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

New Straits Times - - Groove | Screeetime - Bibi­ramli@nst.com.my

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.

Kim Min­seok

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)

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