Unlike the smooth-suited, suave character he recently played on MBC`s sleeper hit, "Pasta," off-screen Alex was low key.
Dressed casually, with a baseball cap crushed down over his head, his look would have screamed celebrity, save for the fact that he was missing a pair of shades.
In a low, husky voice, punctuated by deep and good-humored laughs, he fielded questions, leaning in every now and then to put emphasis on a particularly funny story, singing and making sounds to give his answers extra pizzazz.
Alex, in person, was every bit the performer, except if he crooned on stage and wooed female fans over with his gentle demeanor on the small screen, he was more of a comedian in real life, looking for a good laugh where he could find one.
The actor-singer-writer has come a long way from his beginnings as an assistant manager-turned-chef. For a moment, it looked like he would be spending the rest of his life working at a Japanese restaurant, happily married to his girlfriend. Then everything changed. They broke up, putting an end to his plans for wedded bliss.
So, what did he do? The Korean-Canadian packed up his bags and flew to Korea. Once there he would go on to debut as a member of the music group, CLAZZIQUAI PROJECT.
Not one to rest on his laurels, he went on to star in MBC`s hit reality show "We Got Married," test out his acting chops in a four-episode cable drama, do stints as an MC and a radio DJ before going on to belt out his vocals in a musical, pen a food essay and hold his first solo concert in Japan.
Then 2010 came around. Alex landed a role in MBC`s food romance "Pasta," where he played the charming, soft-spoken and utterly, hopelessly devoted Kim San. The series got off to a slow start but nabbed higher viewer ratings later on, ending with a bang on March 9.
Though the 30-year old had previous acting experience coming into the series, he took his thespian skills to the next level with acting classes.
"For example, if the call time was at 8, but it got pushed to 11, then I would run to my teacher and take an hour-long class and then come back and film," Alex said in an interview with The Korea Herald.
In addition to classes, Alex rehearsed his lines when he dropped by the bathroom for an occasional smoke.
"When I got the script what I had to do (was look at) where my line is and right above that, you know, (look at) what my co-star says," he explained. "The fun part about doing this is that it would be very idiotic to just memorize my lines because I need to know what the other person is going to say so that I can deliver my lines perfectly."
"So since I needed to memorize other people`s lines, I would stand in front of the mirror," he paused. "Yeah, here`s the funny part, sort of on my own, I would do Kim San and Suh Yoo-gyeong (co-star Kong Hyo-jin`s part)."
Mastering the role of Kim San, the owner of the restaurant where the girl-of-his-dreams works, was not easy for Alex. Not only did he have to practice his lines, he also had to find the right tone for his character, something that proved to be difficult in the beginning.
"I`m an NG-type of guy," he admitted.
"When I first started, yeah, I was kind of mumbling," he explained. "My voice is really, like, low, right? If I don`t talk high like this than my diction isn`t clear. So because of the low frequency of my voice, I had to speak in a higher tone. It was really awkward."
Somehow, he found the right tone, got his lines down and still found time to down some pasta. In fact, the entire staff, according to Alex, got to taste the creations of the cast of "Pasta."
"At first we didn`t eat because it (filming) was too hard. But later on we got used to it and even after filming for 10 hours, everyone did pasta and on the side, say, it was about steak, then the steak would be laid out and grilled, and when they called `cut` then the staff and everyone would gather around and we would eat steak and stuff."
"It was fun. It was really fun." Alex chuckled.
Alex revealed that, unlike his character, however, he is not a pasta Aglio e Olio-type of guy. He is more into meatball sauce. On the flipside, he thinks that he does bear some similarities to the character Kim San, "except for one thing."
"I would never be like that to a woman," he said.
When asked what he meant, he answered, "Stalking for three years for example," referring to Kim San`s devotion to his restaurant`s pasta chef, Suh Yoo-gyeong.
So then, what kind of a boyfriend is Alex?
"I`m spontaneous. I`m trying to be more spontaneous. Life is short. I got to spend it all."
By Jean Oh