[This is an interview of Park Yuchun featured in Movist – dated 12 August 2014]
This is your debut film. How do you feel?
I felt nervous during the stage greetings. Likewise when watching Haemoo for the first time. The people around me keep accentuating that it is my first movie and this seems to make me rather more nervous.
Other large-scale Korean movie are premiering at the same time. The burden must be great, right?
If <Kundo> <Roaring Currents> and <The Pirates> are the ‘Big Three’ then we [T/N: Haemoo] is mega. (Laughs) Because all the movies that are premiering are great films, it will be good if we all do well. I think there is no need to view all Korean movies as separate films.
What do you like about Haemoo’s scenario?
Even though it’s an ordinary movie, it’s also a thriller, sci-fi, horror film. When I first read the scenario of Haemoo, it was good because it’s a thriller with the arising of a strange incident. However when filming ultimately ended, it felt like Haemoo is a movie which gives a lot of thoughts. When reading the scenario and imagining as I was reading, the film felt stronger than now. When I was watching it, it feel slightly softer.
The completed film is also full of intensity. (laughs)
After the movie has ended, you feel as if your pulse is gone and you are not able to get up from your seat. From the beginning till the end, it is full of tension and I reckon this is Haemoo’s strong point.
Haemoo looks like a film that is taxing physically and mentally.
Though it is difficult, Haemoo is also an interesting film. While I’m still alive, I want to see when I can rescue a stowaway and fall in love with that stowaway. I was attracted to the fact that it’s an experience which is difficult to have and an expressible film. On top of that, I also considered about expressing a situation which I’ve never faced before and basically to know more about people and love.
When acting as Dongshik, what were you concerned about?
Watching the seniors acting, it’s not acting but I felt that they were naturally portraying a person’s figure. I wanted to act like how the seniors did. I had the determination to lay down Actor Park Yuchun and express Dongshik but when I ‘become’ Dongshik, some of my own actions will come out on its own. When expressing Dongshik, I wanted to feel Dongshik’s feeling more than Park Yuchun’s feeling. I wanted to show Dongshik’s actions naturally and not artificially. For example, as Dongshik shines he flashlight on the the wound while looking for the medicine and at the same time looking at the photo, I put in effort to infuse Dongshik’s normal behavior into my acting.
Is your acting approach in Haemoo different when you were working on it?
No. But because Dongshik is a person who does not dress up, I was especially more determined to express it spontaneously. I like to freely show my looks as it is and act naturally. For instance, when filming as a deity in a fairy tale, I want to express a real figure like the beam which emits from a cellphone’s touch screen. However for dramas, there are many factors to be considered like lighting, time etc. I feel that it’s a waste because it was difficult for me to act like I desired to. Haemoo’s environment made it possible to film as if it’s real and before filming it is expected of me to act as Dongshik.
Kim Yunseok described Dongshik as the most insane character among the sailors.
I’ve heard a lot about Dongshik being insane (laughs). Dongshik is a simple/naive child who suffered a lot in undertaking tough jobs to take responsibility of his grandmother. The decision to work on-board a ship was not an easy one for Dongshik to make. Although it was very hard to be in the position between the father-like sailors and Hongmae, he chose Hongmae as he thought about the ridiculous killing of the people on-board the ship. Even without Hongmae, Dongshik would have eventually revolted against the captain.
It does not seem like it’s Dongshik’s first time seeing a lady but what is the reason of Dongshik feeling intoxicated by Hongmae’s charm?
When a man goes for military service, there will be a big fuss when they see a lady right? Is it not so? (laughs) Just like in the movie, when facing a tiring and difficult situation there’s a wish to lean on someone. For instance, if a person has been overseas for a long time, that person would have a longing to love someone, right? However after returning to Korea, there will be people who will miss the person they have loved when they were overseas but there will also be people who will instantaneously focus constantly on their own lives. Because Dongshik is a childlike character, his sincere and pure feelings towards Hongmae remained unchanged from the beginning till the end. Hongmae is a woman who would work to save herself.
** TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: Warning! Please be informed that there are spoilers in this part of the interview. This is a published interview and answers came from Yuchun himself. I am not revealing spoilers on my own but merely translating whatever that was published in the interview. It is readers’ choice whether or not to read this part of the interview. **
In what way was Dongshik a reliance for Hongmae?
Basically when a man’s thought is shown through his actions, this becomes a huge force for a lady. Isn’t it? Even if that’s not it, when a lady has set her mind on it, she will be able to move in accordance with the man’s ways. It’s a good thing that Hongmae is pure. Though Dongshik protected Hongmae, he also relied a lot on Hongmae. Because of Hongmae, the sense of responsibility which Dongshik carries with him seems to be exploding until now.
During the premier, Hongmae’s dialogue, “Let’s go home” was the line that was most spazzed about.
While filming that scene, Hongmae was frantically beating in my bosom and it was really painful. But when Hongmae was crying to herself and hugging Dongshik, I didn’t realize that I unconsciously let out a sigh, “Aigoo [T/N: Oh my..].”It was like a grandmother saying to her grandchild, “Aigoo, my grandchildren.” Just like that moment, I wanted to feel and protect Hongmae like a child. On top of that, the moment when I heard the word ‘house’ the thought of my grandmother sprouted. Knowing how big a happiness it was to have a home to return to, I felt even more pathetic.
It seems like Dongshik relationship with his grandmother and his personality development has made a great impact on you.
