TITLE: THE REASON WHY YEON JUNG HOON IS MUCH MORE CAPTIVATING
Yeon Jung Hoon exuded charisma through his villain role as Min Seok Hoon in the drama ‘Mask’. There is a saying that says “knowing how to enjoy can beat inborn talent and hard work”. Is there anyone who can beat this man when he knows how to coordinate his acting career and life in perfect harmony and the fact that he has all three fine traits (hardworking attitude, talented, knowing how to enjoy).
Pinstripe shirt by J.W. Anderson from MUE
Actor Yeon Jung Hoon is a man who gets lots of jealousy stares from others as much as the things that he possesses in life. He has been steadily building his acting career for 16 years now as his main profession. In addition to that, he has goddess actress Han Ga In by his side and he also has quite a remarkable professional skill in many different areas such as racing and photography…. Yeon Jung Hoon seems like someone who lacks nothing, but still, life isn’t built just like that for him. Even though the actor’s world that he’s living today might be different from the world that he used to live before, he has remained in the industry for a long time. He is the man who knows how to enjoy every little moment of his life and he will go ‘all-in’ if he wants something. Life could go wrong sometimes but he filled the cracks in his life with learning, effort and moments of enjoyment.
I expected to feel Min Seok Hoon’s chilly and spiteful vibe coming from you, but instead you’re a cheerful and easy going person.
Since I play a villain role, I feel even more comfortable about it. I’m a little bit outspoken myself. In that respect, it makes me comfortable when I say what I need to say. For the role (referring to Min Seok Hoon), I need to glare many times to the point that my eyes felt a little bit hurt. I regard ‘Do Yang’; my past role in ‘Jejoongwon’ as the character that I attached to the most and I thought “villain role is appealing for a reason”. I wonder what is the charming point that Min Seok Hoon has, the same way I wondered about Do Yang. Usually a villain character has highs and lows where he was a nice person initially but for a certain reason, he turned into an evil person. But then in the end, he would try to lead a good life back once again. However, for Min Seok Hoon, he gave a strong impact from the beginning. I didn’t want the role to look weak even in the early part of the story. The director and I wanted Min Seok Hoon to look devilish right from the start when he first appeared in the drama. Anyhow, the story will slowly unfold and it will be revealed that Min Seok Hoon is a character who carries pains inside him. “When you’re powerful your words are the truth, and when you’re powerless and poor your words become lies. Therefore you need to be the strongest and the most powerful above anyone else”. Those words that Min Seok Hoon said, although it sounds sad but it is also true. The words that the writer wanted to say through the drama, he said them mostly through Min Seok Hoon. It is a drama that tells about a sad reality of life.
When your name Yeon Jung Hoon came up, ‘Vampire Prosecutor’ always be associated with it.
The series has quite a large number of manias too. When I first decided to work in ‘Vampire Prosecutor’ I did have a lot of concerns. It was unprecedented for a production about vampire creature to be successful in Korea before. Furthermore, to be honest, it was a little awkward for me to do the acting for vampire transformation. At that time, I think I just wanted to play the role of a humane vampire. I also thought as I’m a mature actor, wouldn’t it be great to play such a unique character like that for a change.
There are a lot of people who are curious about Season 3 of ‘Vampire Prosecutor’.
I want to finish the filming for the series too myself but they (the production team) are still discussing about it. Season 1 told a story about a man becoming a vampire, while for Season 2 the story about another vampire along with the existence of another world was included. I guess, since there were too many things were put in the story plot of Season 2, the story line for Season 3 is still unorganized yet. (Laugh)
You also shot a movie entitled ‘Skiptrace’ with Jackie Chan and Fan Bingbing.
The movie is scheduled to be released in North America and China during Christmas Eve this year. But my role in the movie was not a major role. Growing up as a generation who watched Jackie Chan’s movies and tried to imitate him, I wanted to work with him at least once before he retired. Working together with someone as interesting as Jackie Chan in a movie means a lot to me. Besides, I had the chance to learn many things while working with a Hollywood director.
Throughout your career as an actor, comparing to the early years with the way things are now, have you notice any changes?
