Skip Beat/ 华丽的挑战 Press Conference

Just before the Super Show 4, Siwon and Donghae, together with Ivy Chen held a press conference to promote their drama, ‘Skip Bea’t/ 华丽的挑战’. This is the first Taiwanese drama (actually, first overseas drama) for both Siwon and Donghae.

‘Skip Beat’ is hot off the air because it is airing at the same time as Taiwan. That’s right at the very same time, isn’t that awesome? I wish all dramas were aired this way.

The conference started off with the three artistes introducing themselves in Mnadarin…yes, Donghae and Siwon too. Though they were just 2 simple sentences, they were nevertheless spoken without difficulty. The two men were as dashing as ever and Ivy Chen was much smaller and prettier in real life.

Q: We made a surprise visit to a secondary school today. How did you all feel?
Ivy: It’s been almost 10 years since I left High School, I felt that everyone was so young, adorable and innocent. They were all shouting so excitedly and were so cute.

Q: When was the last time you stepped inside a secondary school?
Siwon: I graduated in 2002, so it would have been about 10 years.
Dongahe: When I went to the school, I thought we were about the same age and I can actually attend the lessons together with them. In fact, I almost wanted to put on the uniform. It was amazing to see so many stduents of different nationalities who could recognise us. I hope to visit a college the next time
*It would be impossible to carry out any lessons if Dongahe attends lessons there. On the other hand, the morale would be very high and 101% attendance in the school.In case some of you aren’t aware, the 3 artistes had visited Teck Whye Secondary School in the morning and from the looks of it, it was a rousing success (I read only 40 lucky students were picked ^^. Here’s the clip on StarHub in case you miseed it.

Q: As the host, did you plan any special meal or brought them out for a meal?
Ivy: I don’t think I need to prepare anything for them as they ate rather well but we did go out for a meal on the first day. They had Ma La Hotpot as they love it.

Q: Did Siwon keep asking for food during filming?
*We were shown a BTS film eralier where Siwon kept talking about food during filming. He really did look hungry all the time
Ivy: Siwon didn’t really ask for food all the time but he really does love to eat hotpot. As for Dongahe, he doesn’t really eat ‘adult’ food and is not keen on tonics etc. He prefers ‘children’ food like ice-cream.

Q: How was Donghae like in secondary school and did many girls chased him since he is so good looking?
Donghae: I studied in a boys school during my high school and college days, however there were many girls from the neighbouring schools who were interested in him. But I joined SM Entertainment during my first year in high school after auditioning, so I entered the entertainment industry when I was very young.  Compared to other high school students, I have a less memorable high school life.

Q: Is Siwon or Donghae more attractive to girls?
Ivy: They are both attractive in their own ways. Donghae is more childlike, very innocent and cute. Siwon is very gentlemently and polite but he has his adorable side too. They are both ideal types.
*At this Ivy appeared really ackward and mentioned that she’s been filming with them for too long and it’s impossible to choose or she may cause a public outcry. Wise answer, Ivy. ^^

Q: Were you afraid that the fans would be jealous?
Ivy: Before I started filming, many did warn me to be careful- don’t stand too close and don’t touch them during photography sessions etc. I was really nervous and so on the first day, I really didn’t dare to touch them and stayed as far away as possible. Later on, I discovered that it was not as scary as everyone said and work carried on normally. The fans were very nice to us and I have yet to receive any death threats.
*Death threats? Gosh, she must have been worried initially. Hehehe!

Siwon: Now our fans ask us to treat Ivy better.
*At this juncture, Ivy pointed at Dongghae and gave him that ‘see-even-your-fans-told-you-to-treat-me-better’ look. Donghae actually admited that he bullies Ivy because he is mischievous.

Q: What was your impression of the intimate scenes?
Ivy: There was only one kissing scene and it was actually just a peck on the cheeks in a dream. I was naturally very nervous because there were fans all around us. I couldn’t brush my teeth or freshen up at the filming site so I didn’t dare to eat for the whole day in case I gave a bad impression.
Siwon: This scene was only added in at the last minute so I was very nervous when I read the script.
*Siwon called the scene a ‘magnificant challenge’ (华丽的挑战).

