Yoon Yeo Jung talks well-mannered actors and Lee Seung Gi

Veteran actress Yoon Yeo Jung (64) recently sat for press interviews.  In addition to her current roles in two dramas (MBC The King 2 Hearts and a KBS weekend one), the two films she took part in (The Taste of Money and In Another Country) were both selected to compete at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival on May 26!

Prior to The Taste of Money, director Im Sang Soo’s previous film The Housemaid also competed at Cannes.  Here are some excerpts from Yoon Yeo Jung’s interviews (generally Seunggi-related parts only).  She talks the importance of younger actors being well-mannered and respectful to senior actors, Seunggi’s herbal tonic gift, and her wise words/advice on experiencing highs and lows in order to remain humble…

[May 2, 2012] Excerpts from various Yoon Yeo Jung press interviews
English: LSGfan

When asked about her movie and the other actors, Yoon Yeo Jung said, “Having met Kim Kang Woo and Kim Hyo Jin on the set of The Taste of Money, they were really well-mannered and worked hard.  People say nothing else matters beyond actors doing a good job acting, but I completely agree with what Kim Ung Soo recently said on the show, ‘Radio Star.’  Actors who know how to greet others well are good at acting.” 

She continued, “The job of acting requires actors to use their bodies to express themselves, but how can people lacking the basic fundamentals take on such roles.  I’m not saying that people have to be good to me, but how hard can it be to greet one another.  However, there are a lot of actors like that out there.”

Having acted for 46 years, Yoon Yeo Jung personally knows and has experienced how things can come back to get you when you don’t know how to be considerate, especially among younger and more veteran actors.  She was also complimentary of Ha Ji Won and Lee Seung Gi, saying “Currently appearing together on The King 2 Hearts, Jiwon and Seunggi are really sincere, put their all into their acting, and are well-mannered at that.  It’s just great to see.  In fact, it is because they are good actors.”

Yoon Yeo Jung continued, saying “But there are people who think they’re all that even though they aren’t.  In all honesty, it doesn’t hurt someone’s pride to properly greet seniors actors such as myself or others.  They can just think of it as if they were greeting their parents or grandmother, but there’s a good number of actors who just sit there just watching when a very senior actor walks by.  While it’s simply just momentarily unpleasant to me, when I see that sort of thing, I think ‘It’s going to be a little hard for you in the future.’  Acting is chemistry with others.  I wonder how someone who doesn’t know how to be considerate can be good at acting.”

When asked about how crazy it must be filming both dramas at the same time, Yoon Yeo Jung said “I only get to rest one day each week.  I’m dying while taking herbal tonics.  Lee Seung Gi gave me herbal tonics as a gift, but I gave him money because I believe you have to pay money in order to experience the effect from medicines.  I have no idea what’s going on in the world since I’m going from this set to that set.  It’s a situation where I’ll have to see my movie once I get to Cannes.”

When asked about the competitive Wednesday-Thursday drama ratings, particularly in light of the lower than expected ratings for The King 2 Hearts, Yoon Yeo Jung talked about the great filming environment in which everyone is giving their best despite the ratings. 

She said, “The director is a really brilliant person.  The filming environment can be a downer when a drama’s ratings go down but because he’s able to steer us well, I really think he’s a great director.  Typically, people show their true colors and who they really are when things are not going as well, as opposed to when things are going perfectly great.  Therefore, we are all giving our best and having fun filming.  I also said to Seunggi, ‘You’re going to be in big trouble if even this does great.  People have to experience things that are not as successful in order to be humble (chuckles).'”

She didn’t hesitate to compliment Lee Seung Gi’s polite, well-mannered nature.  And she even revealed a funny episode regarding The King 2 Hearts tv ratings.  “I joked to Seunggi, ‘You’re known to be an emperor?!’  I assured him ‘There have to be things that don’t work out as planned too’ and he answered ‘At least we were in 2nd place.’ (chuckles).”

When asked about her role model… “Not necessarily role models, but I can’t help but to respect people who have been at their work for a long time.  I can’t think of a specific role model (chuckles).  But of course, someone who’s hard-working.  It’s the reason why people like seeing success.  I’m wildly enthusiastic about Kim Yuna.  But can you imagine how much that successful child had to go through?  That type of artistic craft.  I like people who are professional like that.  They are really lovely.  And if they can maintain that for a long time, that would be so lovely.”

She also revealed that since her son is currently working in the United States for fashion brand Donna Karen, she’ll most likely wear a dress from her line for the May 26 Cannes Film Festival.

