Hyun Bin: Having the time of his life

Published August 2, 2021, 10:12 PM

by Robert Requintina

Hyun Bin

With his megawatt smile and simple vibes, Korean superstar Hyun Bin thrilled Filipino fans when he met them virtually during the “Smart Hallyu Hangout” online series over the weekend.

“Hello, I’m so glad to meet you here. I’m Hyun Bin. It would have been nicer to meet you all in person, but thanks to Smart, I’m talking to you online today, and I’m so glad to meet you. I hope we have a great time together today. I suppose this is my first time meeting my fans this way. I hope you have a good time today,” said Hyun Bin.

Here Hyun Bin tells about his future plans and what he wants to do when he visits the Philippines.

How did you feel on your way here?

Well, I had mixed  feelings. I was excited, but at the same time, I thought it was a shame. I also thought I would like to enjoy every moment of this amazing opportunity.

Was the commercial filmed in one go?

Of course not. Some people helped me with the pronunciation [of “simple”.] It took me a few attempts.

I was expecting to see you in other shows after Crash Landing on You. How have you been?

After Crash Landing On You, I filmed another movie called Bargaining. Hwang Jung Min and I starred in the movie. And within the first half of this year, I finished shooting a movie titled Confidential Assignment 2.

When will you take a break?

Well, my last shoot for Confidential Assignment 2 was on June 13. Since then, I’ve been working with Smart and shooting other commercials. I think I’ll get to take some rest after this.

How do you rest yourself?

To be honest, when I have schedules, I cannot take a complete rest. I always have the pressure somewhere in my mind, so I can’t take a complete rest. I play golf with my friends every now and then. Sometimes, after I get home from work, I take a shower and have a glass of wine or beer. Then I know I had a fulfilling day.

It’s not easy to get away from the pressure. I’m an actor, and actors need to create something constantly. I always think about how I can improve myself.

Fan questions

What’s the thing you want to do the most in the Philippines?

It’s to meet my fans. I’m curious. I’m more curious than excited. I would like to feel how much my fans in the Philippines support me and love me.

What advice would you give to the people who are currently experiencing a slump?

I think it depends on how you define a slump. Even now, I think I’m in a slump as an actor. For instance, it might be hard to call it a slump, but I have my concerns too. Sometimes, I don’t like my acting, even when my director said it was okay. Then I start thinking about why the director said it was okay, and what I don’t like about it. Then I shoot the scene again and again until I’m satisfied. But I’m not sure it was the right thing to do. That’s the problem I always have. When I find myself in a slump, if that’s what you call, I try to figure out what caused it. I try to figure out if I’m having trouble because of my own thoughts or because of a specific cause. I try to take a step back to figure out what it is.

I believe if you take a step back, and look at yourself and the situation from an objective perspective, you’ll be able to cope with it better. Because then you’ll be able to find whatever put you in your situation.

Do you think you’re closer to a happy life?

I can’t remember exactly when I said that, but my standards have changed a bit. I can’t remember exactly what situation I was in or what thoughts I had when I said that. But I think I was talking about achieving something or finding something that satisfies me and makes me happy. I think it’s hard to define the word happiness. It can be defined differently depending on how you see it. These days, I think happiness is about how much you experience happy and positive feelings throughout the day. On the days when I had those feelings, no matter how tough the day was, at the end of the day, I can tell myself I was happy that day. And on the days when I didn’t experience those feelings, I can’t help but think it was a tough day. So these days, I try to find the small things that make me feel happy in my everyday life.

What is the thing you think everyone should experience?

Traveling. I suggest you travel somewhere where the culture and the environment are different. It gives you a new perspective. While traveling, you experience new emotions and discover the sides of you you have never noticed. And I think that’s a great experience for many reasons.

I think touring all those islands [in the Philippines] would be a great experience.

What do you do when you use your phone?

I like to read news. I read all sections. I think it’s nice to know what’s happening in the world I’m living in anyway. I’d like to at least have a rough idea of what’s going on.

What kind of apps do you like to use?

I often use those that are related to my job. OTT platforms, for example.

Do you watch the dramas you’re in?

No. [I watch] everything else.

Could you tell us anything memorable from the Smart shoot?

The Smart commercials include a lot of visual effects. Everything that surrounded me was computer graphics, so I had to act in an empty space. It’s exciting to imagine what the result will be like, but  at the same time, knowing if I was doing all right or even what I was doing made me feel a little awkward. But it’s exciting as well.

Yes or No

“I think I was born to be an actor.”

Now I think I was born to be an actor. But I also think this might not be the only thing I can be good at. When I was young, I wanted to become a detective. But now I think I could be a golfer too. I also think I can run a business. There are some other things I want to try as well.

My hobby is playing golf. I like playing golf, so I want to be good at it. I even think, if I had started playing when I was little, I might have dreamed of becoming a golf player.

“I often cry when I watch dramas or movies.”

I don’t cry very often. Somehow, I can cry when I act.

“I like action more than romantic comedies.”

