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Im Joo-hwan is one to watch in 2010

What a great year for Im Joo-hwan — he had roles in films like 2008’s Doremifasolatido and Frozen Flower, but 2009 was his year to shine. Although it was a short part, any exposure in Boys Before Flowers was enough to create a buzz, as he got when he appeared a few brief times as Kim Bum‘s older brother. But it was the quirky, heartwarming and funny Little Drama That Could, Tamra the Island, that cemented his status as a rising star.

A 2010 film industry up-and-comer

“My scandal with Seo Woo? It’s because we’re such good friends”

Recently, actor Im Joo-hwan (27) acted in the MBC fusion sageuk drama Tamra the Island as scholar Park Kyu, who appears cold and aristocratic down to the core of his bones but is really warm-hearted. His mature acting wasn’t like that of a new actor, and he won the love of a multitude of viewers.

Over the past year spent filming on Jeju Island, he cultivated close friendships with the director, filming crew, and his fellow actors as they worked together. Much wasn’t expected of this cast of rookies in Tamra the Island, but their performances were unlike those of new actors and they were rewarded with praise from arts critics. But it gave rise to a scandal between him and his co-star, actress Seo Woo.

He said, “We heard about the scandal while we were filming, and Seo Woo joked, ‘Now all my endorsements will disappear and I won’t be able to get married!’ This drama doesn’t have any famous stars, and on the acting front we were a collection of newbies without anyone who could be called a veteran, so we focused on working well together. We had script readings with the other actors, and after discussing ideas among ourselves, we cautiously proposed them to the director. I did get very close to Seo Woo, but it wasn’t anything beyond that. She’s really a good dongsaeng to me. Things can get awkward when a scandal occurs, but on set it was more important to work on the drama than to get caught up in those things, so the scandal didn’t bother me too much.”

Im Joo-hwan’s potential was acknowledged when he won a newcomer award in the acting portion of the 2009 Korean Cultural Entertainment Awards for Tamra the Island.

“It was the first award I received after my debut. When I went to accept it, I was hit by a craving for some drinks. I really wanted to go drinking, more than at any other time, to drink in a boisterous group with a lot of other people. When I went onstage to receive the award, there were so many things I wanted to say, but the staff told me to keep it short so I couldn’t say much. I’m so thankful to the other actors whom I’d filmed with over a year and three months, and the people at the action school. They made me look better. I’m thankful to director Yoon Sang-ho and Seo Woo, and Hwang Chan-bin. I received my first award with this drama, and I think of this award as being given to the entire drama, not to me.”


As Park Kyu in Tamra the Island

Im Joo-hwan first met the public as a romantic doctor who loved Sung Yuri in 2006’s Snow Queen. With his gentle, warm image, he gained a lot of Japanese fans and is rising as a new Hallyu star. He even has a Japanese fanmeeting planned in December.

He said, “I’ll be meeting Japanese fans on December 13 and 14, with 800 attendees each. It’s also to promote Tamra the Island, which began broadcasting in Japan at the end of October.”

“Japanese fans even send me fan letters written in Korean. Korean fans are more positive and approach more easily, but Japanese fans find it harder to speak and are more nervous. There are some fans who will even come from Japan when I have a fansigning event at a department store, who will arrive the day before and sleep nearby in the neighborhood to attend the next day. That makes me feel uncomfortable and I tell them, ‘I’m happy that you like me, but please don’t put yourself through a lot of trouble to come.’ If high school students come wearing their school uniforms, I tell them, ‘Go to school and study.'” [Laughs]

Im Joo-hwan enjoys a lot of popularity in Korea, too. But relatively speaking, his hot popularity in Japan is comparable to other Hallyu stars. What could be the reason for that?

“I asked that to a friend who speaks Japanese well, and he said that in Japanese fan cafes, the words that come up often are ‘He’s gentle,’ ‘He’s warm,’ ‘He’s sweet,’ ‘He’s like a boy but when he shows his manly side, it’s attractive.’ They’re all positive comments, so I’m simply thankful.”

Im Joo-hwan is also famous for going into fan cafes suddenly and chatting with his fans online. When he does, news spreads like wildfire and all the fans gather in the cafe, and he satisfies his fans’ curiosity as they talk with each other.

“Someone told me that this is the first time they’ve seen an actor go into a cafe and chatting with people. When I go into the cafe, I start by saying, ‘What are you all doing not sleeping tonight?’ and we converse comfortably. Some fans tell me, ‘I’m taking care of the fishbowl.’ [Laughs] They mean that they’re the fish within the bowl. I talk and joke around with the fans in a friendly way, and those times are really meaningful to me. The fans and I bond that way.”

