The series “The King: Eternal Monarch” is not just the much anticipated drama of Hallyu royalty Lee Min-ho. It is the first page of the second chapter in his acting career.
He took a three-year hiatus from acting. “Legend of the Blue Sea” (2017) was his last series before he did his military service. He did not accept any new projects after another year. In a video conference with the international press on April 16, he said that the three-year break allowed him to look back on his decades-old career as an actor.
Lee said it was an opportunity for him to look back on things that he wanted to better. It allowed him to look at the things that he lacked in. But most of all, the introspection allowed him to think of the values and purposes that he wanted to set as an actor in his 30s.
“I spent a lot of time and put a lot of thought into how I can be better tomorrow than today and better next year compared to this year. I believe that the second chapter is opening now,” he said. He described his drama “The King: Eternal Monarch as the first page of a new chapter of his acting life.
More mature roles
He looked back on the projects that he did in his 20s. He said that the characters he played were mostly boys in coming-of-age dramas.
“However, for this role that I play in this project, he is an adult. Of course, his character grows in the story, but he is already a grown figure. I would say that that would be the major difference (to my past projects),” he said.
Lee said that he could not even begin to imagine and the weight of responsibility his character in the series carries. He plays the titular character Lee Gon, the King/Emperor of Corea. As a country’s leader, his character must put his people and his country first.
The actor says that pressure is beyond he could even imagine. But then he looked at his character closely and he did find some similarities.
Responsible for his fans
“Although it is a lot smaller, I do have similar experiences with him. I debuted at a very young age. I am now in my 13th year as an actor. And I think the more my fan base grew, so did the responsibility that laid on my shoulder,” he said.
He beats “The King” when it comes to differences. Lee said that unlike Lee Gon, he enjoys the privilege of leading a more free life. He gets to enjoy the little things in life, compared to his character.
This is the second time he will be working with script writer Kim Eun-suk. The first time they worked together was for “The Heirs/Inheritors” (2013). He would like to think that he has grown since he last worked with her.
“I think I have matured a little more since then and also we were able to communicate on a more truer level for which I’m very grateful. And of course as always, I marvel at the abilities of writer Kim Eun-suk as I read the script. I am really doing my best to make our second work together great,” he said.
“The King: Eternal Monarch” streams on Netflix every Friday and Saturday, 10:30 pm.