. When I was invited to his house, there were numerous wine bottles displayed. He has a deep knowledge of wine, but I am a drinking specialist (laughs). I received the distinctive red wine, Malbec.

At the Osaka event, Sung Woon heat up the audience by confessing that he got his first on-screen kiss with Shin Eun Jeong, who plays Dalbi, and that they are in love in their private life.

Perhaps the red wine from Yonsama was a celebration of their love.

Director Kim Jong Hak,
“Passing the Sleeping Pills Back and Forth with Yonsama”

Director, Kim Jong Hak, who created TWSSG, gave birth to the highest rated drama, Sand Glass (1995) which recorded 64%, and also numerous other famous projects so that he is major presence in the world of Korean entertainment. His career achievements span almost 30 years.

We gave the reporter a prep talk before he set out on the interview,

“During the filming, because we treated everyone to sam gyeop sal and soju, they must have got invited to the Osaka event this time.

That night we had a wrap party at the Chinese restaurant in the hotel” as he smiled. The reporter was relieved at his unexpected approachable nature.

“I am by nature very humorous. I did my best to tell jokes and to create a cheerful working atmosphere.”

He answers smoothly but the path until TWSSG’s broadcast was rocky. There were some voices that questioned, “Will you really be able to finish?” In June 2007, he held a press conference and issued an apology about the broadcast date. In September 2007, the director was injured in an auto accident returning from a location filming and he was immediately hospitalized. The surgery was successful, but he was away from the film set for several weeks. The long-awaited first episode was broadcast about one week later in Korea.

“Usually, when I am at home, I do not smoke any cigarettes no matter how many days I am at home, but with this project, I was smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day.

Filming for Sand Glass was only physically taxing but for TWSSG, we were also mentally run down.”

As commander with responsibility for everything, he was at the end of his limits in terms of physical endurance and stress. He said that the heavy pressure was the same for Yonsama.

“While Yonsama and I were getting intravenous drips in separate rooms, the location filming continued.”

The director also started taking sleeping pills for the first time due to the filming for this project.

“Up to now I have had no use for sleeping pills, but I started taking them during the filming of this project. One day, I told Yonsama, 'these sleeping pills work' and handed the pills to him. A few days later, this time Yonsama said to me, “Aboji (father) these work even better” and brought the pills over to me. Hahaha!”

Now he can tell the story and laugh about it as a nostalgic memory, but there were immeasurable difficulties.

He has a 'relationship like a parent-child and friend' with Yonsama.

“But when filming started, somehow or other, we were always clashing when it came to opinions. Each time we resolved our differences so that there would be no future trouble. To create wonderful projects, arguments are necessary.”

During the interview, the director referred to Yonsama by calling him “Yonsama” until the end. Was that because the reporter was Japanese?

“Hahaha! Usually, we call him by his name or his character name. I don’t know why but for him, since we began calling him Yonsama, it’s become a practice. The staff all call him Yonsama.”

The director has been overwhelmed with offers for his next project. Saying, “This is only a plan” he revealed the concept for TWSSG 2.

“We are thinking of the sequel as a modern day drama. How about the idea of the four gods and a leader like Damdeok where they come flying down into the modern age... this is what I’m thinking.

I would like to make it a project where all of Asia is featured and, of course, I am thinking of filming in Japan. I would like to film the sequel with Yonsama again.

This was the first time that I attempted development work. But financing was difficult and I would no longer like to deal with development work
(laughs). From now on, I plan to do what I have been doing up to now, good projects based on just productions.”

The director looked up at the Tokyo sky and pleasantly smiled, having been freed from the heavy pressure.

Moon Sori,
“I Invited YJ Home When I Got Married”

“I am sensitive to cold, so I do not drink cold water. I drink Japanese sake or hot cognac. If my body feels warm, I will eat ice cream though.”

Moon Sori, in the role of Kiha, received Korea’s Academy Award, the Grand Bell for best actress, and also a prize at the Venice Film Festival. There was a ceramic glass of warm water on the table. Her thoughtful health regiment was what got her through the overlapping film schedules.

“The TWSSG location filming dragged on and then halfway through, 'Forever the Moment' was also filming at the same time. At that time, I was in no condition to think about my physical health. I was only able to nap in the airplane while shuttling back and forth between film sites.”

She married film director, Jang Jun Hwan, on Christmas Eve of 2006, during the filming of TWSSG. She currently lives with her parents and two dogs.

“During the filming, days continued where I did not see my husband.

When I would see him after an absence, I would get excited like when we were first dating. I wonder if it’s better that we don’t see each so often
as she jokingly laughed.

The reporter told her, “What director Kim Jong Hak said about making the film set a cheery place by throwing in jokes,”

“I felt that he had the ability to separate work and play. I think he is the number one director in Korea. But my memory of him is not humor but that he was scary, which is the impression that remains with me” as she gave a forced smile.

As an accomplished film actress, this was her first drama. This was also her first co-starring role with Yonsama, but in her private life there is an unexpected fate that binds them.

“My husband and YJ were prior acquaintances. When we got married, we invited him to our home. We received a gift also, but the contents are a secret.”

Moon Sori also goes to the same beauty salon as Yonsama, Jung Saem Mool.

“It is a coincidence. So many of YJ’s fans from Japan come to the salon. They greet me, “Sori-san!” When I go to the salon without makeup, it is embarrassing (laughs).”