>

The 30th Blue Dragon Film Awards have just ended. Do you want to receive the new actor award in 2010?

Next year, I definitely want to receive the new actor award. I’d like to receive the supporting actor award, too. But I still think it’s a long way off. I have a long way to go in dramas, too. The new actor award is one I can only receive once in my life, so it would feel wonderful. I’d like to get it through a really great project.

In 2010, there are a lot of movies in the thriller genre. Have you thought about shedding your gentle image and challenging yourself with a villain role?

I want to try a character that makes you feel annoyed just by looking at me. I watched Inglourious Basterds recently, and the actor in role of the German officer [Christoph Waltz] was really amazing. His acting wasn’t brutal and cruel, but his speech and expressions showed complete domination over the other person. With a look that can change in an instant, he freezes the other person. I want to try a role like that.

Which actresses do you want to work with?

I’d like to act with Thirst‘s Kim Hae-sook sunbae. I’d like to do a heartbreaking melodrama with her; when I watch her, I start crying without even realizing. I particularly liked her in the movie Open City. Watching her trembling as she ate a lump of sugar, I was totally crying, it was crazy.

Which male actors to you think are cool?

Lee Byung-heon sunbae. He’s really the best. I’m still lacking that level of skill so we probably won’t be acting together, but I’d be happy just standing next to him like his friend in A Bittersweet Life. I would learn a lot just by standing next to him, and receive that energy.

I hear that you’re not dating anyone right now. What’s your ideal type?

My ideal type is Charlize Theron. I like someone whose appeal changes, who can be classy but then also be provocative and sexy. She may sometimes have an innocent and cute image, but she steps on the red carpet and makes a dramatic impact that everyone sighs, “Wow.” Someone who smiles widely — since I was young, my mother always said, “Your girlfriend should smile broadly and eat well,” and because I heard that so much, it got ingrained in my head. I’d like for a girlfriend not to pick at food but eat well.

What are your acting aspirations?

I want to be like Lee Byung-heon sunbae. He doesn’t only have women as fans, but he has an appeal that even men find cool. You can feel his aura. He’s a fantastic actor, and I’d like to be appealing like him. Also, rather than doing a lot of films, I’d like to do projects where I can act well, even if it’s just one a year. I want to work hard and show more of myself.

Via OSEN

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first :D
I am planning on watching tamra the island..

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Team Park Kyu!

Now my appetite for the full DVD version of Tamra has really been whetted. Im Joo-hwan is definitely one to watch in the future. I didn't remember him at all from BOF, and he barely registered to me in Snow Queen, but Tamra offered that perfect combination of character and actor. He was simply amazing in that role.

Thanks JB!

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Thank you, JB! :D

I'll definitely be looking forward to more projects from Im Joo Hwan.
Can't wait for the Tamna Director's Cut!

TEAM PARK KYU!!!!!!!

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Still trying to save up my money to buy the DVD set. Only watched the first 5 episodes and I'm hooked .... but its currently in queue right now. Just that too expensive to be in my Christmas list so I'll get it for myself.

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i wonder when the directors cut comes out with eng subtitles.
anyone know?

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...i found "Tamra" fascinating...like a breath of fresh air amongst the multitude of often recycled drama-storylines!!! Except the last few episodes, wherein they edited the scenes... i wish they'd make more inspiring dramas like this...the cast was perfect, esp. Seo Woo,& Im Joo Hwan!!!

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He's one of my favourite actors!

I knew he was something unique ever since "Snow Queen"!

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"Which male actors to you think are cool?

Lee Byung-heon sunbae. He’s really the best. I’m still lacking that level of skill so we probably won’t be acting together, but I’d be happy just standing next to him like his friend in A Bittersweet Life. I would learn a lot just by standing next to him, and receive that energy."

I wish I could stand next to him.

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I loved the chemistry between Im Joo Hwan and Seo Woo, in Tamra. Im Joo Hwan is such a good actor, I can't wait to see him in more dramas in the future. I am so going to buy the DVD of the drama!

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i miss Tamra. i can't wait for the DVD/director's cut 20 episodes. i miss Park Kyu & Beo Jin

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Team Park Kyu!

My radar went off, I knew I needed to check DB, and lo and behold - the sweetest smile the second I got on. Im Joo-hwan *is* Park Kyu, there is no other (it's like we can't even discuss one without the other, or consider what if another actor played the role).

