The Introvert Who Portrays MurderersChoi Min-Shik certainly seems to have avoided the fate of the typecast actor. He has played a broad range of characters that are both unlike each other and unlike the actor himself. From a cold-blooded North Korean spy in the 1999 blockbuster, "Shiri," to a lackadaisical husband who brutally murders his wife in 1999's "Happy End," Mr. Choi's roles continue to evolve.
For his dark portrayal in "Happy End," Mr. Choi won a Best Actor award at the 45th Asia-Pacific Film Festival in Hanoi this month. The award put a happy ending on the actor's year.
It is not the first time Mr. Choi has won an Asia-Pacific Film Festival award. In 1992, he received the Best Supporting Actor honor with the hit, "Our Twisted Hero."
"When it comes to characters of cruelty, he is a genius of transformation. He just completely absorbs the role and makes it his own," said Kim Si-moo, a movie critic. "In 'Happy End,' the bloodthirsty looks he gives his adulterous wife send a chill to the marrow of your bones. He instantly made the air of the film change from a melodrama to a hard-core thriller."
Born in 1963, Choi Min-shik first made a name for himself in theater before his breakthrough film role in 1992's "Our Twisted Hero," directed by Park Chong-won.
In the mid-1990s, Mr. Choi rose to fame with the Munwha Broadcasting Corporation's hit television drama "Moon Over Seoul," in which he starred with Han Seok-gyu. He gained popular and critical attention with his portrayal of a country man struggling to make it in the capital. In 1999, he grabbed the Best Actor award at the annual Grand Bell Awards for his role in "Shiri."
"Min-shik is generally a very quiet person, much different from the violent and tough characters he portrays in his films. He is an introvert and prefers to stay at home," said Jeon Yong-min, his manager. "However, when it comes to his acting, he is very radical, and enjoys tackling challenging roles."
In his latest movie, "Pairan," which began filming early this month, Mr. Choi plays a third-rate criminal who falls in love with a young Chinese woman looking for financial success in Korea. The melodrama co-stars Cecilia Cheung, a 20-year-old Hong Kong actress. The film is scheduled for release in April.
"Since filming began, he has been giving all his energy to the role, sleeping only a couple of hours and acting for more than 10 hours a day," Mr. Jeon said. "He is determined to face the difficulties and challenges head on, in the name of learning and maturation."
by Kim Jae-seon