Korean idol suffers from 'second male lead' syndrome
But South Korean actor Seo Kang Jun says his characters have won the hearts of female fans
Seo Kang Jun knows all about the unfortunate plight of the second male lead.
In two recent TV series, the strapping 22-year-old Korean actor has played crestfallen characters with zero chance of winning the female protagonist's heart.
He was friendzoned by his love interest in the 2014 family drama What Happens To My Family right from the start, despite being a rich, confident and powerful entrepreneur.
It's the same sad scenario in his current romantic drama Cheese In The Trap, where his character Baek In Ho harbours a deep crush on college student Hong Seol (Kim Go Eun). Hong, however, only has eyes for Baek's childhood buddy Yoo Jung (Park Hae Jin).
Adapted from a Korean webtoon of the same title, the 16-parter is now airing on VV Drama (StarHub TV Ch 855) every Sunday at 10pm.
In town to promote Cheese In The Trap yesterday afternoon, the 1.83m-tall bachelor begged to differ when this reporter cast his on-screen alter egos in a pitiful light.
"Yes, my recent characters might have a one-sided love, but personally, I don't see that as a bad thing or a tragedy," he told The New Paper via a translator.
"Especially Baek In Ho - he is such a lovable person. While I was playing him, I really felt his genuine emotions and I wanted to give him a big hug.
"He might not have won the girl of his dreams, but he has definitely won the hearts of many female viewers."
As for his off-screen love life, the idol expressed his desire to "find a girlfriend", but he has his concerns.
"I'm worried that if I really do get attached, my female fans will be jealous," he said jokingly.
Seo - whom local viewers might also recognise from his stint on the second season of reality TV series Roommate and supporting role in movie The Beauty Inside, both from last year - said that playing Baek has made him more cheerful and outgoing.
"By nature, I am quiet and introverted, so when we first started filming Roommate, I found it very difficult to adapt," he said.
Roommate features 11 celebrities living together in a house, sharing common spaces such as the kitchen, living room and toilets, while cameras follow their every move.
"But playing Baek changed me a little. Unlike the real me, he is outgoing, curious about everything and carries a YOLO (you live only once) attitude about life. I found that really charming."
Gradually, Seo found himself inhabiting some of Baek's traits and that helped him ease into the Roommate family.
As one of Korea's young hotshot actors, he has a bright future ahead of him and many more diverse characters to take on.
According to Korean media reports, Seo is in talks to star in the Korean remake of hit US TV series Entourage as possibly the Korean version of Adrian Grenier's fictional Hollywood actor character Vincent Chase, which will make it his first lead role on the small screen. Seo's management, however, declined to answer our queries on this project, explaining that "nothing is confirmed at the moment".
"Many people say I should play a vampire, because of my fair skin and naturally brown eyes," Seo said with a laugh, when quizzed what his dream roles were.
"But I would really love to play intense characters like a murderer or psychopath."
"Many people say I should play a vampire, because of my fair skin and naturally brown eyes. But I would really love to play intense characters like a murderer or psychopath."
- Seo Kang Jun
Fan hugs Korean idol: 'I am not showering tonight'
The 20-year-old undergraduate had a chance to do just that when she was one of two fans selected to go on stage to play a game with the star.
This involved stacking Mandarin oranges as high as they could in a minute.
Ms Xing beat the other contestant, who was also a girl, but she was more concerned with her idol next to her.
She took full advantage of her privilege by shaking Seo's hand every chance she got, to the jealous screams of more than 1,000 fans.
She even got him to hug her, to even louder screams.
Said Ms Xing, whose birthday was on Feb 12: "His shoulders were so broad and he felt like a boyfriend to me at that instant."
Beaming broadly, she added: "I am not showering tonight."
Ms Xing said she became a fan after watching Seo's latest drama, Cheese in the Trap, online.
"I love his 'bad boy' image and hope he can take on more villainous roles in the future," she said.
The fan meet is Seo's first in Singapore.
Speaking through a translator, he thanked fans for their support and asked for recommendations of local dishes, eliciting shrieks of "laksa!", "chilli crab!" and "char kway teow!"
Mr Choong Jun Mao, 19, who was the lone male among the first 20 StarHub subscribers who got to take a photograph with the star, said he had liked Seo since the actor appeared in reality show Roommate in 2014, where 11 celebrities were filmed living together under the same roof.
Mr Choong, who arrived at Suntec City at 9am and was the first in line, said: "I like him for his bubbly personality and great acting skills.
"It feels so surreal that I got to meet and hug my idol."
But he wished he had had more time with the actor so that he could convey words of encouragement.
Said Mr Choong, who is waiting to be enlisted for national service: "Celebrities face a lot of harsh criticism.
"But I would tell him not to care about his haters because he has many fans like me."