"Who are the best in their fields that the heart must come before ability, honor and money... "
"The attitude should be wholehearted and truthful."
-Bae Yong Joon-

Sunday, September 9, 2012

[Flash Back] Pricilla's Searching For Yong Joon - Love Greeting 3 : "A Legend is Born" (Part 3)

source: soompi/dam-su (thankss!!) ^__^
photo credit byj gallery / pola

Love Greeting 3: "A legend is born"

Producer Yoon Sukho is in his mid-thirties, short and unappealing. Drama making has been his love, and he has none other. He is becoming known, especially after last year's super Hit "Neukim" (feeling), through which he made stars out of Son Jichang, Kim Minjong, Lee Jeongjae , Ooh Heejin and Ryu Shiwon among others.

Jeon Gisang is a young drama-producer with potentials, gaining much recognition after his recent hit "Tomorrow, Love." Actually, this long drama was the result of the cooperation with other producers, one of them being Yoon Sukho P.D. This was filmed inside a college campus, portraying the life and struggles of young students who are fighting for their ideologies. Lee Byunghun has done a pretty decent job in there.
It was the fall of 1994; both producers have met again in order to make a mini-series that appealed to the younger generation. They were going to make another college campus drama, but it was going to be lighter and trendy. Trendy dramas were becoming popular, and relative unknowns were becoming super stars overnight. One example of this was "Last Match," with Jang Dong-gun, Son Jichang, Shim Eunha, and others.

The title of their new project was "Love Greeting." Sung HyunAe, that year's Miss Korea, was going to be the female lead. Yoon PD wanted Lee Jeongjae to be the male lead, but he was preparing for an SBS drama special called "Hourglass." "Love Greeting" was scheduled to begin filming in November. They found most of the other characters, but they couldn't locate their main character yet. He was supposed to be the narrator and Sung HyunAe's childhood friend and sweetheart. He was supposed to be the face of the entire drama. Lee Jeongjae had turned it down. Where could they find someone else with that innocent and clean cut look? They had tried several candidates before but failed. An acting school had contacted them about one of their students. Desperate as they were, the production decided to audition 2 days before the November shooting. 

During the audition, they have readily decided that Kwon Ohjoong would be the perfect "buddy" of Kim Yongmin, the main character. As for the main character, Jeon Gisang had already decided: the first time he saw Bae Yongjun, he knew he had found the right person. Tall, lean, with a clean complexion, he is the personification of innocence, especially when he smiles. 

However, his colleague was not that confident. Yoon PD was a picky and stern man and he still couldn't get over the fact that Lee Jeongjae had turned him down. This new face standing before him looked too insecure and untrained. But they had no other choice. He sighed.

Jeon PD, warm and jovial as usual, invited all the cast and crew to gather for a warm-up drink. That evening, Jeon PD welcomed his little hero, surprised to see him so early. When asked to sing a song, this 22 year old man sang "Please come back to Busan port"... a really popular song but more for the older generation. Jeon PD thought to himself that he has discovered a rare kid, indeed!

Streets of Seoul, near a college campus. A girl was inside a telephone booth, waiting. Two firefighter's truck were stationed nearby, surrounded by multiple cameras and projectors. A short middle-aged man was holding a megaphone and the moment he shouted "ACTION" ... it started to rain. A young man walked towards the booth holding an umbrella, surprising the girl with a smile... "CUT!!!"

A groan was heard everywhere, and people were frowning. "What the heck you think you're doing! What kind of smile is THAT?! Have you come to ruin this show?" Yoon Sukho PD exploded, unable to control himself any longer. This was their first filming day, and here he was, stuck in a 5 minute scene for more than 4 hours. The worst thing was that the narrator and the main character of the drama was the cause of all this delay. Who was this guy anyway... What is his name? Yes, Bae Youngjun... Did he think he could just come and recite some memorized words and that is it? "You don't even know the ABC's of acting, for heaven's sake!" But as soon as he said that, he regretted.

All eyes were on them, few were feeling sorry for the kid but most of them were upset that they had wasted so much time and energy, all other shootings were cancelled for the day. The perpetrator was looking down, unable to answer. Yoon PD, perfectionist and harsh as he was, was a professional too, and he knew when enough is enough. They needed to get that scene over with. The rebuking could wait. Thus, leaving his rage behind, he called for another shot. 

