Thursday, December 3, 2009

Jung Yong-Hwa Follows In The Grand Tradition Of K-Drama Second Leads

10 Asia takes another look at an up-and-comer, this time focusing on You’re Beautiful’s resident “towel guy” and unrequited lover, Kang Shin-woo aka newbie actor Jung Yong-hwa. He may have not gotten THE girl in the drama, but he sure won over all the others in the real world. Jung talks about how he got the role, his (extremely packed) schedule for future activities, and his friendships with the close-knit cast members.

Jung Yong-hwa: “You’re my hyungnim!” *

In numerous dramas, they are there. They love the female leads, but aside from making grand confessions of love, they only watch from the sidelines with a soft smile, offering consolation as a “Daddy Long Legs” [a generous benefactor, usually an older man to a younger woman] whenever she needs help, earning the name of “sub-man.” They even hurt alongside her when she sheds tears for another man whom she loves.

Fated to never win their loves, these are inherently tragic men, but inasmuch as their pain is great, they also gain a compensation that’s not so small, either. In exchange for being unable to win the love of the heroine, they await the outpouring of affection from all other women.

* Uh, so the headline doesn’t translate so well, but it’s a play on the drama’s title, “You’re Beautiful,” which is phonetically “Mi-nam-ee-shi-nae-yo” (미남이시네요). This headline (”you’re my hyungnim”) reads, phonetically, “Hyung-nim-ee-shi-nae-yo” (형님이시네요). Incidentally, Park Shin-hye’s name works with the pun quite well, and she posted a message on the drama’s website under the cute title, “Mi-nam-ee-SHIN-HYE-yo” (미남이신혜요).

Entering the ranks along with Jung Tae-sung (Kang Dong-won) of the film Romance of Their Own and Yoon Ji-hoo (Kim Hyun-joong) of Boys Before Flowers is Kang Shin-woo (Jung Yong-hwa), who is the same way in SBS’s You’re Beautiful.

He affectionately looks after a cross-dressing Go Mi-nam (Park Shin-hye), who enters boy band A.N.JELL at the peak of its popularity, and saves her from crisis. He even makes an earnest love confession, but in the end he gently lets her go to his teammate Hwang Tae-kyung (Jang Geun-seok) without a word. As he has spent the past two months as this mature, handsome young man, it’s no wonder that he has received an outpouring of fervent love from female fans who cry out, “Shin-woo hyungnim~!

“To be honest, from a guy’s point of view, when we see a guy doing that we think, ‘What’s with him…?’ [Laughs] But women like it, and although men say they hate it, I think if they’re honest they want to feel that, too. Because it’s cool.” With a long neck and clean features, he has Kang Shin-woo’s elegance. But the real Jung Yong-hwa is like other guys his own age who enjoy joking around, and the twenty-year-old found it “embarrassing to use cringe-inducing lines.”

In the early days of the drama’s broadcast, he was given the nickname “Towel Guy.” Remembering that, he says dubiously, “I don’t know girls’ feelings that well, so I didn’t really understand why my line, ‘If you’re here, I can’t shower’ became such a hot topic.” He says, “At the time, I was only thinking that I’d better not get the dialogue wrong.”

Explanation, for those who didn’t watch the drama, although who are we kidding?, you’ve all probably watched the drama: Shin-woo finds Mi-nyeo in the men’s locker room. She’s pretending to be a boy, but he has discovered her secret and puts a towel over her scandalized eyes, and ushers her out to safety. Telling her that he can’t shower while she’s there means that (1) he’s aware of her as a girl, and (2) therefore he can’t comfortably strip nekkid in front of her. Alas.

“One camera was scarier than several thousand spectators”

Jung Yong-hwa, who confesses that he was more focused on learning his lines before getting the emotions, acted for the first time in You’re Beautiful and is the vocalist and guitarist of the band C.N. Blue. He’s liked music since high school and decided on his path early, and the very next day after he taking his college entrance exam, he moved from his hometown of Busan to Seoul and began rehearsals; in June, he began activities in Japan. They started out performing on the streets under the hot midsummer sun and had some small live club performances, and put out a single album.

He came to audition for You’re Beautiful because he was a member of a real band. “I like connecting with the audience, looking them in the eye and talking to them through song. When I was filming the drama, I really enjoyed the performance scenes.”

As soon as the conversation turns to music, Jung Yong-hwa casts off his composed demeanor, his eyes gleaming. Turning the talk back to acting, he reveals his difficulties, saying, “I found that one camera was scarier than several thousand audience members.” Although he exceeded expectations with his controlled facial expressions and line delivery, he says, “Rather than to have people say that my acting was fine for a rookie, my goal was to have people ask me whether I’d acted before, but I wasn’t able to achieve that.”

