He’s a household name in his home country of Korea, and this weekend actor Kim Soo Hyun will be invading Los Angeles – along with many of Korea’s hottest and brightest entertainers – at KCON, an annual fan convention where everything from food to film to fashion can be experienced all in one place.
“I haven’t had many chances to meet American fans in person,” says the star, 27. “I’m so happy and excited to see them at KCON 2015. I want to make unforgettable memories with them!” Here are four things to know about the star.
1. He’s a fixture in Asia’s biggest movies and TV dramas now, but he was actually a pretty shy kid.
The star, who was born in Seoul, fell into acting at a young age “because I was an introvert,” he says. “My mom recommended acting [classes] to me. Acting in a play, I felt like I became a different person.” Even as a child, hearing applause from an audience made him “ecstatic,” he adds. “I knew I wanted to be an actor [then].”
2. When he’s not acting or singing, he likes to stay active.
On a rare day off, “I usually play sports like bowling and badminton with my friends,” says the actor. “Having a relaxing time with my favorite people is the best day off.” And though he has no problem landing coveted roles, he still finds time to hone his craft. “To be honest, I still have a lot to learn as an actor,” he says. “I feel excited when I’m acting and want to go far as an actor.”
3. His dream American co-star is Gwyneth Paltrow.
“I’ve wanted to work with Gwyneth Paltrow for a long time,” he says. “She is very talented and attractive!” He’s also a Quentin Tarantino fan and was “hugely impressed” by Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained. Waltz’s portrayal of Dr. King Schultz was layered and complicated, but “[he made it seem as easy as] humming a melody the entire movie,” says the star. “After I saw the movie, I’ve wanted to act like him.”
4. He was once the face of 17 products at the same time.
The star’s popularity skyrocketed in 2012 after he starred in the period drama Moon Embracing the Sun as King Lee Hwon. Olympic figure skater Kim Yuna previously held the record for product endorsements, but the actor knocked her out of the spot when he became a spokesperson for various products ranging from restaurants to beer to technology.