"200 SHINee fans follow us around so it’s really hard to shoot the drama.” Well, 200 may be an exaggeration. But then again, of course there will be fans wherever Minho goes. That is why we expected the set of “KBS Drama Special: Pianist” to be somewhat hectic but luckily, the Eulwangri Beach in the Jung-gu district of Incheon, where the shoot was well under way, was peaceful. It may have been because his female fans were tied down at school with filming taking place on a weekday afternoon. Instead, it was middle-aged women who got to enjoy the sight in front of their eyes while blurting out remarks such as “I might freeze to death while taking these photos” or “My, isn’t he handsome” while pressing down on the shutter of their cameras. And as if she had already become used to it, actress Han Ji-hye silently kept her eyes fixed on the sandy beach, repeatedly drawing and erasing two circles with a twig while Minho gazed at her intently.
After several such attempts, what gets completed is the infinite sign (∞). In-sa (Han Ji-hye), who early into her life gave up on the dream of becoming a pianist and is a part-time instructor, says to aspiring pianist yet piano tuner Je-ro (Minho), “This is the infinite sign. It’s the same as your name. You’re living a special life, Je-ro.” And the moment that picture which looks like it will so easily get washed away by the waves takes place in Je-ro’s heart, the two’s relationship deepens. In that sense, the beach has special meaning for Minho who is making his acting debut through the last episode of KBS’ single-episode series. After the two characters meet by chance, Insa starts to smile again and Je-ro heads closer to achieving his dream. “Pianist” will air at 11:15 p.m. on November 27.
10Asia: You’re working opposite SHINee member Minho who is acting for the first time. How has it been?
Han: I was happy when I first found out that he was cast for the drama. It may be because he’s in a group but he wasn’t shy and [is] friendly so he comes up to me to talk about this and that. And I wasn’t worried about him in regards to his acting because the fact that we were going to act together in the drama was important, not how good or bad of an actor he is. It’s true that he lacked a lot in terms of acting out his lines because it’s his first time acting so we read over the script several times. Minho is very busy (laugh) so we read over the script at eleven at night and once in Yeouido at nine thirty at night. But he’s increasingly doing a better job over time. It’s probably because he’s been in front of the camera a lot.
10Asia: Je-ro is a 21-year-old guy who is a beginner at love and can’t afford to achieve his dream by himself so it has to be important and difficult for him to express that frustration. How was it having to watch him pull that off?
Han: I think Minho as himself is Je-ro without needing any particular lessons in acting. When he sometimes puts on long and hard gazes like he does on stage as an idol singer, the director would tell him, “Je-ro isn’t like that. You have to give a shy glance.” And he would then immediately give a shy glance with his big eyes. (laugh)
10Asia: What did you take note of while working on “Pianist”?
Han: Minho recently told me that his fans are most important to him which is actually hard for actors to say because singers are always performing in front of an audience but actors don’t so they quite often forget how important fans are. So I wrote it down because it inspired me.