Ca­reer be­fore ro­mance

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - SHOWBIZ - By GWEN­DOLYN NG

SO UTH Korean ac­tor Kang H a- neul made time to catch the hit Chi­nese se­ries Scar­let Heart ( 2011), though he got only mid­way through the 35 episodes.

It was not be­cause the 26- yearold ac­tor got bored of the time­travel pe­riod epic’s poli­tical in­fight­ing and ro­man­tic en­tan­gle­ments.

H e says he stopped watch­ing the se­ries be­cause he was play­ing the dash­ing Eighth Prince in the Korean adap­ta­tion of the show.

“I wanted to get the gen­eral feel of the sto­ry­line and what the orig­i­nal drama is about.

“At the end of the day, I wanted to make the Eighth Prince char­ac­ter my own.

“I took the drama as a ref­er­ence and in­vested more time into in­ter­pret­ing the char­ac­ter,” he says in an in­ter­view in Sin­ga­pore.

H is ver­sion of the Eighth Prince will be a gen­tler soul, says Kang, com­pared with the strong char­ac­ter played by H ong Kong ac­tor Kevin Cheng in the orig­i­nal se­ries.

The self- dep­re­cat­ing Korean ac­tor pro­fesses to be noth­ing like his ex­cep­tional royal char­ac­ter.

Point­ing to a larger- than- life poster of the char­ac­ter be­hind him at an ear­lier press con­fer­ence, he says: “I’m pretty much the boynext- door. If you look at the Eighth Prince in Scar­let Heart, he is to­tally dif­fer­ent from me. H e is smart. I’m a very or­di­nary per­son in real life.”

If there is one trait he and the char­ac­ter share, it is a go- get­ting spirit.

When Kang was asked what he would do if pre­sented with the same dilemma faced by his on­screen char­ac­ter, he picked work am­bi­tion over love.

He says: “If I reach a cer­tain sta- tus in my ca­reer, I will be able to bet­ter pro­vide for my loved one. That is my way of lov­ing some­one.”

The hard­work­ing ac­tor has been mak­ing a name for him­self since de­but­ing in mu­si­cal theatre a decade ago.

H e landed roles in pop­u­lar Kdra­mas, star­ring as an over­achiev- ing stu­dent body pres­i­dent in teenage ro­mance The In­her­i­tors ( 2013) and a geeky in­tern in of­fice drama

Misaeng ( 2014). H is turn as a shy col­lege fresh­man in the coming- of- age movie

Twenty ( 2015) won him the Best N ew Ac­tor award at the Korean Film Ac­tors’ Guild Awards.

The bach­e­lor is fo­cused on his ca­reer and is seek­ing a like- minded soul­mate.

H e says: “There are peo­ple out there who fall in love and be­gin to ne­glect their work be­cause they place all their at­ten­tion on love.

“I’m not like that. I hope my fu­ture part­ner will be some­one who en­joys and val­ues her work, some­one who re­ally dili­gently pur­sues her ca­reer goal.”

The hard­work­ing ac­tor has been mak­ing a name for him­self since de­but­ing in mu­si­cal theatre a decade ago.

Kang’s ver­sion of the Eighth Prince will be gen­tler com­pared with the strong char­ac­ter played by Hong Kong ac­tor Cheng. — Pho­tos: One HD

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