The more I act, acting becomes much harder. I’ve also went through a dry spell/stagnant period in my acting career. It is important to come across a good role and a good project but apart from that, I did feel that I want to stop acting at some points. I think I’ve tried very hard to beat those negative feelings. In order to broaden my view on acting, I think, trying to play variety of roles is the best way to do it. The role that I’m playing right now (Min Seok Hoon) also helps me to achieve that . It is interesting to figure out different characters and at the same time I feel like I should work harder.
When was the time that you felt like you’ve went through a stagnant period in your career?
There were so many times I felt that way. Particularly when I first debuted, I couldn’t even tell how many times I went through that. Even when I was first playing a lead role in a daily drama, I experienced a feeling of being stuck. At that time, I’ve told the director that I would try to perform a refined acting but truthfully, at that time I didn’t even well-versed about the basic of how to deliver my lines with emotion or what actually a refined acting is.
Each actor has different attitude and method that they bring to their acting. Perhaps a certain way is possibly needed in order for you to build your own style.
At first, I would watch foreign drama or movie or another works of a senior actors who are great at their acting. As I’m acting, there were several times that I felt as if I was being stuck. Then I came to watch senior actor Kim Myung Min’s acting in the drama ‘Beethoven Virus’ and a realization hit me; ‘Oh, you can make a character to be that much cooler if you’re a great actor like him’ and I tried to imitate him. And also, one director said these words in one of his interview, “Some actors wholly understood their lines and they came to the filming set and discussed with me only a few times and I just shot their scenes without trouble.” Listening to those words, realization hit me for the second time. And at that time I felt that I really should prepare thoroughly. Even on the filming set, I should discuss (with director), revise and improve the way I plan to deliver my lines so that I can make and perform a much better work. I know that they are just a basic etiquette of an actor but when I was younger I didn’t quite know about all of that. I think there are lots of steps one need to learn in order to be from just an ‘actor’ to a truly ‘entertainer’.
I didn’t know that you are this ambitious towards acting.
I’ve tried my hand at running a business for a very short time and I’ve even tried putting my major to work by doing a design job. I also enjoyed many hobbies. Out of those jobs, I think that acting is the most fun of all. To junior actors, I keep telling them “Don’t forget that at the moment you’re doing the most fun job.” I think even Joo Ji Hoon starts to becoming more like me in that part lately. When I was shooting the movie ‘Skiptrace’ with Jackie Chan, he told me something about the attitude of how to enjoy working in the filming set. “Please don’t keep a mindset that you only want to have fun after you have finished working. But instead you should have a mindset that you’re coming to the filming set to do fun things.” And he actually came during waiting time, carrying a bottle of wine with him, to have a chat while casually sipping a glass of wine. And I’ve tried doing the same thing while filming for ‘Mask’. Everyone was having a hard time working all night but that doesn’t mean that we have to make a grim face as well.
What do you think is the greatest character of all time?
The character of Jack Sparrow that was played by Johnny Depp in the movie ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. It was a really cool character but what I like about it the most is the black comedy feel that the character has.
You’re well known for enjoying your hobbies like a pro. What is the hobby that you enjoy the most these days?
It’s racing. I’ve been participating in racing game this year and last year. I did make pretty some good records and I also hired an engineer now. In the past, I just entered racing game by trusting my guts. Now I’m working together with the engineer that I hired who also is a friend of mine. The one that told me that I should compete in the race properly.
When people talk about you Yeon Jung Hoon, it is unavoidable to not mentioning your wife Han Ga In. You received resentment from a lot of men when you married her. How did that feel?
The resentment should last until I die. If that resentment stops, I think she (my wife) will be disappointed. Because, that kind of resentment could also mean that my wife is still considered the best to most men . (Laugh)
While working for this drama (Mask), did Han Ga In give any separate advice to you?
In the beginning of the drama, she only told me “you should lose a little weight”. After undergoing a surgery last year, I couldn’t exercise much. I just rested and therefore I gained some weight. But my wife told me to take time slowly in getting back in shape because losing weight so quickly won’t do any good for my body. Other than that, she didn’t say anything particular.
People who like to take pictures are likely love to travel too. How do you usually enjoy your travel?
