Interview – Good Doctor Joo Won Grew Together with Park Si On
“During an autograph session everybody was imitating Si On in yelling “No”, haha!”
This is an anecdote from actor Joo Won (26) who participated in the KBS2TV drama <Good Doctor>.
Having brought much warmth and comfort to audiences, <Good Doctor> will air its last episode on the 8th of this month. A project that surpassed all previous medical dramas, it chronicles the story of savant syndrome sufferer Park Si On (played by Joo Won) who joins the pediatric department and changes the people around him while growing as a doctor.
<Good Doctor>’s highest rating peaked at 21.5% and has been dominating first place for the Monday-Tuesday slots during its entire run. The success of <Good Doctor> definitely is not without Joo Won’s hard work. He has once again been recognized as a top actor in the 20s age range. We interviewed Joo Won who has finished with said project and is now neck-deep in rehearsals for the musical <GHOST>.
Part 2: “<Good Doctor>; the set was good, the crew good, and the cast good.”
<Good Doctor> has won the hearts of the young, the old, and many others from all ages. Joo Won says that the teamwork displayed on set was too good, thus he cannot bear to bid this project farewell. One can sense this feeling of unwillingness from Joo Won’s words and facial expressions despite having achieved success in every project from the time of his debut till today. However, this project has left certain side effects, e.g the slightly hunched shoulders, waist and neck plus the unintentional habit of folding his hands.
“Whenever a project concludes there is a tinge of sadness amidst the care freeness, especially when it is with a cast and crew whom you have been going through a lot with. I feel most sad. It is a great sense of pity; during <Good Doctor>’s last shooting scene and when I knew I would never be able to play Si On again. To be honest, the live atmosphere at the <Good Doctor> set was really great, I felt that if it continued in the same manner we could have filmed for another few years without any problems.”
In a confined area called the ‘hospital’, the cast and crew spent 3 months together. How then, did they spend time? Since everyone is almost the same age, once they gathered it would be a din. Joo Won points out that Joo Sang Wook is the group’s mood-maker.
“If the cast comes together we become very undisciplined and noisy. Since everyone is about the same age, we have plenty in common to talk about and we like pulling pranks on one another. Joo Sang Wook hyung is the mood-maker whose character by nature is very exuberant. His age is slightly older than the rest of the younger cast but he mixes well with all and treats them like friends. “
Joo Won also talked about the child actors who played patients from the pediatric department at Sungwon University Hospital. He lavished praises on them, including ‘Wolf Girl’ Eun Ok.
“Because of their presence, the atmosphere was lively. I love children; the child actors are a really cute bunch. Though they are young but their acting skills are excellent. In future when they grow up I think they will become a respected sunbae like Song Kang Ho sunbaenim. The amazing thing is, I am an actor with 3 years experience. But if you look at the child actors’ resume, they are considered my sunbaes. When I asked a little actor and was informed that he first debuted at 4 years old, I had a shock.“
Part 3: “Moon Chae Won difficult/fussy? She is the most easy-going actress”
Joo Won even knows about the existence of ‘Joo-Joo Couple’. ‘Joo-Joo Couple’ takes its name from the first word of Joo Won and Joo Sang Wook’s names, it is a moniker given by fans of <Good Doctor>. We asked Joo Won a question – does he like Joo-Joo Couple or Si On-Yoon Seo Couple? Without hesitation, Joo Won chose the latter.
“If I have to choose one, I definitely prefer Yoon Seo-Si On Couple, haha. There was a possibility for bromance between Joo-Joo Couple in the beginning but in the later half, Yoon Seo and Si On spent more time together. During the early days of the production, I myself was curious as to how far Si On and Yoon Seo’s relationship would go. The writer must have also put much thought into it. Because if we were to look at Si On’s personality, it was unlikely that he would took the lead like a big namja.”
If we say the first half of the drama was about Si On’s journey to become a doctor, then the second half focused on Si On-Yoon Seo’s romance. The couple was just like the innocent and young love between a boy and girl depicted in the “Peter Pan” play at the end of the drama. At this point, we can’t help but talk about the chemistry between Joo Won and Moon Chae Won.
“Many people around us said that our chemistry was excellent. Personally, I am not the type who can dive into the scene immediately. Moon Chae Won sunbae also mentioned that many people said the same thing about her. So, we spent a lot of time discussing how we will act our scenes together. When I first met her, I was worried if she would be arrogant. In the end, she turned out to be really carefree and easy-going.
<Good Doctor> is Joo Won’s first medical drama, it is one which he would never forget. He met 2 autistic persons in the course of researching and creating the character Si On. When autism is mentioned, people will think of Kibong and Chowon. Although there was no one character which could give the accurate depiction, Joo Won managed to carve a unique character for himself. He also took the opportunity to learn more about the changes and reality concerning pediatrics.
“To me, the Si On and Yoon Seo Couple is real. It really breaks my heart when other people look upon them coldly. As the actor, Joo Won, I got really angry because I felt that Si On was pitiful. If not, I wouldn’t have poured all my frustrations to Joo Sang Wook sunbae. I am very happy that after the drama ended, the hospital which we were filming in added more facilities.”
Part 4: Actor Joo Won goes back to his first love – Musicals
What was it like to go from a musical star to a drama star? Having appeared in 2010 KBS2TV <Baker King Kim Tak Gu>, <Ojakgyo Brothers>, MBC <7th Level Civil Servant>, KBS2TV <Bridal Mask> and <Good Doctor>, for Joo Won the most important consideration when it comes to choosing a drama is the script.
“The thing I consider most is whether the story is interesting. After that, it’s the director and also the cast. Every production is completed because of an interesting script, an outstanding director and actors/actresses. If everyone wants to do things their own way then the atmosphere of the entire team will be destroyed. During <Good Doctor>, Director Ki Minsoo would consider and coordinate everyone’s opinions, which led to a good leadership.
We asked Joo Won what kind of role he would be presenting to us next. Joo Won expressed his desire to return to his first love by appearing in the play <GHOST> in November. This is after a long absence from musicals.
“In dramas, there is no one right answer. <GHOST> the musical is also not an exception. I want to show everyone a different side to me. I hope that when viewers watch my shows, they won’t see the actor Joo Won but the character I create, like Si On.”
Chinese translation by 小水 (JW Baidu)
English translation by @daydreamsindecember & mrdimples