Han Ye Seul Puzzled by Boyfriend Rumors
Actress Han Ye Seul expressed her bewilderment at rumors that she is dating a major shareholder of a general service channel.
Though a media outlet reported on September 2 that Han was “in a relationship with a businessman eight years her senior and a major shareholder of a general service channel established earlier this year,” the actress’ agency has refuted the report as “groundless.”
Bong Tae Gyu is back on the big screen. He made his comeback through the film The Beat Goes On, which premiered on March 15.
The film just premiered, but it was actually filmed in 2009, just under a year after Bong Tae Gyu’s 2008 film A Tale of Legendary Libido was released. The dates for The Beat Goes On kept being postponed, giving Bong Tae Gyu an unexpected four year disappearance from the film scene.
During the four years he wasn’t seen on the screen, he was still busy elsewhere. He continued to polish his acting skills by starring in plays and musicals. He was still building on his career; it was just that as the spotlight rarely comes to those genres, it seemed like Bong Tae Gyu was taking a long rest.
The Beat Goes On is the first feature film by the newcomer, director Byun Sung Hyun. It is the director’s first full-length feature film, but he already has experience in short films, and even managed to garner many awards in that field.
He was a major in performing arts at the Seoul Institute of the Arts, and was known for his sensual videos that were produced from the point of view of the actor. We met with Bong Tae Gyu, who stars in the film alongside Kwak Ji Min and Lee Young Hoon, to talk about the small yet meaningful film The Beat Goes On.
A source close to the actress revealed, “Han definitely does not have a boyfriend right now. She is deeply distressed by the rumors and reports related to the issue.”
The gossip mill began spinning when Han refused to show up on set for the KBS2 drama Spy Myeongwol before she briefly disappeared to the U.S. There were reports alleging that her boyfriend had accompanied her and that he was a businessman and heir to a major conglomerate eight years her senior.
However, Han and her mother released a statement through the actress’ agency stating that she did not have a boyfriend. According to her agency, the actress, who has since returned to the Spy Myeongwol set and is trying to pull herself together, is disconcerted by the reports.
One acquaintance of the actress said, “I don’t know if she had a boyfriend in the past or what kind of person he is. But I wonder if something needs to be done because even though she says she doesn’t have a boyfriend right now, the rumors persist.” Another acquaintance suggested, “I think she broke up with her boyfriend around the time she decided not to show up for filming.”
Photo credit: Kim Byung Kwan
Why did you decide to star in this film?
“I felt I was limited because my image had been concentrated on a certain genre. It wasn’t easy to try something else because of that fixed image. It wasn’t easy to break through the stereotype, but it was great because I could show something new about myself. I also decided to appear in the film because the scenario was good.”
The film cost 700 million won, not that much for a film. Were there any difficulties you had to endure during your shoot?
“First of all, I have no regrets about filming. We fit everything to our conditions. Because we didn’t have much to use for production costs, we filmed in a set a lot. We didn’t get to hire many extras, either. It was also hard because we had to pay to get locations to shoot in. Overall, it wasn’t easy. I only had one manager accompany me without my stylist.
The clothes that I wear in the film are all mine. The hip-hop clothes that appear in the flashbacks are 80 percent mine, too. I even paid for my own tattoo, and there was a lot we had to do ‘raw’. I did most of this, but I actually enjoyed the experience very much. I want to thank my agency (Key East) for supporting my will to appear in a small film.”
You and director Byun are one year apart. How was your teamwork with the director?
“I actually didn’t get a good first impression from director Byun. He appears in the film as the hip-hopper Chups, and he came to my meeting in the same hip-hop hairdo wearing short pants and slippers.
The fact that he chose a corner seat in the café when we first met gave me a bad impression, and the way he talked didn’t feel that good, either. Later I found that what I thought about director Byun’s attitude was misleading. We got along so well. I could tell whether it would be an OK or not just by listening to him say “cut.” It was really fun, too.”
Did you ever disagree with each other?
“No. I shared a lot with director Byun. Director Byun always said the right thing. I evaluated the scenario as if I was studying it, and whenever I had a question director Byun would explain it precisely, so there was no reason for me to be stubborn or for us to clash.
I think the biggest reason I got along with director Byun was because he majored in acting [at the Seoul Institute of the Arts]. He never learned directing so he couldn’t explain logically, but he could convey his feelings. I was worried because he was young and he only had experience in short films, but that was totally unnecessary. He didn’t fall behind any other actor in sensuality. That’s great talent.”
Chang Dae is a talented hip-hop musician but he never gets to walk that path. What do you think about Chang Dae’s character?
“I originally majored in art, but now I’m an actor. I gained a lot through The Beat Goes On, too. There are a lot of people like Chang Dae who never get to do what they want to and compromise with reality, but I blamed myself for not being able to go the road of the actor I wanted, like complaints that I can only stay in the comedy genre. I realized that I was complaining about something I should appreciate after meeting Chang Dae.
