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Han Yeo-woon: The face of purity

When Story of a Man began, actress Han Yeo-woon, who played Kim Kang-woo’s good-hearted younger sister, wasn’t even a blip on the radar. She’d had a supporting role playing a junior baker in My Name is Kim Sam-soon, but was hardly a household name. As Story of a Man progressed, however, she took on an increasingly significant role, and by the series’ end she was arguably a more integral character than some of the better-known actors, like Park Shi-yeon or Park Ki-woong.

Trust 10 Asia to shed some light on lesser-known (but just as deserving) talents, as they do with this interview/article on Han, which was published last month (late May), while the drama was still airing.

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Story of a Man OST – “이별은 거꾸로 흐른다” (Backwards farewell) [ Download ]

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Han Yeo-woon: Pouring down the purity
 

She is an angel. Perhaps it’s because any evil thoughts have been wholly taken away by her older brother that she apologizes and knows only how to worry; she appears these days as the jewel of a drama portraying a “soul of goodness.” However, the reason her unusual presence is distinctive is because her goodness is part of her nature. It’s not so much that Story of a Man‘s Eun-soo endures blindly, but rather that she seeks the victims on her own to ask forgiveness, making her a good, but not pathetic, character. With her round forehead and shy eyes, and small but stubborn lips, Han Yeo-woon has a most fitting face to act the character of Eun-soo. She may not be a showy beauty but she is truly pure, such as whenever a small smile appears on her face, emanating warmth, or when she lets tears fall. Just like Eun-soo.

 
The incarnation of goodness, and frequently tomboyish cheerful young lady
 

Such well-matched casting didn’t happen in one fell swoop. “I heard of actors deciding just based on receiving the script. But I read the first four scripts, and even had to go through an in-depth interview and audition to get the part. I was the lowest out of all the actors who joined the project.” Recalling her nerve-racking audition process and the early filming she did with the other actors, Han Yeo-woon’s voice is bright. She enjoys filming so much that she prefers working and going to school at the same time over focusing on school only.

Right now, the only thing weighing on her mind is the character Eun-soo. “She has to look like she’s a nice person from the start. If it comes off as though she’s acting nice, that’s not Eun-soo. Her emotions are constant and she doesn’t dissent easily, so I worried that she might appear uninteresting, but I’m finding a way to break through.” Even after revealing a serious thought, at the end of that is a laugh. “It’s already too late for me to change. Hahaha.” To her, working out her acting is an enjoyable process.

Perhaps that’s why despite a difficult shooting schedule, throughout the interview Han Yeo-woon’s energy is boundless and animated. While talking about a scene she shot where she meets Do-woo (Kim Kang-woo) in a hotel, she says, “To Do-woo, Eun-soo isn’t family or a woman, she’s his last hope.” Perhaps citing the writer’s own interpretation, she says, “Because Do-woo’s like Lucifer, Eun-soo is his last key to go back to heaven.” She brims with energy, absorbed in talking about the drama as she conveys some of the netizens’ thoughts.

Although it may be surprising when considering the quiet Eun-soo, her real appearance is much more energetic than one might think, which includes the terribly frank Kyung-sook of KBS’s Glory of Youth, the spunky Sae-mi of SBS’s Golden Bride, and the plucky Kim Yang in the film Radio Star. No, I can recall the acting she displayed in the KBS Drama City piece Pure Soon-yi. The emotional extremes provide a good amount of energy to her acting.

 
“Our drama’s viewership ratings weren’t very high. But I’m very happy.”
 

However, the key point in Han Yeo-woon’s rise isn’t the moment when her energy comes bursting out like fireworks, but when she collects the kindling that has gathered inside her. “Rather than getting greedy and trying to do too much, I want to do the best with what I can do properly. That’s my way of satisfying my desire to put out a high quality result,” she says without excessive greediness, and therefore her way of speaking seems pure. She adds, “Maybe it’s strange for me to talk like this, since our drama’s ratings aren’t very high. But still. I’m very happy.”

And then, the rims of her eyes at once redden. This 26-year-old young woman, who enjoys being able to act her heart out in role she likes, doesn’t know how to hide her affection for acting. This is the birth of a cute, pure actress who starts to tear up in front of love.

The following portion is the “My Name Is” segment, which is told from the actor’s own perspective:

My name is: Han Yeo-woon. “Yeo-woon” is the name that the agency director gave me. At first, it was awkward because it was like a word, but now my friends and family all call me “Yeo-woon-ah,” so it feels like my real name.

My real name is: Ahn Mi-na. When I was younger, I really liked my name, which was pretty and lively. However, there were a lot of actresses already out with similar names, so I came to use a stage name.