Good for him!

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Im Joo-hwan didn't appear in Doremifasolatido, that was actually Jung Eui-chul. Sorry! Couldn't help pointing that out.

Keep up the great work! :]]

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oh, i love the drama so much.. i had very good laughters throughout the story. i never expect this funny drama could make me cried so much (ep.10 & 11). ratings are so unfair! i'm glad atleast he get some recognization from critics. i wish seo woo get some award too. normally i hate bubbly heroine, but seo woo's acting is just so adorable. she has the ability to make it truly from herself and looks very innocent. but sometimes her character annoys me abit, bcause i'm parkgyu+beojin shippers.

cant wait for the full version!! <3

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ehehe IJH definitely has an eye for acting and charisma (and beauty) - Charlize T. and LBH are great people to admire - so talented :)

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@Jane, both Jung Eui-chul and Im Joo-hwan were in Doremifasolatido. Here's his filmography: http://movie.naver.com/movie/bi/pi/basic.nhn?code=102521

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i totally had to do a double-take when i saw his picture, what a cutie!
although i must say i do not remember him at all on BOF, probably bc i was busy hating on the main girl, whose name i can't even recall now!

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He wants someone that eats well but look how skinny he is! lol.

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Joo hwan! he's adorable in that first picture. Im in love with his smile.
He was great in Tamra I cant wait for his future projects, I hope he can get bigger and better roles from here on in.
And thats so sweet how he pops into fan cafes. The best idol/celeb to me is one that enjoys connecting and interacting with their fans.

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Come on Joo Hwan, take up another project already. There ain't nothing for me to watch these days (except the upcoming Jejungwon.)

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Park Kyu!!!! I'm so glad to see you again! =)

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He's hot too :)

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Awesome that he talks to his fans via the fan cafes. It kinda makes me think of JGS in You're Beautiful when he's talk to PSH except for more non-selfish motives.

His ideal type sounds impossible lol.

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Definitely one to watch in 2010.

I didn't notice him so much in BOF, but he made me sit up and notice him in Tamra the Island. I was thinking, ooh-la-la, where did this guy come from?

Still waiting to get my hands on the dvd set.

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Joo Hwan did an amazing job in Tamra. He made the audience intimately connect with his character, which isn't easy to do. I am keeping my eyes open for his next project.

Tamra, oh how I love thee! Just when I was ready to write you off as yet another cheesy drama with bad humor, you flipped things around and blew me away. I'm anxiously awaiting the recaps so I can relive the experience of watching this show :)

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I'm a fan already ^_^

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Thanks for the article! I was really impressed with him in Tamra. He's a very natural actor. I hope he gets some good roles that stretch his acting ability next year.

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if I could, I would campaign for Im Joo Hwan and Seo Woo for Itazura na Kiss kdrama remake. it's basically the same character personalities from Tamra, but without a white dude with a fake english accent disrupting the couple. lol. but honestly, IJH and SW's chemistry with each other is just so spot on. so believable!

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I can't wait until his next project. I loved him in Tamra. I hated him when he was snotty, cried with him when his heart was breaking, and felt the tinge of jealousy when he fell in love with Beojin. His minor roles in Snow Queen, BOF, and Frozen Flower were okay, not comparable to his major role as Park Kyu.

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@jane
he acted younger brother of the female lead in doremifasolatido

the 1 who started the pupu stuffs...

maybe i should watch tamra the island.....

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Wish him the best and hope we see him in 2010. Tamra- The preparation for the

showdown at the palace which was not shown but the japanese viewers will be

able to watch - lots of energy and charisma Mr Im .

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Team Park Kyu!!

Thanks for this article JB! Makes me look forward to the Tamra DVD set even more!

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I've loved him since I saw him as Hyunbin's bff in Millionaire's First Love.
What a hottie.

I saw Snow Prince, well half of it and I remember him as the doctor.

But I haven't watched his newest one.

He's so cute. THANKS!

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Yeah! He is great in doremifasolatido. He plays the little brother of the female lead. He looks cute in that movie. In fact, the male stars in this movie are all the up and coming male actors. The other guy also played a role in BOF. But the female lead is weak and the story is a bit loose.

But I like this movie 'cause it feels refreshing, the male stars are all eye candies and the songs are quite nice as well.....

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I'm always surprised at how old he is- he's like 27 now, but he looks around Jang Geun Seok's age. I love his role as Park Kyu- he plays the snobbish character who doesn't get the upper hand, perfectly. And it seems like he watches a lot of movies- which I like in an actor. congratulations to him on his first award!

