Currently ranking fourth on Netflix’s global charts, according to FlixPatrol, My Name looks set to become the streaming service’s next K-drama sensation after Squid Game thanks to its gritty action and equally powerful storyline. It seems the unique combination of a revenge-seeking female lead and a mafia boss has piqued viewers’ curiosity after just one week on the platform.
Park Hee-soon looking menacing as Choi Mu-jin in My Name. Photo: Netflix
Veteran Korean actor Park Hee-soon plays the part of trusted drug lord Choi Moo-jin, who helps Ji-woo (Han So-hee) in her quest for revenge. Here’s what you need to know about the talented 51-year-old, who may be about to have his very own Lee Jung-jae moment.
He is already a Korean movie icon
Park Hee-soon in a still from Joseon-era movie Jesters: The Game Changers. Photo: Warner Bros Korea
While international viewers may only know him thanks to My Name, Park has in fact been a Korean movie icon for decades. To date, he has starred in several blockbuster films, including 1987: When the Day Comes and The Scam, but he has gained the most recognition for his role in crime thriller Seven Days, in which he played a police detective and won several awards. After My Name, Park is also set to appear in another Netflix drama called Exemplary Family, which also happens to be about a drug ring.
He started out as a theatre actor
Park Hee-soon started out as an actor by performing on stage, including in Grease and Romeo and Juliet. Photo: @park_hee_soon/Instagram
Park may be one of Korea’s most recognisable faces now, but that wasn’t always the case. According to The Actor is Present, he graduated from the Seoul Institute of the Arts with a degree in theatre and began his career on stage.
After treading the boards for 11 years and performing in everything from Romeo and Juliet to The Rocky Horror Show, he made his big screen debut in a political comedy, Boss Xfile, in 2002. From that point on his talent led him to be cast in several other films such as Antarctic Journal and Love Talk before he landed his big role in Seven Days.
He watched The Godfather to prepare for My Name
Park Hee-soon is already well known in Korea, but My Name could be about to launch his international career too. Photo: Netflix
Park’s convincing portrayal of a drug lord in My Name was inspired by none other than Marlon Brando in legendary Hollywood movie The Godfather. According to Click the City, he said in a press conference: “There are so many great pieces in the genre of noir, but I tried to rewatch some of the classics once again rather than the recent works to get myself into the role.”
He did most of his own stunts without wires or CGI
Park Hee-soon and his fellow actors brought a new level of authenticity to the Korean drama My Name by doing most of the stunts themselves. Photo: Netflix.
Most the main cast in My Name avoided stunt doubles and did 90 per cent of the series’ stunts by themselves. According to the same article in Click the City, Park did two months of stunt school training to prepare for the action sequences in the show. And that’s not all. Unlike the usual stunt routines performed in films, Park did most of his stunts without wires or CGI.
Anti-violence is close to his heart
Park Hee-soon plays a science teacher and father in Beautiful World. Photo: JTBC
Despite his role in My Name, a message of anti-violence is closer to Park’s heart. In the 2019 series Beautiful World, Park played the role of a father whose life is upended after his son is critically injured after a violent incident at school.
According to KDramaPal, when asked about why he chose to take on the role, Park said, “The fact that this drama tapped on relevant social topics like school violence and bullying has touched my heart.”
Park Hee-soon’s character in My Name is vengeful and violent, showing off his range as an actor when compared to his previous roles. Photo: Netflix
Unlike his pro-revenge role in My Name, in Beautiful World, Park skilfully portrays a science teacher who puts his family first, and emphasises healing through the pain.Internet Explorer Channel Network