I also learned that compromising with reality doesn’t mean that you’ve failed in fulfilling your dream. Chang Dae gets another job after he stops short of his dream, but he ‘picks up the mike when the beat goes on’. You can’t say you’ve failed when you’re doing what you’re given in front of you. I related to it a lot.”
Chang Dae, Min Soo (Lee Young Hoon) and Ah Ra (Kwak Ji Min) go through a lot in their late 20s. What did Bong Tae Gyu go through in real life?
“My unexpectedly becoming an actor was like a big growing pain. It was hard for me to accept at a young age when things happened that I had never imagined before and I suddenly became famous. Everything in my 20s was like that. It was so hard that I never got to enjoy my 20s. I could’ve had a great time after I had become a famous actor but I kept shrinking away because I was afraid I would make a mistake. I have about 60 numbers in my phone. My family and my friends in my agency. That’s it.”
Did you ad-lib any lines in the film?
“Not at all. I only changed some words. Because director Byun has experience in acting he wrote a great scenario. There was nothing to fix. I also don’t usually do ad-libs. I’m not as quick as you would think.”
How was your teamwork with the other actors like Lee Young Hoon or Kwak Ji Min?
“They’re great friends. When we were shooting, I actually tried to keep my distance. I thought if we got too close we wouldn’t be able to properly get into the film, since we’re supposed to be awkward in the film.”
How successful do you believe the film will be?
“I’m actually not expecting much. I just hope that critics say it’s a good film. I want to hear that ‘Bong Tae Gyu tried out a new type of acting he never showed before, and it was good; it wasn’t awkward’. I just hope that those who see the film are satisfied with it. I learned when I was little that success depends on luck. I’ve had good films go down because it wasn’t lucky, and moderate films succeed [because it was lucky]. I just work hard in shoots as an actor, and when I need to promote I just promote. No one can help a film’s success. If it becomes a success even though it’s a small film, it’ll become the next Old Partner.”
Are you promoting with methods other than interviews?
“I’m not a big social network user, so Tablo and his colleagues helped out on social networks. That was the best I could do.”
Your styles at the ‘The Beat Goes On’ preview were impressive. Bong Tae Gyu and Lee Young Hoon were wearing suits, but director Byun Sung Hyun was wearing a hip-hop style.
“It’s not easy to dress like director Byun. (Laugh) Since I would be coming out for the first time in a long time I thought it would look insincere even if I wore a hip-hop style for a hip-hop film. Actually, my stylist had picked out two pairs of shocking clothes, but I chose a calmer style to be polite.”
This film ended up premiering four years since your last new piece. How were you in the meantime?
“This film was originally filmed in 2009, so it’s actually two years since my last. I had a lot of personal issues. Because I had never learned acting I always felt that was my weakness. I wasn’t satisfied even after trying to act when it came to me. That’s why I tried out plays and musicals.”
Did you learn a lot through plays and musicals?
“I learned a lot. I realized that I was a babe in the woods. I used the subway or bus alone when I was appearing in a play. When you wear a hat and a training suit, no one really recognizes you, and even if they do, they don’t really care. I realized that I a lot of things had been attached to my body after I became an actor. What’s important to an actor is whether he’s good or bad at acting; it isn’t what van he rides or how many staff members he has around him. When I met with director Byun I mostly met him at exit 2 in Hapjeong Station.”
What roles does the new Bong Tae Gyu want to take on in the future?
“Now, I think I would be able to melt into any role. I want to take on many different genres and many different characters. I’ll depend on the director as much as possible. I used to think acting is hard, but I realized that I want it really badly. It’s an ideal if I feel happy while I act. Now, I feel more laid back. I don’t know what piece I’ll be in next, but I think I’ll be able to showcase a different color of acting. I’m looking forward to my next piece.”
Do you have any plans in areas other than acting?
“I think I want to try singing, but not now. I’ll try it after acting some more. I do want to write a book, especially one about fashion. In Japan there are books not about fashion in general but about each specific item, like jeans or t-shirts. I want to publish an expert book like that.”
Did anything change for you after you entered your 30s?
“I can’t understand what singers in music shows are singing about without subtitles. I also used to feel comfortable in Gangnam, but now I like quiet places better. I used to like loud places but not now. I like how I am now better.”
What kind of actor do you want to be?
“I just want to be called an ‘actor’ without any other names attached. Everything is contained in that one word.”
What kind of film is ‘The Beat Goes On’ to Bong Tae Gyu?
“It’s a turning point. It’s a film that I’ll never get to film again. It’s a film I filmed when I was 29 years old, just like Chang Dae. I believe that, regardless of its success, The Beat Goes On will be the biggest film of my life.”
Photo credit: Kim Byung Kwan
Translation credit: Erika Kim
Reach reporter Oh MiJung on Twitter @isyutar!
- Han Ye Seul 20110902