This paradox is part of his personality, expressed in shyness and a straightforward approach to people. When asked about the character Andrea in Love Letter in the above referenced interview he said, "Well... The way he talks, and his hard life, the loneliness, the way he loves... how he cannot express his feelings but keeps them buried inside, those things I can identify with." Hyun Jae's shyness is one of the the his attributes that attract. One may want to "mother" him while longing for intimacy.
Hyun Jae's ability to be all things to all people allows him to choose roles of a diverse nature. He does not repeat himself and takes his time in selecting his next role. One only needs to read the fan forums to see that although he is out of site, he is never out of mind. The main curiosity is what will he do next, and more importantly when.
Hyun Jae's characters are complex and expressive. His athletic hobbies serve him well when choosing roles that require physical ability such as fighting and swordplay in Seo Dong Yo and Gumiho. Although he does not speak Japanese, and I'm sure he is learning quickly with all his trips to Japan recently, his Japanese dialogue in Star's Echo was convincing, as was his playing piano in the same drama.
His performance as a pastry chef in Sunshine Pours Down was persuasive. While watching the drama, I wanted to eat cake. For Only You, the director instructed him to be a jerk, and he was, but with a great deal of sensitivity.
Hyun Jae's portrayal of Andrea, the conflicted Catholic priest in Love Letter, was convincing. Although church doctrine as defined in the drama may not be completely accurate, Andrea's feeling of abandonment and desire to replace his mother with the church and love of god, all the while longing for the love of a woman, was expressive and touching. Paradox and conflict permeate the drama. I can't even begin to comment on the ending, "Let's love again." Whatever point the director and script writer were trying to make can be left up to the viewer.
In August of 2008, Hyun Jae entered the Korean army for a required two-year commitment. Many entertainers are given the option to be placed in a special unit where their talents can be used to their best advantage. Those who choose this special unit face less hardships. yun Jae chose not to take the easy way; he served as an army dog soldier in the 2nd battalion. After serving two years, Hyun Jae was released from service on June 19, 2010. Let's wish him the best of luck on his return to civilian life.
Visit Jo Hyun Jae's official homepage for current information. The page includes registration for foreign fans, and includes Chinese, English and Korean text. Not all pages have an English version.