"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 29, 2013

[Flash Back] WLS - a legend is born [part 2/2]

Original in Chinese: Close2yj / 俊心咏恒 loveyongjoon
Translated into English: Happiebb / bb's blog

Winter Sonata – A Legend is Born [Part 2]

Winter Sonata is about a beautiful love story that spans over ten years. Ten years ago in Chun Cheon High School, a boy named Jun Sahng and a girl named Yujin met and their love was just like the first snow. But as fate would have it, love at its most beautiful and pure, just before Jun Sahng wanted to tell Yujin how he felt about her, fate made him disappear on the road, the night before the dawn of a brand new year. Then after the passage of ten long years, on yet another cold wintry night of first snow, Yujin who was hurrying to her own engagement party saw the same familiar face that had haunted her days and her nights, the face that had appeared ever so often in her dreams. She saw his face amidst the falling snow. So, the unseen hands of fate bridged the gap of those ten years and suddenly the earlier years of her first love converged in the present days of adulthood. And once more, the love song that spoke of so much love and sadness was awakened.

Seemingly a somewhat old-fashioned story of clichés huh? There’re simply too many coincidences and unexplained happenings. But yet, through this story, we can still see and experience and feel so many different emotions, so real and so deep, like first love and memories, like life and death, like the generosity of love, like tolerance and loneliness… All of these contained so much inner pain and surreal beauty. The youthful days of playing in the snow, the bright smiles in winter, the footprints of love in the snow, the jigsaw puzzle of life, and of course, polaris that’s forever… and many more. When put together, what did these bring to us? What did they represent? It’s faded dreams, something that we all had, but had long abandoned in the memories of that pure first love.

Topics about pure love, about eternity, forever and ever… people take to them so easily, and they can touch our hearts so easily. Maybe all our lives, we’ve been saying goodbye and yet remembering those faded memories of first love. In each of us, our inner hearts all possess a lonely soul from the Kingdom of Shadows. And we all need that special someone to break down the outer shell that’s hardened by the everyday storms. We all need someone to touch that soft spot in all of us with his or her tender and perfect love. If you still have that soft, sensitive spot in you, then yes, surely you will be moved by Winter Sonata.

Can’t help but admire PD Yun Seok Ho for his artistic talent. The way he had captured those moving scenes, the way he had created those countless perfect backdrop was just poetry in motion. Whether it’s the golden lane, the quiet lake, or the foggy evening light, the blue skies with flying seagulls… Under PD Yun’s talented eyes and hands, they were all presented before our eyes with such breathtaking beauty. Not to mention the snowy scenes, sometimes tranquil, sometimes serious and bleak, and at other times, even bright and full of life… All the scenes and backdrop became one with the story, they too told of the pain and joy of the characters, the love and hatred of the roles. The whiteness of winter was not at all boring and nondescript, in fact it brought a certain purity and clarity to us, and also set a perfect backdrop for all the other colours to showcase their brightness and beauty.

PD Yun also has some strong background in music, and music too was a critical contributing factor to Winter Sonata. My Memory, First Time, From the Beginning to the End… Who can forget these tunes? They resound in our heads together with the images from the drama, as if angels singing to us from the heavens. And whenever we think of these tunes, we would recall those wistfully beautiful memories…
In all fairness, Winter Sonata did not exactly have a creative storyline, but there were lines in the drama that were so delicately sensitive and so, so moving. They touched all our hearts, didn’t they?

“To people in love, the best home is in each other’s hearts.”

“You’ve never really loved someone, have you? When someone who’s just beside you, who’s just in your life suddenly disappears… That sort of feeling… When everything else around you has not changed, but there’s just a certain someone missing beside you… Can you understand that feeling? And is it so unforgivable to feel sad and pained about it?”

“No matter how long, we will never ever forget someone who’s already etched in our hearts.”

“Misunderstandings need not be forgiven.”

“The best gift to someone dead is to forget him.”

“The scenery here’s so beautiful, but what do you see? You see only sad memories. To shut your heart so tightly like this, can you really love someone? You’re the person who’s living in the Kingdom of Shadows, aren’t you?”

“When all the other stars have shifted positions, the Polaris will still remain in its place. When others misunderstand you, or can’t forgive, you, or leave you even, so long as I’m still here, not moving from my position, you will not lose your way. Can you trust me?”