One feels his resolute spirit as he answers, mixed in with that sense of disappointment behind his calm face. That’s why after You’re Beautiful ended, he accepted the offer to be a regular on MBC’s Sunday, Sunday Night, and although he will be busy going back and forth to Japan for band activities while C.N. Blue isn’t even a year into its debut — and has yet to debut in Korea — he isn’t hugely worried about the fast pace. “It may seem that the Jung Yong-hwa of two months ago is very different from the Jung Yong-hwa of now, but what’s most important right now is my determination. I’m prepared for what’s ahead.” It’s a response worthy of “Shin-woo hyungnim.”

My Name Is…

My name is Jung Yong-hwa [鄭容和]. It’s a name that means “his face is peaceful.”

I was born on June 22, 1989, in Seoul’s Yeoksamdong. I moved to Busan when I was two and lived there until I graduated from high school, so I think of myself as a Busan citizen.

I have two parents and a brother four years older than me. We are all cautious A blood types.

Like Kang Shin-woo, after I moved to Seoul, I worked hard to get rid of my Busan Saturi accent. When the drama’s first episode aired, a Busan friend called me and the first thing he said was, “Yong-hwa, now you’re using standard dialect.” Haha.

I auditioned for You’re Beautiful with the scene where I tell Mi-nam, “Come sit here, have some warm tea.” To be honest, my acting wasn’t very good, but I know how to play guitar and I was already in a band, so I wonder if the director went easy on me because of that. I even played him the title song “Now or Never” from our Japanese single album, which I sang and played on guitar.

Maybe the Hong Sisters writers were uneasy about me acting for the first time, but they called me up separately to explain the character. They didn’t want him to come across sleazy or corny, so they gave me homework to figure out ways to express him in a natural way. So I worked hard, but I think it still came across a little uncomfortably.

Actually, the scene when I hold Mi-nam and declare, “She’s my girl!” is kind of a cheesy scene, but I found it refreshing. Whenever I got the scripts, I was waiting to find out when I’d confess my feelings, so it was gratifying to finally be revealing them.

Shin-hye (”Go Mi-nam”) was born in early 1990 so we were the same age and became friends. We acted in a lot of scenes together and she was a really big help to me. Since she was always dressed as a boy in the drama, whenever she came out dressed like a girl, I’d say, “Oh, you’re dressed as a girl today?”

I had a lot of worries about Geun-seok hyung (”Hwang Tae-kyung”) before we started shooting. I thought he’d be scary. Haha. But he’s not like that at all, and he acted like the eldest hyung on set, helping us by letting us go or holding back when needed. I always felt thankful for that.

Hong-ki (”Jeremy”) is with the same agency, so we were already friends. A little while ago, a picture cropped up online where we’re at the airport and Hong-ki’s using my lap for a pillow. That was because we’re friends and he was tired, and we’d always have a long wait.

The picture that showed up online that got called “ski resort hunnam*” was taken before my debut when I went skiing with my family and friends. I had no idea that would show up online, but since the photo came out well, I’m relieved.

“Hunnam” means literally “warm guy”; if “kkotnam” or flower boy means a pretty young man, hunnam means that the guy has a warm, soft image.

The internet video that got a lot of attention recently was taken in my second year of high school on a school trip to Jeju Island. My friend took it on the bus and in the clip I’m saying, “Don’t film me~” but I’m joking around and let him keep filming. I’m okay with it, since it helps people see me as the real Jung Yong-hwa rather than the character Kang Shin-woo.

The video in question:

(Omo, he really does have that Busan Saturi accent goin’ on! LOL.)

In the upcoming shoots for Sunday Night’s “Hunters,” we’re not going to catch a wild boar, but to see what the situation is like for the farmers. They’re in the news these days because the boars have done a lot of damage. I expect the filming will be tough.

Our band name C.N. Blue means Code Name Blue. The people at our agency bet a lot of money and came up with it. C.N. Blue’s goal is to be the best in Asia, and to turn things around for the Korean band scene, which has shrunk a lot lately.

Listen to more C.N. Blue on their myspace:

I’m the oldest in the band. My bandmate Jong-hyun also sings and plays guitar, and he’s very masculine while also being pure. Our youngest is drummer Min-hyuk, who has a real baby face and has a very tidy personality and does a lot of the cleaning. Ah, but we don’t make him clean. [Laughs] Jung-shin is our new bassist and he’s the same age as Min-hyuk, but he looks after the members well. More than anything, they all really love music.

The other members made sure to watch the drama and always encouraged me. When we went to Japan, they told me I did a good job and carried my luggage for me. Haha. I was actually okay because all I had was my guitar and effects, and even though there’s a lot more to carry with drums and such, they disregarded that and helped me, which I really appreciated.

I’m well-rounded in my music tastes. Band-wise, I like a refreshing style such as Bon Jovi, while I like the vocals of Placebo or The Calling, and I have a lot of interest in R&B and hip-hop as well. That’s why I sometimes follow rap, too. Dancing? Um… I’d like to dance well, but it’s difficult. It’s the most difficult thing for me.

credit : + as labeled


  1. sarrr darr nge' jung yong hwa ..i love you from htooarkarmincho

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. saranghae yOng Hwa! yes, we all dO!^__^