What do you do with an actor like Park Jung Min?
Park Jung Min (not to be confused with the crooner from SS501) first caught my eye in “Bleak Night,” the admirable 2010 feature film debut of helmer Yoon Sung Hyun. I’d suggest watching it while not wearing socks – because they will, in fact, be knocked off; the rising star lit up “Bleak Night” like the Fourth of July (along with his two co-stars).
The thespian played Baek Hee, part of a boyhood trio clutching the delicate fabric of friendship, soldiering on in high school while being careful not to break anything in a meticulously constructed glass house of a social circle. Park Jung Min’s character deflected pain, anger, disappointment, and power struggles within fragile friendships surreptitiously guised as schoolyard play. The film’s brilliant cast includes Seo Jun Young and Lee Je Hoon. (You can read my full review of the film here.)
You may have caught him sharing the screen as a rookie cop alongside Lee Seung Gi, Go Ara, and Cha Seung Won in “You’re All Surrounded“, as a likable, bumbling Poindexter. The role had me doing a double take: he was so memorable as a dramatic actor from “Bleak Night,” but the series had me considering him under the lens of comedy. It’s rare and refreshing when actors have both comedy and drama as their forte.
He’s currently acting in “Valid Love” as the oft scene-stealing Jang Ki Tae, the mischief-wrapped younger brother of Jang Hee Tae (Uhm Tae Woong). He’s smart yet misguided, ambitious and educated, entitled but sheltered. His portrayal, whether in scenes lighthearted or heavy handed, were treated with such thoughtful sensitivity; it had me anxiously awaiting his next role.
There’s a certain fearlessness when it comes to acting, or any creative endeavor; a tumultuous path wrought with doubt, vulnerability, and uphill battles. Park Jung Min’s emerged from the rubble; he manages drama and comedy with such fluidity, whatever the character – he’ll act the hell out of it. (Sidenote: maybe I should become president of his fan club. Note to self: create fan club.)
Somebody cast him in another leading role, already. If you don’t, I will.