Birthday: October 1, 1984. I’m in the class of 2003 [university entry year], but I haven’t graduated yet. I have one semester left, so I have to re-enroll soon.

When he was younger, my older brother was a child actor. At the time, my mother took me around as a little kid, and I caught the eye of some people so I shot a few ads. I used to cry and plead as soon as shoots would start because I hated it, but these days I like it so much that even going to the set makes me excited. Hee.

When I was younger, I was a total glutton. If I had food in my hand, even if my mother left me behind, I wouldn’t notice. If I got up and didn’t see my mother, I wouldn’t cry or fret. I’d just eat my nearby crackers and play.

When I went to university, I was in the theater club, which is when I really started to want to act. At the time, my fellow club members were really passionate; the colleagues I acted along with in my first project continued studying acting after graduation. That’s why when we talk on the phone, from the very start they point out my acting. I’m thankful and it’s helpful, but I end up answering curtly, “Okay, I got it.” Ah, it’s because it’s picking so sharply at something I’m already thinking about! Hahaha.

When I look back, I really enjoyed my time in the theater club, but I wanted to go out for wider experiences, so I went around doing many auditions. I passed a musical audition and appeared without dialogue as part of a chorus, and I also played Wendy in the children’s musical Peter Pan.

My father is very strict, so when I decided to be a philosophy major in the humanities department, he was furious. He wanted me to study something that would help me more in getting a job. That’s why I worked on my acting without my father knowing. I think he found out after the reaction for Radio Star when an interview was printed in the newspaper.

On the other hand, my mother supported me in pursuing what I wanted to do. It was through someone my mother introduced me to that I was brought to the audition for My Name is Kim Sam-soon. When I shot that drama, I really didn’t know anything and later, [Kim] Sun-ah unni said, “There were times I was really shocked.” Still, because I was so naive, it was surprising that I received all the ad-libs she tossed out.

[Park] Shi-yeon unni, who appears with me in Story of a Man, has so much charisma that the moment she appears, it makes you think, “Wooooooowwww!” How should I put it, it’s like when she appears, the set brightens? Haha. Because there weren’t many women around, everyone treated us well.

Park Yong-ha sunbae is the type who looks after you a lot. Neither of us has the personality that makes friends first so at first it was a little awkward, but once we started filming, he was really very helpful. The first shoot was of me visiting Shin in prison, and he matched his dialogue with the moving camera while holding the visiting room phone, and encouraged me and said I was doing well. Kim Shin is a pretty busy character, so I don’t often run into him in the waiting room. I felt a strong feeling all throughout that he was a sunbae I should learn from, but lately we’ve become friendly. We became friends at the very end.

Do-woo oppa (Kim Kang-woo) is really very detailed. At the time of the production press conference, I had just joined the cast not long before so I felt like I was alone in feeling awkward, but oppa joked around first and struck up conversation with me, and I’m truly thankful. If there’s a problem making female staff members uncomfortable on the set, he’s the type to come in without saying a word to solve the problem.

Eun-soo treats everyone really well, so being called a “devilish woman” is a problem. We shot a scene a couple days ago with Eun-soo returning to Muse, and Kyung-tae would welcome her. But the director had already wrapped up some things and told me to just laugh and talk with Mun-ho ajusshi. Jae-myung oppa (Philip Lee) was watching on the side and said, “You, why do you [the scene partner] keep changing back and forth?” Haha.

I’ve been acting for four years already. I think I’ve made steady progress with various characters, but a lot of people around me worried that I’d still be in the same place tomorrow as I am now. The present is a little confusing. I’m not sure whether I should make a big step to gain recognition, or if I should focus on continuing to widen my range as I’m doing now.

I’m more like a dog than cat. Their faces look sweet and young, so women treat them well. I know that my sex-appeal image is weak. But that’s just a visual issue. By gaining experience and broadening my range, I’ll be able to show more sexiness in my acting someday. Like Jeon Do-yeon sunbae, who went from a pigtailed young girl to her role in Happy End. At this point, I can’t go and shave down my round face. I’ll bide my time. I think that’s the wise method.

Originally published May 20, 2009
Written by Yoon Hee-sung

Via 10 Asia

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I remember her now. She is the baker assistant to KSA in MNIKSS. She is the girl who got a kiss stolen! She is goofy in there. She sure has changed alot since then. Kudos to her.

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Wow... kudos to her. Congrats and best wishes.

Time really doesn't stand still, does it. We all grow older... and the younger ones rise up and take our place... Every new face is a reminder that an older face is now that much closer to retirement...

LOL I feel like Red from Shawshank Redemption.

