Nice guy game to try villain roles

Running Man star Lee Kwang Soo with Primary 4 pupil Karina Liswandy, who managed to take a selfie with him at Changi Airport on Thursday.
Running Man star Lee Kwang Soo with Primary 4 pupil Karina Liswandy, who managed to take a selfie with him at Changi Airport on Thursday.PHOTO: THE SHILLA DUTY FREE SINGAPORE

More than 250 fans turn up at Changi Airport to greet South Korean actor Lee Kwang Soo, who talks about his acting ambitions

South Korean actor Lee Kwang Soo, who is one of the stars of the popular gameshow Running Man, is not quite over the hill.

In town on Thursday, he emphasised the differences between him and the has-been idol he plays in the upcoming South Korean remake of American drama series Entourage, which revolves around show business.

"My character brags a lot. He has a good heart, but he is unable to express his emotions. He looks irritated and annoyed. In real life, I'm quite different from him. I express my feelings more than him, I don't really get annoyed and I'm not nasty to people," says Lee, 31.

Most importantly, he is still popular with fans and that has translated into endorsements - he was invited here as the ambassador of travel retailer The Shilla Duty Free to celebrate the first anniversary of Shilla Beauty Loft at Changi Airport.

He was speaking at a press conference, ahead of an autograph session at Terminal 3 which attracted more than 250 fans.

She was so excited that she knocked down two cups of drinks at lunch. Though the event started only around 4pm, she couldn’t wait and we came a few hours earlier.

MRS MIRANDA LISWANDY, whose daughter Karina, 10, was one of those who turned up with a giraffe toy in hand

Fans came armed with signboards emblazoned with Lee's name and giraffe plushies - in reference to his Giraffe nickname, which he was given because of his towering height of 1.9m.

Fan Karina Liswandy, 10, was one of those who turned up with a giraffe toy in hand. The contest winner not only won the chance to get up close with her idol, but she also snagged a hug and a selfie with the star.

Her housewife mother Miranda Liswandy, 42, says: "She was so excited that she knocked down two cups of drinks at lunch. Though the event started only around 4pm, she couldn't wait and we came a few hours earlier."

Karina, a Primary 4 pupil, says: "I will print out my selfie with him and paste it on the wall of my room. I like him because he is funny. He betrays other people on Running Man to make it funny."

She was referring to the fact that Lee got his big break in the hit variety and game show as the player who would betray his teammates to win and for laughs.

Lee was last here with his fellow cast members for a Running Man fan meet in 2014, a year after he held his solo fan meet.

Since making a breakthrough with Running Man, he has been making a name for himself as an actor.

He starred in romantic melodrama It's Okay, That's Love (2014) as a kind-hearted cafe waiter with Tourette syndrome.

In comedy flick Collective Invention (2015), he was an unwitting celebrity after a clinical trial gone wrong turned him into a man-fish.

He says of his acting ambitions: "I want to play roles with different personalities, but most of all, I want to play a villain - not just a character who is blatantly evil, but someone who is nice and naive on the surface and evil on the inside."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2016, with the headline 'Nice guy game to try villain roles'. Print Edition | Subscribe