I first encountered the greatness of Park Shi-hoo during his Prosecutor Princess days back in 2010. Although he was the antagonist of the story, I immediately fell in love with him, just like many others who experienced the “Seo Byun Syndrome.” I can’t pin point exactly why but it was almost impossible to resist loving the intelligent, stylish and caring lawyer with a dark past. Yes, I’m guilty of loving bad boys.
And since then, Park Shi-hoo has been on my radar. Just like any new fan, I engaged in intense Google research and was surprised to find out that Park actually started his career back in 1997 on Broadway. He started from the bottom by helping out with promotional activities (handing out flyers, putting up posters, etc) until he was able to earn bit roles and slowly transition over to the small screen in 2005.
Park Shi-hoo’s transition was not as smooth as you’d expect from his prince-like looks. It took him some time to rise to the top and some attribute his current successes to his name change: he was recently voted as the #1 star who benefited from his stage name. When he was acting as Park Pyeong-ho, he barely won supporting roles, but as Park Shi-hoo, he nabbed main roles in popular dramas, such as Prosecutor Princess, The Princess’s Man and his most recent drama, Cheongdamdong Alice. The social scientist in me says this is mere coincidence and there is no way to prove that it’s a causal relationship but the fan in me could care less; I’m just glad that he’s successful now (and can be my eye candy on screen).
However, I do worry that he may soon become typecast if he doesn’t stop playing variations of chaebol in the near future. Yes, he did venture out with a different role in the film Confessions of Murder last year, but all his small screen roles in rom-com have been pretty much the same. His royalty-like looks and style help him land these types of roles but with three years of successes under his belt, it’s time for him to experiment with new types of characters to increase his range.
In fact, there’s some room for improvement when it comes to Park’s acting. He’s good enough but not ground breaking. His chemistry with his co-stars is a mixed bag for Park is too focused on his character only, which suggests lack of expertise, practice or consideration for his co-star. His latest role in Cheongdamdong Alice was cute and endearing but failed to set him apart from other actors. Hopefully all the attention he’s receiving these days is giving him the motivation and the resources to step up; he has already solidified his Hallyu-star status, which was evident by being appointed as the promotional ambassador for Korean Tourism Organization last year.
As Park’s career is on the rise, we are able to get a better view of Park Shi-hoo as a person. Based on news reports, he prefers the cutesy over sexy and proactive over passive ladies. He’s also very optimistic; the glass is always half full and he tends to get over bad events pretty quickly. Unlike the aloof chaebol characters that he plays, he’s talkative, playful and honest.
I’m sure that we’ll see and hear more about Park Shi-hoo as he continues to ride on his successes. My only request for him would be to explore diverse roles to avoid being typecasted before he gets too old. While he doesn’t look it, he’s already 34 and I think his window of opportunity is smaller than some of the up and coming actors, such as Song Joon-ki, Kim Soo-hyun, etc.
Did I convince you to take a look into Park Shi-hoo’s works yet?