On August 5, 2015, Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) aired a series which would eventually earn the title of the best K-drama for 2015 (so far). That series was Yong Pal. For those who do not understand just how successful Yong Pal is, all one has to do is compare it to Producer, a highly-ambitious series produced by the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS). The series main casted two of the biggest Hallyu stars today (Kim Soo Hyun and IU) and was given a much bigger budget compared to past series. They also added in numerous cameo appearances from other popular Hallyu stars including Girls’ Generation-TTS. All that effort resulted in Producer becoming a hit this year, with an average 12 percent viewership nationwide. Yong Pal beat it in its debut episode.
One of the biggest reasons why Yong Pal was highly-admired among viewers is the fact Joo Won, the actor who played the male lead, Kim Tae Hyun (also known as Yong Pal), expressed excellent chemistry with Kim Tae Hee, his female co-lead, who played Han Yeo Jin. Yet, viewers were quick to notice that Won’s chemistry seemed far more authentic compared to Tae Hee. There is a reason for that because, apparently, Won admits that he falls in love with his female lead co-stars.
According to KdramaStars, Joo Won is famous for developing crushes on his female lead co-stars. This includes Uee, the singer-actress who appeared alongside him in Ojakgyo Brothers. The same goes for Choi Kang Hee, who worked with him in Level 7 Civil Servant. His latest crush, however, is none other than Kim Tae Hee. He makes that known in an interview with Singles Magazine, when he said the best thing he got out of his role in Yong Pal was working with Tae Hee.
“She’s not only pretty looking but she has a nice personality. She’s more appealing the more you look at her.”
This ability to wear his romantic feelings on his sleeve is why Joo Won has developed a reputation of being believable in romantic leads. By developing feelings for his female co-stars, Won is no longer acting but actually expressing how he feels. This is also why in Yong Pal, there were questions of Won’s character, Kim Tae Hyun, possibly ending up in a romance with another character besides Kim Tae Hee’s Han Yeo Jin. There were times when viewers thought Tae Hyun would have ended up with Cynthia, who was played by Stephanie Lee. There was even a moment when viewers thought Tae Hyun would end up with the secondary female lead character, Lee Chae Young, who was played by Chae Jung An. Though K-drama romances often are set, it was nice to see that the possibilities of a different direction for love lines were present.
Joo Won has a thing not just for his female co-leads, but may express such towards secondary and supporting cast, too, though not to the extent as the former. Yet, the question that should be asked is if Won actually follows up on his romantic feelings. During a recent interview with Naver TV, he made the reality of his crushes known that “he wishes” onscreen romances would turn to real-life. At least his co-stars do know about his feelings, and he admits he loves it when they allow him to act as such for his roles.
“I do really like my co-stars when I’m acting. As a person, as a partner, and as something beyond that. Since I really like her romantically, it’s probably obvious in the way I look at her. I really like working with co-stars who allow me to feel that way naturally.”
Right now, Joo Won is promoting his latest movie, It’s Him, which opened at the box office on October 27, 2015. His Yong Pal co-star, Kim Tae Hee, attended the premiere but only to support him as a friend. She is in a confirmed relationship with Jung Ji Hoon, who is better known by his stage name, “Rain.”
[Image via Screen Capture of Yong Pal]