For someone who started out as an idol singer, Park Yoo Chun has quickly become a respected actor. He recently won his third popularity award at this year’s Baeksang Arts Awards. He is the first actor to win the award three years in a row and he can add it to his collection of trophies from all three major Korean television channels.
This year’s Baeksang Popularity Award was given for his role in “Missing You,” which received a 54.3 percent approval rating. The JYJ singer won the first time for playing in “Sungkyunkwan Scandal” and then again last year for his role in “Miss Ripley.”
“I’m thankful for receiving this great award and I will happily act to receive it again next year,” said Park, who is considering new roles.
An official at the awards ceremony credited the win to Park’s acting skills and his willingness to challenge himself, saying, “We believe the way he matures with every new piece appeals to his viewers.”
As an actor, Park is not afraid to take risks and change his image. He jumped straight into acting with a historical drama “Sungkyunkwan Scandal,” in which he played a Joseon era scholar. He earned praise for his comic role of the time-traveling prince in “Rooftop Prince,” then won an award playing Song Yoo Hyun, a man disappointed in love in “Miss Ripley.” But his most challenging role so far was the detective Han Jung Woo in “Missing You.”
While filming “Missing You,” his co-star, veteran actress Song Ok Sook, said she was surprised he took the part, as it was so different from his previous roles.
“It is a huge risk for an actor to change his image,” said Park. “Even if the acting is good, the audience might find the new image unacceptable. But at that time I just wanted others to see a different side of me. I didn’t think about it too much.”
Part of Park’s popularity might also be due to the fact that his likable personality shines through whatever role he plays. There’s something kind and gentle about him that fellow actors notice while working together and viewers can relate to.
“His presence is very different,” said Yoon Eun Hye, who worked with him in “Missing You.” “He’s considerate of other people and puts others’ needs before his own. Even on set, he’s cheerful and constantly sets the mood.”
That must have been hard in such a heartbreaking melodrama. But Park says he tends to be pretty upbeat.
“I am actually a very cheerful person,” said Park. “Especially when the weather is good, I am even more cheerful. On a beautiful sunny day, riding in my car, I am quite blissful.”
And winning three popularity awards can’t help but improve his mood even further.