An hour later, everyone started packing, finally having gotten the "OK" from the producer, right before the water drained out. If it was any other day, he wouldn't have been satisfied with that scene, but with no sun nor water left, he had no choice. Besides, it was their first day. Ahhhrrr!! This kid was Gisang's idea, he should have been the one to handle this first scene. He was relieved that he didn't have to be there the following day. Let's see what Gisang think of his new discovery then. He smiled to himself, but he was actually really worried about this project...

Yongjun and Ohjoong were silently walking towards the garage, followed by manager Shin.

Ohjoong said, "Hey... Don't take it so seriously, you were just nervous." He got no reply. "We always say that the most important thing is to do our best. You did your best, that's what counts." 

"What?! He did his best?!!! Come on, he was terrible today!" The manager continued talking, unaware of the annoyed look of his listeners. "What happened to you today? You messed up... everyone ... else's... schedule..." He stopped, finally getting the hint.

"Tackki, I'll drive him home today. Pick him up in the morning." 

Once inside his friend's car, Yongjun closed his eyes, pretending to be sleeping. Ohjoong said, while driving, "Actually, I'm going to a birthday party. I know you had a long day, but it might do you good. Besides, this will help us to know the others better. They seemed to be a very nice bunch."

"Just drop me home, I don't want to ruin anyone's party..." Silence followed.

Ohjoong started suddenly: "Wow, Yoon PD is worse than I thought! I heard he had a bad temper but I didn't think he could be so stubborn and picky like this..." Yongjun closed his eyes again. When they finally reached the destination, he walked outside the car, saying, "Do you know something? Yoon PD and Tackki were right. I was terrible today." He smiled weakly. "Good night!"

Next day, when Jeon PD arrived to the shooting site, not many people were there yet. He had heard of the previous incident and he could imagine people's frustration. The work atmosphere was very important, especially to these group of newbies, none of whom had much experience... this was really not a good beginning. 

Somehow though, he was especially worried for his main character. He was the heart of the drama. If he failed, the entire production was going to fail. Where was he now? Had he erred in choosing him? It was too early to say, but he didn't want to believe it. Even as he was thinking this, his eyes caught sight of the kid, seating on a little bench, practicing. The young fella seemed so immersed in what he was doing, he didn't noticed the watchful eyes. People started coming in, some throwing disdainful glances at him, but he was oblivious of his surroundings. Someone said, "Good morning Mr. Jeon PD!" That's when Yongjun realized his Director was standing before him. He awkwardly stood up, bowing, "Good morning..." 

"Yes, Good morning. You're early, I see. Did you have a good night's rest?" "Yes sir..." Mr. Jeon padded the youngster's back. "OK, I see you got the eye-glasses I recommended. And the T-shirt suits you well also. It makes you look more like a college student... Go on doing what you were doing and pretend I'm not here.

Youngjun bowed again, and he went back to read the script. Later on, when Jeon PD cried, "Ready... ACTION!"-- this young actor delivered his work, to the great relief of the staff. The atmosphere was clearing out, and people started joking with each other, even among the cast members. They didn't know each other well since they were mostly new, thus they were nervous and yesterday's event have frustrated them. Now, they started to be more at ease. 

A week had past and Jeon PD continued patiently instructing his young performers on the art of acting, correcting them whenever they made a mistake, and patiently going over every scene a dozen times over, without losing his composure. The first episodes had been aired, and already viewers started asking who these new faces were. Looking at Yongjun studying his script so carefully, he smiled to himself. People's greatest curiosity had been drawn towards this young figure, "What is the name of the main character?"

He looked around the filming sight and saw with pleasure on how the cast was becoming more united, Kwon Ohjoong being the most popular among them. But strangely enough, Ohjoong is the only one who is friendly towards Yongjun. Most other members either ignored him or avoided him all together. Or was it the other way around, Yongjun being the one avoiding them? The producer was starting to be more and more interested in his protagonist, but the fact that he is always by himself bothered him.

