|Veteran actor Bong Tae-gyu recently had an interview with The Korea Times and other media outlets at a cafe in Mugyo-dong, western Seoul. Courtesy of iMe Korea|
By Dong Sun-hwa
For nearly 20 years, chameleonic actor Bong Tae-gyu has featured in various TV series and movies, ranging from action to comedy. But shooting the SBS investigative drama "Doctor Detective," which wrapped up Sept 5, was particularly demanding.
"Doctor Detective" revolved around doctors fighting against irrationalities in different workplaces. Bong played Heo Min-ki, a cheerful specialist in occupational and environmental medicine.
"Since the drama focused on exposing prevailing absurdity in our society, it was challenging to scout locations," Bong said during a recent interview with The Korea Times and other media outlets at a cafe in Mugyo-dong, western Seoul. "The cast and crew were also given only limited time for the filming."
Bong said staff members once attempted to scout a subway station, but were rejected several times. They were to introduce a tragic industrial accident that took place at Seoul's Guui Station on Line 2 in 2016. A subway maintenance worker, 19, was hit by a train and died while repairing a platform safety door alone. There should have been at least two workers on the site for safety, according to the guideline.
"Everyone said we should bear this incident in mind, but when we actually asked for equipment sponsorship, we were mostly turned down too," Bong said. "We even considered deleting this episode."
But the episode could be aired, thanks to last-minute confirmation from one station.
"I witnessed all these hardships our crew went through, so I also strived to perform better acting," Bong said. "This is why I have a special affection for this work."
|Bong debuted in the film "Tears" in 2000. Courtesy of iMe Korea|
"Doctor Detective" got off to a good start in July, with its first episode garnering 5.7 percent viewership. But the rating began falling as the series went on. The drama ended with 3.9 percent.
But Bong said the viewership did not concern him.
"We had to make a choice midway," Bong said. "Most dramas these days center on key characters like main heroes, but we decided to put emphasis on the victims. We knew such a decision would not guarantee us commercial success, but we wanted our work to be more meaningful."
Bong, 38, also talked about his feelings as he welcomes 2020, the 20th anniversary of his debut. Bong had his start in the 2000 movie "Tears."
"I was sad," he said. "After the drama rounded off, I felt for the first time that I was running out of energy. So I began working out."
He added: "I want to appreciate all the people who have helped me do my work for 20 years. I will try my best to be more faithful and affable at work."
Bong also disclosed his plans, saying he might return to the silver screen.
"I might appear in a film soon," he said. "I will work hard on it like a rookie actor."