With the release of his latest album "Round3" and his role as the street fighter Shin Jung Tae in "Inspiring Generation," Kim Hyun Joong has successfully completed the transformation he was after. He no longer looks or acts like the flower boy his fans remember.
After a few flower boy roles threatened to define him as an actor, he was eager to change his image. No matter how many fans he acquired as the sensitive Ji Hoo in "Boys Over Flowers" or the boy Jung So Min crushed on in "Playful Kiss," he did not want to be stereotyped as an actor. And he felt the flower boy image was no longer appropriate for someone of his age.
"I am 28 years old now so I probably shouldn't be called an idol anymore," he said. "I want show my maturity, whether I do so through my personality or music. I'm looking forward to presenting a more manly image."
He was so eager to present a new image that he thought about quitting acting if he could not succeed at portraying a different kind of character.
"I think acting well means playing the right role for your age," he recently told the Chosun Ilbo.
After presenting a more macho image for his album, complete with shorter hair, black leather jackets and tattoos, he landed the role of the 1930s street fighter in the drama "Inspiring Generation." He considered the role a test case. If he could ace this kind of role, he could succeed as an actor. He immersed himself in the role and was so determined to succeed in portraying the tragic character that he dream about him.
He did such a convincing job of playing a man who was both physically and emotionally scarred that he may have succeeded in erasing his flower boy image. Almost every episode involved Shin Jung Tae in a brawl or a fight, leaving him covered with makeup to simulate blood and bruises. Since the drama has ended and he has not yet quit acting, viewers can assume that the actor was as satisfied with his transformation as they were.
What kind of role is in his future?
"I'm looking at several scripts right now, but I don't want to make a decision yet," he said. "As I have given all I had into my latest project, I want to take a while to rest and start again when I'm fully recharged and full of passion."
Which character of his is your favorite? Let us know.