'Korean drama has a long way to go'
City Times chats with Lee Kyu Hyung who will be part of the upcoming Korean Film Fest in Dubai
As part of celebrating the Year of Tolerance the Embassy of the Republic of Korea is all set to host the third Korean Film Festival in the UAE from June 26 to June 29.
There will be special screenings of movies like Innocent Witness, romantic flick On Your Wedding Day, war drama The Great Battle, mystery thriller The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion, the animation Underdog, documentary Nearby Sky and more. But what we're most excited for among all that's happening during the festival is the special signing event by popular Korean actor Lee Kyu-Hyung.
Coming to the VOX Cinemas Foyer at Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi on June 26 is the beloved actor who shot to fame with his outstanding performance in Prison Playbook.
Lee Kyu Hyung plays the son of a company chairman who is into drugs, and is subsequently sent to prison for abusing drugs. With his distinct nasal sound and ability to act as two different people, depending on whether he's on drugs or not, Lee Kyu Hyung has been gaining the public's attention and is now on the path to great success.
We caught up with the actor ahead of his appearance in Dubai for the festival. Here's what he had to say:
Thanks to your role in Prison Playbook, you have now become a household name. That drama is seen as your big break into the industry. How has your journey been so far?
It was definitely not an easy journey, but I have always enjoyed it though. It makes you happy when you are doing what you like.
After you entered the industry it took a while for stardom to find you. What were some of the difficulties you faced?
It was physically difficult to juggle different things right after I finished my military service. Back then, I was working a part time job to earn my university tuition, prepared the graduation stage while having classes during the term, and performed a play at Daehangno (a street of culture and art in Seoul, Korea) all at the same time. It was exhausting and I was only in my mid 20s at that time. Still, I was happy.
How important do you think it is to have diversity in the entertainment industry?
It is very important for the continuous evolution of the industry. It's a blessing that the technology has reached the current level enabling almost anything to be possible in any area in so many different ways.
Korean drama is very quickly gaining momentum and is today on par with the likes of Hollywood films. What are your thoughts on the matter?
I'm very proud to be a Korean. However, I think Korean drama still has a long way to go before it can catch up to Hollywood films. Thanks to all the interests in Korean dramas or K-Pop from all around the world, the industry could be more inspired and more talents could be born.
The UAE acts as a hosting hub for a plethora of entertainment platforms. According to you what appeal does UAE have to the Korean film industry?
I've grown up listening to the stories of Arabian Nights. Not only me, but most of my generation would have grown up listening or reading the stories of Sinbad, Ali Baba and Aladdin. UAE and the Middle East, is a place that fascinates people like me with its exciting stories.
What can your fans in the UAE expect at the Korean Film Fest?
Even if it's a short one, it will be a time to connect with the fans. I cannot tell the fans what to expect, but this opportunity itself is really precious to me.
What are you most looking forward to during your visit here?
As I mentioned earlier, I cannot wait to meet the fans. Other than that, I really wish to visit the desert.
Are you active on social media? Nowadays everyone is making a name for themselves be it through Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter. How important do you think it is to have a social media presence in today's world?
I'm not really active. I occasionally post my photos or videos to interact with my fans. I think social media is like a double-edged sword that you always have to handle wisely and with caution.
Any upcoming projects fans can look forward to?
People often ask me if I'm a workaholic, and yes, I like working more than being idle. Currently I'm filming a drama, Doctor Cha, which is expected to air next month, and I'll start performing in a musical called Cyrano in a few months. There is also another plan to start filming a movie by the end of this year. I would like to work without a pause.