by girlfriday | November 7, 2010
Sure, there’s Team Moony, Team Smarty, Team Dopey, and Team Sneezy. But the make-or-break character of Sungkyunkwan Scandal was actually big man on campus Kim Yoon-hee, aka Daemul. Because I don’t care how many beautiful boys you throw onscreen (and there were an exceptional number in this drama); I won’t give a rat’s ass about anyone if I don’t love the main character, and root for her journey. And boy, did I ever. Yoon-hee was bold, brassy, and adorable, and I didn’t care that she had a 21st-century sensibility in an 18th-century world. Because I’m a 21st century girl.
Days after wrapping Sungkyunkwan Scandal, 24-year old actress Park Min-young sits down to share her thoughts about Yoon-hee, her castmates, the time she almost quit acting. Methinks she needn’t worry about that anymore. Here’s to her bright and shiny future.
“I was so thankful I cried. I was tired enough to fall asleep standing up in front of the camera, but the cast and staff was of one mind and heart, and we raced to the finish line. I spent 23 hours of each day in full makeup, and didn’t sleep for three days at a time. My dark circles were starting to go past my cheeks. But I was happy. During the summer I had my chest bound so tightly that I had difficulty breathing and couldn’t eat for two days, but being Kim Yoon-hee made me so happy. We began at 6% ratings, but when we inched forward and finally crossed 10%, I jumped around the set like an idiot.”
“I’m kidding, but if I had studied this hard, I could’ve gone to Seoul University. I lost 4kg in six months. I’m surprised I didn’t collapse. I just told myself that I couldn’t miss a single day. The head of the production company even came by and brought me herbal medicine.”
“The set was so constantly busy, that I finally learned the meaning of being so busy you don’t have time to be sick. There were lots of scenes in the rain when we were soaked through and through, but didn’t get sick. But as we were wrapping I must’ve un-tensed my nerves, because I got sick immediately.”
“I’ve talked about this with Ah-in, that everyone: Park Yoochun, Song Joong-ki, Yoo Ah-in, was so passionate about acting that we spurred each other on. The teamwork was so good that even when doing reactions for each other’s shots, we were diligently acting. But I have one complaint. All three of them have such baby faces. Especially Ah-in, when he cuts his hair and shaves his face, he looks like a total kid. Next to the three of them, I look old! On top that, I think the stress of the shoot has aged me.”
“Actually I never originally had plans to become an actress. But when I was applying to college, my mom out of nowhere told me to try applying to the theater program. I thought, ‘Okay, should I try it?’ and applied. Later I found out that my mom went to five fortune tellers and they all told her that I would become an actress. (Laughs) Now I think, what would have happened if I didn’t act? When I’m acting is when I’m happiest.”
“I succeeded right away when I debuted, so I was lucky. I thought that was just what happened. I thought it would all be that easy. But then things became difficult for me career-wise, and I lost confidence. For the last year I became depressed, and I ran up against a lot of walls. I seriously considered changing my career. That’s when I encountered Sungkyunkwan Scandal. I loved it so much that outside of trying to succeed as an actress, I was just grateful to be a part of this project. ”
“I was given a lot of roles as the manipulative girl, but my real personality is much more like Yoon-hee: I’m pretty spunky and bold. I think because my situation when I was cast was so dire, that I was able to completely lose myself in the role. Yoon-hee was contemplating her studies, and I was contemplating acting, so we matched up that way. The way that Yoon-hee, when faced with the worst circumstances, fought her way through everything with an iron will, I thought if I acted her role, I would grow with her. More than having the confidence to think I could play a cross-dressing girl, I thought that I could really play Yoon-hee.”
“She’s such a pure and innocent kid. She sacrificed so much for her family. When she enters Sungkyunkwan for the first time, she meets friends and takes classes, and it opens up a new world to her. It was a feeling of having a series of lightbulbs turn on, one at a time. As I immersed myself in Yoon-hee’s happiness at every little moment, I think those expressions just came out. Truthfully, it’s the most I’ve ever lost myself in a role. It was a role I wanted so much, and in five months’ time, we only rested three days, so I didn’t have the time to think about anything else. I focused completely on the role and I think I just became Yoon-hee.”
“I expected that since I’d be acting with three ‘flower pretty boys’ that I’d increase my anti-fanbase. But the audience was so generous and understanding, that I actually decreased in number of antis since before I started this drama. (Laughs) Thankfully, instead of hating Yoon-hee, the audience saw her as someone they wished they could be. I’m thankful that they loved her.”
“Because I’ve experienced the downturn that follows popularity, even if Sungkyunkwan Scandal has succeeded, that’s not where my happiness lies. I’m not going to get swept up by that. I just want to be proud of doing the best job that I could.”
“It feels like I’ve been given a huge gift. Truthfully before doing Sungkyunkwan Scandal, I had a lot of projects that were overturned, and there were so many obstacles I faced, that I considered quitting acting. Yoon-hee reignited my passion for acting. I’m so grateful for this project, in so many ways.”
“To think of Park Min-young in Kim Yoon-hee’s terms, it’s like I’ve just finished my term as a freshman at Sungkyunkwan. Now my homework is to stick it out until I graduate. My end goal is to, like Yoon-hee, become a professor. Not that I know what it means to be a ‘professor’ at acting. (Laughs) More than anything, I like that I can say that I was part of a major work. I was so happy the entire time I was filming. I’m happy that I now have a piece of work that I’ll be proud to show my daughter someday.”