No. The thing is, it depends on my mood. It depends on what I want to do at the moment. It also depends on what I’m shooting at the moment. Depending on my condition and situation ,the same scenario can be read differently. It also depends on what I’m interested in, what catches my attention, and what I want to say, which changes all the time. I can get different impressions from the same scenario, depending on when I read it.

Secret Garden felt like destiny to me. After My Lovely Sam Soon, I didn’t really get to do romantic comedies. I also just had more chances to do other genres. Then the moment I thought I could do a romantic comedy, I had Secret Garden.

“I search my name on portal websites once a day.”

Yes. I think I do it almost every day. I do it because I want to know if there’s something about me that I don’t know of. For example, when there’s an event like this, I never know when it’ll be covered. So I search my name every now and then to see how it’s covered.

“I love myself a lot.”

No. I feel like I don’t love myself very much. I push myself a lot, but I barely compliment myself. That’s why I said no just now. Living as an actor, I often feel like I’m forced to live as Hyun Bin, which makes it hard for me to care about my true self. This is one of the reasons why I don’t use social media. I want to keep my work and personal life separate. I want to learn about myself on my own. I think it’s something only I can deal with. I think this is also one of the reasons why.

Hyun Bin’s work

Have you always been such a great pianist?

I learned the piano when I was little, but I had to practice when I had to shoot [Crash Landing On You].

Was the acting difficult somehow?

It was hard indeed. But both on Crash Landing On You and Confidential Assignment, I speak Pyongyang dialect. I heard it was different depending on the profession of the speaker. After shooting Confidential Assignment, I had to learn the accent all over again. The second time was easier because I have done it before. It was easier for me to approach it.

Can you play the piano?

I used to when I was little, but I haven’t been playing for a while. I haven’t been playing for so long that I forgot everything. But because of that scene, I had to play that piano. So I practiced that piece. That scene was filmed in Switzerland. As you know, there aren’t pianos in hotel rooms. We brought a piano all the way from Korea. We brought a digital piano all the way to Switzerland so I could practice in my room. Then we shot that scene.

What’s the most memorable moment from that shoot?

We filmed it in many different places, and that part was the most memorable. We had to film it in the places where you can’t see skyscrapers due to the story. So we had to film it in the countryside, and even abroad sometimes.

Was [Memories of the Alhambra] shot in front of a green screen?

No, they were all shot in ordinary places by myself. There were some scenes where I was with the characters only visible to me. We shot the scene together once and then I shot the scene alone. Writer Song Jae Jung made it possible. Also director Ahn Gil Ho. People in the neighborhood came and watched too, especially when we shot the plaza scene. Luckily, there were more foreigners than Koreans there, which made it less embarrassing for me.

You said that you just finished shooting Confidential Assignment 2. What tough things did you do this time?

Well, its scale has become bigger. And the first series was only about South and North Korea’s cooperation. This time, the US is involved as well.

How’s your chemistry with Yoo Hae Jin?

It’s upgraded. We worked together before. The name of his character is Jin Tae. My character and Jin Tae’s family have a good relationship, so we were supposed to be comfortable around each other. And we added some details based on that.

Did you know Secret Garden would become so popular?

No, I didn’t. But I heard from a fellow actor during the shoot that people out there are crazy about it. I was always on the set so I didn’t have any chance to communicate with people outside. Although I did hear how popular it was outside, I couldn’t feel it at all. I just continued shooting.

You had a lot of catchphrases. I bet you had no idea those lines would be so popular.

I had no idea. I found the scenes like the foam kiss scene and the sit-up scene quite interesting, but at the same time, I found it a little cringy too. But I did want to make those scenes entertaining.

I suppose Secret Garden was your turning point.

It was indeed. Mostly because it was the last drama I shot before I entered the army. Thanks to this drama, I could wrap up what I have been doing and move on to the next level, which was very nice to me.

Hyde Jekyll, Me. This is the first drama you shot after joining the army.

Right. I shot this after The Fatal Encounter.

You played a man who had two personalities, Seo Jin, a very cold man, and Robin, a very sweet man. I see why this character can be intriguing to actors, but it must have been really hard to act.

It was really hard indeed.

Which one are you closer to, Seo Jin or Robin?

I’d say half and half.

What was your favorite scene?

I remember one of Robin’s scenes. It wasn’t played here, but there’s this scene where Robin holds Ha Na and cries out loud, saying his head hurts. And somehow, I still remember the vibe on the set and my emotions then. I’m not sure why though.

Is there any of your other works that you’d recommend to us?

If it was autumn now, I’d recommend Late Autumn. It’s a drama that makes you look back on your daily life.

Final Messages

I’m always grateful to my fans. All I can do for them to repay their love is to continue acting, hoping it would make their life a little better.

Although it was for a short time, I got to talk with my fans and talk about my works for a short while. It was nice to communicate with my fans, even though I could only see them through a screen.

Both Bargaining, the movie I filmed last year and Confidential Assignment 2, the movie I finished earlier this year are almost ready to be released now. I cannot tell you for sure when they will be released because it will depend on the situation, but they will be the first movies you’ll see. I’ll make sure to find good dramas and movies and do my best. Please wait until then.

 
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