Even though he’s bright and playful, he could not hide his shyness in certain moments. Even though his inherent modesty showed, out of nowhere, he sometimes told me a random joke. While there were many fans waiting for him near where the interview was being held, he did not seem to be conscious of it. When he said hello with his bright smile, I felt as if he was a dongsaeng next door.
I was not given much time to interview Super Junior’s Ryeowook. Even though the setting was that I could not expect more than an idol singer’s model answers, he told his story truthfully. I met a serious idol singer who sounds sincere when he says, “thank you for loving me” and “I’m going to work hard,” or a new actor Kim Ryeowook who’s debuting in musical with Temptation of wolves.
An idol that is prepared to make noonas’ hearts flutter.
“Since before, I told my management company that I want to be in a musical. I thought it was attractive because I can show my singing and acting at the same time.”
One hot day in the beginning of summer. When we sat in a cool cafe, Ryeowook cheerfully talked about the musical before I even asked him about the subject. When there are criticisms nowadays about idol singers being cast as leads in musicals, I could feel his determination to wipe out such criticisms.
The role of Jung taesung in Temptation of Wolves which Kang Dong won played in the movie is a character that can be explained in this one sentence. Hearts of all female audiences went pitter patter for that boy who was playful and cute yet also possessed loneliness and strength. Everyone was curious as to who would get this role and when it was announced that Super Junior’s Ryeowook was cast in the role, the news was enough to grab much attention.
Because the group did not actively appear on variety shows, only few members are well known in Korea. However, Super Junior is a group who has fans all over the world. All the members have lots of fans in each country. Among the members, Ryeowook is Super Junior’s main vocal and the maknae. Also, he is receiving much love for his diverse skills. He confirmed his singing skills and was selected by SM when he won awards on the radio Starry Night show off Competition and Chin Chin Singing Competition. In the movie, Attack on the Pin-up Boys, one could see his possibility as an actor when he showed off his comedic acting. When I asked Ryeowook who he thinks he was cast in the role of Jung Taesung, he replied, “visual?” He burst out laughing and then became serious.
“I think going on the stage and singing is also acting. Even if I have something that I’m sad about, I have to sing the song happily if it’s a happy song. Even if I’m happy about something, I have to express my sad emotions when I’m singing a ballad. I thought I was acting on stage even if it was just for 5 minutes. But with musicals, the fact that I have to sing for 2 hours was very attractive to me. Even though it’s not dramatic acting, I can act and sing. So I thought musicals would show off all my charms.”
Even though he is busy practicing the musical, he also has prepare Super Junior’s 5th album. So just like any idol, he has to use his time wisely. He said he’s practicing and preparing for his first performance by watching the recordings of the other musical sunbaes acting who are cast in the same role as him. However, he did not hide his burden of playing a role that Kang Dongwon has once played.
“The role of Jung Taesung has a cute side to him, calling the female lead noona. He fights well and has a feeling of sadness and loneliness. Even when I just read the script, the character gives off that feeling. So I think I have to practice a lot on how to express that. It’s especially burdensome because Kang Dongwon’s image is so strong. I have to make my own Jung Taesung. Like I’m really going to call noona(laughs). In the musical, there’s a line, “it’s me, noona. Jung Taesung.” I want to make noona fans’ hearts go pitter and patter and make them think, (laughs) “ah, Ryeowook’s calling me.”
He saw the movie Temptation of Wolves when it was released in theaters. Also, he has some thoughts when he saw the movie again after he was cast in the musical. “It felt different from what I saw in my teens and what I saw in my 20s. Also, it reminded me of what kind of singer I wanted to be when I was a teenager. Even though my dream came true of being a singer, I have a new dream now. I want to talk about teenagers’ love and dream through this musical.”
Yesung, Sungmin, and Luna who are in the same management company as him are his sunbaes who already appeared in musicals. Ryeowook saw all of their musicals. He was especially surprised by Luna who was the lead in Legally Blonde. I knew that the other Super Junior members were good, but Luna was unexpectedly good that I was surprised.
Because it is an idol hit songs jukebox musical, Ryeowook will be singing the songs that he closely heard such as songs by TVXQ and SHINee. Recently, he asked TVXQ’s Changmin for help on how to sing a song at the concert in Paris. His eyes shined when he said, “it’s fun that I get to sing SHINee dongsaengs’ song.”
Sungmin and Yesung who are his musical sunbaes advised him that acting is not done alone. He felt that the chemistry between many actors is important when he was practicing. He said in a serious tone, “each person is playing an important role. So I’m thankful for them that they are working to make me shine.”
“I can’t really go outside when I’m in Taiwan.”
When I did an interview with Ryeowook, he had just come back from the concert in Paris. I could not resist asking him about the concert in Paris. Super Junior’s popularity especially showed at the concert. Maknae Ryeowook said, “I was surprised myself.”
“It felt like a dream that we were doing a concert in Europe. So even before going on the stage, I was questioning myself whether I was really in Paris. But the audience went wild at “Sorry Sorry.” It was memorable when one black male audience was holding a placard with my name on it (laughs).”
Their popularity in China especially cannot be rivaled by any another singers. Super Junior’s “Miinah” has been number one for 54 weeks on Taiwan’s top music chart “KKBOX” in the category of Korean song. Their other song “Sorry Sorry” was number one for 34 weeks. In a survey conducted among Hallyu fans all over the world, Super Junior defeated big stars to be chosen as the Hallyu star that people want to travel to Korea with.”
“We feel the extent of our popularity overseas but the Korean public and even my families ask whether Super Junior is really popular in Taiwan (laughs). When I’m in Taiwan, there are so many fans outside my house that I have to go out secretly. People recognize me right away when I’m on the street.”
They targeted overseas market with diverse unit activities such as Super Junior M. They now have large fan followings in China, Japan, Southeast Asia, Europe, and South America. His joke that he’s on a plane once a week and that he eats plane food more than dorm food may not be totally a joke. Ryeowook is one of 10 members who has a dream.
“I like singing. I think I’m going to continue to have an occupation where singing is involved. The reason I really wanted to do a musical was because there was singing. Because many people want a new appearance from me, I want to try anything and I’m looking forward to what I’ll be doing in the future.”
He wants to actively appear on Korean variety shows from now on. He shyly said, “Eunhyuk hyung told me I should appear on variety shows more often this time. But since the hyungs are so good, I don’t know if I can be as good as them.”
Currently, he’s preparing for his musical and Super Junior’s fifth album. At the same time, Kyuhyun and Luna will also be on musical stage with The Three Musketeers and Coyote Ugly. When he was posed with the question of whether he’ll competing with them, he looked like he was contemplating. “I’m the same age as Kyuhyun. It’s his encore performance and not his first time. He’s really good. Although there may be a competition between us, I have to learn a lot from him. I’m going to get his advice as a hoobae (laughs).”
Now, there is a chance for him to freely show his skills and talents. I think it might be good to look forward to how Ryeowook will distinguish his name from a member of Super Junior.
Translated by Minnie @ SUJUISM.BLOGSPOT.COM
TAKE OUT WITH THE FULL CREDITS
DO NOT ADD YOUR NAME TO THE CREDITS
shared by BeELFSone