From Flower Boy to Leading Man
Lee Min-ho has finally become more famous than Goo Joon-pyo
For years, the South Korean actor was referred to as “the curly-haired guy” or “the flower boy,” referencing his breakout role in 2009 as the wavy-maned Goo Joon-pyo from the hit Korean drama Boys Over Flowers.
The drama, aired in 19 countries, launched the young actor into mega celebrity status, and while, of course, fans and even a good majority of Korean knew his real name, it took a carefully planned career in the following years for Lee Min-ho to become Lee Min-ho.
Now, Lee is internationally recognized as an actor-a leading man, actually, rather than merely a “flower boy”, a term ironically popularized by his own drama and used to describe an overly “pretty” guy.
The massive success of his Boys Over Flowers role allowed Lee to become pickier about which parts he does take. “It’s definitely something I can be proud of. I’ve been getting far more offers since Boys Over Flowers, and it’s also what helped grow my fan base, which is important because fans are the ones who keep me motivated.” said Lee.
Since his 2009 hit, the 6-foot-tall, lanky actor has starred in a drama every year and they’ve all been.departures from his breakout role. In 2010, Lee played as aspiring architect who is mistaken as gay by his eventual (female) love.interest in Personal Taste, while.the following year, he played a cold assassin in City Hunter. In 2012, he took an another action role as Goryeo-era warrior in the time travel drama Faith.
For Korean celebrities, maintaining a strong fan base is almost more important than actual talent. Lee often calls his fans “precious” and gushes about their support as “the source of his confidence and focus.” He said that he is constantly asking his staff to teach him new.languages and phrases in order to.better communicate with his foreign fans.
While it’s hard to take Lee seriously when he says things like, “I survive on the love of fans,” the sheer amount of times he remarks on his appreciation for his “Minoz” in public seems to indicate that.he’s either incredibly aware of the power his fans hold, or he’s genuinely grateful.
His caution is understandable, given that Korean celebrities have to deal with the “wrath of netizens(online citizens) who seem to yield an alarming amount of influence in the country, which is now the most wired nation in the world.
So, perhaps Lee’s careful dealing with his fans is working. Lee’s appeal to Korean entertainment executives doesn’t just come from his domestic appeal, it also drawn from his huge international fan base, which means, even if a drama starring Lee happens to be a flop in Korea, broadcasters can still distribute the drama overseas- for a “hefty profit”.
Notably, even Lee, who’s been labeled a “hallyu(Korean wave) star,” doesn’t quite understand the appeal Korean shows have overseas.
“I think there’s an exclusive emotional element in Korean dramas,” he said. “It’s hard to explain in words, and it’s actually a question I want to ask the fans.”
But, last year, he played a teenage chaebol heir, in his new TV show, The Heirs. At the press conference, Lee fielded a question about his decision to come full circle to the type of role that put him on the map.
“Four years have passed since I starred in Boys Over Flowers, and I am playing a high school chaebol heir again because,” Lee pause, before rephrasing his answer. “At some point during four years, I realised that I rarely that I rarely felt wildly happy. I also realised that there wasn’t much to be sad about either. My life felt void of ups and downs.
“So, before I grow past my 20s, I wanted to play a more upbeat character, one that would allow me to return to that feeling of simple, uncomplicated innocence that I had when I was younger.”
The Heirs had an impressive viewer rate of 25.6% (Nilson Korea, Nationwide basis) for its last episode that aired on December 12th, thus ending the hit drama. Not only was the viewer rate in numbers, it also created various popular words and phrases, and it obviously was a work that had a powerful ability to reach out and influence viewers.
Thanks to these popular drama, Lee’s popularity has roared internationally.
Korean television actors rarely travel worldwide for press events, but Lee has a reputation for going abroad to greet his fans, who incidentally even have a name “Minoz.” During his Manila visit, that country’s media outlets declared, “Manila falls in love with Lee Min-ho” and “Korea’s superstar sweeps the nation.” In Japan, he took the No.1 spot for “Best Hallyu Star” in a Japanese magazine dedicated to Korean dramas in 2012. Last December, Lee won the Best Asian Actor award at the 2013 Baidu Feidian Awards ceremony in Beijing, China. And the drama The Heirs reached 160 million hits on the.video site Youku.com last November.
Though many Hollywood stars often try to escape attention, Lee is active on several social networking sites, including Facebook (he has over 13 million fans) and Twitter, with almost 1.8 million followers. Even in China, he has over 21 million followers on Weibo. He said he likes that this type of media gives him a more direct way to connect with his fans.
[ NOTE: i changed Lee MinHo’s SNS Followers number as it was written wrong, so others are as it is from DC]
Source : DC
Credit : ㅇ리는 ‘미노스’ 입니다