These days I went abroad for car racing tournament’s purposes. I also visit good restaurants with friends who live in the neighbourhood of the places that I’m travelling to taste the local food there. Besides that, I do go visit the stadium of those places since it is normally located far from the city. And sometimes I also go to Saturday party if there is any.
Which places were your favourite?
I like stadium in Shanghai the most. As for food, my favourite is Japanese cuisine and I love the weather in Malaysia the most. But for me, Spain is unquestionably the best place of all. My next racing tournament will be held in Abu Dhabi. So, I’m also looking forward to go there myself.
It feels like you’re the kind of man who has everything.
Do I seem like someone who lacks nothing… Well, I don’t know about that. Because of my greed, I went to study abroad and lived there with my aunt for 6 years. She treated me very well but I think I had a brand new sentiment of loneliness which I didn’t have when I lived with my parents before. I also went through adolescence just like anyone else. Although I cannot tell my life story more specifically, I think everyone has gone through tough times at different points in their lives. Maybe that’s why dramas that portrayed the life of people with their own story of struggles and pain were made.
Do you have any key skills to make a certain someone as ‘Yeon Jung Hoon’s people’?
I don’t differentiate people and I treat everybody equally. I might have to work with certain people for all my life and perhaps we might also have to go to a different path with one another. As I’m getting older, I thought a lot about the time when I went to the military. Everyone sat together to get our hair shaved-off but the reality that young men went to serve in the military, I found it so sad. We are all equal and as time goes by, memory is the only thing that we can tell and share with others. And as time passes, I realize that I do miss everything about filming set. But why did I only regard this work (acting) as difficult when I was younger back then, those moments won’t come by again… That’s why nowadays I enjoy every moment when I’m working. I ‘ll try to have fun while working with everyone. If you see the photos that were taken from our filming set, everyone was smiling even though we had been working for all night long.
What is your usual fashion style?
I came here today wearing black T-shirt and jeans, but one of my staff said to me “Oh, you dressed a little bit better today!” Usually I come to the filming site wearing sweatsuit like a school uniform. I’m not a person who likes to look extravagant and cares so much about outward appearance…so, even for car, to me it’s not important how others see me when I drive it but I drive the car because I’m curious about its performance and why other people are enthusiastic about it.
In your opinion what is an ‘ideal love’ like?
If you really love someone, you should throw everything and go ‘all in’for that person. Isn’t it alright if you do that just for once?
Navy pinstripe coat by Matthew Miller from Koon, t-shirt by Joseph from MUE, shorts by Raf Simons from Galleria West, sneakers by Neil Barret from BOONTHESHOP.
White shirt-styled jacket, navy stripe wide pants and sneakers; all by Juun.J, silver bracelet by VENIMEUX.
Navy knit sweater by Marni from Koon, navy pants by Paul Smith, white sneakers by Neil Barret from BOONTHESHOP.
His Jobs In Dramas
The professions that he have played in his dramas
Doctor in ‘Jejoongwon’
In 2010 through my first challenged as a villain, I lost everything that I care about to Hwang Jung (a role played by Park Yong Woo) and my body trembled with jealousy. Like Salieri who envied Mozart’s talent. When I was acting for the role at that time, I was extremely worried and wondered ‘what makes one a perfect doctor?’
Prosecutor in ‘East of Eden’ & ‘Vampire Prosecutor’
Only the person who has tried to perform a serious acting of vampire transformation knows how it feels. The role in ‘Vampire Prosecutor’ was the hardest acting I’ve ever done. The reason I decided to work in ‘Vampire Prosecutor’ though it is a drama that leans towards vampire story instead of the job of a prosecutor itself, is because I’ve tried playing a prosecutor role in ‘East of Eden’ before.
Business Executive in ‘I Summon You, Gold!’ & ‘Mask’
I played the role of an eldest son (I Summon You, Gold!) and a son in law (Mask) of a conglomerate family who lives swallowing his own pain in the two dramas. But my role as Min Seok Hoon in ‘Mask’ is a person who has many layers like an onion. Behind his strong desire and greed, lies a revenge that he eager to fulfill…
Credit: InStyle Magazine
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