Who's That Actor? Lee Sung Min
Back in high school, I used to have this skill where I could link any two actors--and I mean ANY two actors--based on the movies they shared. It was like that "six steps to Kevin Bacon" game, except it didn't usually involve Kevin Bacon, and some of the more obscure ones took a little longer than six steps.
As someone who couldn't sing, dance, play the piano, or do anything else obviously impressive in front of a crowd, I was secretly a little bit proud of my random mini-talent, and so I cultivated it by reading all kinds of reviews for movies I never saw and memorizing the names of random bit actors.
The IMDB app on my phone has made my offhand ability to answer the question of "What else was that guy in?" somewhat obsolete, but I still have some affection for those side actors who appear in everything without anyone (ad by "anyone," I mostly just mean me) knowing anything about them. I used to read the "Lawrence/Julie&Julia" blog from time to time, and he would occasionally spotlight random actors from Julie and Julia. I've decided that I want to do the same thing here, but with kdrama actors who pop up frequently in side roles. Because why should you have to Google things if I can Google them for you?
For the first kdrama edition of "Who's That Actor?", I'm going to spotlight Lee Sung Min:
Where you might have seen him: Miss Korea (as the angry/mopey gangster constantly accompanied by sad woodwind music), My Princess (as the bossy president), Pasta ("You. Are. FIRED!"), and about fifty billion other roles, most of which involve high levels of shouting--go here for the full list.
Biggest role: He was one of the leads in Golden Time, which I haven't seen, but based on the title, it sounds like a show that probably revolves around grandfathers sitting in rocking chairs on a porch reminiscing about the old days while Tobey Maguire does a voiceover segue into a flashback.
Based on Viki, it's actually about emergency medicine and also stars Lee Sun Gyun, which sounds like a much better premise than my initial hypothesis. Lee Sung Min won several awards for his role as a trauma surgeon, including the 2012 MBC Drama award for Actor of the Year. So what I'm trying to say is that he's kind of a big deal.
My favorite role: I always forget that he was the older brother in King 2 Hearts. It was much softer than most of his other roles. *Wipes away tears.
Fun fact: I kind of assumed that this guy must have been some young hot kdrama actor back in his 20s who just gradually shifted into older roles. Nope. As it turns out, the guy started acting in 2004 at the age of 36, which, as far as I can tell, might as well be seventeen million years old in Korean celebrity terms. You have to wonder what got him into acting at that point. Was some director desperate for a really bossy character, and he suddenly thought, "You know who would be perfect? Uncle Sung Min! Too bad he's already a used car salesman instead of an actor..."? I guess we will never know for sure.
So there you have it. The next time he pops up on the screen, you can tell all of your friends, "Hey! That's Lee Sung Min!" and they will all be really impressed.
Any other random actors you want to see spotlighted?