Thus he took him aside and spoke about the importance of getting along with others, especially if one wanted to succeed in the entertainment industry. The youngster nodded with his head and smiled, but he was trying to avoid the issue. The older man let him go, but he had a keen eye and it wasn't for nothing that people called him "Star Maker". He has been good at recognizing people. He felt the kid didn't fully recover from his initial shock and that he feared people still blamed him for that first day incident. The real problem with that was that others could easily mistake that as arrogance. So the wise man made a mental note about this.

Yoon PD took turns at directing, even though the entire crew seemed to prefer his partner, himself being called a "dictator". But he didn't care, as long as there were nice shots. Besides, Gisang had been right about the boy. He searched around, and there he was, reading the script as usual. He remembered the first day incident, and somehow, he wanted to apologize.
"Hemm Hemm!" Yongjun heard and stood up to greet him. "No, you don't have to stand up. I just wanted to ask you if you were taking any private acting lessons somewhere else." The young man looked up inquisitively. "I wanted to let you know I've seen fast improvements in your acting... since the first day." And he smiled a big bear smile. Bae Yongjun blushed and smiled back, feeling that his hard work had finally paid off.

Soon after, both producers took the kids out for a drink, and Jeon PD lectured them on the importance of socializing. There, sharing soju and peanuts, he made them say out loud anything and everything they liked and disliked from each other. As expected, many had misgivings regarding the "hard to approach" Youngjun ssi. *Ohjoong was quick to answer, pulling strings to draw his close friend to get to know the rest of the members. By the end of the night, a wall had been broken between them, and a more confident Yongjun had emerged before the observant eyes of the producers.

"ACTION!" It was Jeon PD's voice. Park Joonhee, the new female lead, took out her right shoes and threw it into the river. The male lead jumped into the water, swimming and searching for the lost shoes. When he came back with it, the producer gave the OK sign. Youngjun was panting on the floor, chilled by the freezing winter waters, and was very uncomfortable after having to swim with jeans on.

"I thought I was going to drown!", he complained. Jeon PD answered, "Really? Good, cuz your facial expression was magnificent!" The young actor smiled with satisfaction. If that's what it takes for a nice picture to come out, he was willing to go through even more near death-experiences! 

They've been together for almost 3 months already. Through many mistakes and hardships, the cast members have completely changed. Now, they have become real performers. Other producers were seeking them. Mr. Jeon took special delight in helping Youngjun, his new protege, a mentor-pupil relationship has developed. Whenever he thought of Yongjun, his heart is filled with pride. Although he have lots of polishing to do, he is sure his pupil would go far, and he is excited to see the results.

Both producers have worked together before, but not like this, taking turns one day after another. That had been quite a challenge in itself since their working style were completely opposite. Yet in the end, all had worked for the best, both Directors complementing each other. Yoon PD, though less involved, was also sharp and knew when something was really good. He saw the intimate way the young actor and his mentor talked to each other, and he somehow envied that. What amazed him most about this new star (he was by now sure of that) was that although BYJ had created a "soft image" through the character of Kim Yongmin in "Love Greeting," the producer has seen a tough side too... He has seen his stubborn ways... Thus, Yoon PD would remember this for many years.**

"Love Greeting" was the drama that discovered the future Emperor of Drama. "Love Greeting" was the vehicle through which Jeon PD's Legend began. What kind of drama was that? 

The above is the combination the numerous articles I've read plus my own interpretation =) I have tried to be as factual as possible. Thus, I didn't "invent" any names I weren't aware of. I would like everyone to contribute and help me in this quest. If you know of anything I have written that contradicts with the truth, please feel free to post it or e-mail to me at lovepriscillausa@aol.com. (If you know the source, that would be even better. Sometimes, I couldn't remember the source either...) One thing I didn't include was his love life. I feel that's too personal (might just mention the little incidents he himself talked about). Thank you. Hope you enjoy it!!!

*Kwon Ohjoong: To know more on his friendship with BYJ, go to:
http://www.hotelier2002.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=217 (Go down the thread to the one entitled: Kwon Wo Joong says we can trust BYJ )

**To watch an interview with Yoon SukHo PD (in Korean), go to:

From Korean-drama-forum: Bae Yong Jun - Biography

From Star Story (written by BYJ): #5 & #6

To read English translation:
http://www.baeyongjune.com/news/story.htm #5 & #6

note: i think some of the sources are to longer accessible.

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