There was something that he thought was more important that being the main lead; ensuring and verifying whether he has matured as he learns about work and life. That is the reason for Kim Min-jae to choose Park Eun-tak’s character again, this time for the second season of Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim/ Dr. Romantic.
Good Vibes Only
3 years have passed by since you first starred in Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim. Is there any reason for your return to the series?
First, if I am to describe the exact feelings I have with regard to Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim, it’s something close to my ‘home’. When I was filming the first season, it wasn’t that long after I first started acting, so I learned a lot through this drama. Not just about acting, but I got to familiarize myself with the filming set through the seniors, the directors, and the staff. I got to learn about the things I should know and look out for, working in a shared workplace like the filming set. Above all, the content of Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim was really great. As I go through the script, there are lots of things that can be learned personally, outside the character and in terms of acting itself. It was a project which made me contemplate on how to live my life.
Although you acted as the lead character in Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency, you take on a supporting role for Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim. Did you have any hesitation about it?
I was often asked that question. Although it would be a good thing to continue becoming a lead in the following project after doing it once, it was more important for me to take on this project, without any relation to the weight/importance of the characters. I wanted to return to this place and learn again. If I am to speak my heart more truthfully, I wanted to show, “Look, I have grown up and returned like this!” Perhaps, the reason why I feel like this is a place like ‘home’ to me is because of that kind of emotion, which have me immersed in it.
You are returning to your character after 3 years, how much have you grown based on your own judgment?
I began to see what I didn’t see before, and I am able to do things I thought I was unable to do before. Even at the moment, being together with Han Suk-kyu sunbae-nim gives me good motivation. That kind of motivation allows me to start thinking of challenging myself to do something new. “As expected, it was a great decision to do this.” That’s what I think.
Did Park Eun-tak undergo changes too over the 3-year period?
There is not much difference between the changes faced by Park Eun-tak and Kim Min-jae. As much as Kim Min-jae has matured through doing various things during those 3 years, I think it is also how Park Eun-tak has matured in the past 3 years at Doldam Hospital. Thus, I can’t help but to think that he has matured into a person who is more suited with Doldam Hospital and also Teacher Kim’s mind, compared to the first season.
You went through different kinds of projects all this while. Is there any particular standard special to you when it comes to picking projects?
First, the most important factor is being a fun role. Although it is important for the project itself to be interesting, the first and foremost thing is the feeling of, “Ah, this is really fun. I want to do it.” I think that’s mostly about it for me.
What was the most delightful and enjoyable character for you?
It was Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim‘s Park Eun-tak in the first season. I think it’s because of the character’s specialized profession. Every single character of the drama is either a doctor or a nurse; looking at it, they are all people with specialized professions who gathered together in a scene with one heart and one dream. When we match together like an ensemble, I could feel the thrill somehow.
Actors would normally portray the characters of doctors in medical dramas, but Park Eun-tak is the only male nurse in the drama. Looking back at the first season, what was the reason you chose to take the role despite it being one that was not easy?
After hearing that it was going to be a ‘male nurse’, I thought that it would be even more interesting. Plus, we rarely see male nurse on a drama. Hence, I chose to do it, since it seemed to be more exciting to do so.
Even in real life, do you happen to be conscious of yourself in a situation where you are the only man?
Not at all. I graduated from an art high school. At that time, there were only two of us who were males in the class. Perhaps, that could be the reason why I don’t become conscious of it even until now. I don’t find it uncomfortable at all.
Is there any character in Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim that you want to portray yourself?
I have one dream. I really want to become Teacher Kim. In my opinion, Teacher Kim is a character that can only be portrayed by an actor who has lived his whole life just like the character. Hence, I really want to portray a character like that later when I grow older. Little Teacher Kim.
Little Teacher Kim, you say…Is this because you respect Han Suk-kyu as an actor, hence that feeling?
He’s the best. I think sunbae-nim is the real reason I want to portray the character of Teacher Kim. The Teacher Kim character portrayed by him really give me a lot of influence. No matter how I see it, perhaps I want to be an actor like Han Suk-kyu sunbae-nim one day. He’s really a senior I like. I don’t even know how to put it into words, really.
It seems that you interact a lot with him on the set. What kind of topic do you usually talk about?
The most frequently asked question is “Is acting fun?” Others are “Is everything alright?” “Do you have anything on your mind?” He also ask a lot of questions about health. We also talk about working out, and he pays attention to psychological matters too.
There were a lot of actors of the similar age range as yours in your previous project, while you have more senior actors this time around. Is there any difference?