“I love a woman so deeply, I love her so much. I hope to be by her side until we both grow old. I want to have children with that woman’s eyes. For that woman whom I love and for our children, I want to be their gentle hands and strong legs.”

Lines like these and many more can be found in the drama. Forgive me I can’t list them all. These lines that are devoid of flowery literature, so simple and unadorned… but every single word shone with such brightness that we’re all touched and they’re all so unforgettable. (bb: one more, one more! one that camille would know very well, haha! love needs no reason!)

And of course, how can we talk about Winter Sonata and not mention the cast. Bae Yong Joon and Choi Ji Woo are very compatible in terms of physical appearance. Just by standing together, they already make a nice picture. I guess we could say they’ve great on-screen chemistry. Their sensitive and sincere portrayal was so convincing. The cute pureness of their youth, the sensuality and grace of their adulthood… They brought to us two loves that were so different in essence, but both equally enchanting and moving.

Especially Yong Joon. We can see the beginning of his acting style of ‘still water runs deep’, kind of to allow himself to mould to the shape and character of the roles. He became the very character in the drama. In Winter Sonata, Junsahng, the Min Hyung before he regained his memory, and the Min Hyung after he regained his memory…

It was as if he had played three different characters.

No matter if he’s playing out the loneliness and sensitivity of the young Jun Sahng, or acting out the confusion and interest in Yujin when they met again, or when he’s showing restraint of his love for Yujin, or afterwards when he regained his memory, the sense of loss, the struggle, the pain, and various conflicting and confusing emotions, he played them all with such depth. Everything he emoted tugged at our hearts and moved us. Again and again.

All of these, contributed to and created the perfect beauty of Winter Sonata. The drama brought us so much, in terms of visual, audio and even in terms of depth of emotions. Everything left a deep and lasting impression. It surpassed and overcame the common flaws of modern day TV dramas: weak storyline and unrealistic development. It brought artistic life to a simple love story, a fairy tale even. And this is the everlasting magic of Winter Sonata.


That was a winter that allowed us to bring back the dream. It made many people forget, at least temporarily, the hustle bustle of life, or the mundane bits of everyday life, as we allowed ourselves to fall into this beautiful illusion. We were so, so willing to be comforted by this lovely dream. Even long after we had turned off the TV, many of us were unable to step out of this whole Winter Sonata aura of sadness, of love. Winter Sonata was first aired in Korea on KBS on 14th January 2002, ending its run on 19th March 2004. The drama accompanied many during the long and cold winter months, and during that time, it created such a wave in Korea.

When it was aired in early 2002, the Korean TV stations were mostly airing period dramas. In fact, for the preceding two to three years, the period dramas were the ones winning the viewership game. In particular, the long epic Women of the Palace (Yeoin Cheonha) was still being aired and enjoying an average of 40% viewership. (bb: that’s actually very high, just in case you didn’t know. Btw Women of the Palace was all of 150 episodes! And when it was aired, there was so controversy about how ‘revealing’ the women were… they were being accused of that to up viewership, hehe!)

But when Winter Sonata started airing, a viewership war erupted on the TV stations every Monday and Tuesday nights. That was quite a battle. Its first episode recorded 16.3% and its second episode 16.6%, and brought the ever-high Ladies of the Palace down by some 7-8%. It also affected the much-anticipated MBC drama Sangdo (bb: its literal translation is actually Business Ethics. hee, kindda funny title for a period drama.)

As the story unfolded, when coming to the point where the main leads met again after ten years, the viewership had already reached 27.2%, claiming the top spot. Because of the wild popularity of Winter Sonata, the production team even considered extending the drama by more episodes. But because both Yong Joon and Choi Ji Woo had already lined up work in their schedules after the drama, the extension could not materalise.
And it was also because of the strong protests by the audience that Winter Sonata did not see the sad ending a la Autumn in My Heart.

Instead, it gave everyone a ‘happy ending with a hint of regret’.

The success of Winter Sonata brought new light and a ray of hope for modern day dramas, which were then overshadowed and overpowered by period dramas. Egged on by its success, production teams once again started to work on modern day TV dramas. Winter Sonata could be said to have changed the scene and direction of Korea’s TV dramas in early 2002.

