[ENTERTAINMENT]TV dreamboat sets sail for big screen

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[ENTERTAINMENT]TV dreamboat sets sail for big screen

Here I was, on the way to meet one of television’s hottest actors, but I was groaning from the burden. Bae Yong-jun, 29, may be a heartthrob to millions of young women, but he is reputed to be a hard person to get to know. Unlike most actors, he is supposed to be reserved - polite, but really quiet.

But then I met him for myself. Yes, he was definitely very polite, however, he wasn’t cold or distant at all.

“Please, come closer,” Bae said, “you’re sitting too far away for us to talk.”

With those kind words he seemed just like his famous TV character Jun-sang from the recently completed hit drama “Winter Love Song” (“Gyeoul Yeongan”). Since the show ended March 19, Bae has been really busy filming a number of TV commercials, but nevertheless he looked full of energy.

During the winter, a hot topic among women was the KBS-TV drama “Winter Love Song,” famous for the line “What if my first love calls me again?”

The weepy melodrama contained sad stories of unfulfilled affairs, babies exchanged at birth, amnesia and unforgettable first love.

Bae played two characters, Kang Jun-sang and Lee Min-hyeong. His love interest Jeong Yu-jin was played by the always demure and modest Choi Ji-woo. Jun-sang and Yu-jin were young lovers, but Jun-sang died in a traffic accident. Ten years later, Yu-jin still remembered her first love, even though she is now engaged to Sang-hyeok.

But one day she sees Jun-sang again. Of course it is not really Junsang, just someone who looks identical. Mystery and romantic tension ensue.

Bae has been well-known for pursuing a leisurely working schedule, but apparently he has changed recently. Immediately after finishing another hit, MBC-TV’s “Hotelier” (2001), he began work on “Winter Love Song.”

“When I was younger,” Bae said, “after one drama, I would have traveled around the world, taking a break. But now I don't have any time to spare. While filming ‘Hotelier,’ I began to understand what real acting requires. I want to shoot as many films as possible to improve my acting ability.”

Though Bae has acted for eight years, he’s never made a film for the big screen. Busy as he was during “Winter Love Song,” he read between 20 and 30 movie scripts.

“I’ve always been a sweet and gentle guy on TV,” Bae said. “I think this is the time for me to change, to be someone really evil. I want people to be astonished. Let them say, ‘How can he be so bad? I never could have imagined it.’”

Choi Ji-woo, while also popular, was subjected to some ribbing for her curious pronunciations of certain words - “Dun-sang” for Jun-sang, and “Ttang-hyeok” for Sang-hyeok, for example. People say she has a short tongue, but that sort of talk makes her angry.

“Actually,” she said, “I worked so hard to improve my pronunciation this season.”

Bae said he supported her and thought she did a good job. They kept talking for a while, but more like brother and sister than the passionate lovers from the TV series.

by Park Ji-yeong

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