"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-

Friday, October 26, 2012

[Flash Back] First love - Part 2 (Stories Behind the Camera)

source: bb's blog

BB: I’m so happy some of you have found Part 1 interesting. I was half afraid that you’d find it so boring you would never come back. Part 2 will be more interesting than Part 1 coz I will share with you the stories behind First Love, as compiled by Chinese fan, Close2yj, from news articles. But for the long-time fans, you probably would have heard the stories already. But hee, I guess during this drought of not being able to see or hear much of Yong Joon, you might just want to read this anyway.

First Love – Part 2
Stories Behind the Camera

Original in Chinese: Close2jy /
Translated into English: Happiebb /

First Love brought much fame and glory to Yong Joon. But he too gave a lot of himself for the drama. There’re so many stories behind the rolling camera during the shooting of First Love. Some stories were big, and some little.

Although audience really loved Yong Joon’s performance in First Love and was full of praises for his acting, Yong Joon himself was not satisfied. He kept thinking he could do better. Everyday, he would be the first to arrive at the set. And everyday, he would be the last to leave the set. Whenever the day’s shooting had finished, Yong Joon would sit there all by himself, going over his performance that day and reflecting on how he could have done better. He would be muttering,
“That scene should have been done this way…”, “I could have done better in that scene…” And he would sit there all by himself for hours. Just replaying the scenes, working out where there could be improvements. He was very diligent in reading the script too, his comments, thoughts and analysis would be scribbled all over the script. To the extent that the staff around him would tease him, “Are you planning to sit for the Public Prosecutor exam?” [bb: Chan Woo was aiming to be a public prosecutor in First Love.]

We all know that Yong Joon had turned to acting in the first place because he had wanted to earn money to pursue his studies overseas. But once in showbiz, he worked very hard. Why? Because of his strong sense of responsibility in not wanting to let his fans down, and also because there’s this stubborn, never-say-die attitude in his blood that he would aim to be the best in whatever he set out to do. But came First Love, he truly developed an interest, a passion in acting. He wanted to become a real actor.

One of the most memorable things about First Love was he learnt how to cry. It was the scene where Yong Joon’s character, Chan Woo, was misunderstood and chided by his father. In that scene, his father was hospitalized and lying on the bed, his father was shouting out, “I don’t need anyone of you!” Tears started to flow out from Yong Joon’s eyes. The tears seemed to have come from nowhere; but they just came. Naturally.

Yong Joon was both surprised and happy about it. Up till the scene was over and he was resting in the vehicle, the tears were still flowing from his eyes. But his heart… his heart was happy. He, who didn’t know how to cry, had actually shed tears in the name of acting! Yong Joon pondered over this for a long time and finally, he concluded that he must have been influenced by the other actors. Because of how real they were acting out their roles, he was also influenced and became the character. Because real feelings were involved, he felt every emotion, and therefore really became the character Chan Woo in First Love.

The actors who played Yong Joon’s father brother and sister, were Teacher Kim In Moon, Choi Soo Jong, and Song Chae Hwan respectively, and they got along with Yong Joon really like family. During meal times, most would take their meals on their own. But this ‘family’ was different, they always sat and ate together. Father Kim In Moon would hand Yong Joon Qing-Xin pills whenever he thought Yong Joon needed one. Brother Choi Joo Song treated Yong Joon like a real younger brother and would shower him with gifts like clothes, shoes and others. As for Sister Song Chae Hwan, she would always make nice and warm coffee for everyone.

Everyday, the first people to arrive at the set would be Father Kim In Moon and Yong Joon. They would see each other in the staff lounge. Each time he saw Yong Joon, he would give Yong Joon a hug and pat him on the backside. This would be the way to start the work day for both of them when they were shooting First Love. And as they got closer, Yong Joon also started calling him ‘Father’ instead of ‘Teacher’.

As a sidenote, that wasn’t the only time the two crossed paths in a drama. Later, Teacher Kim In Moon again acted as Yong Joon’s father in Hotelier. Except that this time, he’s a bad father who abandoned his kids when they were little. 

The first time the First Love team had a dinner-cum-drinking session, Father Kim In Moon was finding it hard to decline the younger staff members’ toasts due to his ailing health. But his two ‘sons’ told him to go ahead and accept all the toasts, they would help to take care of the drinks. So Father Kim In Moon accepted everyone’s hearty toasts… But of course the people who got drunk were the two ‘brothers’… It was such a closeness amongst them that helped Yong Joon a great deal when acting in First Love.

