"Pushing Boundaries: Actor Bae Yoo-ram's Struggles and Triumphs in Filming the Cult Episode on 'Taxi Driver 2'"
Can it receive any more explove rave? SBS Friday-Saturday drama Taxi Driver 2 provided a refreshing experience by seeking revenge on behalf of crime victims based on realistic stories. The members of the hidden taxi company and revenge agency, 'Rainbow Taxi,' portrayed a broader range of acting compared to Season 1. The unique concept, dynamic fun, and catharsis were the charms of the show.
Bae Yooram (as Park Jin-Eon), an original member of 'Rainbow Taxi,' with his signature bowl cut and curious eyes, added to the fun with chemistry with Choi Ju-im (played by Jang Hyuk-jin). In an interview after the end of the series, he expressed gratitude, saying, "After filming was over, I watched the drama as a viewer when it aired each week, and I'm happy every day because so many people sent more love and interest than I expected."
The members of 'Rainbow Taxi,' who were together in Season 1, including Lee Je-hoon, Kim Eui-sung, Pyo Ye-jin, Jang Hyuk-jin, and Bae Yoo-ram, appeared in Season 2 without any cast changes. Despite the passage of time, Bae Yoo-ram's reunion with the other members in Season 2 was seamless, leaving no trace of the gap between them. They now perceive themselves as more than just a team; they feel like a close-knit family.
“If we meet again in Season 3, I think we can showcase an even stronger chemistry. In Season 3, I anticipate being more proactive and actively focusing on my own lacks during Season 2. It would be exciting to see "Park Jin-Eon" rescuing "Dogi" (Lee Je-hoon) and "Goeun" (Pyo Ye-jin) out of their crisis.”
Actor Bae Yoo-ram. ©StoryJcompany
The difference between Season 2 and Season 1 lies not only in the scale but also in the directing. There were concerns about the change in directors from Director Park Joon-woo to Director Lee Dan and how it would impact the authenticity of the production, but the new director's strengths came forward, resulting in a cohesive sequel. The actors also rallied together, saying, "Let's support the director," and filming proceeded smoothly as they cheered on one another.
In the drama, Mechanic "Park Jin-Eon" is a member of the "Rainbow Taxi" team, known as the "nice fool”, with an innocent face, uncontrollable mischievousness, and a passion that can accomplish anything despite being somewhat careless. His perfect chemistry with his best friend, "Choi Kyung-koo," showcases a "dumb and dumber" charm.
Bae Yoo-ram's transformation into different supporting characters was remarkable from the beginning. Jumping out of a pile of bushes in a Ghillie suit, he was wonderfully unrecognizable and made the scene memorable for all of us. Afterwards, he actively contributed to the enjoyment of the drama by portraying various supporting characters such as a Vietnamese police officer, a rural youth, a cult follower, a security agent, and a first-generation hip-hop artist. With each episode, Bae Yoo-ram showcased a brilliant presence as a "master of transformation" with his dazzling disguises, effortlessly embodying any character and enriching their charm.
Scene from Taxi Driver 2. ©SBS
"I think I put the most effort into filming the Cult episode during this season. There were time and location constraints for shooting inside the entirely white sanctuary. We needed to shoot all the scenes within a day or two, so both the actors and production team really concentrated on the filming. I think the scenes turned out especially well because of that focus. It is also one of the most memorable supporting characters for me."
In Season 2, the members of "Rainbow Taxi" portrayed a variety of memorable alternate characters (aka BOOKAE in Korean, a short for Extra Character, which means alternate characters). Bae Yoo-ram's standout performance as a follower of the 'Pure White Sect' gained significant attention, particularly due to controversies surrounding the most recent documentaries on cults in the country. Thanks to the hard work of the costume and makeup teams, each alternate character became more enjoyable and engaging.
The Taxi Driver series captivates viewers with its portrayal of real-life events, rather than made-up stories. The new season tackled controversial topics such as the Nth Room sex abuse case, the murder of an engineering student in Pattaya, senior citizen phone scams, child abuse through unregistered property transfers, cult crimes, surrogate and drunken surgeries, the Burning Sun scandal, the mysterious death of a detective at Gangnam Police Station, and the case of the Busan Brothers Welfare Center. These storylines sparked nationwide discussions.
"The drama can only carry so many crimes; there are many more different crimes out there. As a fan of the investigative program Unanswered Questions, I am highly interested in various social events and accidents. Through my acting, I have become more aware of these issues and hope that such incidents can be prevented in the future."
Scene from Taxi Driver 2. ©SBS, StoryJcompany
Beloved as the "best stress-reducing drama," the series introduced the new season featuring the emergence of the secret organization "Geumsa Society" as rivals to the "Rainbow Taxi". Shin Jae-ha, playing the role of Director On Ha-jun, skillfully deceived both the team and viewers. Bae Yoo-ram praised Shin Jae-ha's performance.
What caught the attention of viewers in Taxi Driver 2 were the guest actors who appeared in each episode as cameos, portraying clients, victims, criminals, and other characters. In the 9th episode, Namgoong Min made a special appearance as "Cheon Ji-hoon" from the drama "One Dollar Lawyer," showcasing a collaboration between SBS dramas in the "SBS Universe" and generating buzz. In the final episode, Moon Chae-won from "PAYBACK: Money and Power" and Kim So-yeon from "Penthouse" appeared.
Bae Yoo-ram named Kim So-yeon as the most impressive actor among the cameos. "Her character appeared like a savior in front of the endangered 'Rainbow Taxi' team, and her charisma was extraordinary. I admire her and had a great time shooting together."
Taxi Driver 2 has achieved remarkable success as the top-rated program in weekly average and 2049 viewership. Its popularity and box office triumph have paved the way for high anticipation regarding the upcoming Season 3, subtly hinted at by the inclusion of Kim So-yeon.
“While the decision for Season 3 is not solely in my hands, I naturally hold a personal desire for its production and eagerly await the outcome. (*Editor's note: The day after the season 2 ended, SBS announced its decision to produce Season 3) If Season 3 does happen, I had a fleeting thought of changing my bowl cut or experimenting with a wig since my real hair hasn't been in the best condition. (Laughs)"
Bae Yoo-ram made his debut in A Perfect Sight (2015), which won the Best Short Film at the 30th Blue Dragon Film Awards. Over the past 15 years, he has appeared in over 250 independent films, honing his solid acting skills. His notable strengths include a clear voice and effective delivery of lines. As a prolific actor, he showcased his talent in six productions last year, such as the dramas "The King of Pigs," "Unicorn," "Wonder," and the films "Urakami Haruki," "Chiaksan Mountain," and "No Surprise."
When reflecting on his acting career, the film Exit (2019) stands out as the most memorable work. With its large audience, it provided an opportunity for him to establish himself more prominently. He sees himself as a work in progress. The most fulfilling moments for him as an actor are when his family and friends enjoy watching his performance. Additionally, receiving recognition and appreciation from a wide audience for his contributions to various projects is truly gratifying.
“I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all the viewers who have shown love and support for Taxi Driver 2 and the character. Those who have been following my journey are likely aware that I always strive to give my best performance in every work and role given to me. Sharing my acting skills, even in the smallest role, remains my utmost priority. I will continue to diligently prepare to present the finest version of myself. Thank you!”
Interview by Glenda Park, Editor-in-Chief at Avec G.
*This article is simultaneously published in Seoul Wire's 'Glenda Park's Blue Ocean'.
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