When the cast and crew of the new TV drama “Tamra, the Island” met the press on July 29 at a hotel in Seoul, French actor Pierre Deporte, one of the leads, attracted attention with his fluent Korean.
“Tamra, the Island” is Deporte’s debut. He plays young Englishman named William who drifted to the Island of Jeju (Tamra is the old name of Jeju). On acting in Korean, Deporte says, “I thought the most important thing was to thoroughly understand the script before thinking about the acting. I read the script, looking up words in the dictionary on my mobile phone.”
Thanks to the influence of his Korean stepmother who married his French father, Deporte learned Korean in France from the age of five, and his fluent Korean reflects this history.
Director Yoon Sang-ho says, “Although there were concerns about Deporte because he was a foreigner and a complete rookie, he absorbed coaching and cues very quickly. And because he is so Korean in his thoughts and behavior, he seems like a Korean with blond hair.”
It is the first time that a foreign actor was cast in one of the lead roles in weekend TV drama. But Deporte is not the only rookie among the five leading actors; all five are fresh faces.
“Tamra” is based on a cartoon inspired by the story of Dutch explorer Hendrik Hamel who was shipwrecked in Jeju Island on the way to Japan in the mid 17th century, and the first European to give an accurate account of Korea.
It started to air from Aug. 8 on MBC. (Chosun Ilbo)