Several Interviews about Scholar Who Walks the Night
Q: The thing that you put the most focus on when you chose this work?
A: I wanted to be in a drama before I enlisted, so I looked over a lot of works. Among those, “Scholar Who Walks the Night” had a lot of fans of the original webtoon, everyone said it was fun, and the synopsis was great too. Also, the character Yoon himself was very fun and very versatile, so I decided to act in it.
Q: Yoon looked like a playboy at the beginning of the drama, but he was very thorough in reality and had a very sharp brain. Did he have any similarities to you?
A: I want to be a thorough person, and I try to become like that. I’m acting for the first time in a while, and I didn’t want to hear that I’m “unskilled”. I’m not a perfectionist, but I’m striving to get good reviews.
Q: How was your first historical drama?
A: I heard a lot that it’s tiring physically, but since we filmed over the summer, it was even more draining. We had to wear many layers of hanbok, and even the ‘gat’ (*hat from the olden times) wasn’t so easy. If you put on facial hair, it gets hotter and you sweat more. Even when I was eating, it was really hard. Besides that, the script and the vocabulary use, the tone of voice isn’t used in everyday life, so it was hard until I got used to it.
Q: Didn’t you practice a lot beforehand?
A: There was a TVXQ concert until just before the filming, and there was a lot of work as a singer packed in, so I didn’t have a lot of time compared to the other actors. But I practiced whenever possible.
Q: Are you the type to analyze the script by yourself? Or did you get lessons?
A: I had a teacher who taught acting, and I analyzed a lot by myself, too. If it was really hard when I was reading the script and I couldn’t see the answer, I just closed the script at first and tried to think about it in my head.
Q: Was it easy to memorize the script for historical dramas?
A: It wasn’t easy. The way of speaking and the pronunciation is very difficult too. So I really thought that Joon-Gi hyung was amazing. I respect him a lot.
Q: You acted very well alongside the seniors.
A: Thank you.
Q: What was the secret to acting without being intimidated?
A: Firstly, the seniors really adored me [direct trans: thought cutely of me]. I was really nervous, but the directors, staff, and actors were so kind and were so considerate to show everything I thought out and practiced. Teacher Lee Soon Jae always coached my acting and gave me advice, so I was really thankful.
Q: Yoon is a made-up character, but it has Jung Jo, the 22nd King of Joseon, as the motive. Did you take those historical things into account as you acted?
A: Yes. For me to film without taking that into account, there were too many similarities. If someone with even the smallest amount of interest in history watched the drama, they would immediately know, “Ah, this is based on the story of Youngjo and Jungjo.” Even Teacher Lee Soon Jae told me to “Read ‘Lee San’ as reference,’ and I thought a lot about the historical aspects, too.
Q: Do you watch historical dramas normally?
A: Yes, I like it a lot. And I think very preciously of history.
Q: Which era do you like best?
A: I like the Joseon era best.
Q: If you are asked to play Jungjo in the future, would you take that role?
A: Mmm… I’d think very hard about that. At that point, I’d have to try hard to do better than my acting now. And before that, I think I’d spend a lot of time thinking about appearing a period drama again. It’s very hard.
Q: But were there good things and things you learned from doing a period drama?
A: I learned a lot about ‘delivering the lines.’ My acting teacher said before we filmed that ‘your acting is going to improve after doing a period drama,’ and I learned to ‘understand the meaning of words and deliver them.’
Q: The first scene was very memorable.
A: It was a scene of [Yoon] drawing with a gisaeng in front of him. There’s no guy who doesn’t like a beautiful woman (laughs). Since he wasn’t your typical royalty, because Yoon had that side to himself, I thought it was actually great. He doesn’t live like a suffocating royal who is authoritative and whose everyday life is suppressed, but he had a lot of different sides to himself such as liking to play, so I thought it was possible to feel his charm from the beginning of the work.
Q: Did you, Changmin, ever feel like you wanted to play as freely as Yoon?
A: I’ve never stepped over the line, and I don’t know how to play. I don’t even know much about women (laughs). I don’t know anything. Hahahahaha
Q: There were scenes of you horseback riding or shooting arrows. Did you practice that in advance?
