By Kim Tae-jong
The nation's heartthrob Daniel Henney
has played perfect Prince Charming roles in his work such as the wildly popular television drama "My Lovely Samsoon" ("My Name is Kim Sam-soon
") and last year's romantic comedy "Seducing Mr. Perfect
Now he is gearing up for a more serious role in the new film, "My Father"
. In the new film, he plays a Korean-American adoptee, who later returns to his home country in the hope of finding his biological parents.
With this challenging role, he seems to be confident as he has much in common with his character. He comes from a multinational background with a British-American father and Korean-American mother, who was herself a Korean-American adoptee.
"My mother was an adopted child. It's something that's been around my whole life since I was very young. Her whole family was adopted. And I've also been involved with some adopted children and some of the children in Korea regarding that matter", the Korean-American actor said during a news conference last Thursday at a studio of Arirang TV in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul.
To understand and create his character, he talked to his mother on the phone to know what she went through growing up, what she might have thought at certain times, he said.
Directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk
, the film revolves around James Parker (Henney), who is adopted into an American family at age five. When he grows up, he joins the U.S. army stationed in Seoul to meet his birth parents. But he finds out that his father is on death row after killing two people.
Despite his efforts to take on a new role, however, his character may be still seen as just a handsome man from the States and his fans may find it irritating reading Korean subtitles as his character speaks English.
But he said he has never confined himself to certain roles due to his multicultural background or lack of ability in speaking Korean, and he is now ready to take on any role if he likes the film.
"Obviously language is an issue … (but) at this point, I wouldn't turn down a Korean role. I feel it's a doable for me now. I think I can handle more Korean. I just don't want to embarrass myself and anyone. That is a major issue", he said.
His confidence in Korean may be tested in the film as he will speak Korean in many scenes. During the conference, he understood the questions in Korean without the help of a translator although he answered them in English.
"The story takes place over two years. So in the beginning, of course, his Korean is at beginner's level like I was. Gradually over the course of the movie, he gets quite better", he said.
But the improvement in Korean seems to be a hindrance in the film as he thought it was hard to pretend that he was clumsy in Korean in the beginning of the film.
"The problem for me is that I spent the last two years, personally in my life, trying to learn Korean and lose my accent. Because of the director, we really had to try to speak in the American type of way of beginners", the 27-year-old actor said.
The scene that the actor filmed on Thursday involved him appearing on a television program with other adoptees holding placards with their birth date and Korean names on them to find their birth parents. Henney's line was "I miss you, dad and mom", in clumsy Korean.
has completed about 80 percent of its production and is slated for release in the fall.