I’m a K-drama newbie, and it was Crash Landing On You (CLOY) that propelled my love for K-Drama—or more precisely, it was Hyun Bin. I have watched many others since CLOY, but there was nothing close to the cry-laugh moments I had with Captain Ri and Yoon Se-ri. When I found out TheDiarist.ph had been invited to the Hyun Bin x Bench press conference, I nearly fainted.
I made sure I practised asking questions as if I was giving a very important speech. Okay, laugh all you want. It was my first time to fangirl, and I didn’t want to look like an utter fool in front of Hyun Bin. I was almost glad it was on Zoom, or else I would have swooned if Hyun Bin and I were meeting in person. I learned a few Korean words, more important of all was “Saranghaeyo, Hyun Bin-ssi.” He is probably used to hearing it by now.
Hyun Bin was ready 12 minutes before call time, and you could feel the excitement across the Zoom room, even with everyone communicating from a distance. He glided onto his seat, and we were immediately greeted with a smile. I did not see those dimples until probably the third episode of CLOY, so it was refreshing to see him smile almost the entire time!
He spoke some English, but he replied mostly in Korean, and it was translated to English. But there was no such thing as a language barrier, as Hyun Bin surely knew how to connect! Those piercing gazes, heart-stopping smiles, and that carefully tousled hair you want to touch will make you feel like you are face-to-face with him. (At one point he moved closer to the screen, and before the host introduced us, I squeaked a small “Hello.” I didn’t realize he would hear, and when he said “Hello” back I almost fell off my chair.)
Can you tell us how you feel about communicating with your Filipino fans as a Bench model? And what do you think is the biggest charm of Bench?
I’m very sad because if it weren’t for the current pandemic situation, I would have gone and met you (Filipino fans) in person. But still, I’m able to meet and communicate with you through Bench, so I’m very happy. I think the biggest charm of Bench is the simple and comfortable, yet still stylish style.
‘I think a white T-shirt goes well with any pants. I wear it with jeans or slacks very often’
How do you style a basic white T-shirt from Bench, and where would you wear it?
Well, I think a white T-shirt goes well with any pants. For me, I wear it with jeans or slacks very often. But also, wearing a jacket or blazer over a white shirt with slacks would make you ready to go to any formal event.
Why do you think your character, Captain Ri, was so well received and so well loved by K-drama fans all over the world?
I think that this character is pure, serious, and most of all, knows how to sacrifice for his loved ones, which is what people loved about him.
What is your message or advice to your fans, especially now that vaccines are here and hope is on the way?
I believe that we have all been through a difficult time the past year, and I think that we are all doing our best to overcome it. So, I believe that very soon, we will be able to take off our masks and communicate face-to-face, not through video calls like this. So everyone, stay strong a bit more, follow the safety measures, and stay healthy. Then, we’ll be able to meet in a short period of time.
You have already tried almost all kinds of genres like rom-com, action, and sci-fi; what do you want to try next?
Usually, I don’t select a drama or film with a specific genre in mind, so it doesn’t really matter. As long as it has an interesting theme or story that I want to try, then any genre will do.
You’ve played a lot of different roles in the acting industry. Is there still a “dream role” for you to play?
I don’t think I have a “dream role.” I constantly look for something new, be it be genre, role, or story, so I guess everything I haven’t tried yet can be my “dream role.”
You’ve been a captain, a CEO, and a prince among many other roles. What role do you want to portray next in a series or in a movie?
I also don’t know yet what role I’m going to do next. After finishing shooting for a film or drama, I browse through new scripts, and see if there’s a piece with a role I’m attracted to. I also don’t know yet what that role would be. I’m just constantly trying to look for something new, so I’m also curious.
How do you find time to relax, and what do you do?
I don’t really have a lot of free time. When I have to go into a next film or drama, I have to be on standby and get ready for it, so the only time I can fully relax is after finishing shooting a whole piece. To relax, hmm, I think I take deep breaths. Inhaling and exhaling deeply three to five times makes me more relaxed.
You can see in Hyun Bin’s facial expressions how he was genuinely engaged with the person asking the question. He made you feel special
Do you have any tips for your fans who would want to dress more like you?
I personally like comfy and simple clothes. So, if you want to dress like me, that’s how you should dress. If you want to have an accent, in my case, I put emphasis on my watch, accessories, or shoes, but nothing extravagant.
People still have not moved on from Crash Landing On You, and have separation anxiety. Have you moved on? Can you tell us more about your upcoming projects?”
I have to say that I have moved on, because after CLOY, I shot two movies, The Point Men and Confidential Assignment 2: International. So, I have to say I have kind of moved on, but there are still people who have not gotten over CLOY, and whenever I hear stories about it, the memories come back.
He was so relaxed and authentic, it made me want to crack insider jokes
This last question seemed to amuse him, and he said he hasn’t fully moved on from CLOY himself. I wanted to say, “Uh-huh, I’m so sure you haven’t. *Wink. Wink.*” He was so relaxed and authentic, it made me want to crack insider jokes with him all day, as if we were friends. You can see in his facial expressions how he was genuinely engaged with the person asking the question. He made you feel special. And I know he wasn’t just acting the part because he had different facial expressions for everyone––surprised, amused, delighted, serious, introspective.
After meeting him, I wanted to run to the nearest Bench store and grab the first Captain T-shirt I could still find a year after CLOY has ended to “seal the memory.” If he’s not the perfect endorser for Bench, I don’t know who is.
I grew up in the era of Twin Cinema Arcade, with the first Bench store. From my limited knowledge back then, I thought it was called Bench because there was a bench outside the store and the first T-shirt design was a simple white T-shirt with a bench printed in the middle. I remember, because my brother loved that shirt. And I still remember Richard Gomez as their endorser, and so too will I remember Hyun Bin and his simple and relaxed style.
I had practiced saying “I love you” in Korean but was too starstruck to say it. Actually, I was too scared to turn out like Toni Gonzaga in that infamous I-love-you-Piolo commercial. So if someone ever asks me, what is the one thing you regret in your life? It would have to be, “Not saying ‘Saranghaeyo Hyun Bin-ssi’ when I had the chance.”