Q: You had to show your middle finger in the drama, were you worried that it would spoil your image? How far would you sacrifice for a charcter?
Ivy: It was already in the script and because there were special effects in the drama, the director thought it would be funny if we did it. I had already done it before in another drama, so I was ok with it. But Siwon was unwilling and struggled with it for a long time. But he had to do it as I had already done it. I felt rather sorry for him.
As for making sacrifices, I felt that as an actor, you have to know your limit. I haven’t reach it yet so I don’t know. For now, I try to do all that’s required in the script.
Siwon: The drama was adapted from a Japanese novel. To retain the original feel, we try to be as true to the character as possible. The action was done by the character to express a certain emotion. So I hope all of you won’t place too much emphasis on it or take it to heart.
*Siwon is a devout Christian, so it must have taken him a huge effort just to do this scene. It was probably harder that a kissing scene.
Donghae: My limit? Dying in the show.
*Huh? That’s the limit? He’s a real joker. Siwon jokingly asked if Dongahe would be willing if he had to shave his head bald ebfore ‘dying’ in the show and Dongahe said yes!. I think all the fans would cry their eyes out if ever Donghae shave his eye AND die in a drama at the same time.
Donghae: I had watched Infernal Affairs earlier and would like to act some of those characters if possible. I also hope to do a love story or melodrama. I’m prepared to try out different roles and will give it my best if given a chance.

Q: Did you all experience much difficulties just like the character?
Ivy: It was of course difficult whenI first started but now that I think back, it was also interestng. Even now, I feel like ‘Gong Xi’ (her character in the drama), standing in awe of the big stars and constantly feeling that I have to try harder.
Siwon: I play a top star in the drama and have learnt alot from a new artiste’s point of view. I realised that if I am to become a top star, then I would have to put in a lot of hard work. I will not take anyone as an example to emulate but will just strive to to be professional in all my roles, whether as an actor or other roles.
*Ah Ken said that he is already a top star but Siwon said he still has far to go. What do you all think? ^^

Q: Do you feel that there are similarities between the drama and your real life?
Donghae: It was a little difficult in the beginning but it got better and I could grasp the character. The character is quite similar to my own character- adorable and a little mischievous. Other than a little proud, he is a little naughty and funny, which is quite like me, so I was quite happy acting the role.

Q: How did you feel when you first heard that you were going to act in this drama together with them?
Ivy: I wasn’t the original choice for the drama. I took a look at the script and decided to take up the project then. At that time, things were still uncertain and I only found out later that I was going to act together with them. I was actually quite calm about it but everyone around me was so excited. It was only after we finished filming that I realised how popular they are. They had released an album right after the drama and I thought – “Wow, they are really good looking”. And then I went to their concert and realised even more just how handsome they are and I kept raising my board and shouting.
*Ah Ken asked why she didn’t have that kind of feeliag dudirng filming.
Ivy: If I maintained this fangirl state during filming everyday, I wouldn’t have been able to act. I realised what a lucky girl I was.

Q: How did you managed to conquer the language barrier and memorised all those lines?
Siwon: I was really quite worried when we first started. I had a shock as I had very long lines in my very first scene. There were only 2 rehearsals. Ivy had the heavy parts but she was very well prepared. She gave a great performance and I really respected her. It is inevitable to forget our lines during filming but just like during concerts, I’ve always told the fans that there is only one song. Whenever I forget my lines, I only had to look into Ivy’s eyes and they would help me remember. So I really have to thank Ivy.

Q: Donghae, what was your reaction upon learning that Ivy would be your co-star?
Donghae: I was happy filming with Ivy. I’ve watched ‘Hear Me’ earlier and it left me with a deep impression. Ivy is very caring and the rest of the cast are also very warm so I had a wonderful time. Actually, Ivy is more mishcievous than me.
Ivy: In the move, ‘Hear Me’, I can’t speak and can only communciate via sign language so everyone had a good impression of me. It’s a good thing they had watched this movie earlier because I’m really very noisy in the drama. I was so noisy, they often asked me to calm down.

