[ENTERTAINMENT]2 characters working without a scriptPerhaps the most versatile actress on the peninsula today is Jeon Do-yeon. Jeon, 29, began her career in movies just a few years ago, in 1997, but she has already taken on a wide gamut of roles. She has played young lonely hearts and cruel, cheating wives. In her mid-20s, she played a naive high school student in a small farming village with a crush on her teacher in "Harmonium in My Memory" ("Nae Maeum-eui Punggeum," 1999).
When asked if she has any stars that she wants to meet, she immediately answered, "Bae Chul-su." A rather versatile guy himself, Bae is a 49-year-old rocker-turned-radio DJ. As a front man of the now-disbanded rock group, Songgolmae, Bae, despite having the most common of first names, is one of the most uncommon characters on the local entertainment scene. With his unkempt hair and mustache, Bae has a reputation of being a tough personality to interview. Asked by Jeon, however, he readily showed up to a cafe in Yeouido, saying, "Though I'm not a movie buff, I've seen three of Jeon's five films." At first glance, though, the two stars seemed an odd juxtaposition. Bae had shown up alone, while Jeon was with a troupe of six publicists and fashion coordinators. Bae said flatly, "Let's not take too many photographs, it's freezing," while Jeon was more than ready for a flashy photo shoot. Once they started to talk, however, they got along like good friends.
Jeon started their conversation, asking, "Don't you feel a bit stuck in a rut after all these years?" Bae has hosted the same radio program of international pop songs for the last 12 years. To this rather daring question, Bae answered, "I simply cannot do what I don't want to do. I will quit the very moment I get tired of my job." It happened before. In 1990 he stopped his singing career, simply because he didn't want to do it anymore. For several years, he had enjoyed being the front man of a rock band, but after a while, he felt pursuing music became just his "job" not "happiness." "Still, my heart beats fast when I walk into the studio," Bae said, which elicited Jeon to add, "Same here. The most important thing seems to be to love what you do. These days, many stars are short-lived because they can't enjoy what they do. I want to be a professional even into middle- and old-age."
In the middle of the conversation, they looked friendly enough, especially when discussing Korean pop culture. "The biggest problem of the local entertainment scene," Bae said, "is that everybody tries to do the same once something gets popular. Dance music takes up 90 percent, while rock and jazz are on the verge of annihilation." He similarly expressed dislike for the recent gangster film fad.
At this, Jeon answered back with a big smile, "My latest film, 'No Blood, No Tears,' ['Pido Nunmuldo Eopsi'] is film noir style, but a lot different from those former gangster ones. It's 'pulp noir,' a whole new style, as the director puts it, which is lighthearted. You should see it." Bae stopped smoking and started to laugh, saying "You are a real professional, to publicize your new film. O.K., I will absolutely see the film. I will see your film if you come on my radio program."
More in Features
Sculptor Joo Hoo-sik finds inspiration in the Year of the Cow
Nothing's fair in love and Covid
Top culture stories of the year
[ZOOM KOREA] The pipe organ master with plans for a uniquely Korean instrument
ENFJ-LMNOPQ what does the MBTI say about you?