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Joo Won 주원 - Finished Drama: Alice


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Happy Seollal, everybody!

 

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And, for those who haven't seen it yet, JW posted a really sweet Instagram Story for the occasion (click the arrow for translation ;))

 

 

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Joowon cries... I cry too~ All the hardships and happiness that we went through together the past couple of years... It has been a roller-coaster ride being in this fandom. Joowon has had to work so h

Hai girls! Sorry I've been out of it for the past couple of days. I didnt have time to go to soompi, hadnt even back-tracked the pages since Saturday and my phone takes the longest time ever to upload

The reason why JW was bending down and looking at the man. Cr as tagged. Many asked me why I like JW and why I like him for so long?  THIS. Plus his acting. 

lol - I guess I waited too long on the whole "my thoughts on My Sassy Girl" thing :P Because now I've gone from halfway through to the big plot twist in just a few days :D 

 

(Mind you, I did know what it was well in advance - but still. By the way, it's been interesting going through this drama as though I didn't know it when really, I did. It's more of a fair assessment, that way: how did the show's producers lead up to that big reveal at the end of Episode 26?)

 

Overall, I do think the story has been executed rather well - even though by this point, I do suspect that we're deep into fanservice territory (no, seriously: the whole white-masked-avenger was pretty blatantly obvious to start with, but when people started referring to him as "Ghost Mask", I lost it :P). There have been some plot and character elements I liked more than others, so let me just list them out accordingly.

 

What's Working for Me

 

1. That Chinese prince (i.e. why am I getting Second Lead Syndrome over a cameo?)

 

lol - I'm sure you knew I was going to bring him up sooner or later. ;) But in all seriousness, I love that he turned out to be such a sweet and adorable character who actually gave Gyun Woo a run for his money. He's so head-over-heels in love with Hye Myung that it's almost cheesy, and I really enjoyed watching that; it tells me that even if - drama plot needs aside - Hye Myung had chosen him, she would have wound up okay. But, of course, since the whole marriage plot was meant as a) a means to get Hye Myung out of the country, and b) a smokescreen to the illegal arms smuggling that was going on, that couldn't actually happen.

 

(By the way: if Minister Jung so desperately wanted to both get Hye Myung out of court and get rid of Gyun Woo and his family's influence before they could become a serious threat...why not just push for them to marry each other and kill two birds with one stone? Of course, again, that would stand in the way of justice being served and all, but just saying. :P)

 

One particularly adorable aspect of this prince, in my mind, is that he latches on to Gyun Woo so easily. Like, he's just so eager at the thought of possibly finding a friend in Joseon - like, he literally refers to Gyun Woo as his friend halfway through his visit - that it's really hard to dislike him even if I tried. It just gives me the sense that this prince is a genuinely goodhearted soul - maybe not Emperor-material, though, so let's hope he's a minor prince (e.g. a younger son or the son of a concubine or something).

 

2. Ghost Mask and the new flyers

 

Because it's about time Hye Myung got some help from the outside - and it's always fun for me to watch K-drama villains start running around like a bunch of headless chickens :P I mean it: one of my favourite themes in K-dramas as a general whole is that evil doesn't pay - not because of future punishment, but because it ends up destroying you on the inside. So whenever I see the whole group of villains starting to doubt and backstab each other, or end up with a taste of their own medicine (e.g. Minister Jung raising Da Yeon to resort to unscrupulous means to get what she wants, only to end up with her lashing out at him in a "but Daddy, you said..." sort of way), it's really satisfying for me as a viewer because then I know that resolution is on its way.

 

3. Gyun Woo's Past

 

Well, I did say I just got to the big plot twist, so here we go. While I do think that some elements of this storyline (e.g. Gyun Woo's nightmares) were introduced too abruptly in the show to make much sense, overall, I like it. I'm not always a fan of the starcrossed lovers/"bad fate between families" sort of plotline that a lot of K-dramas resort to, but in this case, most likely because My Sassy Girl is a preproduced drama, I do think it works.

 

Why?

 

Because we get to see, in hindsight, just how much was hinting to this point. We knew right from the start that Gyun Woo was a child prodigy - the King said so himself when he returned to court after spending several years in China. We also knew that a lot of his thinking was based on Confucian ideals - it's what made Hye Myung drive him up the wall so much at the start, for instance - so it's definitely likely that he would get the wrong idea re: the former Queen and Prince Choo Sung based on hearsay. And now we get to the third piece of the puzzle: we know that the Gyun Woo we see in the beginning of the drama was a rather cocky pain in the you-know-what. While I'm sure that he was way more arrogant as an adult than as a child, it's possible, in that "I can change the world" mindset that kids get, that he genuinely believed that he was doing the right thing back then, with no real conception of the actual consequences of his actions.

 

This brings us back full-circle to what I'd thought in the beginning of the drama: that My Sassy Girl was meant to be a sageuk-ified satire of today's online media culture. Think about it: super-smart kid starts learning about adult issues at a young age; decides he's "woke" and starts posting his ideas online; his words go viral (out of the mouths of babes and all that) and cause a massive dumpster fire on Facebook or Twitter or whatever; a famous person's reputation gets completely destroyed because netizens now accuse him/her of something he/she was actually innocent of....

 

You get the idea.

 

Now, I'm not saying that Gyun Woo was wrong to do what he did - even if it's now coming back to bite him. We do see, for instance, how he tries to make amends even back then, let alone now - and, more importantly, given his limited knowledge of the situation, that was unfortunately the most natural conclusion he'd reach about the former Queen. Personally, I think the best thing for him to do would be to make things right by finishing what he'd started: proving the former Queen's innocence.

