Sitcom Makes Him a Star and Happy to Be OneThe 34-year-old actor Park Sang-myun, who has risen to popularity with his starring role in the television sitcom "Three Friends" ("Se Chinku"), is in the seventh heaven these days. In interviews with the JoongAng Ilbo and its English Edition, Mr. Park exclaimed, "I feel as if I am walking on air, to be experiencing such popularity now."
His success is especially sweet since he has been dreaming of this moment his whole life. Ever since he was a child, Mr. Park carried with him ambitions to become a well-known actor.
"When I was in elementary school, I was not your typically good student, only occupied in studying," he said. "Instead of working on my lessons, I used to practice signing my autograph, hoping that one day I would become a celebrity whose autograph everybody wanted to have."
Despite his early dreams, Mr. Park was not catapulted into instant celebrity, but experienced the gloomy days of being a struggling actor. After making his acting debut in 1992 in the play "Guys and Dolls" ("Agassiwa Geondaldeul"), he remained a young actor without much of a buzz, for five years. "I just can't forget the days when I was anonymous. I had to work as a waiter in my father's restaurant."
He also had a stint as an office worker, as well as a variety of odd jobs, all the while pursuing his acting. Though Mr. Park experienced difficult times, he refused to abandon his long-cherished dream.
He finally seized his opportunity when he was cast in the Korean movie "Number 3" in 1997. He followed up that appearance with supporting roles in the popular Korean films "Nowhere to Hide" ("Injeong Sajeong Bol Geot Eopda") in 1999 and "The Foul King" ("Banchikwang") in 2000. Though the roles were small, Mr. Park's strong performances left behind an impression, and he gained a reputation as an actor with individuality.
In 2000, he finally got his shot at a starring role in the television sitcom "Three Friends," which is scheduled to end in March. On playing a comedy character in a popular sitcom, the actor said, "I think I have a long way to go as a comedic character."
The public, however, seems to disagree with his self-criticism. Mr. Park has been praised as an actor of a thousand faces who can play a diversity of roles, from tragic to comic. Upon hearing this compliment, he replied in a rather unflappable tone, "Well, I might have found it hard to accept the praise except for the hard times that I have gone through."
At the moment, he is being flooded with offers to appear in films, television dramas and commercials. Among the offers, he says that he is especially interested in tragic character roles. He added, "Though I can assimilate into various kinds of characters, I would really like to find a tragic role. I am quite sure that I can make people cry."
His next move, whether it will be to make people laugh or cry, will certainly deserve public attention.
by Kim Ki-pyong