Another thing, when this drama was being aired, the trends, music, places and things mentioned or highlighted in the drama also created much hype. In fact, some of the trends created had such an astounding effects on the public.

“Winter Sonata” became the top in terms of search phrases on the Internet, and its official site saw an average of 10 million hits (bb: or it could be page views, it’s not clear), causing the server to be down quite frequently. The songs in its OST also made it to the top few spots when it came to music download. When the drama was being aired, its OST has being ordered at a rate of some 20,000 to 30,000 per day, and it easily broke the 250,000-mark in a matter of days.

The hairstyles and dressing of Yong Joon and Choi Ji Woo also became benchmarks for trends. Young people were emulating Min Hyung’s hairstyle, his eyeglasses and his scarves.

And here, we’ve to mention Miss Hong, the stylist who has been working with Yong Joon for many years. It was she who had persuaded Yong Joon to take the bold challenge of wearing brighter colours and adopting a trendier look, including the dyed hair. Yong Joon had always favoured simpler styles with quieter colours and he did not even like to wear much accessories. Miss Hong had bought that famous blue striped scarf at a cheap price of just 2,000 won (US$2!) from a stall at the bus terminal and she also introduced the Paul Smith glasses and the golden ‘windswept’ hairdo. All these helped create the stylish and sophisticated Lee Min Hyung, who became the icon of style.

bb: this is D scarf!

bb: yea, people started tying two scarves instead of just one... but hehe, you need to be tall and pretty slim to carry off the thick bulky scarves man... otherwise, you end up looking like a frog, yea, neck-less! and, just look at some of the many, many scarves wuri yong joon wore in the drama! hehe, there was even a joke going around on the internet that yonsama knows 80 different ways to wear a scarf!

KBS and PD Yun’s production company created an unprecedented economic effect with Winter Sonata. According to a Chosun Ilbo report on 6th March 2002: The production of Winter Sonata cost 4 billion won (US$4m) but even before the drama ended its run on TV, they had already recouped more than twice the production cost. The commercials drew some 5 billion won (US$5m) and the OST another 2 billion won (US$2m). They further raked in another 6 billion won (US$6m) from selling the drama rights to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and other Southeast Asian countries. All these, and plus the related income from the website, the merchandise sold at the shooting sites amounted to more than 8 billion won (US$8m).

Chosun Ilbo had then predicted that the drama could make three times what it had cost to produce. But the truth is the estimate was far, far, far too conservative. I guess no one could have foreseen that one single drama, Winter Sonata could be singing from 2002 all the way to 2005! From Asia to Africa, to the Middle East, from Korea, to Taiwan, to Japan, to Egypt, even to Iraq. The lonesome Jun Sahng and the perfect lover Min Hyung had stolen so many hearts, so much so that people were all flocking to Korea to look for him.

In 2002, Winter Sonata was first aired in Chinese areas such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and China, and it had started a new K-drama craze. Taiwanese fans who had already had a taste of the BYJ magic through Frank Shin were further fuelled and the base just grew stronger. And it was also about that time that China saw the start of some fiercely loyal BYJ fans who are active even up to now. And the fever also swept Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and others, places where they don’t even know what winter is really like. And even now, Winter Sonata is still the K-drama that most people know or at least have heard of.

In April 2003, just when this drama was slowly forgotten as newer dramas took its place in Korea, Winter Sonata was aired in NHK’s satellite TV channel in Japan. And it did something that no other K-drama had ever done, yes, it was a runaway success. The Japanese too began to be mesmerized by the magic of Winter Sonata, and it created so many conversation topics and broke so many records in Japan, the response was just too hot for words. And that also brought the influence of Winter Sonata to its peak.
Winter Sonata was first aired on NHK’s satellite station from April to September 2003. NHK started to receive a high volume of telephone calls and emails and letters from viewers, all expressing their love and appreciation for this K-drama.

NHk repeated broadcast of this drama from mid December 2003, but it still could not satisfy the heated response of the viewers, it finally decided to air the drama on its usual ground channel from April 2004. Although it was already its third airing in Japan, and despite the late slot of 11pm every Saturday night, Winter Sonata still broke the viewership records of foreign dramas in Japan, and it even did better than a local serial that was being aired at the golden timeslot. Its final episode was aired on 21st August 2004 and that’s also the day it reached its highest rating, 22.5%. It was amazing that it still managed to maintain this high viewership despite the Olympics craze.