Wow, I love Yoon Yeo Jung’s strong nature!  She seems to tell it like it is!  I guess you can do that when you’re like 64 years old and have paid your dues as an actor for 40+ years! And the awesome filming environment has been noted accounted for in so many interviews and fan accounts, I’m so happy for PD Lee and the cast and crew.

I think we keep forgetting that Seunggi is THE youngest actor in a sea of senior and older actors!  Lee Soon Jae (77), Yoon Yeo Jung (64), Lee Sung Min (44), Yoon Jae Moon (42), Ha Ji Won (34), Jo Jung Seok (32), Kwon Hyun Sang (30), Lee Yoon Ji (28), Lee Seung Gi (25).  And how hard that’s probably been, especially with the  Lee Jaeha character’s rudeness toward ALL the actors.

It was rumored that Seunggi considered other dramas, but went with TK2H.  Even despite all the high profile actors previously attached.  As I said before, I’m pretty sure Seunggi DID NOT sign on because of the script.  That’s for sure, because the script does not paint Lee Jaeha as your typical heroic king, but one with major flaws and fears.  (The reason I think some of the actors passed on it.  Writer Hong better do justice to the characters of Jaeha and Hangah in the last 4 eps!) Still can’t believe TK2H is ending soon…

Hope Hook Entertainment allows Seunggi to focus more on his acting craft and hone that more, because while it’s much improved, it still has ways to go, which sorta comes more with solidifying an actor-image and just getting older…

As for Yoon Yeo Jung’s movie, The Taste of Money… I think it’s going to have an official NC-17 rating based on the trailer… Woah, I forget how wholesome K-drama actors can play such different roles in Korean movies, especially films from the likes of directors like Im Sang Soong Soo.  So, warning, only click to watch Youtube link if you’re okay with that kind of K-movie fare…  Movie Trailer for The Taste of Money.

Yoon Yeo Jung and Seunggi’s TK2H scenes together have been some of my faves…

VIDEO – Queen Mom’s heartbreaking breakdown with Jaeha

VIDEO – Queen Mom begging Jaeha not to go to North Korea

Images:  As labeled, Previously posted/credited;  Videos: Tryp96

Interview via Newsen, Hankook Ilbo, Osen, Starnews

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4 Responses

  1. I politely beg to differ, I think the greatest actors/actresses always choose what to do base on the script and director than anything else. If Lee Seung Gi chose this work based on script I would really applaud him from finally getting out of good image roles. Acting is a craft that should not be hindered by consideration for the benefits star image marketability brings you.

    • To me, LSG wanting to work with one of Korea’s top actresses IS wanting to hone your acting craft, and has less to do with star image marketability. Guys want to work with HJW because she’s a great actress (and person) and because working with good actors makes you rise to the challenge and act better (if you have the drive and are good to do so). And LSG mentioned excitement about working with PD Lee, as have the other actors, but not much has been said about the writer and script.

      Choosing projects based on script versus director are not one in the same thing. Sometimes, the PD is awesome over the writer or vice-versa, the writer/script better than the director. And for this drama, most of the actors have mentioned their faith in the Director Lee as pulling them in.

      • Thanks for the reply, both director and script is indeed important. And I want to clarify that by “star image marketability” I actually meant how likeable they are with their image to the public, because you mentioned you are surprised he chose to work with this role despite it having a flawed character. A good actor should never shun that in my opinion.

    • I agree with Anonymous here. I think Seung Gi is too much a thinker to sign on to any drama without considering the script. One Korean media critic wrote a well-publicized article to praise the courage of TK2H to take on such a bipolar and tough subject. He called the PD and writer team as the “dream combination,” based on their track records. So it’s hard to imagine when marketing this project the production company would go without stressing that fact, or for any actor not to notice that fact.

      I know SG claimed he would take on this project solely based on the opportunity to work with HJW alone. And I believe he’s telling the truth. I just don’t think that’s the WHOLE truth. As a celebrity with a very broad base of fans, he has to be very careful when (and if) making any kind of political stance (he never said anything about reunification publicly). Hence he might choose to play down the controversial side of things but focus on the lighter side. Even there, I think he was trying to make HJW feel more comfortable about the pairing. He knew the age issue would be front and center among fans and non-fans. His open adoration of HJW and his ‘bold’ and ‘forward’ ways of acting, while in character, are also best defense/protection of the pairing.

      This drama is so different from others in more ways than one. First I think the production company has rounded up good financial support (their reported budget is amazing, and I heard foreign rights discussions starting early too). And the script, at least the draft version, was about half completed even before the first script reading. And now we heard they finished up ep. 18 when ep. 16 just aired. All those accomplishments did not come from vacuum.

      To summarize, I think actor Lee went into this with eyes wide open. He’s hoping for the best, but was aware that things might not work out that way. That makes me admire his decision even more.

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