When Joo Won took on this role, I was very curious how he will convey the emotions of Park Si On. Often, I read that autistic people have difficulties in expressing their emotions, not that they have none.
Joo Won is one talented and hardworking actor. He always immerses himself so much into his character that we, the viewers see the character and not Joo Won the person. There are very few actors who are able to do this. One of Joo Won’s strengths is his mastery at expressing emotions. You can feel the wretchedness of Ma Jun, saddened by the loneliness of Tae Hee or get blown away by the raw intensity of Kang To. He uses his entire body to act but of course, the most important part is the face, especially the eyes. Joo Won’s eyes are his best assets, not just because he has one of the most beautiful pair of eyes I have ever seen. He uses his eyes to convey his character’s thoughts and feelings most excellently. When the viewers see them, these eyes convey tenderness, love, hurt, loneliness, pain, sorrow and fury. Stare into them and I guarantee that they will turn the hardest stone into a puddle of goo.
In Good Doctor, Joo Won faces a whole new challenge. Park Si On’s body movements are very restrained, he keeps his arms very close to his body and hardly gesticulates the way people normally do. Instead he has a set of hand movements unique to himself. When he is in extreme distress, his right hand raises up to his chest and starts to shake. When he is nervous or exasperated, his hands clutched together and his thumbs scratches them.
Si On’s head never levels up when he is among people, it is always at an angle downwards. I think it’s because he does not feel comfortable making eye contact. He does look at people but he doesn’t hold the gaze for long. His eyes always look downwards unless he is recalling and reciting some information or when he is admiring something beautiful, entirely in a world of his own. Si On does not cry, smile or get angry the way we do. He talks in monotone and rambles off information like a recorder. People call him a robot and thinks he has no feelings because you do not see him react nor can you read from his facial expression and voice. Now, how does Joo Won who is very good at acting with his eyes, expressing emotions on his face , through body language and even tunes his voice differently for each character, act a character like Park Si On?
As a fan who watched each and every one of his dramas, some countless times, I still could not imagine how Joo Won is going to do this. As it turned out, this man’s talent is far beyond my imagination. Usually I am able to describe Joo Won’s acting in various scenes. However, in this role, no matter how great Joo Won is in crying scenes, it is useless because Park Si On does not cry. Yet, I could feel his extreme loneliness and sadness whenever he recollects those happy times with his hyung. I could see his pain when little Min Hee died. I could see his silent cries of desperation when he realized he lost his post as a resident doctor. Besides sadness, Si On does not break out into smiles when he is happy or shows obviously on his face that he is angry. This is the most challenging part. To act all these emotions with your eyes only and they cannot be too expressive either. The only way Joo Won could achieve all these is because he becomes Park Si On, the second the camera rolls. There is zero trace of Ma Jun, Tae Hee, Kangto or Gilro in Si On, neither can we find the real man himself. This is the genius of Joo Won. It is not of course not the first time, Joo Won has always been able to go under the skin of a character and disappear into it. It is just that in the case of Si On, a man who has very little expressions, this aspect of Joo Won’ acting shines like a brilliant star in a pitch black sky.
Park Si On isn’t just a sad character, he is a tremendously funny one. For this, I must credit the writer for writing some of the most awesome scenes and lines for Si On. Joo Won proved to have great comedic timing and added his own dose of aegyoness. What could have easily become an annoying character, Si On became the cutest and most adorable character in dramaland. I roared with laughter when Si On turned his head taking Yoon Seo’s instructions literally. I was shrieking with tears in my eyes when Dr Park asked to borrow the gandum robot. There are so many funny scenes to describe, like in the recent episode when Si On shouted “Whelk!” as the dish arrived just when Yoon Seo wanted him to say something to the colleagues at his welcome party. And how can I forget the cutest angry pout in the world when Si On glared at Yoon Seo for throwing away his precious scalpel?
It is not just Joo Won’s amazing acting talent but also his own person that makes Park Si On a success. When I read in one synopsis version that this character has the personality of a 10 year old, I was fearful that it might mess up the portrayal. Imagine a grown man, stamping his feet and shouting in a childish voice, this will certainly be awful. . Eight episodes in, I am swept off by Joo Won’s performance as the child-like Park Si On whose innocence is a delight to behold. I am sure this is in no small part due to Joo Won’s actual personality. Innocent is a word often used to describe Joo Won. I can use many adjectives to describe an amiable and kind young actor but innocent? Yet, this is often said of Joo Won by directors, producers, staff, co-stars and interviewers alike. That is why we find Si On’s innocence so real and heartwarming. It is because it stems from Joo Won’s very own.
As he has done in the past dramas, Joo Won owns the character Park Si On to such an extent that I cannot another actor doing it. As a fan, I am proud that he has worked hard, devoted himself to the role and proved all his naysayers wrong with his amazing performance. In this process, he has garnered new fans and becomes a force to be reckoned with in Korean showbiz.
credit: someone’s gif on tumblr
“Park Si On
you made him so real and lovable