The Winter Sonata TV novel published by NHK saw reprints, and the drama also became course materials for teaching the Korean language in Japan. The DVDs and related products were hot sellers from 2003 through to 2005, even the high price of 21,000 yen (US$180) did not affect sales. Just from selling DVDs and VCDs alone, NHK recorded sales of some 4.5 billion yen (US$38.6m) in 2004 alone, and in the first half of 2005, sales reached a new high of 3.157 billion yen (US$27m). Winter Sonata helped NHK end its perpetual loss of 14 years running; it helped NHK turn from a loss-making outfit to actually churn out a profit of 11.5 billion yen (US$98.8m).
And the copyright holders of the drama, KBS and PD Yun’s production company, revealed on 10th Aug 2004 that from Winter Sonata alone, KBS had raked in 6.5 billion won (US$6.5m) from 2002 to the first half of 2004, whilst the production company achieved sales of some 16 billion won (US$16m), other related merchandise recorded sales of 50 billion won (US$53m). With the passage of time, these numbers would only be growing bigger.

The Winter Sonata effects did not stop there. According to a report released by the NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute, when NHK aired the drama on its ground network and when it aired it for the fourth time on its satellite channel, more than 38% of the Japanese population watched it. And amongst these, about 26%, equivalent to some 10% of the entire population changed their negative opinions about Korea.--omitted--

The Japanese started to look upon Korea, its so-near-yet-so-far neighbour, with more serious and with more favourable eyes. They wanted to learn more about the Korean culture, and learning the Korean language actually became a trend.

Korea also became a hotspot for Japanese travelers, with many flocking to places such as Nami Island, Chun Cheon, Yong Pyeong Ski Resort and others. Winter Sonata opened the doors and paved the way for Korean dramas and for Korean stars in the Japanese market. Japan is no longer outside of the sensational Korean wave that has erupted in so many places. They no longer just looked on with cool and clinical eyes; instead with never before passion, they embraced the coming of the Korean wave.


[MV] Red Dragon

"Wow!! For me, this was one of BYJ's best appearance. Love it so much!!" ^__^

 source: YouTube/yurara13724 (thankss!!) ^__^

Pleaase click the link below:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

[Info] Introducing Baesister's New BLOG | ilovebaeyongjoon by Damsu

"I just want to introducing to BYJ's family a new blog from one of our dear bae-sisters. CONGRATULATIONS to sis DAMSU, on her new blog 'ilovebaeyongjoon'.. YEAY!!^__^  Actually her  blog has been opened since the 17th of September 2013. But I just found out now.. heheh^__^v. Well, once again congratulations sis DAMSU!! Fighting!!" v\^__^/v
Source: Damsu's blog (thankkss) ^__^v

Please click the link below:

Friday, September 27, 2013

[Flash Back] WLS - a legend is born [part 1/2]

"Maybe some of you already read this post before. But for those who have not read yet, this time I want to share it again, some (flash back) of the stories behind Winter Sonata (which has been shared by sister BB in her blog). This post is a quite long. But it is very interesting to read.
AH!! I strongly agree with PD Yun when he said that (you can read at the end of this post) " Although Bae Yong Joon appears to be the most tender lover…...But if he were standing in front of you, you’ll be thinking he’s the manliest of all the men." That was also what I think about him all of this time, although I often say that he is beautiful. But still, for me he is very manly. So Yes!! He is the manliest of all the men..heheh^^ Well, enjoy reading everyone!" ^^

source: bb's blog (thankss!!) ^__^

Original in Chinese: Close2yj / 俊心咏恒 loveyongjoon
Translated into English: Happiebb / www.happiebb.blogspot.com

Winter Sonata – A Legend is Born [Part 1]

Late 2001… PD Yun Seok-Ho, who had created a k-drama fever in Asia with his Autumn in My Heart, set up his own production company. He was just preparing for the TV drama Winter Sonata, the second instalment in the four seasons series, a joint project with KBS. Since whether or not his new production company made it or not depended greatly on this particular TV drama, he was particularly cautious. And it was during the casting decisions that he thought of Bae Yong Joon who had just made a terrific comeback with the Hotelier, and of course, he’s the same young man who was so helpless during his very first day of filming and was berated by none other than PD Yun himself.

