Yeon Jung Hoon was more of a man who has growing interest in cars first before started to budding as an actor. He was indeed a ‘car kid’. The kind of a child who holds the memory of playing with cars since his earliest of age. Being an immature young man he was, while attending high school in US back then, he used to involve in drag race just like the way ‘Fast & Furious’ young men did. Even until now he still enjoys racing and RC car as one of his hobbies. His college major is design and he put the most effort in car designing among anything else.
“It was the time when Samsung Motors has just been around in the industry. I came to see the poster design competition sponsored by Samsung Motors and I thought it would be great to work in an automotive company.” He is someone who buys cars based on his ‘curiosity’. If he is curious even about small performance of a car, by any means he’s going to buy and try it all to satisfy his curiosity. Though now he’s at the age where he’s more concern about ‘value for money’ rather than just merely asking for the price and buy, to him, car is still a piece of his life.
Upon putting aside his dream to be a car designer , he found his way into acting.
“I think it was around the year of 1998, my dad (actor Yeon Kyu Jin) used to operate an acting academy located in Yeouido. As good luck would have it, a friend of mine wanted to be an actor and he attended the academy, asking if he could get any help from me and so then I was dragged along with him . And along the way, I happened to met a manager and started to do a few part-time acting jobs to earn some pocket money and that moment led me to where I am now as an actor.”
Since then, cars and acting co-exist in his life. Recently, he had just finished acting in a popular weekend soap-opera ‘I Summon You, Gold!’ and now he’s having a short break. And lately, the most important thing in his daily routine is exercising. Before he’s getting older, he wants to build his body. As expected, he also has some mixed concerns a little here and there about exercising and his next project.
“Though I play more of gentle roles lately, I’ve done so many strong characters before since it’s a dream of every male actor to play for noir bad-ass or tough man roles. I used to go for action drama/film over and over again for quite a long time, and now I think I’m done with it. I really want to try playing romantic role at least one more time.”
As an actor he’s now walking down a smooth and easy path and if there’s one more thing that one cannot miss about him in filmography, that one thing is none other than ‘Top Gear’ which is the first car tv program that has been broadcast in Korea since 2011. He was the main MC of ‘Top Gear Korea’ for Season 1~3 together with Kim Jin Pyo and others until last year. Though it is a Korean version of a UK’s popular program, but it is one of the work that is very dear to Yeon Jung Hoon.
“I have no choice but to remember the part where I need to go around to borrow cars for Season 1. Since in the beginning, I had no high understanding or strong knowledge about automotive industry, I tried all cars that I borrowed from my friends before shooting for broadcast.”
Many of Yeon Jung Hoon’s ideas were applied in the Season 2 of ‘Top Gear Korea’ and there were many of extreme attempts and all sorts of incidents series happened. In the episode that aired on March last year, a military helicopter AH-1 Cobra had crashed into a Chevrolet Corvette during a speed battle and in the following May the car that he drove during a car football match (playing soccer by cars) had flipped over in which he regarded that as a thrilling experience.
“Of course I felt a lilttle wistful but I think I’ve poured my heart and soul into it. I want to create a car program with Korean style. And in fact, I think to break away from ‘Top Gear’ formula, it should be done out and beyond using a completely new format. Possibly like a recent documentary concept program in which actor Ewan McGregor travels around the world with bike.”
For shooting purposes, the cars were mostly sponsored by it’s own manufacturers, and it was quite a challenge to give unbias evaluation without any adjustment since there was a bunch of people that we need to convey the information into.
“‘Top Gear UK’ use their own money to buy cars in order for them to fully testing and giving objective evaluation about the cars. But to lay such foundation in Korea I think it would take more time,” said Yeon Jung Hoon.
Though his passion as a car racer has been cooling down for now, he doesn’t know when this passion will start twitching again. He was indeed a real car racer for Chicane racing team back then in 2010.
“I can’t forget my first race. I did a drive practice once and immediately went straight to Japan to to take part in the race. It so happened that heavy rain was pouring down on that particular day. I couldn’t even see what was in front of me and it all depended on just my instinct on how to survive the race at that time. But still, I managed to be in the 4th place in the race. Haha..”
“It was so fun since the full season during the first year was doing great for me. But at the same time I was aware about about my lacking skills. Though I have to stop and leave it for a while now due to schedule problem but I think I’ll get back to it someday. I was just merely finish my first race but the marshals (personnel for the race event) were applauding for me. To tell you outrageously, I would say my feeling during that moment was equally to as if I was on drugs. It was the moment that I would never ever forget.”
When he is back again into acting mode, his day job is definitely an actor. Debut in 2005 through SBS drama ‘Pado’, his acting career now is reaching 10 years of bittersweet journey.
It is a dream of every actor to be a long remembered actor. Yeon Jung Hoon too is no different from others.
“I want to become an actor like Tom Hanks who can still show great acting even when he’s getting older. In fact, there are no clear answers on how to perform an acting. I want to resemble him (Tom Hanks) in the way how he keeps striving hard and constantly developing his acting skills.”
Source: Economic Daily
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