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'April Snow' no Walk in The Park for Bae Yong-joon

2005/08/26 Source

Korean Wave star Bae Yong-joon looks perfect after being made up, just like a bromide print, but he seems uncomfortable inside and says his mouth is sore. Director Heo Jin-ho, sitting beside him, takes out a cigarette. At the Lotte Hotel in Sogang-dong, Seoul on Wednesday afternoon, Bae, Heo and actress Son Ye-jin are giving their first interviews after the preview of their new film "April Snow" on Tuesday.

"It's common practice for actors to say after the completion of a film that it was difficult, but this time it really was difficult for me", Bae says. "I'm an actor who likes to plan everything out beforehand, even the ad-lib parts. I like to prepare my character completely in advance. But the director thoroughly stopped me from doing so".

"April Snow" is a tale of the confusion of two people who discover their spouses' infidelity and the new love they develop for one another in that difficult situation. Bae plays In-su, a stage lighting director who is falling apart with fury over his wife's infidelity. Heo, who created a sense of delicate lyricism in previous films of seasonal confusion like "Christmas in August" and "One Fine Spring Day", puts more emphasis on the natural feeling of the scene than calculated preparations. He's acquired a reputation for exhausting his actors by repeating and repeating takes until he's satisfied. How was it this time around? Hur owns up: "Including retakes, we shot one scene 60 times".

Glancing at his director, Bae says, "After the director OK'd the scene, I just collapsed. I couldn't move for an hour and I was so exhausted I just lay there". Perfectionism, then, is a trait shared by the leading man and his director.

Hur, when asked what he was most grateful to hear after the preview, thinks for a moment and says, "I was most thankful hearing that the actors were good". Asked what upset him the most, he says, "There was nothing I heard directly that upset me". When we ask what he might have heard indirectly, he answers, "I forget". Then there is the film's much-talked-about bed scene. "My university seniors watched the film, and they said they won't let their wives see the picture because of Yong-joon's body", Heo laughs.

Toward the end of the interview, while eating a late-lunch sandwich, Bae starts to open up a little. He may be a Korean Wave star surrounded by loving devotees anywhere he goes in Asia, but the price is that he lives in a birdcage with no freedom or private life. "Not so long ago, I ran for an hour on the Han River. It seemed like my chest was going to burst, but I felt so relieved", he says. When he grumbles, "They say people like us have no choice but to blow up on set", Hur consoles him, saying, "Let's quickly get started on the next picture".

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