Kim Soo-hyun talks impact of military duty on career, comeback pressure and Korean remake of Criminal Justice

Published on Mar 23, 2021 03:38 PM IST
  • Kim Soo-hyun was discharged from his military duty in 2019 and made his comeback in 2020 with It's Okay To Not Be Okay. The actor opened up about his comeback, life lessons from his training and his upcoming projects.
Kim Soo-hyun made his comeback with It's Okay To Not Be Okay in 2020.
Kim Soo-hyun made his comeback with It's Okay To Not Be Okay in 2020.

Kim Soo-hyun left a mark with It's Okay To Not Be Okay. The tvN show had the actor play a caretaker. The show became a hit among K-drama viewers and featured on the list of New York Times' Best International Shows of 2020. Although the actor delivered a good performance, he has now revealed that there was much pressure on him.

It's Okay To Not Be Okay was the actor's comeback show after completing his compulsory military training. The actor was returning to the small screen after five years, with The Producers releasing in 2015. Kim Soo-hyun recalled the emotions he experienced before the show.

"I did a movie in between, but not everyone goes to the theater, so the last time people could easily see me was in the 2015 drama ‘The Producers.’ I was in the military for two years, and no matter how fast I chose a project once I was finished, 2020 was the earliest that people could see me again. I questioned whether I could fill that gap of five years. It wasn’t exactly the fear of disappearing from people’s memories, but rather a sense of pressure about showing a new side of me while remaining familiar," he told Vogue Korea, as translated by Soompi.

Fortunately, he did not feel as pressured as he had imagined and approached the show with a 'comfortable attitude.' Comparing his approach to work pre-enlisting and post-discharge time, the actor said, "In the past, I thought, ‘I have to stand out, I have to do more to make my character stand out, I have to succeed with my acting.’ But with ‘It’s Okay to Not Be Okay,’ I took a step back and approached it with a more contemplative mood. I didn’t need to be super dramatic or dynamic."

He owed his change in attitude to his time at military training. The actor said he has stopped feeling greed. “Before then, I felt like I was responsible for doing a certain amount, and I had this greed to make myself stand out with my acting in each scene. But after I was discharged, I learned how to fit in with the overall scheme. The environment of broadcasting is such that one person can’t fill the whole space. It’s only when you acknowledge others and blend in that you and your partner can shine," Kim Soo-hyun explained.

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The actor has been roped in to play the lead in the Korean remake of Criminal Justice, which is titled That Night (literal translation). He revealed he has watched the American and the British version of the show, adding that the British version was 'flawless'. While the UK version featured five episodes, the Korean version is set to be an eight-episode series. "The broadcast time and method have yet to be determined. I don’t feel a sense of pressure about the original version," he said.

The show was also remade in India with Vikrant Massey, Jackie Shroff and Pankaj Tripathi.

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