 

Okay, that being said, let's move on to the other side of the spectrum...

 

Things that could have been Done Better

 

1. Gyun Woo's Being in Love

 

Allow me a disclaimer: I do think the actual process of falling in love was done well in this drama. It happened at a slow natural pace, such that now I find myself sometimes forgetting that Gyun Woo and Hye Myung hated each other at first.

 

But where I think the show could have done things better was in terms of taking more of Gyun Woo's situation into consideration. Falling in love with a princess in the Joseon era is a huge deal - especially if, like Gyun Woo, one happens to be the only son in the family. And while I do believe Gyun Woo when he says that he's willing to forfeit his position at court in order to marry Hye Myung...I would have liked to see him, you know, actually put some thought into it - not just say, "I don't care" when his parents try to dissuade him. That moment, in light of everything else that's been going on, felt really abrupt and made Gyun Woo come across more like a petulant teenager than the thoughtful scholar he is.

 

Honestly, I don't think I'm asking much, show - just even mentions of this point in his discussions with, say, his friends or his father or even Hye Myung herself before this point would have helped. It kinda just came out of nowhere here, though???

 

2. JW's Romantic Acting

 

Sorry, guys - but I am going to go there. 

 

Personally, I know that a number of JW's fans see his comic acting to be his main weakness - and, in more over-the-top slapstick-y contexts, I can see why. But here, I think it's his romantic acting that's falling a bit flat for me.

 

Now, don't get me wrong. JW nails many of the cute, fluffy moments in this drama. Even some of the cheesier ones (e.g. "Jugulae?" "If we die together, yes."). My own personal favourite is the one where Gyun Woo and Hye Myung are together in a side room in the clinic and he asks for just one more minute from her attendants so he could just sit there holding her hand a bit longer. Along with the surprise peck on the cheek he gives her there, it's just so cute and pure and adorable and...gah. You get what I mean.

 

So where do I think he's struggling? It's with the pained romance - all those moments we see Gyun Woo wrestling in his head between his knowledge of the political situation and his feelings for Hye Myung. My impression here is that maybe the director told JW to act like Gyun Woo's just withdrawn into himself and his own thoughts - but if so, he's overdone it just a tad. :unsure: Because when I was watching Gyun Woo during the Chinese prince's visit, or during his attempts to keep the old scandal a secret from Hye Myung, he didn't look so much pained or conflicted (i.e. struggling between different emotions) to me as just...lost. Like, full-on "lost little boy" - or, as my mother (whom I'm watching this with) put it, like a "Joseon-era Park Si On".

 

It's cute, in its own way - and maybe the director was going for that vibe in a "Gyun Woo's an intellectual genius, but he struggles with his emotional or social skills" kind of idea. But given that I have seen JW completely nail "pained romance" before (like, I don't remember much from Level 7 Civil Servant, but I do remember that one closeup of JW's face when Han Gil Ro discovered Kim Seo Won breaking into the safe)...I'm left wanting to see that rather than what we actually end up getting.

 

But hey - there's still a good deal more show to go, and this is when things finally get personal for Gyun Woo. So hopefully, I'll get to see some meatier acting from JW - because I know for a fact that he can do it :) 

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So, I'm only two episodes further into My Sassy Girl right now (i.e. just finished Episode 28), but there's already so much to chew on there that I think I can pull off another quick interim review.

 

First of all: someone get the Gyun household a counselor. Please. Like, up to this point, I was going along with the major differences between the male and female sides of the family as some fun comic relief, but they are seriously on such different wavelengths right now that it's a bit nuts. Mostly, what I'm seeing is a huge communication gap: Gyun Woo and his father in one unit, his mother and sister in another, with neither side really knowing what the other is up to. Okay, I get that that might have been the norm in an uber-Confucian/traditional household (with the father as Minister of Education and a son spewing quotes from Confucian texts in everyday conversation, you know this family's gonna be conservative) - but when it comes to a "our son/your brother did something really horrible when he was too little to know any better" sort of dark secret...you'd think they'd at least be on the same page about keeping it a secret, right? 

 

But, of all people Gyun Woo's sister had to blab it to, it just had to be Jung Da Yeon? Really? And just out of some futile attempt to play matchmaker? Honestly, at this rate, I think blabbing it to Hye Myung would have been better - especially given Gyun Woo's plan to confess to the King and take responsibility for his actions anyway. At least that way, if anything were to happen to him, it'd be in the process of, you know, making things right - not making things even worse.

 

Granted, I am well aware that Gyun Woo's mother and sister don't suspect that there's anything amiss with Da Yeon, but that's just further evidence as far as I'm concerned that miscommunication is a serious problem in this family. Because we know how both the fathers have a long history of being at each other's throats, so isn't it a bit odd that they're still missing the memo after so many years?

 

(Yes, I know that things will end happily for the entire family by the end. But I did want to get my "first" - i.e. assuming I don't already know spoilers - impression down. Just for the record.)

 

But with all that said, I do think JW really rose to the challenge in these couple episodes. That first look he gives Hye Myung after recovering his memories...now, that was heartwrenching. It's not "little boy lost" anymore, but something far darker - the conflicting emotions I'd talked about in the last post. So, in that one moment, I can see how horrified Gyun Woo is by what he's remembered and the fact that Hye Myung is the first person he sees after coming to, and when his eyes narrow as he backs away from her...it's this really wary sort of glare (like he's warning her to back off).

