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Title Interview with Lee Soon-jae (September 5, 2007), who plays the role of King Young-jo in Lee San, Wind of the Palace
Upate 2008-03-03 14:03

As a light drizzle fell in Taean, South Chungcheong Province on September 4, 2007, the crew of ?Lee San, Wind of the Palace were preparing the set early in the morning. 300 extras will appear in the royal procession of King Young-jo (actor Lee Soon-jae) along with the child actors who portray Prince San (actor Lee Seo-jin), Dae-soo (actor Lee Jong-soo), and Song-yeon (actress Han Ji-min) when they were children. Child actor Park Ji-bin plays the young Prince San and today, he?ll stop the royal procession to save his father, Prince Sado, who is locked inside a small rice cabinet without any food for days. Then he'll get down on his knees before King Young-jo and ask the king to look at a painting that his father told him to show to him. But then King Young-jo refuses to look at the painting and will order his servants to have the young prince imprisoned and punished for high treason.

- What do you think about the character you play? He's a king who puts the needs of the kingdom ahead of his children?s needs.

If you're the king, I think you need to rule like that. If you're holding a public office, you need to be ready to sacrifice your family's happiness and individual needs. Especially in a small country like Korea where there is instability in the region. Ruling a country requires such courage. A relationship between a dad and son is a personal matter. In one of the lines that King Young-jo utters, he mentions that the death of his son is a personal matter and it would be a tragedy if he allowed his son to ascend the throne simply because he's his own flesh and blood.

- What kind of dad are you in real life?

I'm too busy to be with my family. I'm always working so I'd say I'm a failure as a father.

- It's been a while since you've appeared in a period drama again. How do you feel about that? And what do you find different between contemporary dramas and period dramas?

This is my first period drama since I lasted worked on Sangdo. I'll be portraying a character that is completely different from my last role. Viewers will still remember my funny role in High Kick! but I'll be acting as a completely difference character in this drama. Actors want to take on different roles as they take roles in both period dramas and contemporary dramas. I enjoy such challenges enormously.

- Since you have such a long acting career, I assume that you have the ability to know whether a drama you're appearing in will be a hit or not.

When I review a role, I'll read the script, see who's directing it, and check the cast members. Lee San, Wind of the Palace is strong in all of these areas. I have a lot of faith in director Lee Byoung-hoon and the writer. I expect this will become a terrific miniseries so I'm full dedicating myself to every scene.

- Director Lee Byoung-hoon is a perfectionist and known among actors to do lots of retakes. Don?t you find that hard?

Oh no. It shows that he's a true director. Most directors will leave the acting to the actors but you can't do that in a period drama. There's a nuance that a period drama is trying to convey and the director needs to bring that out. For the young actors in our cast, I think it will be a good experience for them to work together with Director Lee. They'll learn a lot.

Actor Lee Soon-jae tells us of his deep trust in Director Lee Byoung-hoon and believes that 'Lee San, Wind of the Palace? will become a hit miniseries. He says that the political style of King Young-jo contains a message to politicians of today. When we saw him acting in a scene, we already saw that he had taken on the persona of his new role as a dignified king and there were no signs of the lighthearted character he played in High Kick!.


- Profile

Date of birth: October 10, 1935
Education: Seoul National University, Department of Philosophy
Debut: Will I become a Human, too? (TV, 1956)
Award: Outstanding Taxpayer on 41st Taxpayer?s Day, Dongdaemun Tax Office, 2007