A young boy with pure-looking face that in opposite of his cynical gaze. Doh Kyungsoo is a young man with a strange charm that shined naturally.
Doh Kyungsoo who debuted in 2012 with the group 'EXO' is an idol in his peak of popularity who has it all- visual, vocal ability, and dance skill. After two years of debuting as an idol, he tried a new field as an actor. Two years after that, he has become a leading actor that is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with actors such as Song Kangho and Ha Jungwoo. Film distributors are coming out with big-scale movies that is expected to do well in the peak season of the year-end. Last year, the season has Showbox 'Drug King' with Song Kangho as lead and CJ Entertainment's PMC : The Bunker that stars Ha Jungwoo as lead. Meanwhile NEW is bringing 'Swing Kids' which production cost took 153 million won, the film tell a story about prisoner of war in Geoje Island who fall in love with tap dancing. And in tha film, Doh Kyungsoo took the chance as its leading man.
Different from movies who usually took on widely known actors, why does 'Swing Kids' pick an idol-actors as its lead? an old-saying stated that it's hard for an idol to succeed in the acting world. Those who survived in the acting world could then easily gained awards and surpassed criticism but ironically, the 'acting-dol' tail would always come back and be strapped on their ankles. 'Acting-dol' are considered to get easy opportunities from many places so they'd receive harsh judgement thus making them took a longer time to be recognized as an actor. However recently there are those who has surpassed that stigma and one of them is EXO's D.O. or Doh Kyungsoo.
"There are people asking me whether I feel the gap between D.O. the singer and Doh Kyungsoo the actor. But to me I don't feel biased towards any side. Whether it.s D.O. or Doh Kyungsoo, all of them is one figure and my entire being."
(filmography is omitted)
In 'Swing Kids' he has proven his acting skill and also his ability to play as a lead role. He starred as 'Roh Kisoo' a troublemaker north korean soldier inside the war prison that is charmed with tap dancing after seeing a broadway-based US Soldier named Jackson. The movie draw a story about overcoming conflicting ideology, scars brought from a war, and racial discrimination.
"There is a musical named 'Swing Kids' in real life but I don't know the story of it. On the first meeting, the Director said "I'm making a movie that will make your heart beats", I received the scenario on our second meeting and my heart did just that. I like this movie to that extent. Although I was feeling burdened on being a lead role in a big scale movie, the thought of enjoyment in doing it came first."
The characters in 'Swing Kids' came to made a dance team with its individuals each having different reasons. One joined because he want to go back to his family, one joined to find a wife that has been lost, and another one joined to feed her younger siblings after shhe lost his parents. It is through all these reasons they gathered and become one in a dance team.
"I liked seeing how these youth who had passion for dancing, is living in reality that doesn't support them. I want to try a character that I can do in my age but the heart of these youth touched me. Roh Kisoo as a figure of a dance leader inside a POW camp is like a dream that defies reality. Through Roh Kisoo I want to convey a message to the people in different field of job aside of what they dreams.”
Between EXO D.O. and Doh Kyungsoo
Doh Kyungsoo showed excellent tap dancing skills inside the movie where characters from different nationalities, genders, and ideologies becoming one through tap dancing. According to fellow actor Oh Jungse who also appeared in the movie, Doh Kyungsoo is not lazy in practicing despite his busy schedule and would always show improvement in his skills every time they met.
“Honestly since I’m a person who dances I thought I would be able to do this well but it doesn’t turned out to be like that. At first my body really become stiff. When we’re dancing we should be producing five sounds but it’s only three or four sounds that came out. Jared Grimes who is a real tap dancer from Broadway helped us showed us the main points. That’s how I think that tap dancing is like learning a musical instrument. In other kind of dances, you danced following to the sound of music but in tap dancing you’re making the sound on your own. Just like that, I fell for tap dancing’s charm and when I’m laying in my bed I couldn’t sleep thinking about the rhythm or the dance routine. It reminded me of the heart-fluttering moment I had while preparing for my debut”
Doh Kyungsoo who practiced tap dancing in the midst of EXO concert rehearsal currently is still tap dancing when his feet touched the ground. He spoke of his desire to show it someday during a solo performance in the concert. He who is falling for tap dancing picked Kisoo and Panrae tap dancing scene to modern love as the film’s most impressive scene.
“I really liked the scene where we danced to the song ‘modern love’. It is a scene that showed a great passion for dancing through Kisoo and Panrae dancing to their heart contents while running inside the POW camp. Kisoo who is hiding his heart who wanted to learn tap dancing is pouring his heart out in this scene and that felt refreshing and relieving. And although the movie deal with differences in ideology but I want to paint Kisoo as a young man who loves to dance. I acted as him by emphasising his desire of wanting to do what he wanted despite the oppressive situation.”