 

And the other standout moment for me is when Gyun Woo is in his room with that old chest, warring with himself over whether to open it - because on the one hand, he knows he has to face his past sooner or later, but on the other hand, he's still in denial and he's afraid that seeing the evidence will make it real. This time, for me, it's less JW's eyes and more his body language that stand out: how his grip on the latch grows tighter and tighter until his hand slips in that violent jerk that happens when you use too much pressure. And maybe it's just me and my overactive imagination, but given that we do see Gyun Woo barefoot in that scene, I swear I saw tension in his feet as well: the tendons raised like he's simultaneously bracing himself for balance and ready to spring back at any second.

 

As for the ending of Episode 28, while JW was great in that one as well (he did have the "little boy lost" expression that time, but I do think it was appropriate given the circumstances), it's Oh Yeon Seo as Hye Myung that really killed that scene. So kudos to her :) 

 

And, finally, kudos to the kid actors who played mini Gyun Woo and Hye Myung. This was our first extended look at mini Gyun Woo, and I do think he's one of the better child counterparts to JW that I've seen so far. Both child actors actually did a really good job imitating their older counterparts' expressions and mannerisms - especially mini Hye Myung.

 

So here's my shoutout to, well, one of those two adorable little kids (the pic is one of a series I made a long time ago showing JW with his various mini versions):

 

Child Actors with their Adult Counterparts - Jeon Jin Seo (child) and Joo Won (adult) as Gyun Woo in "My Sassy Girl"

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And...I'm done! :glasses: Just wrapped up my full watch of My Sassy Girl today :star:

 

(Before I move on, let's just celebrate with a really nice piece of fanart that I came across recently and have been saving for the occasion.)

 

 

So - overall thoughts? It was good. Not necessarily "OMG - this is so freaking amazing!", but a decently solid middle-ground sort of drama: the type that would fit under the broad spectrum of dramas I "like", even if I may not "love" them.

 

(If that just confused anyone: basically, I don't really rank dramas all that much? More often than not, I just either like them or I don't, with only a few that I would keep close to heart as really stand-out favourites. And right now, My Sassy Girl has made it into that massive middle group of ones I like :)).

 

I do want to say, though, that as far as youth/fusion sageuks go, this could very well be my favourite. I've only watched a couple of those, to be honest - Sungkyunkwan ScandalMoonlight Drawn by Clouds...haven't gotten around to Scarlet Heart: Ryeo or Hwarang, which I know are the big fan faves more recently, but I digress - but out of those I have, I think that My Sassy Girl did the best in creating a story and characters that I would care for. I did find myself rooting for Gyun Woo and Princess Hye Myung as a couple, for example, but even more than that, I wanted them to succeed - as individuals in their joint quest to right the wrongs from the past.

 

Which means that, yes, that ending "Gaksital" moment was super-satisfying :) Again, I knew it was coming: with behind-the-scenes stills and a full-blown promotional video showing JW dressed in that costume, there really was no surprise there. But that being said, it was still great to see Gyun Woo take charge of the situation and try to make up for his mistakes in his own way. It's like I'd said before: if Gyun Woo was going to put himself in danger, at least he was going to do so on his terms whilst making things right (not by making himself the universal scapegoat which Minister Jung was aiming for - good try on getting Gyun Woo's weak spot, though).

 

But even more than that, I liked that this finale showed so much of the aftermath after Minister Jung is finally brought down. This isn't a case of "everything's fixed and we can live happily ever after" - nor would that have been realistic, in my opinion. I love that the show shows Gyun Woo still trying to make amends even after the fact (e.g. finding the former Queen, making preparations to disappear from Hanyang, etc.). More importantly, though, I love that it also lets Hye Myung have some space to herself to really think and reflect on everything that has happened. Just because justice has been served doesn't mean that the painful events from the past didn't happen - and it's great that we get to see both Hye Myung and Gyun Woo acknowledging that. So, when Hye Myung finally seeks out Gyun Woo on that bridge, we know that even if she hasn't fully forgiven him just yet, she will in the future as she lets time heal her wounds.

 

I also love her decision to hold off on marriage until she has had a chance to properly study medicine. :P Yeah, it's probably an anachronistic turn of events - but then again, Hye Myung has always been rather outside of her times in the way she does things (take it from this Canadian: there's something very 21st-century-royal about her). I'd felt for a while now that the Dowager Queen's suggestion to "punish" Hye Myung by sending her to the clinic was actually meant as a blessing in disguise: from what else I've seen in the drama, Hye Myung is really genuinely happier out there in public, helping the people with her own two hands, than she ever would be as an ornament in the palace. So it's great to see that her family and Gyun Woo have now learned to accept her as she is and even help her to pursue her goals. Also, her more forward ways will always keep the more-conservative Gyun Woo on his toes - and that's just pure comic gold :smiley:

 

A couple of smaller, more random observations before I really wrap this up:

 

1. Since Gyun Woo's age does come up in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it comment close to the end, I want to point out very quickly that neither JW nor Oh Yeon Seo quite pull off looking 19/20 years old in this drama :P Understandable, since they're both actually ten years older than their characters if you do the math, and neither of them look particularly babyfaced. So, in hindsight, the casting is...just a bit random? But hey, Huayi Brothers wanted to do something big as JW's send-off, so let them have their fun *shrugs*

 

2. Looking back at all those little character-ranking lists I've done so far...I think I really pegged Gyun Woo wrong for the most part. Blame the fact that it's probably the most over-the-top silly moments that make it into the teasers or the clips that would be posted by, say, Dramafever (which is sadly no more, but was my main source for subbed clips in 2017), but Gyun Woo...is a lot more introverted than I originally made him out to be :P Okay, I don't think he's a full-on introvert like Hwang Tae Hui or Cha Yoo Jin, but he's definitely more in the middle/ambivert category than the extroverted impression I got from those teaser clips.

