Seoul (The Korea Herald/Asia News Network) - Super Junior member Kim Hee Chul is no stranger to television, having starred in a small screen series before making his major boy band debut in 2005.
Now, the singer-actor returns to television drama as a detective in tvN's upcoming Flower Grandpa Investigators.
Kim revealed at the drama's press conference in Seoul on Wednesday that several years have passed since he last starred in a Korean TV series, adding that he is fully invested in his new role.
Kim will be starring in a new cable series that takes its cue from the hit reality show Grandpas Over Flowers, which documented the joys and travails that four prominent actors in their 60s and 70s experienced while travelling in various countries over three much-watched installments.
The soon-to-air, 12-part comedy inspired by the popular travel show centres on three 20-something-year-old detectives who become unwitting victims of an experiment that ages them 40 years.
Only hallyu star Kim's hero, detective Park Jung Woo, emerges unscathed.
As his suddenly much older colleagues struggle to deal with their new and unusual predicament, Kim's Park shares in their hardships, joining them in their mission to find a way to reclaim their lost youth.
The plot, in short, appears to have little in common with Grandpas Over Flowers. But like the original show, the drama will focus on characters in their 70s and will feature Grandpas Over Flowers cast member Lee Soon Jae as one of the leads.
In the show, these men are, mentally at least, still in their late 20s, a situation that requires Kim's character to talk in an overly familiar way to his co-stars, who are playing his hero's close buddies, which the K-pop idol admitted to finding challenging.
"For someone like me, who is known to be well-mannered, this character really demanded a great deal of acting talent of me," Kim said of having to behave in a casual and bold-faced manner toward such formidable co-stars.
Co-star Lee praised Kim, shedding light on how much effort Kim has invested into this project.
"Kim Hee Chul is working really hard," said Lee, 78, adding that Kim "is very cheerful and quick to learn".
Though Kim kept things lighthearted and fun while fielding questions regarding the age and experience gap between him and his costars, he did seem to keenly feel the pressure of starring opposite acting veterans like Lee, Byun Hee Bong and Jang Gwang.
"Acting was a given," he said when asked how he knew that nailing his character - a good-looking, wealthy son of a police director - would be a basic requirement of working with a trio of professional thespians.
So, has Kim nailed his role?
Lee said: "He is one to watch."