Just like its title, Doh Kyungsoo fly in ‘Swing Kids’. He was a young man that is filled with great passion for dancing who also shed some tears while betraying his fellow prisoners with whom he endured the prison life together. He didn’t assault nor attack the enemy but in order to protect his brother, he was ordered to kill an American military general. He portrayed all the scenes so naturally that his existence as an actor is established clearly. At the center of it all is his deep eyes. Dir. Kang of ‘Swing Kids’ revealed “I like Doh Kyungsoo’s eyes that carry the appearance of a teenage boy and a young man, that’s why when I think he’s fit for Roh Kisoo as soon as I saw him”
“As an actor I do heard a lot of praises about my eyes but every time I hear it I got shy. Dir. Kang once said this ‘Why do you keep acting with your eyes? Don’t waste it for now and do it later’. He said this because he wanted an explosion for the film’s climax scene which is the christmas concert. I was told that my eyes have a charm of its own but honestly I don’t know how my eyes could do that. I do put utmost effort in meeting my acting opponent’s eyes when we’re talking our acting. You asked with whom my eyes are similar with? It look similar to my father’s”
It is clear to see that to Doh Kyungsoo, this project has become one that pointed him as an actor. He has established his place through his strength as a lead role. He also gained confidence through continuously taking on challenge by appearing as a character that showed his side that is never seen before.
“When I first started acting I get really nervous being at the filming set. When filming ‘It’s Okay It’s Love’ which is my first project, i was so nervous being in front of Jo Insung senior that I forgot my lines. The same thing also happened when I’m acting in front of Yeom Jungah senior in ‘Cart’. But I think I grow to be more comfortable at the filming set right now. I also think my posture as an actor changed as I’m being paired with senior actors. I think it’s also why Jo Insung senior said that ‘now you should treat me to food’ after watching this film. It is such a great praise. I wanted to buy Jo Insung or Lee Kwangsoo hyung food every time I met them but these hyung would always treat me instead. Also, EXO members have busy schedule so they never gathered together but all of them attended the VIP premiere. After they watched the movie they said that they’re proud of me in the group chatting. My parents also watched to movie and they cry because they were so happy. In the future I want to be a good little brother, coworker, and son.”
Since he debuted in EXO seven years ago, he never took vacation for once. It is because when he’s not promoting album he would working as an actor, and when he took break from acting project he would be appearing as EXO. But even though he was in a hellish schedule that left him without rest, Doh Kyungsoo is happy.
“Because this is a work that I choose to do, I don’t receive stress about it. As I gained more experience I realised how to control the rapid pace of my work and find the happiness within. It is a pity that I cannot concentrate 100% on being a singer or an actor but as a singer in the stage I received enormous energy from the audience. Recently I watched ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and thanks to it I cannot hold back my desire to stand up on the stage. When I finished a performance, the excitement is very exhilarating. And when I got on acting, I like the refreshing feeling of being able to show emotions I didn’t know before. In ‘It’s Okay It’s Love’ there’s this scene where I part with Jo insung hyung, he was crying while watching it and I cried too unknowingly. Actually I’m the type that doesn’t shed tears so I didn’t know this feeling of being tearful. Just like that, I’m happy to discover emotions that are tied up inside me being pulled off one by one.”
Currently Healing Through Cooking
This January, he brightly revealed that he gained a 6-days vacation but he said he haven’t decided on the things he’ll be doing. He seemed to be feeling fluttery just by hearing the word vacation.
“What do you think I should do to make the vacation feel worthwhile? Honestly I think I could be happy just by laying in my bed. Firstly I want to lay on my bed doing nothing while listening to music. I also want to do some cooking. I find cooking to be a hobby that I enjoy. If I wasn’t a singer or an actor I think I’d dream to become a chef. Because I have a big interest in cooking Dir. Kang gave me a knife as a present. At the filming set we also talked about restaurants that are near the filming location. What kind of dish I think about today? It’s octopus soup. It’s a soup with beef ribs and octopus inside it and there’s this one restaurants in sinsa-dong that served really good octopus stew. My stomach felt so full after eating the warm soup that has various kinds of seafood inside it.
Doh Kyungsoo would cook a menu that he excites him. Back in 2016 he showed how he made rice, soybean stew, and all kind of pancake in V App show ‘D.O. Teacher’s Homemade Food’. He followed a recipe of his home and after the show is broadcasted, the soybean paste that he used in the show is sold out online.
“I made grilled fish, stew, and fried rice for my members and their response is quite good. I began to have interest in cooking after watching Netflix’s ‘Chef Table’ and I also enjoy watching the variety ‘National Chef Team’ where they visited michelin star restaurant. I have a lot of curiosity in seeing how one ingredient would taste when being paired with other ingredient so I did a few practices. I like making my own recipe. I want to receive a cooking-related license someday and also appearing at a cooking variety show. I never missed any episode of JTBC ‘Please Take Care Of My Refrigerator’, I received an offer to be in that show but since I don’t have my own refrigerator I cannot appear in it. I will make an appearance in that show someday.”
For Doh Kyungsoo, ’Challenge’ would be a word that is repeated over and over again. From singing and acting, everything about it is a challenge to him. He also found happiness in challenging something that his peers couldn’t do. Just like how he gained a new challenge through tap dancing in ‘Swing Kids’, Doh Kyungsoo is painting an image of him as a person. A youth that developed through challenges, that is Doh Kyungsoo.
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