The life of an actor is not all peaches and cream. They may be racking in big money, but there’s a price to pay for it. For some actors, it means putting their lives in danger by filming dangerous scenes. Joo Won is one such actor.
When The Gang Doctor star was in Singapore last week, he revealed to the media that he had to film a lot of difficult scenes for the drama. He said, “In the beginning, there were a lot of action scenes. Some of the things I had to do included chasing a car, jumping off the bridge, and filming in the water.”
But he reckoned one of the most dangerous scenes was one where he had to drive recklessly – with a blocked view. “There was a scene where I had to drive on the streets very furiously. There were cameras [mounted] on the windshield and … they were blocking my view. I was literally driving into a wall.”
Before you wonder if he acted as a gangster in the drama, the answer is no. Joo Won played the character of Kim Taehyun, a mercenary doctor who would go to extreme lengths to raise money for his younger sister’s surgery, including treating patients (triad members and criminals) illegally.
Hold up. Joo Won as a doctor? If you’re wondering whether you’ve watched the drama two years ago, we don’t blame you. After all, it is his second time playing the role of a medical practitioner. In 2013, he took on the lead role in Good Doctor, where he played an autistic savant with superior medical knowledge and skills.
He might be acting in one medical drama after another, but he’s not worried that viewers will have problems distinguishing the two dramas. He said, “Good Doctor was a very different drama from The Gang Doctor because it was very pure, innocent and community-focused rather than focusing on entertainment value.”
He added, “The characters are also very different, so I wasn’t worried about distinguishing them. In Good Doctor, I played an autistic kid who had difficulty in terms of intelligence level because he’s mentally stuck at 10, but very knowledgeable in medicine, so he was a very special character. On the other hand, Taehyun is very rough, strong and thick-skinned, but is also a firm advocate of justice.”
Good Doctor received rave reviews when it was aired two years ago, but that wasn’t enough an encouragement for Joo Won to act in another medical drama. In fact, he was initially against the idea, but changed his mind after reading about Taehyun’s character. “The two characters were so different that it changed my mind about never doing a medical drama after Good Doctor. I had so much difficulty memorising the medical terms, so I thought I would never do another medical drama, but there I was, back to being a doctor again.”
Joo Won lost seven kilograms while filming The Gang Doctor – and it wasn’t because he set out to lose the pounds. Rather, it was due to his hectic schedule. However, he said that he has since gained back the weight. “When I’m filming, it’s difficult to eat and sleep. Even though I’m now eating the same amount of food as I ate during filming, I’m less active so that’s probably why I gained a little weight. I’m trying to control my diet right now. After filming wrapped up, the sense of accomplishment that it’s over and I can finally rest makes me a lot calmer. It makes me feel empty at times, but I feel that I’m becoming my healthy self again.”
By the end of the press conference, we were pretty much convinced that Joo Won is the epitome of the perfect man – good-looking, polite and eloquent. After all, he fielded all questions smoothly – except for one. When asked what advice he would give to his younger self, he pondered for a long time before replying, “I should have enjoyed the  World Cup a lot more.”
Images: Hidayah Idris