|This is a scene from Mnet's ghost romance drama "Mimi," starring K-pop idol Max Changmin. / Courtesy of Mnet|
26-year-old TVXQ star returns to small screen
By Park Jin-hai
TVXQ's U-know Yunho, left, and Max Changmin pose in this promotional photo.
/ Korea Times file
Popular K-pop duo TVXQ's Max Changmin (Shim Chang-min) has always been a sweetheart for K-pop fans. With his charismatic performance on stage, the baby-faced star has shown enough charm to make his fans' hearts race.
Not only has the title song of TVXQ's recent album "Something" topped many local on-line music charts, he also bagged the emcee role in KBS's variety show, "Cool Kiz On The Block," winning the Best Entertainer Award last year.
Despite being in the showbiz industry for almost a decade, the 26-year-old idol says he still has more to show. This time, the multi-talented star returns to the small screen as webtoonist Han Min-woo in the "ghost" romance story, "Mimi."
The four-part mini- series drama started out with scenes lead character Han was working on, mixed with water-colored, painting-like scenes and music net's namesake background music.
Borrowing a format of mystery and fantasy, it features the journey of Han, who has lost part of his memory and tries recovering it with key words noted on his calendar _ "art room" "bike" and "first kiss." Based on the three main characters of Han, his first love and the present one, he goes back and forth between the past and present over the span of 10 years.
"People around me initially expressed concerns about Changmin playing the lead role. But, I thought no one else personifies Min-woo better than him," said Song Chang-su, the series director, referring to the risk of casting the idol for the male lead at a meeting with the press, when he presented his drama at Patio9, Nonhyeon-dong, southern Seoul, on Feb. 18.
Reflecting Changmin's global appeal, stacks of rice adorned the hall ways and inside the press room, donated by his multi-national fan clubs, including those in Japan, China, Vietnam, Canada, Peru and Saudi Arabia. In total, they sent some 13 tons of rice as a way of wishing him success in his new drama.
And director Song was mostly right, as on-line websites were flowing with positive reviews and comments. All in all, the performance of Changmin for the music channel seems to be successful.
Soon after the first episode of Mnet drama "Mimi" premiered Friday, the online community has been buzzing with reviews and commentaries from his global fan base.
Many of them were clearly happy to watch such a beautiful cartoon-like romantic drama starring their idol. Others described the story as a very moving one, so much that they can't wait for the next episode.
Changmin was able to properly portray the fragile state of the lead character and the emotional turmoil he was experiencing in the course of his fight to regain his lost memory. He sounded very natural, and displayed a rare skill of being able to relate to viewers throughout the entire 70-minute long drama.
"I myself feel the change. Compared with a few years ago, I am more focused and comfortable on the role I am playing," he commented about his acting during the press meeting.
The must-see scene is the first kiss that Min-woo had in the high school art room. Two days were spent to depict the tender and heart-pumping mood of first love, including the moment of the characters' interlocking looks and the sweet mood after the kiss, he added.
"Although it won't be easy to act out the 28-year old and 18-year-old Min-woo, who have totally different memories and emotions, I have enjoyed filming it. As much as it is a story of one's first love that anyone can relate to, I ask for a lot of interest and anticipation."
His previous acting experience includes co-starring in "Paradise Ranch (2011)" with actress Lee Yeon-hee and, although less-known, starred in a Japanese action film, "Fly with the Gold (2012)."
For that role in the movie, he won the Newcomer of the Year Award at the Japanese Academy Awards in 2012, and became the first Korean artist to be nominated for a Hochi Film Award in Japan that year.
2인조 남성 듀오 동방신기의 최강창민(26)이 엠넷 (Mnet)드라마 “미미”의 남자 주인공 한민우로 열연 중이다.
극중 캐릭터 민우는 기억상실에 걸려 특정 단어와 연관 지어 기억을 회복하려고 노력하는 웹툰 작가다.
감독 송창수는 “아이돌 가수를 주연으로 발탁하겠다는 내 결정에 대해 초반에는 주변의 반대가 많았지만 주인공 민우를 창민군보다 더 잘 소화해 낼 사람은 없습니다.”라고 2월 18일 논현동에서 열린 기자회견장에서 말했다.
그의 국제적인 인기는 세계각국의 팬들이 보낸 선물에서도 확인할 수 있었다. 일본, 중국, 베트남, 캐나다, 페루, 사우디아라비아 등 에서 이번 새 드라마의 성공을 기원하는 선물로 총 13톤의 쌀을 보내와 기자회견장을 가득 메웠다.
지난 금요일 첫 방송 후, 드라마 게시판 및 온라인 팬까페에는 전세계 팬들이 창민의 연기를 칭찬하는 글로 도배가 됐다.
예민한 성정의 남자 주인공이 기억을 회복하는 과정에서 겪는 감정적인 소용돌이를 비롯해 깊이 있는 연기를 잘 소화해냈다는 평가를 받았다.
“제 자신이 변화를 느껴요. 몇 년 전과 비교했을 때 지금 더 목표의식이 있어요.” 기자회견에서 그가 직접 밝힌 내용이다.