[Lily's Take] Choi Bool-am's Yearns for Acting Even After 60 Years

Veteran actor Choi Bool-am is challenging himself for yet another role to push towards his never-ending dreams and to inspire the young actors in the field.


On April 6th, Choi Bool-am attended a script reading session for his upcoming play. Though he has over 60 years of experience in acting, his face still lights up with passion and anticipation as he prepares for the rehearsal. Choi Bool-am's newest play is called "When the Stars Sway After a Breeze" and he will play the role of a mysterious old man from the outer space. This will be his first play in 25 years, when he was highly praised for his acting in the play called, "A Certain Father's Death", which was a remake version of Pulitzer Prize winning 1949 play "Death of a Salesman", written by American playwright Arthur Miller.

When Choi Bool-am first saw the play "When the Stars Sway After a Breeze", he was immediately attracted to it. He said, "The concept was extraordinary. I'm a space traveler, and when I come to the planet earth, I comfort and communicate with people who've lost sight of the true value of life. The world only had success, promotion, and greed nowadays. There's no moral anymore, a society building up to be the one where someone else has to be in pain for my comfort. This play makes you reflect on how we should live. I wanted to share this idea with the audience on the stage".

Choi Bool-am is most famous for his work in various family dramas aired on TV, but he originally began acting on the stage. This veteran actor first debuted in 1959, as the youngest Hamlet in the play "Hamlet". He shared his feelings regarding his many years of experiences in the industry as he said, "It's been so long since I've worked on a play, so my body is exhausted, but I really feel alive inside. Even though I acted my whole life, it's still not enough. There's no such thing as completion or perfection in acting. It will always lack in some area even after years of studying and trying. You know, even though the field is a bit different, senior Song Hae (91) is still thriving. There's also Lee Soon-jae (83) and Shin Goo (82) who are always involved with various shows, dramas, and movies. Compared to them, I'm lazy [for being 78 years old]".

Choi Bool-am's last activity on the field was with the drama "Good Day" in 2014. He has turned down a few dramas in the last few years and there were rumors that he may be going into a retirement. Regarding this, he clarified, "It was uncomfortable. The staff were not discussing my acting anymore and treated me with too much respect and cautious as a 'veteran actor'. Since there's no communication or advice, I felt like I was not improving".

Though his face expression stiffened when talking about the isolation he felt on the drama set or the limitation he felt as an actor, he loosened a bit when the topic changed to plays again. He shared, "There's lots of things we can do in plays that we can't in dramas. Like harmonizing with the audience in flesh. There are many roles I still want to try out like the play "King Lear" by Shakespeare or "Zorba the Greek". However, it's not like I can just do it just because I want to. I won't say this will be my retiring work, but I'm almost near my end. It's hard to be flexible in both my mind and hands these days".

By. Lily Lee

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