By Kim Tae-jong
Fans of local movies might not know his name, but they instantly remember the comic characters he has played. That's usually how people remember actor Oh Dal-soo
Oh has played minor yet memorable roles in many films such as the owner of a private jail in "Old Boy" who detains the main character in a cell for 15 years, and a former gang boss in "Mapado" who wins the lottery but is betrayed by his lover.
He currently has two opportunities to impress moviegoers with his unique characters in two of the most anticipated films of the year, both released last Friday _ "Crying Fist" and "A Bittersweet Life".
"It's quite surprising and stressful that the two movies will open on the same day", Oh says jokingly during an interview with The Korea Times on March 30, "because I have become a sort of betrayer to both directors as they are competing in the box office".
Although the two movies are totally different in terms of their genres and stories, Oh plays villains who audiences audiences simply can't hate but rather instead find really funny
"As far as I am concerned, a villain should have an aspect that also makes people feel pity for him. If not, the acting will be a failure. Complex characters make acting come alive", the 37-year-old says.
In "Crying Fist", a story about two men who both desperately need to win a boxing tournament, Oh plays a loan shark who ruthlessly torments one of the boxers.
In "A Bittersweet Life", Oh makes audiences burst into laughter in tense scenes and serious situations as he plays a weapons smuggler, helping the director deliver his unique, morbid sense of humor.
However, Oh does not want to be stereotyped as just a gangster and a scoundrel, and plans to play different characters in his next films.
Debuting with "Bet on My Disco" in 2002, Oh started as a theater actor in Pusan in his early 20s. After quitting college, he joined a small theater company. And, while showing up in films, he has never neglected returning to the stage in Taehakro, Seoul.
"They didn't seem to have the greed for money or success. And the fact that they can also make other people happy attracted me to becoming an actor", Oh says.
But the biggest challenge he faced to becoming an actor was that he was very introverted and often stuttered. And, especially when he continued his career in Seoul, his Pusan dialect was a big hindrance, which he hasn't yet overcome completely, Oh says with a big smile on his face.
"I don't think there is a big difference between acting on stage and in front of a camera. Basically, acting is acting although many systematical differences exist between them. But most importantly, I think a great actor has to learn from his experiences and in life", he says.
He believes that he still has many things to learn as an actor even though his passion and hard work have already appealed to many renowned film directors like Park Chan-wook
, Ryu Seung-wan and Kim Jee-woon
Oh recently finished shooting his part for the upcoming film "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance", which is now in production for release in July. And he will start shooting another film with the working title "Friend and Harmonica", as one of three homeless people in September.