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@amktsy, javabeans
LOL, thanks for the corrections. Dang, and I thought I was being all smart, too. I really need to rewatch that movie and refresh my memory. I still don't remember him at all in the movie. The female lead had a younger brother? lol.

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Oooh... Thanks JB for translating this article!!!

If I may first clarify some stuff (sorry if I sound too nit picky ㅠㅠ)...

"Which actresses do you want to work with?

I’d like to act with Thirst’s Kim Hae-sook sunbae. I’d like to do a heartbreaking melodrama with her; when I watch her, I start crying without even realizing. I particularly liked her in the movie Open City. Watching her trembling as she ate a lump of sugar, I was totally crying, it was crazy. (I think it's more like "I felt like I was going crazy")

Which male actors to you think are cool?

Lee Byung-heon sunbae. He’s really the best. I’m still lacking that level of skill so we probably won’t be acting together, but I’d be happy just standing next to him like his friend in A Bittersweet Life. I would learn a lot just by standing next to him, and receive that energy." (I think he meant the actor Jin Goo)

Anyhow.. IJH is a great actor.. he acted the role of Park Kyu down to a T in Tamra the Island. I hope he gets more recognition in Korea since, sadly, there are still many people who don't know who IJH is. Thanks again JB... I really appreciate you translating this. And to those of you who still haven't tried Tamra, go ahead and give it a try! To me it was the best drama of the year.

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Oww,thanks JB!!

I love this guy! He`s such a nice, friendly guy to the core of his bones lol
Not to mention that he`s so very talented actor! Congrats!!

Does the japanese viewers really able to watch the uncut version of the drama? In that case, i will try to watch it live online. Although i`m confused does MNET korea relay their broadcast to Japan, or they have their own show? Because the list of tv in TVANTS only has MNET Korea. Or maybe anybody has any infos how to watch MNET Japan online?

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joohwan oppa! i love to eat!!! :D

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I've always thought that Jung Eui Chul, Im Joo Hwan and Jang Geun Seok have something about them that makes them look really really similar. In a good way of course!

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Apart from BoF in which his performance bordered forgettable, Im Joo Hwan's turn in both Snow Queen and Doremifasolatido was eye-catching. I think he almost stole the show from Jang Geun Seok for the little time he had in the latter movie. Hope to find the time soon to watch Tamra.

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ahhhhh!!! its him!! i first saw him in snow queen...but then nothing after that....now i will probs watch tamra tooo lol

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Thank you so much JB for this post. I totally adore Im Joo-hwan and look forward to seeing him in another drama soon.

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I haven't seen him anything except BOF and he barely registered an impression for me in there but I did think he was kind of cute. ^^ Now that smile in the top pic has totally won me over. ^_^

Off to add Tamra the Island to my ever-growing list of Dramas.I.Need.To.Watch.

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Thank you for the article JB

I am nearly chcecking every day the net about news from IJH. But its an frustrating effort, as nearly no news come up.So I was very when I saw this topic.Yipiieee
I am so curioust about his next project. Of course I will watch everthing he will play. He is one of the rare young actor who can express his emotions in silence, and he has one of the most beautiful smiles I have ever seen.

My hope is still, that he maybe will blay the lead in Korean version of It started with a kiss *^^* ...OK I admit I am a hopeless dreamer :P

TEAM PARK KYU !!!

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@Madita....Oh I like the idea of him starring in the k-version of ISWAK.

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Say No to Drugs!

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I noticed him in BOF - he was very good and had a presence. I loved him in Tamna and hope to see more of him in dramas. BUT - I'm not watching him as a bad guy, he will be too good and I'll get sucked in and feel bad and my blood pressure will go up.

Thanks very much for the article.

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First time writing a comment...=)

Thanks for the article. I was surprised by the Tamna drama and I felt incomplete watching the 16 episode version even though it was still very entertaining. I love how Park kyu and Boe jin's relationship evolved. I really enjoyed IJH's performance. Looking forward to his future project.

@gala, madita

I can really see him as the male lead for the ISWAk aka Itazura na Kiss. It was going through my mind as I watched the Tamna island. It would definitely be very nice if they can offer him the role.

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He's really great in Tamna. I really hated his character during the first 2 episodes ( I guess) and I started wondering how can I survive the whole drama watching this type of male lead. but he got me hooked (especially after the revelation of his character).

Good luck to him!

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another vote for im joo hwan and seo woo to play the leads in the k-ISWAK (:

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