Actor Park Seo-joon gets his plate full this year
By Kim Eun-jung
SEOUL, April 18 (Yonhap) -- Actor Park Seo-joon can't be any busier this year with appearances on big and small screens, including a sports film, a disaster blockbuster and a Marvel superhero film, attesting to his star power at home and abroad.
Beginning with sports comedy film "Dream" set to hit screens April 26, Park is awaiting the releases of his star-studded dystopian thriller "Concrete Utopia" in summer and Marvel Studios' "The Marvels," his Hollywood debut, in November.
On streaming platforms, he appeared in tvN reality show "Jinny's Kitchen," along with BTS member V and "Parasite" star Choi Woo-shik, and will perform in Netflix's new Korean-language historical drama series "Gyeongseong Creature" later this year.
Park, who starred in the hit drama series "Itaewon Class" (2020) and Oscar-winning film "Parasite" (2019), said the packed schedule is partly attributable to delayed releases of some titles. "Dream" is arriving four years after finishing its shooting due to delays amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I star in works to show them to audiences and get feedback whether it's good or bad. By doing so, I sometimes reflect on myself and get compliments at other times. But I was feeling tired of not being able to show ('Dream') for a long time," the 34-year-old said in a group media interview Tuesday to promote the Korean film "Dream."
"After its release schedule was confirmed, I was relieved that it is finally coming. I feel like (Dream) is like my little brother I wish good luck."
Directed by Lee Byeong-heon, the film revolves around Yoon Hong-dae (played by Park), a football player who receives a disciplinary provision and is given the challenging job of coaching South Korea's national team for the tournament. His co-star IU plays Lee So-min, an aspiring television director who follows the team to make a documentary.
To play the professional athlete, Park intensified his training program to enhance strength and flexibility.
"Spending much time with the ball was important. Aside from training ball handling skills, I ran more than usual and intensified training of my lower body and core to prepare myself physically," he said.
When asked whether Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min, known as his close friend, gave him any useful tips, Park said he is not at the level where he can learn from the world-class player's know-how through words.
"When you want to learn soccer or anything, it's important to watch a lot. You need to do a lot of image training and check your shooting movements," he said. "I tried to stay at the stadium a lot to create similar images."
Park described Hong-dae as a soccer player who faces limitations in his career despite desperate efforts and has trouble in expressing his emotions.
Believing small details can make a difference, the actor tried to read between the lines and set the right tone, speed and breathing of his speaking style in the film.
"My approach to a character is always the same. I read the script to understand the setting and situation and try to fill in the blanks," he said.
What has been his prime motivation in life and a successful career in the competitive entertainment business?
Doing best in whatever circumstances has been his mantra and a way of life since his debut in 2012, the actor answered.
"I often delay decisions till the last moment, but once I take roles, I do my best under given circumstances. I do that partly because of my personality and to protect myself. Otherwise, I would face an emotional breakdown," he said. "At some point, it has become my driving force and became part of myself."
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