Rising star stays humble
Kim Minseok may have wowed audiences with his acting but he tells Bibi Nurshuhada Ramli that he’s not letting the praise go to his head
WITH his boyish looks, impish grin and cheerful personality, South Korean actor Kim Minseok easily eases into the role of happy and cheeky characters. However, you’ll be surprised at how extremely well he takes on a serious character, as seen in his latest drama series Innocent Defendant.
The crime thriller is about star prosecutor Park Jung-woo (Ji Sung) who wakes up one day to find himself in prison, with no recollection of what has happened.
Facing the death sentence, he has to prove his own innocence and remember what happened before it is too late.
Kim’s role is that of fellow inmate, Seung-kyu, who eventually reveals a dark secret that links him to Jung-woo.
The confrontation between the two at the end of episode six, aired on Jan 7, resulted in the series’ highest real-time ratings at 23.28 per cent.
Kim also won high praise for his acting turn opposite Ji Sung, an award-winning actor who is much more senior than him.
“I’m very thankful for the kind and encouraging comments but I try not to let compliments go to my head,” says Kim.
“I have a long way to go as an actor, and I need to continue to grow in the right direction.”
He adds that despite the seriousness of the storyline, Seung-kyu is a fun character to portray as there are layers and depth to his personality.
“Even though he is a convict and has done some regretful things, he is a kind soul. We do things out of love and regret later, don’t we all?” he asks.
Innocent Defendant, which airs every Tuesday and Wednesday at 8.10pm on ONE HD, also stars Kwon Yuri, Uhm Hyun Kyung and Uhm Ki Joon.
Meanwhile, Kim’s first foray into acting was in the teen drama series Shut Up! Flower Boy Band in 2012.
Other acting opportunities came after but he shot to stardom in his role in hit drama Descendants Of The Sun last year.
His talents were further recognised due to his portrayal in the medical drama Doctors and Innocent Defendant.
“The success of these dramas taught me to stay humble. They did not become hits because I was in it. I was lucky to be part of them,” says Kim.
Last year, he won the New Star Award for his supporting role in Doctors at the SBS Drama Awards, and the Best Entertainer Award for hosting the music programme Inkigayo at the SBS Entertainment Awards.
SBS is the South Korean TV network which aired Innocent Defendant, Doctors and Inkigayo.
Kim is close to his co-star Shin, as seen in his Instagram post; In the series, Seung-kyu (left) and Jung-woo looked out for each other, until the former reveals a dark secret about himself.
Below are excerpts of Kim’s interview.
WHAT MADE YOU AGREE TO BE PART OF INNOCENT DEFENDANT?
Firstly, I am thankful to SBS for the continuous opportunities given to me. When I was first offered this role, I was thrilled to be working alongside Ji Sung. He’s an outstanding actor and I absolutely adore him. It would be insane if I turned this opportunity down.
I have a long way to go as an actor,
and I need to continue to grow in the right direction.
DID YOU FACE ANY CHALLENGES WHILE FILMING?
Not really. Unlike Descendants Of The Sun, which was completely shot before it aired on TV, Innocent Defendant is shot and aired simultaneously, so the challenge and time constraints are there. At the same time, there was the fantastic cast and crew. The positive vibes on set make the job so much more enjoyable.
IS A SERIOUS DRAMA. DID ANYTHING FUNNY HAPPEN BEHIND THE SCENES?
I heard about many fun moments during the prison scenes but unfortunately, I wasn’t in them. I was told the gang danced to (K-Pop girl group) Twice’s popular song TT and it was hilarious. The crew talked about it non-stop.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH VETERAN ACTOR JI SUNG?
Ji Sung is a really outstanding actor. At times, the mood on set got very tense, especially during emotional scenes. One can’t help but be drawn into the characters’ emotions. I believe audiences watching at home will feel it too.
YOU ALSO WORKED CLOSELY WITH SEVEN-YEAR-OLD SHIN RIN-AH, WHO PLAYS JUNG-WOO’S DAUGHTER HAYEON. WAS IT EASY WORKING WITH A CHILD ACTRESS?
She is such a lovely, talented and cute young girl! I am deeply impressed by her. She’s like a mini adult. She speaks like one, and behaves like one too! (Laughs) She is able to control her emotions, take directions and portray her character convincingly. I had many scenes with her, so I’ve grown very close to her.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST LESSON
YOU’VE LEARNT FROM ACTING IN THE DRAMA?
Every drama is a different experience altogether. I am glad that I got to attempt different roles. I am always on the lookout for unique characters.
WHAT OTHER ROLES WOULD YOU LIKE TO PORTRAY?
Being a relatively young actor, I am open to everything.
YOU’RE ALSO PART OF REALITYVARIETY SHOW
(WHERE CELEBRITIES TRAVEL TO REMOTE PLACES TO SURVIVE ON THEIR OWN AND EXPERIENCE LIFE WITH THE NATIVES). HAVE YOU ALWAYS LOVED THE OUTDOORS?
I do love being out and about and Law Of The Jungle was a mind-blowing experience. I was told that it would change my life, and it did. It helped me to realise the importanceof clean food, water and a warm bed! (Laughs)