[Interview] Will Lee Min Ho Become the Next Yoo Seung Ho?
“They grew up into fine youngsters”.
Those are the words that sprang into our heads when we saw former child actors in MBC’s The Sun and The Moon, which, though a new drama, has already caused somewhat of a sensation, recording high viewership ratings from its first episode on January 4.
It was particularly surprising to see Lee Min Ho, who played Jung Bae in the late 1990s sitcom Soonpoong Clinic, who was so kind-hearted that he was always picked on by Mi Dal, as a full-grown man.
It′s understandably difficult for many child actors to transition into adult acting. It′s hard to show charms that outpace their cuteness, which disappears along with the passage of time. Many viewers who only remember their kid face often feel shocked at their changed looks. Macaulay Culkin might be the representative actor whose face and voice post-puberty became a hindrance to solidifying his career as an adult actor.
But Lee Min Ho might be an exception. Some people are already calling him the next Yoo Seung Ho, another child actor who′s managed to make a comfortable place in the industry as an adult, proving that many others also think Lee’s grown up well.
”The next Yoo Seung Ho? I have a long way to go…”
“I’m thankful that people call me ‘the next Yoo Seung Ho.’ In fact, I shot a piece with him back in elementary school. It was Wizard Warrior Mir & Gaon. Seung Ho was Mir and I was Gaon. At that time, I was popular among elementary students (laugh). I′m proud and pleased to see Seung Ho doing well. I still have a long way to go, but I hope I can be a friendly rival for him soon. I might have to work hard so that I can grow to match him, living up to the name of being his friend.”
He didn’t hide his envy of Yoo, who is way ahead of him as an actor, and his desire to catch up with Yoo. But it′s natural for Lee, who′s seen his friend growing as an actor, to have the same longing to improve himself.
But it′s not as if Lee Min Ho wasn′t acting from then till now. It′s true that he was brought into the limelight all of a sudden with his role in The Sun and The Moon, but he has appeared in the dramas including Grudge: The Revolt of Gumiho, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, and Stormy Lover in 2010. And recently he was cast in The Thorn Birds and Gyebaek.
But despite the steady (minor) roles, there were difficult times during the journey. He stressed over whether working as an actor—a job that he didn’t choose himself—was the right thing to do or not.
“I felt a little lost in my middle school days because acting was not something I started out of my own will. I was struggling when I reached puberty. (laugh) So I rarely appeared on TV during that time, but when I passed puberty and became a high school student, I started to realize what acting was like and started to enjoy it. Once I took pleasure in acting, I wanted to work harder.”
”I want to win the rookie award.”
He has a goal for the year of 2012 in his mind. He′s aiming for the best new actor award, which you can receive only one time in your whole life.
“The Sun and The Moon is my first work as an adult actor. I have a slight expectation [for the rookie award] because luckily many people liked me in the drama. So I’ll be working so hard that I can aim for the award. (laugh) Only one person who comes in first can win the award.”
He said he wants to become an actor who is acclaimed for his acting, not just an actor who is loved because he has grown into a good-looking man from a child actor.
“I want to show a good performance through this piece and I want to better myself as an actor. Just the thought of being an actor that people look forward to seeing grow makes me happy. I hope people trust me and keep watching over me."
Photo credit: MBC, KBS