Is this actor the Chow Yun-fat of South Korea?

by - 14:10

South Korean film and TV actor Han Suk-kyu doesn’t think he is objective enough to be a doctor in real life.

Han, who plays a doctor in his latest drama Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim, shares in a transcript provided by One HD: “You can’t be emotional when you handle a patient, especially when you are treating them say like in a surgery. This is where my expertise (acting) is so different; acting is all about delivering emotions.”

Indeed, putting his emotions out there has been a large part of the 52-year-old man’s life. Han made his acting debut in a TV drama in 1990 and made a name for himself through his performances in films such as Green Fish, No. 3, Christmas In August and Shiri.

Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim opens with renowned surgeon Boo Yong-joo (Han) leaving his job at a top hospital in Seoul after an unfortunate turn of events. He now goes by Kim Sa-bu and accepts a position at a small hospital away from the big city, taking two young doctors under his wings.

“I have an encounter once when I was really ill overseas and I wasn’t able to speak the local language,” Han recounts the most interesting encounter he’s had with a doctor in real life.

“I tried gesturing to the doctor where I was hurting but it just didn’t seem like he understood me. The medication was odd too, so I didn’t dare take it! Then came the bill, which was unbelievably expensive. The lesson to take away here is always learn important words when you are in a foreign land like, ‘it hurts’ and ‘how much?’.”

Han Suk-kyu leads the cast of medical drama Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim.

Han Suk-kyu leads the cast of medical drama Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim.

1. Can you imagine being a doctor in real life?

If you had asked me this question 30 years ago, I would probably give you a different answer. But now I have been doing this (acting) for almost 30 years and through this job, I have stepped into the shoes of different people for a period of time.

Sometimes, even till today, I wonder how I managed to continue to do what I love. So, to answer your question, it is a no. (Being a doctor is) just too much work.

2. Are you scared of seeing blood?

I would say no but really, it depends on how much blood I see. If I see a pool of blood and a person lying on it, I would definitely be alarmed.

3. Do you prefer acting in period dramas or modern-day series?

It is a bigger commitment to film a saeguk (historical drama) because it requires more from the actors. It takes a lot of time to be physically and mentally prepared for to get into character. (There’s) the hair, makeup, costumes and so on.

Having said that, it is very surreal to step into a saeguk set, the experience is just different.

You totally put yourself into another world and you have to imagine what life is like. I also think that a saeguk gives older actors, like myself, more opportunities.

4. In Hong Kong, some refer to you as the ‘Chow Yun-fat of Korea’. How do you feel about this?

I have heard of this comparison, but I think the association is to give the people in Hong Kong a reference to who I might be based on my career. I don’t think we bear many similarities in appearance.

To be honest, I haven’t seen his films but I have definitely heard of them. I know he starred in Hollywood movies, right?

5. Many of your fans think of you as the ‘handsome uncle’. How does that make you feel?

I have many reactions to this. Firstly, I am thankful. Secondly, I am flattered because there are many handsome young things in Korea.

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