ERIC: An idol star throughout his 20s. Still an idol star in his 30s. Also a Hallyu star. And he’s still getting on fine with the friends he got to know in his teenage years. A man who says he has been lucky. In other words, the life of a guy who has been the object of envy and who will continue to be so.
SES: The group that Eric was a dancer and rapper for before his debut. Eric had been very interested in music, coming in first place in a university clarinet competition in the US, and after taking part in an audition on a Korean radio program, he persuaded his parents saying, “Just take it that I’m going off to the army for 3 years”, and headed to Korea to prepare for his showbiz debut. Although before heading to Korea Eric was already informed in his 2nd year of high school that he had been accepted into the college of his choice, he had been having too much fun in the ensuing year and almost failed, and he felt that taking up a regular job after graduation was stifling. Enter the clarinet-playing rebel from the US.
Shinhwa: The 13-year idol group that’s moving forward like a comet. Whenever rumors of Shinhwa disbanding surfaced, Eric said, “Even if we don’t do anything we’re still the longest-standing idol group, why should we disband?” After their debut, members have fought among themselves and had to use make-up to cover the bruises before going on stage; make fun of on another in front of the camera; and sometimes just going crazy during interviews, they’ve had all kinds of incidents, eccentricities and conflict. But with their explosive dance moves and elaborate choreography for their performances for tracks like “Wild Eyes” and “Wedding” have given them a continuous stream of fans, and no matter how they fight, they’ve resolved their fights with the affection they’ve nurtured from having lived in one dormitory, resulting in their unique teamwork that has kept their fandom going strong for more than 10 years. Group leader Eric may be a cool leader on stage but with the members, even though he provides them with all kinds of weird photos and tells them they’re annoying when they send him text messages, he shared his appearance fees with the members and studied the legal options available in order to allow themselves to continue under the Shinhwa name after their contract with the management agency ended. He is the leader who’s an integration of all of Shinhwa’s charm. Shinhwa is recently working on setting up a company to manage all of their group activities, and the members are still all helping to monitor Eric’s performance in his lateest drama. Of course, while teasing him at the same time.
Park Sung Soo: The director of Eric’s debut drama “Breathless” (a.k.a “I’m Running”). After testing Eric’s acting skills, while saying “Nothing can be worse than this”, he also said “It’s good that you don’t seem intimidated,” and “A person’s most important decision in his life is made within 0.5 seconds”, for Eric to decide whether or not to take part in the drama. Eric immediately agreed. “I thought that’s a pity to just let time pass by thoughtlessly, so I just wanted to do something and I ended up finding it.” With that he eagerly entered the field of acting. His role of Sang Shik in “Breathless” was an ex-convict with a bleak future, contrary to his idol star image. But Eric’s portrayal of the character’s bleak life made him feel like the youths of that generation instead of the idol that he was, making his future acting career possible.
Cha Eun Taek: The director of Eric’s “Megapass” CF. In the CF, Eric casually spins the notebook while dancing and rapping. In this CF where everything seems cool, he wasn’t the leader of Shinhwa, and instead he created an confident image as a solo entity. In the film “A Bittersweet Life”, he too left an strong impression as a killer who starts a gunfight without saying anything. Whether as a singer or an actor, although he hasn’t received any official accolades as a solo act, it’s clear that as a star, he has the presence. All that’s left is for him to have a hit project.
Lee Eun Joo: Eric’s co-star in MBC drama “Phoenix”. Although he has been teased by the Shinhwa members for the unspeakably cringe-inducing line “Do you smell anything burning? My heart is burning”, when the drama was broadcast he set the hearts of female viewers fluttering. His straight-faced and somewhat humorous delivery of these buttery lines, among other things, made this rather sly chaebol heir different from the chaebol heirs depicted in previous dramas. If “do you smell something burning” was delivered in even a slightly more serious manner, it wouldn’t have achieved that feel. Though from his ability to deliver those lines, it couldn’t been seen whether he had become proficient at acting, he had already instinctively captured a character that belongs to him.