During the filming of First Love, Yong Joon also learnt about the social responsibility of being a celebrity from director Lee Eong Jin. At that time, there was a fad for young people to wear a sort of pants that had drawstrings at the ankles. There was once Yong Joon also wore a pair of pants like that, and he had left the drawstrings undone at both ankles in order to look fashionable. Director Lee called out to him. He pointed at Yong Joon’s pants and chided, “The way you speak, the way you dress set an example to all the young people. An actor is just like a teacher to his fans. What sort of dressing do you call this?” Because the scolding came a tad too suddenly and too unexpectedly, Yong Joon turned a dark shade of red immediately. He quickly tightened the drawstrings. He felt really bad and sorry. From then on, Yong Joon has always kept in mind “Entertainers are public figures”. Much later, he said this, “The value and significance of being an actor or a director is more than just performing and entertaining the public. He also has the responsibility to lead and guide the society. So within my means and capability, I’m more than willing to reach out and help those people who need my help.”
Fact is, Director Lee has given Yong Joon very high rating and comments for this young man who’s pure and simple at heart, and who’s sincere and earnest. Also, one could find no trace of arrogance or snobbery on this young man who had achieved such popularity at such a young age.
Director Lee had said this of Yong Joon, “Bae Yong Joon is shy and quiet, he doesn’t talk much. This is not to his advantage in the entertainment industry. However, his earnest diligence and his serious attitude towards his work make him shine and stand out from everyone else. He’s completely different from the young people of today. His work attitude alone is enough to make him a superstar.”
Now his serious attitude towards his work was also reflected in ‘action’ scenes involving stunts or risky moves. There were quite a few fighting scenes in First Love, and in all of these, Yong Joon did not use stuntmen. But something happened right after they started filming First Love.

The first day they were in filming in Chun Cheon, there was a scene where Chan Woo had to chase after Suk Jin’s jeep on a motorcycle. In this scene, he was supposed to brush past a heavy-duty truck coming from the opposite direction, and then fall off from his bike. During the actual filming, Yong Joon was riding quite fast and furious on his bike when he realized he was too close to the centre section of the road. Just about then, the truck was coming head-on from the opposite direction. If he continued riding on to the spot he was supposed to fall off from the bike, surely he would end up being run over by the trunk. There was no time to think. He decisively summoned all the strength within him, slowed down the bike immediately and let himself fall off from the bike earlier than previously planned. The moment his body landed on the road, the next thing he knew the truck sped past him. He could hear the low rumbling sound of the heavyweight tires and he could feel the wind in his hair as the truck went past him! 

 Everyone was stunned. When they recovered, they quickly ran over to his side. Yong Joon looked like he was bruised and hurt all over. Fortunately they were external bruises and cuts, it wasn’t so serious that they had to summon an ambulance. And, luckily the cameraman did not lose his cool in panic and had continued to let the camera roll. So it was a good take.
But that’s not the end of the story. The second day in Chun Cheon, they had to shoot a difficult scene where Yong Joon had to ride the bike and dashed down on a long flight of steps. Yong Joon’s left wrist was injured and bandaged from the day before. He could not draw any strength at all from his left wrist. Although he had absolutely no idea if he could do it at all, and how he was going to complete the scene, he insisted on not using a stuntman. He had hoped to do that take himself.

He grabbed some bandage and wrapped it tightly around his left wrist. Then he just got onto the bike as he rooted silently for himself. He told himself he could do it. For sure, he could do it. The moment the director gave the cue to start, Yong Joon rode the bike and dashed up the steps. When he was halfway through the flight of stairs, with the bike motor gunning fiercely away, his left hand lost its grip on the handle and he lost control of the bike. Yong Joon could feel his body being sprung off from the bike. In that perilous moment, he felt a pair of strong hands grabbing him from behind and guided him to break fall onto the grass patch next to the steps. It was the action director Yoo Chang Gook. He was worried about Yong Joon’s condition and had been watching Yong Joon closely. And in that critical moment, he had reached out for Yong Joon.

Yong Joon was not frightened by that first experience, nor was he deterred by that first failure. He had a never-say-die determination in him. So, once again, he rose to the challenge of riding up the steps. This time around, he did not even attempt to cheer himself on. He just went with the fire in his belly. The fire that burnt in defiance against the steps, the bike and his hurt wrist. And the second time around, he did it.

I suppose you could say Yong Joon paid a pretty hefty price for the success of First Love. Behind the rolling camera were ice-packs after ice-packs being applied onto a hurt and bruised and tired body. Yes, when ligaments are torn, ice-packs are the best treatment. But… where on earth does one go find ice-packs in the middle of a filming site?? Someone was smart enough to think of getting bags of shaved ice from the fruit stalls. So, yup, they went to buy some 40, 50 bags of shaved ice.

During the filming of First Love, there’s another accident, relatively less life-threatening than the previous two accidents mentioned above. This particular scene was when Chan Woo was beaten up in the godown. Every move, every blow was supposedly pre-planned and rehearsed. But one accidental wrong move resulted in one of the ‘fighters’ dishing out a flying fist right smack into Yong Joon’s face. The fist landed squarely in the middle and lower half of Yong Joon’s face, causing his lips to crack open immediately. Strangely, the first sensation that hit Yong Joon was not pain. But an acute sense of sharp pleasure.

 Then again, it’s been said said that when boxers are hit in the abdomen area, the feeling is hellish, but when hit in the face, it’s like they’re in heaven. And Yong Joon had experienced that first-hand during that filming.

The next day, Yong Joon’s lips swelled terribly, to the extent he had to postpone a CF filming schedule. The actor who had landed that blow on Yong Joon’s face, his name was Yon Jin Ho, he felt very bad about the whole incident. Right after it had happened, Yon had dashed to buy some medication to apply on Yong Joon. That, in turn, made Yong Joon feel bad. And as if that’s not enough… The papers all carried news of his injury, and Yon received endless protests calls from Yong Joon’s fans. And that made Yong Joon feel terribly apologetic towards his Brother Yon.

Mmm… All in all, a rather eventful First Love filming, ya?

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