 

So what does that mean for you guys on this forum? That's right: an MBTI portrait is now in the works. Actually, make that two: I wanna cover Hye Myung as well :love:

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So, I said a few days ago that I wanted to write up MBTI Portraits for a couple of characters from My Sassy Girl, now that I've finished watching the whole drama. Well, here goes!

 

(If you need a refresher on what this is all about, go back to Page 2796 of this forum. Incidentally, all my previous MBTI Portrait posts wound up on that page specifically. :P)

 

Gyun Woo ("My Sassy Girl")

 

“My Sassy Girl” của Joo Won lại là một sản phẩm thất bại khác của đài SBS? - Ảnh 7.

 

MBTI Type: INTJ (The "Scientist")

 

Breakdown: Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging

 

Initially, because of the more social and animated side of his character, it's easy to think that Gyun Woo is an extrovert: he's definitely not shy, he seems to be the natural leader in his group of friends, and he carries himself with this really easy charismatic charm. 

 

That is, however, until you get to know him and realize just how much time he actually spends inside his own head. :P More often than not, his socialization comes out in short bursts from which he needs to recharge on his own; and when he does encounter problems, Gyun Woo's likely to spend hours thinking over them in his room with only his dog for company.

 

Gyun Woo is very much the intellectual out of JW's characters: not only is he an incredibly quick study (he's already attained an adult level of education by the time he was 10 years old), but he uses that vast array of knowledge to understand the world around him. He's also naturally curious and observant, which leads to a tendency to pick up on subtle cues when things aren't quite right or lining up (e.g. secret glances between allies, two people whispering in a corner, those quick flashes of emotion when he's caught someone off guard, etc.) However, unlike some other intellectuals or scholars out there, Gyun Woo is not the sort of person who accumulates book knowledge for its own sake. Instead, the Confucian philosophy that is his main interest/passion ends up colouring his entire perspective. He falls back on the "rules" to know what's right and wrong, after which he acts accordingly - one particularly funny example of this being when he quotes Sun Tzu's Art of War to himself to rationalize avoiding Hye Myung in the palace. 

 

All this leads to Gyun Woo being an incredibly upright person with a strong sense of ethics and morals. However, while this is one of his greatest strengths, it can also become his greatest weakness. Gyun Woo has no patience for people who don't fit the rigid moral standards he holds for himself, and is thus quick to jump to conclusions and pass judgment on them. And, like many intellectuals, he lacks the real-world experience to know just how complex human nature actually is: he thinks he knows because of how much he reads, but people seldom match the idealized or simplified portraits we find in literature. These two factors - his rigid standards and his relative naivety - combine to create an individual who lashes out easily at others, acting out of a belief that he's doing so for their own good while not realizing that he's actually hurting them instead. However, over the course of the drama, Gyun Woo does learn, through his various encounters with Hye Myung, to develop the patience needed to actually look beyond a person's external behaviour to the heart and motivations within. :) 

 

And now, for the other half of this dynamic duo...

 

Hye Myung ("My Sassy Girl")

 

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MBTI Type: ENFP (The "Inspirer")

 

Breakdown: Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving

 

One of the first things anyone notices about Princess Hye Myung is her prickly exterior. She's loud and opinionated, with a massive stubborn streak to boot: when she believes herself to be wrong, she will fight to make amends; but when she thinks she's right, there is no changing her mind.

 

But, underneath the surface, Hye Myung is a "people person" through and through. She's got a big heart and a strong desire to be the sort of princess that Joseon's people deserve - even if she has to do it by breaking just about every rule in the book. :P Never content to just know the world on an intellectual level, she genuinely enjoys the time she spends outside of the palace, eating at roadside taverns and browsing street markets incognito. In Hye Myung's mind, this is the best way for her to see how Joseon's citizens actually live, and she takes it upon herself to teach Gyun Woo that this, more than book knowledge, is what's needed to actually serve the public well. It's no wonder that those who actually get to know her well end up loving her as the breath of fresh air that she is.

 

Because of this, despite her rebellious image, Hye Myung actually has a firm set of ethics and values. Most of the scandalous rumours about her are simply not true - she's not promiscuous, nor does she abuse her staff (unlike, as it turns out, some of the other women in her social class). If she makes a huge fuss over something in public, chances are it's because she's witnessed some sort of injustice and wants to set things right; however, because she is a woman - and an aristocratic one at that - the people she most wants to speak to are also the ones who refuse to take her seriously.

 

Fortunately for Hye Myung, she is also an extremely dogged and persevering person, who's not afraid to just pick herself up and keep going when she runs into any setbacks. That's what drives her to care for the patients at the clinic with her own two hands, to finally avenge her mother, and - when push comes to shove - to give Gyun Woo the second chance he needs. :) 

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JW's new kicks:

 

 

So, save for a few retrospectives on the one-year mark after JW's discharge, things have been pretty quiet recently. No wonder, if the boy's busy filming Alice and all that. :P 

 

However, I do have a goody to share to liven up this lull a little bit: Preview 1 of the next installment of the Seolleim in Salzburg series.