Um…right now, I’m relying on others a lot. Although I do rely on the same-age actors too, but how do you say it? Despite trying to cheer up together, there was this feeling of fighting by yourself. The difference is between the atmosphere of doing research together and lifting the mood, and a stable atmosphere where one can ask for advice and guidance.
How do you find acting alongside actor Ahn Hyo-seop and actress Lee Sung-kyung, who are of the similar age range as yours?
I have always been close with Sung-kyung noona since we did a project together before. I have known Hyo-seop hyung since I was 18 years old. That is why I feel really comfortable during filming. In the first season, I looked up to Yoo Yeon-seok and Seo Hyun-jin sunbae-nim as people you get closer with as you learned from them; as for now, I’m enjoying the moment together with people I get along with.
Since we are on the topic of friends, are you the type who will wait when you are in a relationship? Or are you the type who will make the first move to approach the other person?
I seem to be the type who will approach the other person first.
Really? You seem to be the quiet guy.
I will make my move quietly…(laughs)
We heard that you watched the pilot episode together with the other cast. How was it?
We decided to watch it because Sung-kyung noona was so nervous about the premiere. Although I pitied her, but I liked it. It would be like that if you have a strong attachment towards your projects. I was like that too during the first season. I also knew how noona approached acting, so I watched it comfortably. After all, I have a strong confidence in this drama.
Ratings for the first episode was 15%, right? It’s a rare occurrence these days. Did you expect it to reach that high?
It was really high, to the point of thinking that it is unbelievable to make that kind of record these days. Actually, I predicted it to reach 10.5%.
Did you have a bet for it?
Of course. But still, I didn’t expect it to be that high.
We are curious whether you want to do something these days, apart from your current project.
The thing I want to do the most nowadays is a fan meeting. I want to meet the fans and talk about many things, as well as preparing something to be showed to them.
You also have a variety of talents outside acting. A few years ago, you appeared on the variety show as the rapper Real.be. Are you going to showcase that talent too in your fan meeting?
Of course. Other than that, I also want to try singing while playing piano or dancing there. While we’re at it, I might as well perform a song I made myself. Perhaps, it would also be great to shoot a pictorial in advance to be shown during the fan meeting.
How about showcasing your talents through YouTube or SNS instead of waiting for the fan meeting to happen?
I don’t have the confidence to set up and manage a YouTube account. I think it will be difficult to maintain it when I have a project simultaneously. Actually, I don’t really have much to offer in order to provide new content each time. I’m quite bland and uninteresting in real life. I don’t really update much either on my SNS.
It’s too bad that your composing, rapping, dancing, and many other talents are buried deeply inside you.
Although I myself want to show various sides that I have, I realize how time just flies away when I act in a project. It continues to be like that. Although it’s something regrettable, but it’s okay for me, since those times were invested in acting. But still, I have the thought of writing a song to be used for a drama OST one day. Although I’m not a part of that drama, it will be good enough if my song is picked to become the drama’s OST.
Is there any specific song you’re working on at the moment?
I did a lot of song sketches. But then, I would have to start shooting for projects and there were none of the songs which got completed until the end.
When was the last time you worked on a song recently?
The most recent? I worked on one right after the premiere of Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim season 2.
You like music and you are also acting, so do you have any interest in doing musicals?
I really like watching musicals myself. But, I consider the stage as something really heavy for me. Hence, that is why I haven’t had the courage to do it. I think that the musical stage is where there is a need for freedom in terms of time and the dignity that comes with it. Of course, I also think that it’s the same case for acting in front of a camera, but I want to continue concentrating on this line of work as something I have spent lots of my time on. I think I still need time to prepare myself for a musical stage.
After the movie Wrestler, we couldn’t see you on the big screen as a lead anymore. If you are to do another movie, what type of project do you want to do?
Something with action. Action doesn’t exactly have to do with martial arts; it can also be something related to dance, for instance the movie The King and the Clown. When I think about it, I want to do something like The King and the Clown, where I will get to use my body a lot.
It’s a surprise to learn that you have an interest in doing dance acting.
I really like it…but the offer never comes (laughs). There are people who don’t know that I can dance and there are people who know, but there aren’t that many movie with that kind of plot. I want to give it a try if there is a movie like that.
Do you have any direction you want to go, moving forward as you grow as an actor?
In the past, I have a lot of different goals. But now, I don’t mind going towards any kind of direction. As long as it’s fun and interesting, it’s enough for me. “I want to reach this specific point, so it’s fine even if I have to face hardships in order to reach that point. I will be happy if I manage to reach there.” It is different from this kind of mind set. I used to be like that, but I have realized that it was a very unhappy thought of mine. It’s important that I’m working happily at this moment, hence I am able to work hard. It would be great if I am able to continue doing fun and interesting things.