A: I learned archery in action school, and I filmed while practicing on the set. I didn’t have a lot of time to practice horseback riding so I could only do it a few times. So when I was on the horse for the first time when we were filming, I wasn’t good at all, so the director was worried, saying, “You’re really bad at this.” This made me so upset that I rode in between shoots.
Q: You really don’t like to lose.
A: Really. It wasn’t that I was fueled by his worry, but even when I was watching myself on the monitor, I was so awkward. I was supposed to be all cool while riding, but when I was on the horse, my body was shaking so much that it looked like I was having a hard time riding. Seeing that made me mad.
Q: Did you do well after you practiced?
A: An action school staff told me “It’s not too bad considering it’s your first time riding” so I think I did get a bit better.
Q: You looked really good in period clothing. Which outfit was your favourite?
A: There was a scene of Yoon shooting at a spy that had been tailing him in Choondangdae. The clothes I wore for that scene were manly and handsome.
Q: You said you respected Lee Joon-Gi earlier on. Acting with him, what did you want to learn from him?
A: He’s a professional even starting with his attitude towards acting. Even though he’s under a huge pressure as the main actor, he’s considerate towards the other actors, and he tried hard to keep up the spirits of the staff, and that was very handsome. A few times, he would upload a video of himself dancing on set onto his social media, and that’s really what he’s like on set. It must have been hard memorizing his lines and acting due to lack of sleep, but he even cheered on those around him. He says humbly, “Because I like being excited,” but I really want to learn from him when I see those aspects.
Q: How about the antagonist Lee Soo Hyuk, who played Gwi?
A: Seeing Soo Hyuk, I felt, “We’re the same age, but I have so much to learn from him.” Simply, he doesn’t say that he wants to look a certain way, but he thinks, “What would happen if Gwi and Yoon fought?” For instance, if Gwi had to thrust Yoon in the depths of despair, he asks me, “How must I move for Yoon to be even sadder? What do you think?” Soo Hyuk said, “This is obvious as an actor” but when I, who has so much still to learn, saw that, it was really cool, so I thought I had to work hard too.
Q: Did you ever think you wanted to be a vampire?
A: Yoon’s subject Hakyoung had a mustache when he was a human but after he got bitten by a vampire, his mustache disappeared. I wanted to get bitten by a vampire too and get rid of my mustache (everyone laughs). Oh! There’s something I thought of after seeing Gwi. Gwi is always in his underground palace. So I thought, “It must be nice to always be shooting indoors~” hahahaha
Q: Gwi looked lonely though.
A: I got lonely towards the end, too. Hakyoung, grandfather, and security guards all died, so I was by myself (bitter smile). It was very lonely.
Q: How as the atmosphere on set? Who was the mood maker?
A: Since there were a lot of young actors, we talked a lot, played around a lot, and we texted each other and we would go for drinks if we had time, and we were very close. I think the [moodmaker] was still the flower of the drama, Lee Yoo Bi. She’s a very bright person, and because of that, we were able to film long hours without the laughter stopping.
Q: I hear a lot of Japanese fans sent you a lot of support onto the set?
A: Since I’m a singer by trade, to be honest, I think there were staff who were worried, “Will he be able to act?” but the fans’ support was really a lot of help. There were people who said, “You really did your job as a singer!” and those who joked, “You’re super popular!” so it felt satisfying at times. Very satisfying.
Q: What makes you more nervous? Working as a singer and actor?
A: Yes… To make me nervous and my heart palpitate, I think it’s when I’m acting. Since I worked as a singer for 13 years and throughout my entire 20s, right now, it’s my everything. But acting is something I just started, and I don’t have a lot of experience in it. Since I’m a “Rookie who’s not a rookie,” there’s a lot of pressure and worries and I get very nervous, too. But since I just started, it’s not really something that’s nerve-wracking but something that I want to know more and I want to learn more. It’s a field that I get very interested in.
Q: Why did you decide to act?
A: I’ve always wanted to act if I got the chance, and the company also said, “Let’s start to act little by little.” It wasn’t just me myself thinking, “I want to do it,” but with my desire and the company’s suggestion, I thought to try to learn it. When I did it, I wanted to learn more, and it made me want to improve in the future, so it became a field that I became greedy for.
