When news of the commencement of auditions for Gaksital first broke, the audience said “Oh…how will this end? It’s hard to say.”
Joo Won, had earlier appeared in KBS 2’s Baker King and Ojakyo Brothers and had given all he had to his roles but Gaksital was the first time Joo Won would take on the lead role.
Nevertheless, in the first ratings battle between Gaksital, top star headed Ghost and MBC’s I do I do, Gaksital won the race and maintained top spot. Due to the fact that the drama was about a hero in the era of the Japanese Occupation, Joo Won received the nickname “Patriotic Actor”.
“I am still not able to live up to the title ‘Patriotic Actor’. It’s not just me, the other actors all deserve to be called so. this nickname came too suddenly and I never imagined it would happen. ‘Rating Man’ is also a nickname that gave me a huge burden. Thankfully, I’ve always prepared myself for the ratings. Maybe next time I’ll be second or maybe the audience won’t know if I’m in a drama or not and the ratings could drop.”
“Although everyone sacrificed, and it felt very unfortunate, but the last scene was very cool. The only thing that I felt regretful about was that when we were filming the last scene, there was a huge downpour. We had to wait for the rain to stop before we could start filming but it was a flawless, awesome scene. Regardless of whether Gaksital died or not or despite the fact that it didn’t appear grand, even more people put on the mask and participated in movement in support of the independence movement. Perhaps at first everything felt so surreal but it was a scene that left a deep impression.”
Gaksital brought many things to this actor who has only debuted for 3 years. Joo Won said “Not only did I prepare before filming started, during filming, I thought a lot about my country and the pain of the people. I made use of the realisations I got through studying and put it into my acting. I put in a lot of hard work. Through studying history, I got to understand the pain of the people and their love for their country.”
But that is not the end for Joo Won.
“I’ve learnt a lot with regard to acting and I have also learnt how to express my opinion. When I was acting out Kangto, the director’s opinion is important but I have also learnt to express my own thoughts and confidence. It’s my first time taking on a lead role so even if I was not especially good, but there were times when I thought “Ah, so I could do it too.”. I would tell myself “You did well for your first try.” Also, I have learnt how to lead the staff and other actors as a lead actor.:
Finally, we asked Joo Won if he would take part in a Gaksital sequel if one was ever planned. Joo won said ok without hesitation at all.
“If there really is a Gaksital sequel, I want to be part of it again because there are very few dramas in Korea that have many seasons. But Park Ki Woong hyung and Ji Se Yeon and other actors have died so that’s going to be very sad.