Korean-American actor-model Daniel Henney played a caring heart-throb doctor when he broke into the scene with Korean idol drama, My Lovely Samsoon, in 2005.
In his new US medical drama series Three Rivers, the 30-year-old plays a different kind of doctor: a womanising surgical resident who breaks the hearts of many women.
The show, which is currently airing on Sony Entertainment Television (mio TV Channel 20) every Wednesday at 10pm, tells the complex relationships among organ donors, the recipients and the surgeons.
Henney, who was born in Michigan in the United States to a Korean mother and an American father of British descent, says playing the role of Casanova Dr David Lee was not easy.
The 1.88m tall actor, who has played Agent Zero in blockbuster hit X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), tells Life! over the telephone from Los Angeles: 'I've never done a medical drama before and could not even pronounce half the words they wanted me to say.'
He started out as a model when he was 17 years old and still in college. He went to South Korea about six years ago to find and reunite with his maternal relatives and was talent scouted for the role in My Lovely Samsoon (2005). He became a household name in Korea shortly after.
On the difficulties of acting in his new show, he adds: 'I had intense classes on medical terminology and there were moments when I felt that it was too much for me but I am glad that I overcame it.'
1. You played doctors in My Lovely Samsoon and Three Rivers. In real life, which character do you think you are closer to?
My character in My Lovely Samsoon was very sweet and caring - the ideal boyfriend material, but come on, is this guy for real? As for Dr David Lee in Three Rivers, he is more fun to portray as he is humorous but sarcastic, and he gets to go on dates with many different women. Ideally, I think I am in the middle of the two of them in real life.
2. Given that other medical dramas such as Grey's Anatomy have done so well in America, did you feel pressure to perform when acting in Three Rivers?
I didn't feel any pressure. Instead, I was very excited. I did not compare our drama to other shows because I did not want to have unnecessary stress.
3. Is there any role you would like to play in the future and why?
I have been obsessed with James Bond since I was a little kid. I love the book and the movie and I want to play a spy next. It is the epitome of coolness. I love comedies as well. I actually auditioned for the movie The Hangover (2009), but I didn't get the part. I would love to act in more comedies.
4. You acted in Hollywood blockbuster hit X-Men Origins: Wolverine. What was it like?
It was great. My role was cast one week before filming started and going into it, I did not have time to prepare. It was intimid- ating at times. But my co-stars were very nice, especially Hugh Jackman. He had his claws on all the time for his role as Wolverine which made me kind of scared, but he was great. We were filming in Australia for about two months, and I also got along well with Taylor Kitsch, and we became good friends.
5. You did not know any Korean when you first went to South Korea. How did you cope with it?
When I first went there, I did not even know how to say hello in Korean. I was just like any other foreigner visiting Korea. I started learning the language in 2005 with a Korean teacher but I have stopped taking classes. Now, I just go out with friends and practise the language with them.
6. You are both a model and an actor. Which one do you prefer?
I wanted to be an actor since I was young. I used to perform for my family when I was a kid, and I was their form of entertainment. My grandfather would often make me sing for the family. I went into modelling when I was about 17 years old and I did that for the money. But acting has always been my first love.
7. What are you busy with at the moment?
I am looking at four to five scripts now but I am choosing carefully because it is important to end up in a good movie. I want to do Korean movies as well, but the language is difficult for me to act in a full dramatic film.
8. Complete this sentence. If I could live my life again, I would be...
I am pretty happy with this one right now so I don't think I want to do anything else differently. I would love to be a great singer or a rock star too. I love animals as well, so I wouldn't mind being a veterinarian.
Source: The Straits Times Digital - Print Edition (accessible for paid subscription only)