[Exclusive] Shin Sung Rok Naturally Shines in “Master in the House”

Shin Sung Rok has been confirmed to join SBS’s variety show ‘Master in the House’ as a permanent member. The hit reality series delivers punchy one-liners and hilarious moments for its cast members who live with a reputable persona from the heights of South Korean showbiz, called “Masters”.

Shin Sung Rok branches out as a talented musical actor to flashing his comedic chops as he enhances the show with his laughable quirks. Having a myriad of talents, he is best known for his role in My Love from the Star, Trot Lovers, Liar Game, and The King’s Face. Shin has continued to wow critics with his acting performances and vocal chops which even draws fans from outside Korea to his shows.

We had a chance to talk to this talented actor on what made him join the series, and how he transitioned further into comedy and more. Read on below.

Master in the House is your first variety show. What was your reaction when you were approached to take on the show?

Shin Sung Rok : I have lots of great memories from when I was a guest on Master in the House. I first remembered filming with the members and thought I could really get along with them.

Why did you decide to take up the show? Were you hesitant or worried about revealing yourself too much in the show? What were some of your concerns?

Shin Sung Rok : I don’t have any experience being on variety shows, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to show people what Shin Sung Rok is like when he is not acting. So I happily decided to take part.

It wasn’t like I was completely worry-free about how I’d be depicted on a variety show. But if I was going to do it anyway, I decided the best thing would be to just let go and show myself in my natural state. Not the structured way I look when I’m acting, but just the way I normally am. I figured the viewers would enjoy seeing that side of me, and that’s why I decided to take part.

Have you watched all the previous episodes of the show? Which master was the most memorable to you?

Shin Sung Rok : I was constantly working on new projects, so I didn’t have time to watch the show. But from what I watched, I remember what all the guests said. The unique thing about this program is that it takes a look at the life story of one person and allows you to reflect on your own life through their story. Even when I wasn’t a part of the show, I felt that this aspect was what made this show entertaining and worth watching.

In the first episode, we see that you are already adapting very well. Are you very fun and comical off-screen, which is why you adapt so well?

Shin Sung Rok : I normally like funny and cheerful things, and I enjoy socializing with others. The members treated me like their brother, which made it easy for me to adapt to the show. It’s all thanks to the other members helping me out that I was able to be my natural self on camera.

What is your type of humor, do you need to work extra hard to make people laugh?

Shin Sung Rok : I don’t really try to be funny. When you just hang out with people you’re close with, you naturally get into humorous situations, right? Except for when you’re having a serious talk. So when I shoot Master in the House, I just act like I normally do with people I’m close with, and that’s what makes the shoot fun. Rather than sticking to a concept or script, we just let things flow naturally, and that creates authentic funny situations.

What would you say is your role in the program?

Shin Sung Rok : But since we don’t have a script and everything is freestyle, I don’t think I’ve thought about what my specific role on the show is yet. As I keep chatting with the instructors and the members, I feel that my role will just come to me. I don’t feel like I need to be a specific character on the show.

For the other 4 cast members, have you worked with them before? What was your first impression of them and has it changed once you started filming with them? How have they helped you?

Shin Sung Rok : I’ve worked on 2 dramas with Lee Sang-yun. And I worked on “Vagabond” with Lee Seung-gi. As for Yang Se-hyung and Yook Sung-jae, I met them for the first time through the show, and they’re all great. I had a really good first impression.

I’ve known Seung-gi and Sang-yun for so long that I don’t remember what their first impressions were like. Se-hyung seems like he’d always be hyped up, but he can actually be mellow and very considerate. Sung-jae is the youngest, but he’s always earnest and prudent, and he leads by example. His mindset is that he’ll always work really hard. I felt like he was someone I could learn a lot from.

If you were a master yourself and could teach others 1 thing, what would you consider as your biggest strength? Who would you want to teach the most?

Shin Sung Rok : I don’t know… I don’t think I’m good enough to be a guest yet.

You have left a deep impression with viewers with mostly villain roles. Do you see this variety show as a chance to change the audience’s impression of you?

Shin Sung Rok : Most people probably remember me as the antagonist, but I’ve played many more roles, not just the bad guy. I think it’s only because my antagonist characters were more memorable. I feel like I can shed that image through this variety show. I believe that if I just show my natural self, it will help people see more than just the bad guy and the strong, cruel image that they’re used to.

Were you stressed or did you have to prepare anything before featuring on the programme?

Shin Sung Rok : I haven’t thought that I need to do a certain thing or act a certain way on the show yet. I just thought I should act in a way that makes others comfortable and be my usual self. So I try to do my best and be as natural as I can. I think that’s what made this project completely stress-free.

We are seeing more and more actors crossing into variety. As an actor, why do you think there is this trend?

Shin Sung Rok : I don’t know. I don’t know how other people would think, but I’m just someone who’s done nothing but acting for 15 years. I don’t think I’ve shown people anything other than my acting. I decided to join the show because I thought it’d be good to show others a different side of me.

I think this is why many actors appear on variety shows. It allows them to be more than just the character in a movie or a drama, and it brings down the wall between them and their fans and viewers.

For now, you have completed Cheerleading and different Olympics sports as part of the mission, which part did you find more challenging?

Shin Sung Rok : All of the missions were difficult for me. I worked really hard till the late hours of the night for the sports dance when I was guested for the first time. Learning the moves for the cheer leading was really difficult too. The same for the Olympic events. In regards to an untold story, when I guested for the first time, I wasn’t accustomed to variety shows, so I didn’t pace myself very well. I expended all my energy too much and ended up with a severe flu after the shoot. Perhaps that’s why, but I feel like the sports dance I did when I first guested was physically the most demanding.

Do you feel that audiences nowadays enjoy watching actors in variety? What do you think audiences hope to see from actors in variety shows?

Shin Sung Rok : I think it’s great. As I mentioned earlier, instead of being stuck in the character you’re given, you’re able to show more of your natural self, which helps viewers get answers for things they were curious about and allows us to get closer with them.

In dramas and movies, I have to always be charismatic, but on variety shows, I can be my natural self, so I think the viewers will really appreciate that.

Actors often have an image burden. How easy or difficult do you think it is to overcome this when doing variety?

Shin Sung Rok : If you’re worried about your reputation as an actor and you want to continue portraying yourself as an actor on variety shows, then you shouldn’t be on them. Of course, variety shows aren’t all about making laughs, but I believe we need to show our funny and natural sides to a certain degree. If I can’t do a good job on the show because of a certain character that I play, then I believe I’m causing harm to the show.

That is why I’ve just let it all go and trying be as natural as possible. I believe that viewers will see the variety show simply as that, so if I just act natural, they will enjoy it.

Is there any other kind of variety/reality show you would like to do next?

Shin Sung Rok : I can’t just pinpoint one type of variety show, but I think it’d be a variety show that allows me to show my natural self. I think it’s more fun for me to be a part of variety shows where being natural is more enjoyable and not forced.

Can you share with us your plans and goals to achieve for 2020?

Shin Sung Rok : I want to focus more on Master in the House, since I’m the newest member of the show. I want to give it my all with no regrets so that the viewers will enjoy it even more and the show will be more interesting. I’m also starring in an SBS drama called Penthouse, so I’ll do my best to make that a successful project that’s loved by the viewers. I also have to finish off my musical on a high note. There’s a lot to do. I’ll be working on a variety of fields this year, so I hope you’ll take interest and give me lots of support.

That’s the end of our interview, and special thanks to ONE HD for this opportunity. Master in the House airs on ONE HD (Astro Ch 393), on Saturdays at 5.55 P.M.

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