 

(Note: I've now actually posted the whole backlog of installments that I'd written up during my hiatus from the forum, so this one is actually still a work in progress. My plan, time permitting, is to have the whole thing up by the end of this month.)

 

Spoiler

Eomma, noticing the look I am casting over my shoulder at the poster, gives me a knowing nod.

 

“Everyone talks about that,” she says. “You two definitely came up with a good idea with that pose.”

 

I shoot her a pointed look. As if I need to be told again. From the moment Nae Il and I arrived at Yoo Il Rak’s place after taking a taxi from the airport, we have seen copies of it. In shop windows and on public poster boards; on social media sites and Haneum’s student newspaper – everyone with any connection with Rising Star, however slight, seems to have wanted to get their hands on one.

 

Nae Il, from her spot beside me at the coffee shop’s long bar table, nudges me with her elbow. “Don’t look at it like that,” she chides me coolly. “It’ll pay off once we end up with a full house at the concert, you’ll see.”

 

“She’s right,” Eomma adds, throwing in a fond smile when I finally turn back to face her. “Not since your concert last year has there been this much fuss over a performance here. As proud as the faculty have been about your studying to become a conductor, Yoo Jin-ah, they’ve also been hoping that you’d make some sort of comeback as a pianist. And here we are.”

 

My face falls. “But what about Rising Star?”

 

“Rising Star can fend for itself, Sunbae,” Choi Min Hee cuts in, showing up right this moment with a tray laden with our drinks. “We’ll make sure of that.” She turns to leave after setting down our mugs, but Eomma jumps up from her seat instead, offering to take over at the register for a short while.

 

“You go ahead and take your break early this time; how often is it that you all get to sit together like this?”

 

As Eomma heads for the counter and Nae Il snatches her drink with an excited gasp, I turn my attention to Min Hee. “How is Rising Star, by the way?”

 

“Same old,” she replies with a shrug, taking the spot Eomma had just left. “A few people have left to study abroad; a few new ones have joined. Wae?”

 

“Nothing. Just asking.”

 

Min Hee’s eyes narrow slightly. “Sunbae….”

 

“It’s because of Si Won-eonnie,” Nae Il cuts in, now finally joining in after photographing the design stenciled onto her mocha in cocoa powder. “We haven’t seen her in our chats for a while, so Orabang’s been wondering if she’s left Rising Star or something.”

 

“Ah….” Min Hee throws her head back in understanding, then shakes her head. “Ani – Si Won-sunbae’s still around. It’s just that….”

 

Nae Il leans forward urgently at the way Min Hee’s eyes shift nervously around us. “Is something wrong?” she gasps. “I thought she and Rak-kun were doing great.”

 

“They are!” Min Hee blurts out, just a bit too hastily. “Or, at least I think they are.”

 

I shoot her a pointed look. “Choi Min Hee….”

 

Realizing I’m not about to let this go, she jumps straight to the point. “Rak-kun’s being a lovesick idiot all over again.”

 

My brow furrows. “Mwo?”

 

“You’ll see what I mean, Sunbae, when we start rehearsals. Ever since Jung Si Won came back from Vienna….” She lets her words trail off with a rueful shake of the head. “Honestly, Sunbae, what I think Rak-kun needs is a good smack upside the head; but without you around, that’s never gonna happen.”

 

Nae Il looks bewildered. “But what about Yoon Hoo-sunbae?”

 

“That’s the thing. Yoon Hoo-sunbae–”

 

Min Hee stops herself mid-sentence, noticing that Eomma is once again heading towards us. I answer her furtive glance at me with a knowing nod: she could trust us to stay discreet, but Eomma, gossip that she is, is another matter.

 

Eomma has a tray with her, which she sets down on the table as Min Hee gets up from her seat. We try to invite her to stay a little bit longer, but – perhaps flustered by what we’d just been discussing – she declines, mumbling something about needing to see to the other customers before ducking away.

 

As Eomma passes out the snack she had brought over – individually-portioned slices of chocolate cake – we watch silently as Min Hee takes a long circuitous route back to the register. She heads over to where Lee Sun Jae is seated at the piano, the two exchanging a quick word and a laugh, then passes by each customer in turn, presumably asking whether there is anything more they need. A couple of times, I notice some of the guys trying to flirt – chatting a bit longer than necessary, holding out their hands just so in hopes that Min Hee’s fingers would brush theirs as she passes – but she stays as coolly professional as ever, only giving out the slightest perfunctory nod to their advances.

 

“I see that Choi Min Hee’s still as popular with the boys as ever.”

 

Eomma’s gaze follows mine. “She is, isn’t she? I’ve joked with her sometimes that she should just pick one and get it over with, but she says she’s not interested in any of them.”

 

Nae Il peers up at us, her first forkful of cake stopped halfway to her lips. “Good for them, then,” she quips knowingly. “They probably think that because Mini Min Hee is so small and cute, she’d be easy to handle.” She lets out a wry chuckle. “Little do they know!”

 

I look askance at her.

 

“Do you know, Orabang, that she was the one who taught me how best to deal with taller guys?”

 

“You mean…?” I make a small upwards motion with one hand, leaving the rest of my question unspoken. When Nae Il nods with a smug smile, I let out a short incredulous laugh. “Ya, Seollebal – jinjja?”