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I like her comment about her sexy-image appeal. Even though many people don't realize it, looks are a big part of sex appeal but it's really the attitude that sets it.

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i'm loving 10asia's interviews and photos!!

"Because there weren’t many women around, everyone treated us well." -- LOL. men.

"Neither of us has the personality that makes friends first so at first it was a little awkward.." -- i can totally imagine that.

she is so cute!! and i do like her real name ahn mi-na. i'm definitely going to check out her future projects!

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I remember her from Golden Bride. I liked her in that and that's one of the resons why I watched Story of a Man.

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omg now i remember her from MNIKSS!

Thank for translating the interview. I really liked it. I felt like I can really connect with her. And it's amazing how she's studying and acting at the same time. I also liked how she opted for the humanities major- there are just too many asians going for "practical" majors.

and i wish all the other celebs out there would take this to heart: "Rather than getting greedy and trying to do too much, I want to do the best with what I can do properly." maybe there would be less of them getting admitted to the hospital for overworking!

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I CONSIDER HER VERY PRETTY, SWEET, AND CONGENIAL....

I LIKE THE SECOND SET OF PICS BEST.

"Do-woo oppa (Kim Kang-woo) is really very detailed. At the time of the production press conference, I had just joined the cast not long before so I felt like I was alone in feeling awkward, but oppa joked around first and struck up conversation with me, and I’m truly thankful. If there’s a problem making female staff members uncomfortable on the set, he’s the type to come in without saying a word to solve the problem."
AAWWW....... KANG WOO OPPA IS SO NICE.....*GIGGLING* HE CAN STRIKE UP A CONVERSATION AND JOKE AROUND WITH ME ANYTIME.....!!!

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These 10 Asia interviews are brilliant. It's always nice to hear thought provoking responses from celebs.

Thanks, JB!

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She looks really different in the photoshoot. Anyway great actress, seemed to have a great understanding of her character in comparison to veterans like Park Si Yeon.

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Just when I had almost fully recovered from Story of a Man withdrawal pains...here comes something else to pull me back in. (Godfather much? hmm....)

Eun-soo was such a seemingly minor character at first . It's a tribute to how well Han Yeo-woon brought her to life that by the end of the series...well, I can't say too much because for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, trust me, this is one drama you do NOT want to be spoiled for!

I am really looking forward to her future projects because it seems like she already has a wide range of abilities, even at such a young age.

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OMG! *squeeeaaaaal!* Thank you SOOO much, Javabeans! I was hoping you'd have an interveiw with Han Yeo-woon in store XD

Ohhh, so she's acting and studying at the same time... that's always impressive.

btw, I gotta say that I think Han Yeo-woon looks lovely. She's got a unique face and her personality adds to her charms! Hehehe~ Well, I've certainly turned into a big fan and I really hope to see her in other important roles such as her Eun Soo in Story of A Man!

Thanks again for the interview! That was interesting :)

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I'm happy she's getting more noticed.

This also shows that even though the drama didn't receive high ratings, many of the actors and actresses were able to still shine through and gain popularity.

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I've added her to my growing favorite list – this time for talent...hehe. She made a huge impact on SOAM, and was an integral part of that drama. Who would have thunk – a supporting role would surpass that of Park Shi Yeon's?

Anyway, I think she's really cute and charming. I hope to see more of her! And I hope she wins an award! :)

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I'm only seen up to episode 3 of Story of a Man, but I would just like to say that I'm really fond of this virtually unknown actress. She's one of the reasons I decided to continue with the drama.

Han Yeo Woon also has a small (but adorable) role in Painter of the Wind, which I'm currently finishing up.

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Her death in the drama totally broke my heart.
She reallly is a good actress and I'm hoping to see her soon in another fine work :]

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She was perfect for the role of Eun Soo. I do remember who she was in the beginning from her previous projects, but since her characters there didn't stand out so much, I wasn't particularly interested in her role in Story of a Man either. But by the end of the series, I cried for her character.

Her real personality seems humble, cute and just want to become an excellent actress by expanding her skills and not popularity. Will wait for more of her future projects.

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I knew I had seen her from somewhere! Alas, from my favorite MNIKSS. I think she will be a great actress to look forward to because she was awesome in Story of a Man. I only watched it for her.

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Omgosh, I remember her. She was really cute in MNKSS. She sure has grown up!

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I remember her in MNIKSS and Golden Bride. I haven't seen story of a man, but I'm going to start to. I've been a silent supporter of Kim Kang Woo since Breathless. I really fell in love with his sweet, innocent character in that show, and it was when I 1st began watching dramas. I can't wait to get myself started on this drama to see the complete different him than the one I fell in love with then.

