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'Good Guy' Actor Shows Different Side

2005/05/04 | 796 views | Permalink | Source

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

With his good looks and warm smile, Park Yong-woo is known for portraying the "good guys" in television dramas and films. But as an actor, Park says he finds himself often limited by this image and constantly looks to challenge himself with new and different roles.

So it's not surprising how excited and nervous Park is about his latest film, "Blood Rain", in which he plays a main role and a totally different character for the first time.

"I think this movie will be the turning point of my career and my life. While I was working with the director and other good actors, I was able to learn a lot about acting and find out my strengths and weaknesses", Park said during an interview with The Korea Times on Tuesday, on the eve of the film's opening.

Directed by Kim Dae-seung of the 2000 melodrama "Bungee jumping of their own", "Blood Rain" is a period piece set in the Choson Kingdom (1392-1910). The thriller tells of a serial murder case that takes place on a deserted island. The film also stars Cha Seung-won and Ji Sung.

Park plays In-kwon, son of the owner of a paper mill who wields great influence over the people of Tonghwa island. He has constant friction with a detective (played by Cha), who is dispatched to the island to investigate the crime.

As the film deals with murder, it contains many scenes depicting violence and cruelty. But they are necessary for the development of the story and not just a tool for sensationalism, Park said.

"We were really careful about using some scenes that show brutality, but I think the director put those scenes in the film because they are indispensable in terms of making a good thriller movie, and I trust his decision", Park said.

Park made his debut as a television actor in 1994 and has mainly played minor roles of a handsome man in numerous typical melodramas in TV and movies. He was eager to break his soft image, but it took him about 10 years to get the chance.

"I guess every actor dreams of playing a main character and I'm not an exception. But for me, it is more important to become a good actor regardless of how big my roles are",' Park said.

Park believes the 10 years have given him much experience and is sure that a person is not just born a good actor, but rather good acting requires much preparation and work, with some luck thrown in.

The challenges of filming are another factor, as Park says he found the period piece really hard to play. He had to wear a long beard, thick makeup and a "hanbok", or traditional costume, and had to fight in some fairly risky action scenes through both hot and cold weather. But he was also grateful to the director for having the chance to learn more about acting.

"I had to even put ice in my mouth in the chilly winter to make sure there was no steam coming out of my mouth since the scene was supposed to take place in the summer. But the most difficult part was getting my character right and to not miss the core elements I had to express", Park said. "And the director, who always enjoys talking freely about scenes with actors, helped me to become closer to the character".

"First of all, and of course, I hope many people will like the film. And for my long-term goal, I know I still have a long way to go, but I really hope to play impressive roles someday like Edward Norton from `American History X' or `Primal Fear",' Park chortled.

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