Lee Seon Mi-Kim Ki Ho: The writers of MBC drama “Super Rookie” and SBS drama “Invincible Parachute Agent (a.k.a Super Rookie Ranger). After “Phoenix”, Eric had “for no reason” started to dislike acting and cut off contact for a week. After sorting out his thoughts, “Super Rookie” was the project he worked on, and he embarked on a comedic role of an unemployed young man, drastically different from the chaebol heir he had played in “Phoenix”. Seemingly aimless in life, he demonstrates his wit at some points, and amidst the absurd gags he instantly displays a cool image when dressed in a suit, overlapping with his unpredictable image as part of Shinhwa. In actual fact, Eric has once said, “Hyesungie has the blood of a cat running in him; for Andy, a comedian’s blood; Minwoo, Choi Min Soo’s blood; Junjin, a sportsman’s blood; Dongwannie, nose blood; and Eric, green blood”. He likes fishing so much that he can hear the sound of fish biting the bait, but yet he’s afraid of the sea because of the existence of giant squid. After “Super Rookie” and “Invincible Parachute Agent”, Eric began to become known to the masses outside of his fandom, thanks to his unique character.
Kim Yoon Cheol: The director of MBC drama “Que Sera Sera”. Although director Kim Yoon Chul didn’t exactly take to Eric intially, Eric – who liked the script very much – met up with Director Kim to convince him, “please believe me” and was eventually cast. The Eric in “Que Sera Sera”, similar to his character in “Phoenix”, felt intense but at the same time was a man who led an ordinary life, just like his character in “Breathless”. In the drama, instead of delivering corny lines he tied his girlfriend’s shoelaces, or turning his back on what he could have all owned, with a subtle expression as he faced the bright sunlight – he had made new discoveries in his acting. As he improved himself with “Que Sera Sera”, from a chaebol heir to an unemployed youth, Eric has widened his range from popular trendy dramas to mania dramas (cult hits). His follow-up project “Strongest Chil Woo” was a unique drama that combined social satire, superhero material, action and sageuk (historical drama). Thus, Eric is not known for a fixed image but for being “Eric”.
Will Smith: Popular American actor and musician, and also Eric’s role mode. As a matter of fact Eric is still the leader of Shinhwa, doing different kinds of rap, and continues to be involved in acting. In addition, the genre of his projects are very varied, ranging from comedies to sageuks, and is always showing proving his presence at a certain level. And meanwhile he says what he wants to say via Twitter; and speaks honestly about himself. Talking about the popularity he attained through “Phoenix”, “Though I didn’t receive recognition, but because I attained popularity, I had to live pretending to be someone else. That foam-like popularity was really like a bed of thorns.” Quietly doing what he has to do, and doing what he wants to do; living seriously but yet joking and playing around with his friends. A curious combination of a free spirit and a star with presence.
Han Ye Seul: Co-star in KBS drama “Spy Myungwol”. “Spy Myungwol” has been receiving criticism for having excessive plotlines and coincidences in the early stages of the drama. In addition, while his playfulness is fitting in the scene where he pretends to give Myungwol (played by Han Ye Seul) his autograph, it seems like he hasn’t found the “tone” of this comedy-intertwined-with-serious-spy-drama, where his deliberate attempts to seem cold or his serious scenes are awkward. Actually, while playing the character of a Hallyu star who’s similar to himself, he has to do some homework on finding different details for this character that’s so similar to himself. But apart from whether “Spy Myungwol” is a hit or not, he continues to be a Shinhwa member, he will still squabble with the members, and he will continue to work on his acting and his music. He may not be the best in all his fields of work, but he puts in his best possible efforts to let his name be remembered. He doesn’t run quickly like a comet. Instead he moves forward slowly. Meeting friends, speaking his mind, and letting the name of “Eric” be remembered.
Credits: 10asia + Absolut Shinhwa