Actor Lee Min-ho has yet to reprise the success he saw with his breakout performance in the hit KBS series “Boys Over Flowers.”
After he won fans over as a prickly, rich brat in the rom-com, he seemed to play it safe with yet another sweet romance opposite Son Ye-jin in MBC’s “Personal Taste” before following it up with the action-packed “City Hunter.”
Neither series racked up the massive ratings of “Boys Over Flowers,” putting him in danger of becoming one of those actors whose entire career is eclipsed by the popularity of one hit drama.
Yet Lee seems to have no intention of buckling under pressure to live up to his as-of-yet most famous character.
Unquelled by the relatively lukewarm response to his turn as an action hero in “City Hunter,” the 25-year-old is taking a gamble by tackling a multi-genre challenge in his latest series, SBS’ “The Great Doctor.”
In keeping with the current trend toward historical fantasies involving time travel, Lee plays a Goryeo period warrior tasked with kidnapping a modern-day surgeon to rescue the king’s wife from death.
In a nutshell, that means he needs to pull off his action stunts and deliver a convincing Goryeo period accent and demeanor with the sort of charm that will make him a charming knight-in-shining-armor type.
|SBS’ “The Great Doctor” co-stars Lee Min-ho (left) and Kim Hee-seon attend the drama’s press conference in Seoul on Thursday. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)|
“Our drama is a melodrama-action-fantasy-thriller,” Lee said at the drama’s press conference in Seoul on Thursday.
Of his role, Lee said, “My character harbors scars from his past and so finds living to be burdensome and thinks of nothing but death. Then when he brings Eun-soo (Kim Hee-seon) from the future to the past, he begins to experience a new life.”
If success has anything to do with star power then “The Great Doctor” has a bright future.
Legendary directing-scriptwriting duo Kim Jong-hak and Song Ji-na of “Hourglass” fame are teaming up for the fifth time for this project.
Veteran actress Kim Hee-seon is returning after a six year hiatus to the small screen to star opposite Lee as his love interest, the modern-day surgeon Eun-soo, whom he kidnaps back to the Goryeo Kingdom.
The 20-minute highlight reel that ran at the drama’s press conference hinted at a relatively comedic take on the historical romance, though still retaining a somewhat serious yet melodramatic flair.
Actress Kim takes on most of the comedic brunt work as a 21st century plastic surgeon suddenly transported to the Goryeo Kingdom, a task she carries out well, and which may be the primary saving grace of a potentially cheesy and overly-fantastical series.
The 35-year-old actress-and-mother did not mince words when describing her role as a heroine with a dirty mouth who chose to specialize in plastic surgery for the money.
“I swear a lot, pretty much through half of the drama,” she said. “I think this is the first time I get to swear this much in a series.”
Of her confident and brash character, she said, “I feel like this role quite possibly suits me the most out of any role that I have played before.”
“The Great Doctor” starts airing Aug. 13 on Monday and Tuesday nights at 9:55 p.m. on SBS.
By Jean Oh (firstname.lastname@example.org)