 

“What?” Eomma leans forward, eyes twinkling in that way they do when she knows there’s a juicy story to be told. “What are you two talking about?”

 

Quickly, I explain: how, last December, I had taken Nae Il to Salzburg’s annual Krampuslauf, and how she had fended for herself against one particular costumed reveller who had snatched her hat.

 

“She climbed him – literally climbed him,” I finish to Eomma’s amazement. “I swear, if I hadn’t seen it in person….” I let my words trail off, shaking my head with an indulgent smile.

 

“So those guys over there,” Nae Il butts in, “really have no idea what they’d be getting themselves into if Mini Min Hee actually chooses to go out with any of them.”

 

“I can see that!” Eomma admits with a laugh. “But still,” she adds slightly more wistfully, “I do wonder whether she’s a bit of a late bloomer. Imagine: twenty-three years old, and still not having had feelings for a guy even once. Why, when I was her age, I–”

 

“When you were her age,” I cut in drily, “you’d already had me. Honestly, Eomma: we’ve heard this about a dozen times.”

 

:frown: Uh-oh. Looks like something strange is happening in Rising Star...but what? You'll have to wait to find out.

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On set in the middle of the night and needing two heaters to keep warm - the acting life is tough....

 

 

Also, for any readers of my Seolleim in Salzburg series, I just want to point out very quickly that I just came from making some changes to the fic "Carmen, Micaela, Don José". Nothing crazy - I only changed part of the description of Yoo Jin and Nae Il's apartment so that now the bedrooms actually have windows :P The action itself isn't affected at all, but I thought I'd say something anyway in case some eagle-eyed reader notices continuity errors later on.

 

(Long story short: I'm not a very visually or spatially intelligent person, so I tend to struggle with actually visualizing and/or describing spaces in my writing. It's easy enough when there are reference photos, but an apartment that's just in my own imagination...that's taken me this long just to have a set vision in my head. But I have it now, thanks to one of those home design computer games - the blueprint I drew up looks like crap, so I won't post it here, but at least I have something to look back on now if I need it.)

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A couple of goodies for you guys:

 

1. Working out at the gym - personally, I prefer JW's pre-enlistment build to his current one, but I know that that's not the case for everyone. So here's some eye candy for those who like the more muscular look:

 

 

 

2. There's a running joke that everybody sounds bad when they do noraebang - and then there's this guy :P 

 

(Hint: it's the second item, so click on the arrow for it)

 

 

3. Preview 2 of the next installment of Seolleim in Salzburg - I was going to post this a bit later, but it's been so quiet here that I'm moving it up ahead:

 

Spoiler

“Well, that certainly took you long enough.”

 

“Sorry, guys.” Our friend Muhammed flashes us a sheepish grin. He tosses his messenger bag casually onto the floor, following more carefully with the violin case on his back. “You know how it is: professor wants you to meet him first thing in the morning, but ends up showing up late himself.”

 

Out of the corner of my eye, I see Nae Il nodding in sympathy, but I simply resort to drawing myself up to my full height. “Well, let’s get on with it, then – we’ve got a bit less than an hour before we have to give this room back.”

 

“Still as much of a taskmaster as ever, I see,” he quips dryly, referencing the practicum I’d had last year as the keyboardist-cum-conductor for the period music ensemble where he – a violinist who’d taken up the Baroque instrument for his Master’s – acts as concertmaster. “Honestly, sometimes you’re even more German than I am – but I feel you.” Taking the hand I wave at him as invitation to rummage through my bag for the camera, he adds, “Any particular shots you’re looking for?”

 

Nae Il, who’s jumped up from her seat to stand beside me, shakes her head with a cheery “Nein!”, but I respond with a question of my own: “You do remember the concept, do you?”

 

“Of course!” Muhammed says. He starts to say something more as he straightens up from my bag, our camera now slung around his neck, but cuts himself off once he turns to face us.

 

“Good thing I’ve heard of ‘concert dress’ before,” he blurts out, wide-eyed, “or I’d say you two had some sort of couple-thing going on here.”

 

Nae Il and I exchange glances. It’s just black-and-white: a black dress with white collar and cuffs for her; the usual crisp white shirt and black trousers for me. Nothing special.

 

Well, save for one thing.

 

“Do you like it?” Nae Il asks, stepping closer to the edge of the stage and twirling in place so that the knee-length skirt of her dress billows out around her. When Muhammed nods appreciatively, she points at me with a grin. “Good – because he bought it.”

 

My jaw drops. “Ya, Seollebal–”

 

“For my first competition,” she presses on. “Back in Seoul.”

 

Heat rushes up to my face; I wish that the stage could crack open and just swallow me whole. But Muhammed, clearly enjoying my mortification, starts again with his slow applause. “Good for you, Cha Yoo Jin,” he says, flashing me a thumbs-up. “I never would have taken you to be such a romantic.”

 

I round on him. “Look – could we just get on with it?”

 

“Right.” He flashes me a knowing grin, acting like he was the one to suggest it all along. “Let’s do it, then.”

 

We start with the solo shots. Nae Il’s are easy enough, Muhammed simply snapping photos of her seated at the piano from multiple angles. But when it comes to my turn, she shakes her head at my suggestion that I do the same.

 

“Hold on a sec, Orabang,” she chirps, dashing back down from the stage for her bag. “I’ve got an idea.”

 

She returns moments later, what looks to be a short black ribbon in one hand. Once she is close enough, however, I recognize it as my bow tie.