Q: Lastly, tell the Japanese fans the focus of this drama.
A: Honestly, I’m not sure if I acted well in this drama or not. I haven’t always been an actor, and I still have a long way to go. But this is a work that I, right now, put everything I could into. And it’s a work that many young actors and seniors, and staff sweated to make, so I would be happy if everyone looked upon it warmly.
Yeo Ui Joo’s Interview
Q: Hard thing about your role?
A: It was hard to take my role seriously. The director said, “Hakyoung suits a mustache!” and so I put one on. At the time, Changmin and I both said, “We want to act with a fresh image without a mustache,” but the director strongly suggested it, so we put on mustaches.
Q: You and Changmin talked a lot before the shoot. Did you go to the TVXQ concert?
A: Yes. Changmin introduced me on stage at the concert. That “This is someone who’s appearing in the drama with me.” We were busy, so it was hard to meet often, but we met up for coffee or drinks and we talked about what was to come. Sometimes, it’s not good to get close with another actor before the shoot because of the relationships within the drama. But with Changmin, since we were long-term buddies, we got close beforehand and we could shoot comfortably. We’re the same age, too.
Q: Changmin is an early ’88er, and you were in different grades in school. Did you decide to be same-age buddies?
A: Changmin was born in February, and Lee Soo Hyuk and I were born in May. We thought a bit about how we should work it out, and Lee Joon Gi said, “Since you’re all born in the same year, why don’t you just say you’re same-age buddies? That’ll be more comfortable on set, too,” so we became same-age buddies. Because of that, we were able to say our opinions freely on acting and when we were conversing. If I thought of him as my senior, I would have been on my toes during rest time, but with the two of them, we joked comfortably and all, so it was really nice.
Q: A Yoon-Hakyoung scene that left you the deepest impression?
A: When Yoon threw away Hakyoung on purpose to earn the trust of Gwi, Hakyoung says, “Everyone says you changed, but I don’t think so. I’ll be waiting for you at the same place,” and that stays in my memory. Afterwards, when they reunite, Hakyoung runs out in his socks; I thought that would show that Hakyoung waited desperately for Yoon, so I discussed that with the director and put that scene in. Also, I liked the part where he gave his life for Yoon.
Q: Even though it was between men, the scene with the two of them were all sad. In reality, the two of you both shed tears.
A: In “The King’s Daughter, Soo Baek Hyang”, there were similar scenes with Jo Hyun Jae. It’s really hard to cry for another man. But once you do it, you get used to it and with Changmin, I could cry without feeling weird. (laugh)
Q: It was shocking when you turned into a vampire. Did you know beforehand?
A: No, not at all. I didn’t hear that Hakyoung was going to die beforehand, and since it was a character who was helping Yoon until the end, when I suddenly got the message, I was very sad. Also, Soo Hyuk, who was also playing a vampire, had his robes undone and looked sexy, and I was worried about how it would look if a scholar suddenly turned into a vampire.
Director Lee Sung Joon’s Interview
Q: How was Changmin, who played Yoon?
A: We casted him because the writer had worked with him before in “Paradise Ranch.” I met with Changmin several times before the shoot. Since he had his own goals and I wanted the work to succeed, we met a number of times to practice. Even if the line was just one word, “Sire,” I had him practice by recording and pointing out that he needs to put his tone down here, or up here, and criticizing everything. At first, we had to shoot the same scene 20, 30 times, but suddenly, he got really good and from the fifth episode, he only needed one try. After the cut, the staff would break out into spontaneous applause. He’s someone who entrusts everything to the director, and doing his very best at what he has to do. After he gets discharged [from the military], if he gets a role that fits him well, his potential will certainly explode.
Q: His period era speech tone was very good too.
A: When he hits his 30s, he’ll be even better. I have high expectations, too. Changmin doesn’t talk a lot, but he is definitely very polite. At first, he was so shy that I thought, “Is this really a singer who sings in front of 50 thousand people?” but it’s those people who, when they break out of their shell, pull out an unbelievable amount of energy.
I’m sure there are tons of things he hasn’t shown people yet. Once he can really express himself, I believe he will become a hugely successful actor as well.
Source: KNTV Interviews