In Korea, a younger female calls an older male either senior (sonbae) or oppa (older brother).

“But YJ tells me, ‘Call me hyeong.’ Hyeong is a word used between men. YJ does not consider me a woman (laughs).”

The day after location filming ended, she was invited to Egypt as guest judge for a film festival. It was five days of viewing films, sleeping, a pattern repeated over the five days. For the remaining five days, she traveled to the Nile River and finally relaxed.

Sori has never appeared in a film by her husband.

“He has promised me that ‘When I write the world’s greatest script, I will cast you in it.’ But by that time I may have become an old lady (laughs).”

Oh Kwon Rok,
“I Worried About My Garden During Jeju Filming”

“At first, the makeup alone took two hours to put on the eyebrows or draw them on.”

Out of concern for the interpreter, Oh Kwon Rok, who played hyeongo (one of the four gods, turtle) began speaking each word slowly.

“In the limited time you have, while creating a never-before, large scale drama, the most difficult thing was feeling you had nothing left in your heart.”

Though we all went drinking on occasions, we did not try to hide our pain behind alcohol.

“When I felt stressed, I often went walking alone. Breathing fresh air revived my mood, and cleared my head.”

Eight years ago, he started a home garden at his Seoul home “to play in the dirt” and as a way to relax.

“The garden is about the size of this hotel room” as he spread his hands to show us. In his 30 sq. meter garden, he is growing, cucumber, chili peppers, daikon, nappa, pumpkin, corn, sesame leaf, and eggplant.

“I started growing oriental melon this year too. While I was on location in Jeju, I worried about the vegetables. When I returned from location filming, the first thing I did was to pull the weeds and water.”

He was stimulated by new actors E Ji Ah and Lee Philip and while overcoming strenuous location filming.

“YJ is a very pure person. When you associate with someone over a long period of time, you can naturally come to see this. His consideration toward the staff is thorough. He is polite in the way he speaks and how he treats people.”

He was amazed at Yonsama’s consistent self-control, unsparing attitude toward studying, and doing the utmost best. He was also struck by the passion he had for acting.

“I had nothing to offer him in the way of guidance. He was discussing with everyone on how he should perform the role. But it is each individual actor who makes the final conclusion.

Even to the old weathered tree, and the small weed, will finally come a season when they bear fruit. Actors are like plants. It doesn’t matter if they’re veterans or newcomers,” he said, his words filled with wisdom. Kwon Rok is not only an actor but also a poet.

“Doita mashita, doitashi mashite
(laughs) (you’re welcome)”

He showed us a scene reminiscent of Hyongo’s absent-minded character. His low voice is attractive and he was a neat “uncle” throughout.

E Ji Ah, “My Japanese Teacher is Downtown
and My Specialty is Oyako Donburi”

“When I lived in the US, I spoke Japanese with my Japanese friends while studying the language.”

E Ji Ah, who does not speak haltingly in Japanese, played the heroine, Sujini.

Ji Ah is bilingual in English and Korean. There are instances where she can reply in Japanese without the aid of an interpreter, amazing!

When this magazine reporter asked her, perhaps “Japanese should be listed under special skills”, the reporter’s answer was published in the Chosun Ilbo (dated June 4), “E Ji Ah, Shows Her Language Skills During Interview”!

“I also like Japanese dramas but I watch the Downtown konto DVD (comedy duo comprised of Hamada Masatoshi and Matsumoto Hitoshi) to study. For example, “Nande yanen” (Why not) and the Kansai dialect, I can have fun studying (laughs).”

For this project, she survived 30 auditions to land the heroine role and her debut project. Every experience was a 'first'.

“One year before crank in, I began practice. Because there were many action scenes, it was difficult learning so much such as martial arts, sword fighting, and horse riding.

In particular, I practiced archery hundreds, thousands of times, almost an endless number of times. Everyday my muscles hurt and the muscles on my arms built up

The days without sleep continued and the reason she was able to keep up her physical strength was due to 'food'.

“I ate a lot of food and because I was very active, I got used to the short sleep hours during the home stretch.

I love to cook. My best dish is oyako donburi
(bowl of rice topped with chicken and eggs cooked together). I will try the dish at a restaurant and re-create it at home to make it tastier and in my style.”

She was also rescued by her co-stars. “Sujini is a lively and loud role but I am the type that speaks softly and quietly.

Senior Moon Sori taught me how to practice to project my voice louder. She also had the same voice problem in the beginning. When her voice became hoarse, she drank warm tea to moisten her throat.

Moon Sori and she would sit together by the stove to warm themselves in between filming at the cold location site, where she encouraged me by saying, “Act with confidence.”

“I felt pressure acting with YJ senior that at first, I was afraid of him. But it was YJ senior who encouraged me.”

After the crank-up, she went on a month long trip to Europe with staff from her management office.

“We toured the art museums and museums of London, France, and Italy. More than anything, Europe was expensive (laughs).”

Her next project will be the MBC drama, Beethoven Virus. She will be switching from a bow to a violin and she is practicing daily for the role of soloist.

“Because I have experienced many difficulties with TWSSG, I feel that I can overcome what happens next time no matter what project it may be. But if I were told to repeat all that again right now, I could not do it though.”

With a forced smile she said, “It was a good thing that TWSSG was my first project” and then she smiled.


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