 

“Ya, Seollebal,” I murmur softly, “have you been going through my things again?”

 

“Trust me.” Bouncing up on tiptoe, she undoes the top button of my shirt, then drapes the tie loosely over my neck. “This will look much better.”

 

I shoot Muhammed a questioning look, but he simply shrugs. “Don’t look at me; I’m just the photographer.”

 

I make to tie it, but Nae Il waves my hands away with a pout and a shake of the head; clearly, her intent is for me to wear it loose. So, with little choice left on the matter, I simply follow along with her instructions for two poses: one in front of the keys, leaning forward just enough to brace my hands on the main body of the piano; and another standing beside it, one leg crossed in front of the other as I glance down at a score in my hand.

 

As with Nae Il before, Muhammed takes several shots each time, just to be safe. After the last shutter click, he lowers our camera with a smile. “That’s all the solo shots down; now it’s just the group ones left.”

 

Leaving the camera dangling around his neck, he fishes his phone out of the back pocket of his jeans. “I did some homework when you two told me the concept you wanted,” he says, unlocking the device and tapping about briskly with his thumb. “How about something like this?”

 

The reference photo he shows us is one that both Nae Il and I have seen before: an image of the Schumann couple themselves, often reproduced in books and online. Photo shoots during the nineteenth century were rare; people might only have had them done once or twice in their lives, mostly just so their loved ones would have something to remember them by. So it’s little wonder to us now that Clara and Robert chose to be shown doing what they loved most: she seated at an upright piano, her hand just lightly touching the keys; he, hand resting on his chin in thought, looking on from the side.

 

We copy the pose easily enough, adapting it for the grand piano so that I’m standing inside of the curve, my forearm resting just so on the raised siding. But when we huddle back together around the camera in Muhammed’s hands, our smiles fade away into hushed disappointment.

 

There is no need for words; all three of us know what is missing. With her face uplifted towards him in the original photo, everyone can see the fond affection in Clara’s eyes; but Robert’s feelings are a mystery, obscured by down-turned eyes and a face in perfect profile.

 

“That’s not going to work,” Nae Il says, shaking her head from her position in front of the rest of us. “Not for RaRo, anyway.”

 

Muhammed nods in agreement, one hand reaching up by habit to stroke his chin. Surprise briefly flashes across his face as it dawns on him for what must be the hundredth time that the short cropped beard he used to sport is now gone – he’d decided to shave it off after the incident in Berlin last Christmas – but he quickly rallies himself back to the task at hand.

 

“Do you have any ideas, then?”

 

Standing beside Muhammed, on the camera’s other side, I have a good view of Nae Il and the grand piano behind her. The raised lid, the long wooden prop holding it in place, form a perfect triangle around the music rack….

 

“That’s it.”

 

Caught by surprise, Nae Il blinks up at me as I hurriedly step past her. “Mwo?”

 

Quickly, I disengage and then fold down the music rack, tucking it out of sight in the piano’s main body. Then, as she scurries up beside me, I gesture for her to sit down.

 

“Play something.”

 

 

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More behind-the-scenes stuff from Alice - cute smile, by the way ;) 

 

 

And it looks like JW recently took some time out to bring his BFF a churros cart :) 

 

 

 

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So I've been meaning to do another one of those quick character rating/ranking lists for a while, but I wasn't sure what trait I wanted to use. But I just stumbled across this video earlier today, and I think it's got potential:

 

 

Now, as with any of these two-way personality-based divisions, the reality for the vast majority of people is somewhere in the middle - and that's no different for JW's characters. As a general whole, I do think they all have strong "Classical" traits to some extent or other (which makes sense, considering the association between Classicism, intellect/thinking, and masculinity), but I do think I can still place all of them at different points on the spectrum between the two extremes.

 

So, here we go - Which of JW's characters are Romantic, and which are Classical?

 

Most Romantic

Park Si On (despite his massive intellect, he's really someone who operates based on how he feels and on his sense of ideals and morals)

Han Gil Ro (a go-with-his-gut sort of person who has an idealistic - almost naive - view of the world and the people around him, so...maybe not the best NIS agent material?)

Kim Tae Hyun (very spontaneous and has strong ideals concerning social justice, but much prefers the mundane qualities of everyday life after all the chaos he's been through)

Gu Ma Jun (impulsive with some flair for the dramatic, but also highly pragmatic in a way the true Romantic isn't)

Lee Kang To (very emotionally-driven and passionate, but accepts the system as long as he believes it to be better than what came before - so, has little patience for what could be when he needs to survive what is)

Hwang Tae Hui (more a thinker than a feeler, but also a bit of a rebel - especially when he thinks that he's right and everyone else is wrong)

Cha Yoo Jin (probably started off more Romantic as a child, but has definitely been brought up to suppress that core so much that he's definitely on the other extreme by now)

Gyun Woo (sees intellectual knowledge and wisdom as the main goals in his life, and is likely to push aside his feelings in order to follow the rules)

Most Classical

 

By the way, it's interesting that JW's characters are often paired with female leads on the opposite end of the spectrum than they are: Cha Yoo Jin/Seol Nae Il, Gyun Woo/Hye Myung, Kim Tae Hyun/Han Yeo Jin, Hwang Tae Hui/Baek Ja Eun...you get the idea.

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10 hours ago, exile18 said:

Hi all! I can't wait for Joo Won's new drama. But there doesn't seem to be much news on the filming and any idea when the drama will air? 

