Namgoong Min, after the recent success of KBS’s “Chief Kim,” is at the top of his game.

The actor has been riding a high since 2015’s “The Girl Who Sees Smells,” where he played the villain. He capitalized on the praise he garnered in that role by playing the bad guy in “Remember” right afterwards, but shook up his image as the romantic male lead in “Dear Fair Lady Kong Shim,” the first time he’d taken the lead role in his 18-year career.

About his success, Namgoong Min said, “Now that I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed a stable mental state. I don’t get a big head when things go well. Since this isn’t my peak, I have to be on my guard in the future. I haven’t decided what project I’ll do next, but I think I’ve gained a confidence in my acting.”

When asked if he was worried about only going down from here, he responded, “My slump will come when when I’m careless or off my guard. I’m not off my guard right now. Even if my next project doesn’t do well, I’m positive enough now not to blame myself. But I won’t throw the blame on others, either. If I ever get a big head, I’ll fall flat on my face. I’m glad that I’m not at the point where I have to worry about that.”

Namgoong Min picked his own turning point to be the 2011 drama “Can You Hear My Heart?” He said, “I got a lot of good responses about my acting. In terms of the response I felt, I think it was better than ‘Chief Kim.’ At that time, I got a lot of casting calls for supporting characters. I started thinking arrogantly that I could do better than that and refused five offers. So I ended up not working for two years. Then I realized that I can’t act that way. As an actor, you can’t only take on the roles that you think are cool and satisfy just yourself.”

He reflected on his new changed attitude. “Even a knife has to be ground down to become sharp. I realized that I had to build up my filmography slowly but surely.”

He added, “I didn’t start acting so I could become a celebrity. I just wanted to act. I was able to survive because people were willing to pay me to act. When I acted in the past, I thought that it was okay if nobody could see my hard work. But now I’m working to be more approachable to the public because acting is a public art.”

When asked about next steps, he said, “I think if I suddenly turn to movies, my career might suffer. I want to go with the flow. Right now I’m getting a lot of love from the drama world so I have more ambitions for that field. I’m not worried about the next project. Of course, if I say that and it doesn’t do well, then…”

Finally, he gave his last thoughts on his last project, “Chief Kim.” “I’ve never been able to make people laugh or be funny, so it’s very emotional for me to get a lot of love for my comedic role in ‘Chief Kim.’ I thought that I was lacking in a lot of parts despite everyone’s support, but I think I prefer to feel that way instead of getting buried in compliments.”

You can watch “Chief Kim” exclusively on Viki!

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