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My first look of Han Yeo-woon was in KBS' Invisible Man Choi Jang Soo, where she portrayed the younger version of Chae Si Ra's character, Oh So Yong.

Has anyone seen her in the KBS variety/talent program, Superstar Survival Audition? Turns out she and Kim Bum were contestants on the show.

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I actually watched the latter half of KBS Drama City's Pure Soon-yi. Her potrayal of the character was very very good.

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HYW acting is way more impressive than PSY.

She had overshadowed the lead actress in the process.

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She's awesome....can't wait to see her in more roles/

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HYW is a really talented actress and you can tell that she truly cares about her work and takes pride in it. She seems like a really sweet and genuine person to.

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i absolutely love her. she's so amazing.

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plz! vote for SS501~~~~http://ipoll.kr/k_click/t.html~~~~ just clikc up on SS501’s section for 200 times then clikc + to make your vote count!! thank you SS501 FIGHTin

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I love her in Golden Bride. I actually liked hers and Lee Ki Chul's love story there. They made me cry more than the lead actors hahaha. Anyways, hope to see more of her in the future.

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is the role on MNIKSS is her first?? well, kudos to her, although it's such a small role, but she's looked so natural there, with her 'accent' and all...
i've watched the KBS Drama city, although i forgot the title, about her being a maid and fall in love with the son of the house, in that drama, she was sooo different than Eunsoo, she almost give me a 'Dowoo' feel for her character...

"I’m more like a dog than cat. Their faces look sweet and young, so women treat them well. I know that my sex-appeal image is weak. But that’s just a visual issue. By gaining experience and broadening my range, I’ll be able to show more sexiness in my acting someday. Like Jeon Do-yeon sunbae, who went from a pigtailed young girl to her role in Happy End. At this point, I can’t go and shave down my round face. I’ll bide my time. I think that’s the wise method."
Sure Yeowoon, take your time and grow as a talented actress in the future...

After Kim Kangwoo we have Han Yeowoon, do you think there will be a Park Kiwoong interview??? i'm sooooo looking for that

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@ 28 bbm

hi, i think we must've watched it t the same time :-)

"she almost give me a ‘Dowoo’ feel for her character…"

yuppp, she was very scary . Might as well the character played by Im Joo Hwan was blind, or else he'd be in real terror if he's able to see her face. But he did tell her that in one scene? right?

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@28 & @29: Oh, my! Where did you guys watch that Drama City episode?!!! I wanna check that out! XD

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@D, i kinda not remember each scene, but what i remember the most is the change between the pure and naive girl in the beginning of the drama to the evil n posessive girl in the latter half... she is sooo good at being pure and naive (almost all her character are like that, right??), but when she turns evil... it gives me the creeps when i see her in the latter half...

@vis, i saw the drama on KBS world, a couple of months ago...

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who sings Story of a Man OST - “이별은 거꾸로 흐른다” (Backwards farewell) ? i like this song :)

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Now that you've mentioned it, I do remember her junior baker character in My Lovely Sam Soon! She was really cute there, her stunned face after being 'attacked' was hilarious!!!! :-)

She's very talented. Hope to see her in more dramas as well as Park Ki Woong!!!!

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Her last pic is beautiful...

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like #1 comment i can now place her from KSS drama -- i never thought that was her until now that it's mentioned here! i hope to see more of her, she's a good actress & sweet! aja

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"At this point, I can’t go and shave down my round face. I’ll bide my time. I think that’s the wise method. "

don't shave!

saw her on glory of youth. not too bad. her acting's quite convincing.

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jes,
this is the artist's name and the song (track no.3: 03. JK 김동욱 - 이별은 거꾸로 흐른다

Great interview. I wonder if there will be bigger roles for her in the future. Her character became very important in the end, so things are looking up for the 24 year-old actress. Good luck!

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she's also in Painter of the Wind as the lady who loves Kim Hong Do, Park Shin Yang's role. ;p
yay she got lots of attention now ;D
i loved her since MNIKSS
and i think also in Junki's Iljimae too as Han Hyo Joo's maidservant...
i might be wrong though =_________=;

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she's gorgeous.

i think she's really pretty, different, but still very attractive. i couldnt help but notice while watching story of a man.
that first pic is BEEAAUUTUFUUUULLL!!!!

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I totally dig this drama. Han Yeo Woon is superb in her role as Eun Soo. She is now one of my favorite korean actresses. I like the series so much that i just bought the whole series so i don't have to wait for it to stream each episode on the internet. hehe....Han Yeo Woon roockkss....

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yess..
absolutely adorable..
hope she will continue to give her best perfomance in whatever drama or movie..

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