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Bae Yong-joon`s Screen Debut - Notorious Playboy from Chosun Dynasty

Bae Yong-joon`s Screen Debut - Notorious Playboy from Chosun Dynasty

Posted March. 16, 2003 22:38,   


Bae Yong-joon is now set to make his screen debut, catching keen attention of people in Choongmu-ro.

Bae, who became one of the top leading TV actors through such hit series as `the Shadow of Youth` and `Winter Love,` had turned down a number of offers from film production companies for the last nine years.

Then, he recently chosen `the Scandal – Love Relationships,` a story set in the old Chosun Dynasty. A playboy and a seductive club owner began a dangerous game over a chastened woman. He will play with two well-known leading actresses Lee Mi-sook and Jeon Do-yeon.

Bae is now without glasses and latest-fashion hairstyle. He is a nobleman in Chosun Dynasty. The biggest bet is that he will play a notorious playboy instead of a charming gentleman. ˝There is no turning back, so I have to do my part,˝ he said smiling. Then Lee Mi-sook added jokingly, ˝He often says that he feel like dying. He might die of work-related stress.˝

A night before the shooting started, he visited director Lee Jae-yong. He was worrying that his act might fall short of his two leading ladies, who are widely recognized as top Korean actresses.

In fact, critics have said that Bae hardly plays an impressive role but lives on his image. Besides, he is unfamiliar with a playboy role and ancient setting. ˝I did not want an actor with charisma but with a beautiful image,˝ said director Lee. ˝I believe that a gentle character will make a strong appeal in this movie.˝ Many expressed concern about Bae`s sharp turn. ˝I advised him to play a familiar role and later take on a challenge. But he was so eager for a change.˝

There were rumors that he was given some 100 movie offers. ˝It is an exaggeration. There were only about 80,˝ he said inviting jealous looks from the two leading actresses. Almost 90% of the scenarios are romantic dramas.

Bae is too well-known for his image as a charming gentleman – he played a man from a rich family studying filmmaking in `the Shadow of Youth,` an M&A businessman in `Hoteliers` and a architect in `Winter Love.` ˝I wanted to play a different character, but they mostly offered a leading role in romantic dramas,˝ said Bae. ˝When I saw the scenario or `the Scandal,` I thought, `this is it.`˝

The movie is an adaptation of French novel `Dangerous Liaisons.` Bae will play Cho Won, an attractive young man enjoying games of romantic manipulation yet looking for true love deep inside his heart.

˝Who is Cho Won? (like reciting an old-style poem) He is a man of knowledge but he does not want fame….. He has a good sense of humor that conceals his cruel and deceitful heart.˝

Young actors find it hard to speak old languages. It is new to them and there are many No-Good cuts. ˝I had difficulties speaking old languages. All of my previous roles all spoke softly. And wearing this costume all day long is not easy, either.˝

He could lose 7kg by eating mostly uncooked vegetables. ˝There are some love-making scenes in the movie. And I worried about my shape. Since the movie is set in Chosun Dynasty, muscle will do no good so I had to lose my weight.˝

After two months of living as Cho Won, he has learned one important thing about being a playboy. ˝You have to be busy all the times. You need to take out time for many women. It is not an easy job.˝

Soo-Kyung Kim skkim@donga.com