 

Good question. I did see something about a June 30 premiere once, but I'm not sure if that's the confirmed release date or just a rumour (again, since I only saw it once on one post on Instagram).

 

If you're wondering about news updates on JW in general - filming and otherwise - Instagram is probably the best way to stay on top of things. My general observation so far is that English-language K-entertainment news sites (e.g. Allkpop, Hancinema, Dramafever - when it was still around - Soompi, etc.) don't report on JW often, if at all - like, I could know from Instagram and this forum that JW's been doing stuff and it won't show up on those sites. He's a bit of an underdog among Hallyu stars in that way, and for many fans, that's part of his charm.

 

So if you want to know things as they happen, I suggest you check and/or follow a few pages on Instagram: JW's own accountHuayi Brothers's (i.e. his agency's) account, or his name/tag, which is how fans circulate things. For example, JW has posted a few behind-the-scenes pictures of his own.

 

So, again, sorry that I can't help you much on "Alice" updates specifically, but this might help you to find things out on your own as they develop.

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Just popping by to post Preview 3 for my upcoming Seolleim in Salzburg fic.

 

Spoiler

“I hope you don’t mind my turning down the solo this time around, Cha Yoo Jin.”

 

Meeting Yoon Hoo’s apologetic expression with a small smile, I shake my head before taking my spot on the black leather loveseat across from his on the matching sofa. “Gwenchana; it’s for the best,” I answer, scanning over his living room – so similar yet so different to the one I’d had here in Seoul – with a rueful nod. “That’s the only way we can keep your part in the encore a surprise, after all.” I raise a meaningful eyebrow at him. “Your cellist – is she new?”

 

“Ne.” A proud smile comes over his features as he passes me a can of beer, opening a second one for himself. “She’s my hoobae; we had the same teacher when we were kids. Her talents are enough to allow her to study abroad, but her family’s finances have never been all that great, so….” He takes a quick sip with a shrug. “Good thing Haneum, through Rising Star, is willing to help kids like her.”

 

“Indeed,” I say back in response, joining him in his drink.

 

“But,” he says, setting down his beer and leaning forward to rest both elbows on his knees, “that’s not what you’re here for. Knowing you, you wouldn’t be willing to step foot in my place if all you wanted to talk about was my cello, Nae Il’s concerto or not.”

 

I bristle in defence. “You were the one who suggested this place, Lee Yoon Hoo – not me.”

 

“‘In private, where no-one else can hear,’” he retorts. “That’s what you said after today’s rehearsal. That rules out Haneum, Mendelssohn, your mother’s café…pretty much any public place we know.

 

“So out with it: what’s this really about?”

 

I mirror his posture, shooting him a pointed look across the coffee table. “Yoo Il Rak and Jung Si Won – how long has this been going on?”

 

His eyes narrow. “Do I have to answer that?”

 

“I’m not the one who’s in over my head.”

 

“Mwo?” His jaw drops, but his eyes are blazing. “Ya, Cha Yoo Jin. Are you honestly implying that I’m–”

 

I whip out my notebook from my bag and slap it onto the coffee table with a bang. It falls open to the place I’d marked in it: the page where, to the best of my memory, I’d recorded both Min Hee’s request to me and the confrontation between Yoon Hoo and Il Rak earlier today.

 

Blinking in surprise at my gesture, he reads it over, eyes widening and jaw slowly dropping open as the words sink in.

 

“Cha Yoo Jin….”

 

“When I handed Rising Star over to you,” I begin coolly, “I did so with the full belief that you would work with its best interests at heart. But clearly” – I point first at Min Hee’s comment, then at my own note at the other members’ attitude towards Il Rak – “there’s a bigger problem here than simply today’s incident, and I want to know what it is.” When he only furrows his brow skeptically, I add, “Don’t look at me like that. I’m not trying to undermine your authority here. But sooner or later, if things keep going on like this –”

 

“Something’s going to blow,” he finishes curtly. “Ara. I get it.” Determination flares up in his eyes. “Don’t think I don’t.”

 

His passionate response makes me soften despite myself. “Now you know,” I say more gently, a chuckle rumbling in my chest, “what it felt like for me when you started making all those cryptic comments about Rising Star back then.”

 

Yoon Hoo blinks incredulously at me at first, but then looks relieved, a small smile tugging at his lips. “Now that you mention it…geu rae.”

 

“Which is why,” I finish, “I’m coming to you about this.” Clasping my hands together for a second, I stretch one out to him in a benevolent gesture. “Let’s work on resolving this. Together.”

 

His gaze drifts down to my hand. For a long moment, he simply stares wordlessly at it, although I do see when he swallows nervously, a lump moving up and down his throat. Then, at long last, he looks me in the eye with a genuine, albeit sad, smile.

 

“Ne.” He takes my hand so we could share an amicable handshake. “Let’s do that.”

 

Well, looks like someone (or, should I say, two people) are finally starting to grow up ;) I loved what little bromance I saw between Cha Yoo Jin and Lee Yoon Hoo in the original drama, so this subplot (i.e. them working together and what comes of it) is one of my favourite parts of this upcoming installment.

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7 minutes ago, kittyna said:

More behind-the-scenes updates!

 

 


Is he looking at some kind of teleprompter or is it more like a device that shows replays of filmed scenes?
I hope Joo Won is resting okay, we all know he's a super workaholic.

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  • Jillia changed the title to Joo Won 주원 - Finished Drama: Alice

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