At that time, KBS did not take too kindly to the idea of casting this rather strong-willed and somewhat stubborn star Bae Yong Joon. He had after all ‘walked out on them’ once. But PD Yun managed to convince them.

And Bae Yong Joon, in what many saw as a gesture to repay PD Yun for his kindness and guidance from Yong Joon’s debut days, took the first step to rekindle ties with KBS. He even voluntarily reduced his appearance fee for Winter Sonata. He accepted a super-low fee of 4.5m Korean won [approx US$4,700] per episode, this in comparison with what PD Yun had paid Song Seung Hun 15m Korean won [approx US$16,000] for his role in Autumn in My Heart. This marked the start of what was to become the most influential collaboration in Korean drama productions, with effects so far-reaching they were beyond anyone’s imagination.

When asked why he had chosen Bae Yong Joon to be the male lead for Winter Sonata, PD Yun had this to say,

“Personally, I’ve this sort of value system, that pure things are the most beautiful, that pure love is beautiful. So, I’m very concerned about projecting this image, this impression. It’s only natural that I will only want actors who are able to convey this impression of absolute purity.

Bae Yong Joon possesses this sort of aura that’s all clean and pure, a quality that’s not easy to comprehend or replicate. In him, we can see quite many different sides and qualities, like purity, romance... even sensuality and sexiness. And all of these are suitable for all of our scenes in the drama. The role of Jun Sahng in Winter Sonata, he’s really the most suitable choice.”

When PD Yun recalled the very first time he laid eyes on Bae Yong Joon,

“That was in 1994. I met Bae Yong Joon for the first time when I was directing Love’s Greetings. At that time, I’d already felt there’s this quality of absolute purity that’s quite princely. That was his debut, and he was naturally tensed and nervous. But even then, that clean-cut, pure quality that came through so naturally, that’s something that I’ve not come across in all of the actors I’ve met. So, I still haven’t forgotten about that special quality up till now.”

“Years later, when I met Bae Yong Joon again for Winter Sonata, I sensed that Yong Joon has matured. Now, he’s more adept in grasping and expressing the feelings of love and of sadness. He’s one of the rare few who brings to my mind a clean quality that reminds me of a child. Very rare and precious, indeed!”

Winter Sonata started filming on 7th Dec 2001. Bae Yong Joon was supposed to take on two roles: The pure and melancholic high school student Kang Jun Sahng, and the bright and cheerful American Korean Lee Min Hyung. Bae Yong Joon was greatly troubled over the interpretation of an 18-year-old student. He struggled with how to portray that character convincingly.

[bb: it's kindda hard to believe that it's been over four years since WLS was aired. and while crowfeet and fine lines have found their way to my face, wuri yong joon's still looking good as ever! and some people have only watched WLS recently, and despite the time lag, they still find themselves being drawn to the drama, to the man. goes to show good dramas and fine men are timeless, huh?]

“The two characters’ names are different, their personalities are different too. So when we finished the first two episodes and started on the third, I felt as though I had already finished one drama and was about to start on a new drama. It was difficult for me to play that role of the high school student.

Well, for one, I’m no longer at the age of a high school student. So I kept worrying about whether the audience would be able to see the role that I played as a real high school student. That gave me quite a fair bit of stress."

In the beginning, Yong Joon even suggested to the production team to just get a real high school student to play that role in those first few episodes. But one of the highlights of the drama was that when Yujin saw Lee Min Hyung’s face ten years later, that face had to be the same as the 18-year-old Jun Sahng. PD Yun kept giving him encouragement and motivated him to try. After much consideration, Yong Joon finally faced up to the task and took up the difficult challenge of portraying that young Jun Sahng.

