, the 'time machine actor' who has played characters from various points in history, will appear as a hero from ancient Balhae this time. Having starred in 'Wang Gun' (2000), 'Taeyang-in Yi Jae-ma' (2002) and 'Haeshin' - "Emperor of The Sea
" (2004) as heroes from the Joseon, Goryeo, and Shilla dynasties, he will play the founder of Balhae in his next TV series 'Dae Jo Yeong
' (first airing on September 16). Dong-A Ilbo interviewed Choi at the filming set of 'Dae Jo Yeong
' located in Suwon city, Gyeonggi.
After he accepted the role in the series, Choi read history books and novels to learn more about the story. At a time when historical pieces are getting attention due to the Chinese government's attempts to intercept Korean history, playing the role of Balhae's founder has significant meanings.
Choi said, "Dae Jo Yeong
, who overcame threats from China, was a great hero. I once again realized that we are a small but strong nation".
According to historical documents, Daejoyeong helped Goguryeo refugees flee the country after Goguryeo collapsed, later defeating the Tang army and going on to found Balhae.
"Since historical dramas are not documentaries, certain parts are different from the facts. Nevertheless, what 'Dae Jo Yeong
' wants to emphasize is the process of finding our national identity through Balhae, like America's pioneer spirit".
, who is directing the drama, said, "I hope our young viewers could discover pride for our nation through 'Dae Jo Yeong
Choi has often appeared in historical dramas, a genre that actors are known to avoid. He usually took difficult roles that required staying on horseback while wearing heavy armor. Choi mentioned that he hesitated at first when he was offered the role.
"Modern dramas are much easier to act in. But I became ambitious when I heard of dramas dealing with ancient history such as "Jumong
' and 'Yeongae Somun'".
Choi debuted in 1987 as a pretty young actor in the TV soap opera 'Love Tree', and has been acting for 20 years since. He said, "To an actor, fame is short, but acting is long".
"When I was at my prime as the star of the series 'Jealousy', the actor Han Jin-hee
gave me the following advice: A star never lives forever. It is disheartening to see young actors forgetting their identities as 'actors' while trying to be stars".
Choi is known as a perfect family man. He is often shown in the media as a loving husband and father after marrying actress Ha Hee-ra
"I don't feel comfortable about that image anymore. When friends call in the middle of the night I would love to go out and meet them but I often refuse because my established image".
At the age of 44, Choi is already a middle-aged man. Asked about the secret to this youthful looks he answered, "I never eat rice or other carbohydrates these days. Instead I eat meat, vegetables and the oatmeal and fermented soybean powder that my wife prepares for me". He added, "Instead of plastic surgery or botox, I keep in shape by exercising regularly".