"Filipinos look at me with eyes of angels,” says Korean superstar Kim Soo-hyun as he talks about the welcome he had upon arriving at the airport. Aside from the noticeable heat (he removed his jacket), he felt the warmth of his fans that were there to greet him with cheers. The last time he was in the Philippines was five years ago, and he missed those fans.
The My Love from the Star icon was presented as a Bench Global Ambassador to the media, appropriately called “One Extraordinary Day with Kim Soo-hyun.” He handpicked his outfit for the event, and says that his personal preference when it comes to clothes is casual, comfortable (like T-shirts) and durable. He also likes wearing all black.
“It’s almost been a year since I have been a model for Bench, and I’m so honored that I could visit here and be given this opportunity by Bench, which is a friendly and popular brand,” says Kim.
Bench founder and moving force Ben Chan has this to say about the award-winning actor and Global Bench Setter: “I have always been impressed with Kim Soo-hyun’s intense acting skills ever since I watched him in It’s Okay to Not Be Okay and One Ordinary Day. Now that I’ve met him, what makes him a standout is his boyish charm, endearing ways and engaging persona, where he easily warms up to people. And he is not picky with food. Super easy to please. And very respectful! His youthful, vibrant and energetic personality makes him the perfect representation for the brand.”
'It's almost been a year since I have been a model for Bench, and I'm so honored that I could visit here and be given this opportunity,' says Kim Soo-hyun.
Up front and in the brief time I got to speak with him, Kim Soo-hyun was adorable, down to earth, and funny. His charm was out of this world (ahem, maybe from another planet or star?). He would smile a lot, laugh, and was so friendly, it made me feel at ease. More importantly, he has that “X factor.” I asked him what was his most adventurous experience. He replied, “My most adventurous experience was 10 years ago when I was filming Secretly, Greatly, and there was a high-wire action scene.” Currently, riding his bike exhilarates him.
Despite his stardom, he mentioned that his huge following outside of Korea, like the Philippines, is surprising to him. As for Filipino food, he has tried Jollibee — the burger, pasta, and chicken. And he likes our fruits. He wants to try Filipino grilled food or barbecue next time, and visit the beautiful beaches in Boracay or Cebu.
Kim Soo-hyun’s roles are unforgettable and have garnered him multiple awards and accolades, which include a few Baeksang Arts Awards, Grand Bell Awards and a Blue Dragon Film Award. He has been included in the Forbes Power Celebrity 40 List several years in a row, as well as featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia List. He is a heavy hitter, but wears it lightly — and in Bench, no less. The handsome and talented actor is reportedly one of the highest paid in his country. I can see why.
How can one forget his role as a sweet provincial boy who evolved and became a star in Dream High? Or the alien whose cold heart eventually melts when he falls in love with a wacky actress in My Love from the Star? (I watched it at least five times, no kidding.) I felt his loyalty and deep love in the moving period drama Moon Embracing the Sun (another one I watched repeatedly). And in the recent thriller One Ordinary Day, his acting was so outstanding and entrancing, I couldn’t wait for the weekly episodes to drop.
I also liked his offbeat role as a village idiot who’s secretly a North Korean spy in the movie Secretly, Greatly. The Thieves was an enjoyable heist movie where he was part of an ensemble cast. Showing his range and versatility, Kim Soo-hyun also starred in Real, a cutting-edge and experimental film. Those are just a few of his standout performances, but there is so much more in his body of work. At the press con, he mentioned that perhaps he would take on the role of the antagonist next time. Fans also want him to star in a medical drama.
Here are the actor’s answers to my questions in a one-on-one interview, covering everything from his preparations for roles to lessons in life.
THE PHILIPPINE STAR: How do you get yourself into character when performing a role? How do you prepare for difficult scenes?
KIM SOO-HYUN: So I always start with setting the beginning and the end of a project as a cycle. So the biggest goal is to finish the whole cycle while trying my best to not lose the emotions and concentration. When it comes to a more difficult scene, for example, emotions are coming out, I try to rewind a bit from the cycle. Then I add the new emotion, connect it with the whole cycle. That’s how I’m putting effort into that.
How do you control yourself when you feel like laughing in the middle of a scene when you’re taping?
Laughing… (Thinks about it) Hmm... When I feel like laughing, I just laugh when the scene is okay for me to laugh. And when it’s a scene that I have to cry and a bit of laughter comes out then, that might be better.
What makes you laugh and what makes you cry?
(Laughs) Well... I do not need big things for me to be happy or sad. The weather could be good, the weather could be bad… I guess that’s it? (In reference to the K-drama series Goblin) Every day, I could laugh or cry depending on any reason. I guess I just live naturally, day by day.
What is the most exciting thing in your life right now? What is keeping you busy?
I think, of course, I mentioned this in the press con earlier — the sports that I’m into, like bowling, the sports that require mental concentration. Those are the things that I’m into these days.
What lessons have you learned from being an actor: lessons in life, values and love?
Um... should I say that it’s related to choice and concentration? Anyone doing anything in this world — for example, if an actor is doing a project — we cannot satisfy everyone. So if the drama is from Episode 1 to 20, one episode from there, one scene from there, one cut from there, one take from there — I take one each at a time. I learned how to satisfy myself from small things.