Haha, but even though wuri yong joon had played both roles, in the beginning it was still difficult for me to believe they were played by the same person. He looked so different! And apparently I ain’t the only one who had thought this way. A fan said this, I think…

“The Jun Sahng that Bae Yong Joon had played was a very interesting character. He’s so full of colours, there’re different layers to him. The impression I had gotten was of sadness, loneliness, reticence, sensitivity, a bit of rebellion, willfulness… a young man seemed cold and standoffish on the surface, but as so kind and tender inside. That pure young man who’d got a hidden playfulness and liveliness deep inside him, and who yearned so much for fatherly love. At the age of 30, to play a 18-year-old young man with such a complicated makeup… surely that wasn’t easy.”

“In terms of outward appearance, he was dressed like a 18-year-old. But more than that, his expressions and actions were even more flawless. The way he stood, sat and walked were all so different from the all grown-up Lee Min Hyung.”

“… Snowball fights, that happy and carefree look in his eyes when he made the little snowmen kiss… the playfulness was just so young. That sort of liveliness and that sort of sadness that only a 18-year-old boy can have… that’s even more difficult to portray than a cute and carefree 18-year-old girl. Those expressions that were uniquely 18-year-old, the nuances and little touches, I can’t figure out how he had managed to bring them all out so convincingly. I’ve read the so-called screenplay, but there wasn’t much description about the expressions and all that. When I first watched it, I had even suspected that they had gotten another young man who looked like him to play the role. I even checked the actors’ names in the cast, just to be sure.”

[bb: yea, just have a look at all these screencaps. it's unimaginable how wuri yong joon has put in so much life and soul into a 18-year-old. the expressions were all so accurately and precisely captured!

i've always thought wuri yong joon's acting in WLS was underrated. lots of people thought it's real easy to do those two roles of jun sahng and min hyung. know what i think? i think it's very easy to go overboard in terms of portraying those two characters. when for a grown man to play a 18-year-old, it's so easy to overdo it and come across as too-cute or too much of acting cute. can be quite obnoxious, if you ask me. and with min hyung, it's not just about looking food in winter clothes and scarves, it's about how he made us believe in love. easy? i don't think so, you know.]

During the shooting, Yong Joon had also tried different ways of expression and acting. This time, he had deliberately not read the script ahead of time, because he no longer wanted to act ‘systematically and methodically’. He stressed that he hoped to show a more natural style of acting in Winter Sonata.

“Even if it’s just breathing… even single action and gesture will be natural. For instance, if we drop a prop or something during filming, I’ll just pick up the object quietly and carry on with the acting, as if nothing happened. I’m already tired of acting in the old way of reading and memorizing every single line in the script, and then act in the practiced and rehearsed manner. I would like my performance to be more natural, as if everything’s just flowing out naturally from life.”

The female lead in Winter Sonata was none other than Choi Ji Woo, the actress who had starred opposite Yong Joon in First Love in 1996.

The two people who had worked together before, met again on Winter Sonata five years later and they worked seamlessly well together. Together, they created many sweet scenes, some very beautiful scenes and of course, some awfully touching scenes too. Yong Joon also took the lead in ensuring and maintaining the relaxed and happy atmosphere on set. Everyone behind the scene, including PD Yun, were all ecstatic with his transformation from before. They said, “The lines of his shoulders line softer and more relaxed now.”

The two young scriptwriters Kim Eun Hee and Yoon Eun Kyeong also said this of him in the most sincere of tone:

“He really has the manners and behaviour of an older brother. Oh, maybe I should say he’s got the very traits of the oldest boy in the family? In Korea, the oldest boy in the family will be taught to be courteous to his elders and to help his juniors solve problems and all that. Although I can’t be sure Bae Yong Joon is the oldest in his family, whenever I see how he reaches out willingly to help his juniors or the younger crew members, I would feel he’s just like my big brother.”

[bb: Yes, we all know he is the oldest boy in his family, the only boy in fact... and oh btw, i remember reading somewhere that the scriptwriters were kindda quite taken with how handsome wuri yong joon was and all. but coz min hyung was sort of a like casual dresser, they were so happy to have created a scene in WLS for yong joon to be dressed in formal suits. and yes, just as they had expected it, he was absolutely dashing in that scene where he wore a dark suit to the corporate function where yujin wore chaelin's dress. ah... and yes, once again, i digressed... sighs... some things never change!]