Q: What is the difference between filming a Taiwanese and a Korean drama?
*This question was directed at the 2 boys but Ivy answered that it is film-as-you-broadcast for Korean dramas but in Taiwan, you finished filming the whole drama before it is broadcasted. Seems she does understand alitte about  theKorean entertainment scene.
Siwon: Taiwanese bento set is delicious. In Taiwan, they will provide food at mealtime but in Korea, you are given an hour to settle your own meal on your own.

Q: Besides food, is there any difference?
Donghae: In Korea, filming is done quickly but it is slower in Taiwan. Whilst filming the drama, Super Junior was about to release its 5th album, so we had to go back to Korea frequently. I’m grateful to the staff and cast for being so understanding. If time permit, I would have done better. If there is another chance, I will make sure to give it my best.

Q: Siwon had more acting expereince, do you feel burdened by this?
Siwon: There is no burden as there is trust and understanding amongst the members. I believe there are no other groups that are as busy as Super Junior. As an artiste, we have to fulfil many obligations and no matter what process, we have to deliver the results. Because of our busy schedule, we didn’t have muc time to prepare for ‘Skip Beat’ beforehand. But we trusted each other and I was sure Donghae would do well so I wasn’t worried that there would be any problems.

Q: Did Dongahe feel pressurised by Siwon’s good looks?
* Donghae laughed when he heard this question….^^
Donghae: Siwon, Eunhyuk and I are about the same age. Before Siwon joined Super Junior, I was very good friend with Eunhuk. I didn’t have very good impression of Siwon when he first joined. But as we spent more time together, I discovered that he is very caring and considerate. So he is not just a friend, but more like an older brother or father.
*Siwon sputtered and laughed out loud when he heard he was like a father to Donghae. Haha!
Donghae: Siwon is taller and better built than me and sometimes when I performed well, he would hug me so it feels as if he is protecting me. So I’m going to keep this friend forever. I also believe if I have any financial difficulties in the future, I’m sure Siwon would help me.
*Both Siwon and Dongahe really laughed at this comment. Actually so did everyone in the room, including the translator. When asked by Ah Ken if he would really help Donghae, he hesisited for half a second and said ‘Yes’. Hahaha! I wonder if all the other members will go to Siwon for help with financial difficulties.
Siwon: In life, there will be both happy and sad times. Because we are the same age, if there are any problems, I will confide in Donghae first and not Eunhyuk. The secrets between us will take more than 3 days to tell.

Ah Ken: Ivy, so do you think Siwon is more like the father and Donghae his son? Did you feel that way during filming?
*But before Ivy could answer, Donghae grabbed the micorphone and pointed to Ivy- “Mother”, then he pointed to Siwon- “Father” and lastly to himself- “son”. I’m sorry I couldn’t show the actual clip but it was really funny.

Donghae: Mother… I’m off to school

Donghae is really naughty and mischievous.

Amd with that, it was the end of the press conference. This was one of the more enjoyable press conference that I had attended in a while and also possibly the longest involving Korean artistets. I think the casual atmosphere was due to the familarity and arpport between the 3 artistes. Ivy may say she is in awe of the boys but she is definitely on friendly terms with them.

Whilst I had known Siwon was very polite (I had witnessed it a few times), I didn’t expect Donghae to be so naughty and mischievous. He’s made me take a second look at him.

The press conference was also interesting because different media had a chance to ask questions and they were answered as much as possible by the 3 artistes. Unlike most press conferences that I had atteneded where standard questions and politically correct dull answers were given. I’m not saying the boys gave explosive answers but at least they provided for interesting write ups.

‘Skip Beat’is into its 11th episode last Sunday and there are only 3 more episodes to go before ending on 25 March. So catch it while you can although I’m sure they would repeat it again. If they don’t, just send in a peitition to StarHub. Haha!

‘Skip Beat’ is showing on Channel 825, E-City, every Sunday. 10pm.

For more photos, check out my FB.

Unfortunately, I am not allowed to upload the video clips of the press conference, but here’s an audio clip of Donghae saying goodbye just before he left. What do you think of his Mandarin?

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