Korea, official Day 1, part 2. Part 1 is here.
Since the morning activities for this day started and ended early – actually, wayyyy too early, as in at least 30 minutes earlier than expected – Sookyoung 이모 scheduled us to a studio visit at KBS. It’s supposed to be for the weekend drama You’re The Best, Lee Soon Shin, but when we got there, 이모 said that there was a bit of a confusion. The one filming that day is the daily drama, A Tale of Two Sisters aka. Sincerity Is the Way Of Heaven (I will refer to it as A Tale of Two Sisters from now on as this is the title being used by KBS World). Personally, I would’ve wanted to visit Lee Soon Shin‘s set because (1) I already researched on the cast before I left for Korea, so I’m confident that I won’t have any “Kang Joon Sang’s mom” moments; and (2) I wanted to meet IU and Yoo In Na. But I did not mind the confusion at all. For one thing, the first person I saw when we entered the filming set was the super-handsome Yoo Gun, and I’m already completely satisfied at that. (Trust me, photos and video don’t do justice to his good looks. He’s so much more handsome in person.) I actually don’t know who he is at the time – or so I thought – but he’s just so pleasant to the eyes so I’m more than fine with it.
This is not my first time on a KBS filming set so I already know how they do things. I just observed quietly and stayed out of the way as much as possible. I did not bring my camera because GD-TOP is too heavy and too ‘noisy’ for a filming set; I just relied on my Note 2 which has a good camera, anyway. Thankfully, Tita Ruby and Tita Cheeh who are both filming-set newbies (not counting Fugitive Plan B, that is) brought their respective cameras. I had decided on not taking too many photos and just leech off from them but the camera director – the one responsible for us being there – noticed me hesitating to take pics (mainly caused by an actor who seems a bit too, uh, “reserved” ) so he took my Note 2 and started taking photos of the set and the actors. Well, no one will stop him because he’s the boss, so…
Just then, they filmed a scene with a senior actress and she looked so familiar to me. Again, so familiar, that I can’t remember which drama did I see her from. Sookyoung 이모 said she’s a famous actress in Korea but she can’t pinpoint her particular works, neither, so she asked one of the staff about the actress’ previous projects. The staff said, “Franceska”, but I’m not familiar with that drama. I just vaguely remember seeing her in a hanbok costume.
When we reached home later that night, I immediately Googled the cast and found out that this actress is Shim Hye Jin, and the drama where I saw her from was Goong (Princess Hours) where she played the mother of Prince Yul (Kim Jung Hoon). Well, at least I was right about seeing her in hanbok before.
What I noticed with this particular drama is that the filming atmosphere is very light and friendly. The cast and crew crack jokes in between takes. There was one particular instance that had me cracking up, as well: they were to film a scene where the family was having dinner, so naturally there was food on the table (a lil’ bit of trivia: prior to the advent of HD cameras, they only had to use plastic food, as in the one being used as visual samples in restaurants, as props during scenes where food is needed. Nowadays, they have to use real food because HD cameras will capture it very vividly and it will be obvious on screen if the food is fake). The actors involved on the scene must be really hungry by that time because they started eating the props during rehearsals, and went on to eat after the take. But since the scene has moved to another set, the lightman turned the spotlights off and the dining room set went pitch black. The actors started complaining that they’re still eating.
Except for the aforementioned seemingly ‘reserved’ actor whose name I will withhold, the rest of the cast seems to be very nice and accommodating. They gave small nods whenever they passed by us. When Yoo Gun was asked if we could take photos with him, he not only obliged. He even chatted with us for a few minutes.
On the above photo, Yoo Gun was trying to translate the title of his drama to English so that we could search for it on the internet.
I marveled at how fluent his English was. He even has a hint of an American accent. One staff passed by and told him, “you speak English?” He mischievously said, “a little”. I was thinking, no way it’s just ‘a little’ because there was not even a trace of a struggle whenever he talks in English and he even has an American accent. As my later research has uncovered, he’s actually a Korean-American who renounced his US citizenship so he can serve the Korean army. His being Korean-American explains why he was so comfortable placing his hand on the small of our backs and pulling us closer to him during the photo ops. I also found out from Mr. Google that Yoo Gun was an entertainment soldier. A friend from the Rain fandom told me that she has seen him MC a Consolitory Train show before. So… yeah. I chatted with a former celebrity soldier who was in the same unit as Mr. Jung when he was in the military. Anyway, it’s fortunate that at least one of us knew who he was. Tita Cheeh told Yoo Gun that she has seen his drama Hello, God and Yoo Gun was so delighted because it was his first drama. Unfortunately, I didn’t know until my latter research that he had a cameo on That Winter, The Wind Blows as Oh Young (Song Hye Kyo)’s first love. If I knew at that time, I would’ve fangirled a little bit more.
A couple more actors more than willingly obliged us for photo-ops. The actress, Oh Seung Eun, was on the cast of Beautiful Days which happened to be one of my most favorite Korean dramas of all time.
Here’s more of our photos from the filming set. Credits as tagged.
To cap off the very long day, we went to Seoul Arts Center to watch the fountain show. As I was staring at the dancing waters, a single thought was on my mind: we’ve only been in Korea for less than 24 hours, yet it felt like it’s been three days. So many things happened to us on our Day 1 in Korea: from the absurd and chaotic, to the exciting and exhilarating. We would like to thank the good people of KBS and especially Sookyoung 이모 for once again giving us this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Or in my case, twice-in-a-lifetime. With another one or two coming up.
(For more of my Aftermath Reports related to Korean entertainment, please visit my K-pop Events Aftermath directory.)