In contrast to the relaxed atmosphere on set, the filming process was at the same time tensed and difficult. PD Yun is someone who will give up his soul just to present the most perfect scene on the screen. Just to capture that fleeting moment of sunrise, he would wait patiently for house until the sun rises above the horizon. And if he had to go to the top of the mountain for that rainbow shot, then he would lug his camera and go up there without hesitation. And sometimes halfway through a shooting, he discovered an even better setting, then they would give up everything they had shot before and moved everyone and everything to the better place..

It was because of this single-minded pursuit for the best that they created scene after scene of beautiful memories for us. But it’s also because of this that the entire team gave much more time, effort and energy than other teams on other drama production. This, coupled with the fact that Korean dramas are filmed as they’re being aired, tired everyone out. Bae Yong Joon, as the male lead, had to shoulder a lot of the filming and I guess you can imagine the burden upon his shoulders. And, not to forget, wuri Yong Joon is probably as much of a perfectionist as PD Yun.

During the filming of Winter Sonata, Yong Joon slept an average of two to three hours a day. He even had a record of going through four straight days of filming without any sleep. Once, after a few nights of continuous filming, when Min Hyung was lying on the hospital bed and Yujin was sitting by his bedside pouring her heart out, Yong Joon finally could not fight the sleepiness in him. Hee, he fell asleep during filming and even started to snore. Choi Ji Woo who was prepping herself for the scene could not help but laugh at that. Even the honcho PD Yun also had an experience of falling asleep on the floor right after he okayed a scene. Funny incidents that mostly related to people falling asleep were aplenty, and became classic topics for conversation amongst the cast and crew.

[bb: hee... wuri yong joon even mastered the art of sleeping whilst standing! still looking absolutely, heartbreakingly handsome!]

What we saw on-screen were the beautiful wintry scenes, so beautiful they might as well have come straight from paintings. But the actors and actresses sure had a tough time filming in the cold and in the snow. Especially since Winter Sonata was supposedly a contemporary drama with a bit of a purist slant, the two leads could not possibly be huddled in big and puffy winter coats to sprout lovey-dovey words. They wore clothes that made them more stylish than warm and often had to shoot in the cold, the temperature reaching below 20 degree Celsius sometimes. The hardship was more than anyone could imagine.

incidentally, you can watch the clip of how they had made the scene above here, courtesy of foreverbyj. just click on the exclusive kissing vod link, then click on 56k or broadband, depending on your connection.

When they were filming the part up in the ski resort where Min Hyung was asking Yujin who she really loved, the snowflakes that were blowing all over very quickly got into their hair. The actors’ faces and tongues were so cold that they were hardly functioning. They kept saying their lines wrong and had many NG takes...


In the end, Yong Joon even fell ill due to the harsh weather and also from fatigue. He had to be sent to the hospital for drip. When the assistant PD wanted Yong Joon to stay on to recuperate in the hospital, and was planning to push back the filming schedule, wuri Yong Joon insisted on returning to the set to resume filming. Looking at how he was still on the drip and filming, and how he tried to keep himself alert with medication and cigarettes, everyone in the team was moved by his professionalism and dedication. Everyone said, “This is one special star.”

[bb: I digress a little here [again!!]… Just want to say it’s funny how CJW was able to take all these. Even in Beautiful Days where she starred opposite LBH, he too was rushed to the hospital from fatigue, but she was perfectly okay. I remember reading somewhere LBH too was totally amazed at her physical and mental strength, how someone frail as her could take the punishing filming. And I think she said the ginseng helped. Mmm....]

PD Yun also shared this, “Once we’ve spent more time working together, the truth is I’m amazed at how matured Yong Joon has become, I’m surprised by his masculine charisma. Although Bae Yong Joon appears to be the most tender lover… But if he were standing in front of you, you’ll be thinking he’s the manliest of all the men. This fellow is especially conscientious and serious when he’s working.”

[bb: I think PD Yun has nailed it right on the head. Really, that’s it. Wuri yong joon looks tender and gentle and all that jazz, but he doesn’t come across as soft or sissy. Despite the tender image, he’s all man. I love how there’re such contrasting qualities in him, the yin and the yang all balance out to give us one frightfully amazing man. Fire on ice.]

i'll end off this part with two of my fave pictures during WLS time. enjoy, and do check back here for part 2. hehe, i don't know when i'm going to post that though...