Actually, the scene between Dongshik and his grandmother is longer. Dongshik’s grandmother nags during a parent talk, “It’s good if you can stop working on a ship and get yourself a wife. It was not easy for your mom to spend her life with a husband who works on a ship.” Dongshik wanted to feel the love his father had experienced so he followed his father’s footsteps of taking up a job on-board a ship. Even though he is the grandson, he mostly lives with his grandmother and thinks about taking responsibility over his grandmother. Because we have those similar sides, it really touches my heart and I felt his difficulties.
Which side of Dongshik resembles you the most personally?
I am the type who has no other way but to work hard for whatever I want or do not want. In the movie, Dongshik shows himself only to his grandmother of the other sailors so his naive and pure image stands out, but if he was among his peers who are his age, he would have felt more mature. Nevertheless, Dongshik does not easily show or pour out the sense of responsibility which he feels himself to anyone. Even to his grandmother, he does not say much and take it in on his own.
When hiding Hongmae or when stopping the captain from beating up the stowaways, Dongshik showed that he was a smart kid who knew how to make good use of his position as the youngest on board.
Among the sailors, he [Dongshik] was the only one who graduated from high school (laughs). He’s a smart and clever dude, right? He is not as pure, naive and blur as people may think he is, you know? It’s more like his self-expression is his strong side. When he was with Hongmae, the two of them were putting on a show and pretending to be clueless. However when Dongshik was asking Wan-ho [T/N: the original word used here was ‘aje’ which is the slang for ahjussi. Dongshik calls the Jeonjin’s chief engineer ‘aje.’ This character is played by Moon Seung-goon] if Hongmae could stay in the engine room, he could not mount the story together and it was known that he was trying to talk/share. Because Dongshik usually treats the chief engineer [T/N: Again, original word used was ‘aje’] as a father, there is a side of him which could confront the chief engineer comfortably. Such a shrewd guy, right? (laughs)
(Warning: If you haven’t watched the movie “Haemoo” yet, this part of the interview contains spoilers about the ending)
Q: Do you think that Dongshik’s homicide and the captain’s homicide are different?
A: It’s different. Dongshik did not know about the boatswain’s death. The captain’s homicide was intentional while Dongshik’s was an accident. Moreover at that moment, because Dongshik’s intention of protecting Hongmae was bigger, he could not really think for himself or did not have time to feel about the boatswain’s death. Actually, among all the sailors, the person Dongshik is most comfortable with is “aje” [T/N: Moon Seung Goon’s character, whom Dongshik calls uncle]. When the captain distributed money to the crew members ‘aje’ asked “This isn’t really it, right?” knowing that Dongshik who received the money was surprised. After all, the death of the boatswain is associated with Dongshik but it was an accident. Even though the boatswain could have lived, he was pushed into the sea by Chang-ok [T/N: Lee Heejoon’s character]. Chang-ok died in the panic of a fight. It wasn’t Dongshik’s fault. Instead of that, he saved Hongmae (laughs).
Q: So, there was no sense of guilt in Dongshik when he was working at the construction site?
A: There was a lot [T/N: of guilt]. How can he forget about a thing as such? Not matter how you look at the incident, because it all started from that blunder, Dongshik feels much guilt. He does many things just to erase and shake off past memories. He carried with him the indelible memories and lived on without enthusiasm as he left the town after his grandmother had passed away. He ate because he had to live. Nevertheless, when he met Hongmae again by accident, he once again felt the sorrow, pain and longing from the incidents which actually took place in the ship.
Q: I’m curious about Dongshik’s next move after stumbling upon Hongmae.
A: I think he put his ramyeon bill on Hongmae’s tab. The price of the rice cake ramyeon will pay for what happened in the past [T/N: He means Hongmae repays Dongshik for saving her life through a bowl of rice cake noodles]. (laughs) That was just a joke but in reality, he could not say anything when he met Hongmae because he knew how difficult those memories of the ship’s incident were. Though Dongshik could not confirm that it was Hongmae when he saw her from the back, he could immediately identify her the moment he heard her voice. Hongmae had also tried hard to erase those memories in order to live on. If Hongmae were to meet Dongshik, those memories would resurface hence, Dongshik did not show himself to Hongmae and just disappeared.
Q: Kim Yunseok once said that Park Yuchun is like a sponge, an actor who can learn acting really quickly.
A: I don’t know why sunbaenim keeps bringing this up (laughs). Actually, sunbaenim tosses a lot about how well I can act. But it’s because sunbaenim helped me a lot that I could act well.
Q: Through <Haemoo> what are the things you’ve learned and felt as an actor?
A: I thought about managing a good household and living well just like what all the seniors are doing. When I look at the seniors, I feel that they are the head of the family and a father who carries a strong responsibility. I also had this feeling that the lives which the seniors are living led them to act even more earnestly. I am not referring to the technical parts of acting. When acting, one must be able to act with a pure and natural heart and I think to be able to act even better, it is important to know the preciousness of life and relationships.
Q: Is acting fun?
A: It is fun. Even though it’s tough when doing it (laughs).
Q: What is the fun point about acting?
A: In that I can express a new person. Not acting as myself but to focus on another person and the process of becoming that person is fun. Things that can be experienced in a long time are felt and learned within a short period of time. On the other hand, acting brings about a feeling of deviation. It seems like the exhausting parts of life can be solved through acting.
Q: What kind of actor do you want to become?
A: I want to be an actor with various experiences and one who can live freely. When looking at other actors, I could feel the catharsis [T/N: The release of emotions through acting]. Likewise, it would be great if someone can also feel the catharsis through me. If I can be affected by the many experiences of life and even the small things of everyday life, I think it can be incorporated into my acting. Because of this, I would like to focus more on my own life than acting itself.