With the K-Pop and K-drama phenomenon taking over not only Asia but the entire world, Korean pop stars and actors have become worldwide phenomenon. What makes Korean Drama so hot is a distinct flair for catchy, danceable beats and a rare mix of comedy and drama movies and television shows with in-depth characterizations and story arcs. What makes Korean actors so irresistible is the uncommon combination of genuine acting ability, heart-wrenching emoting and devastating good looks.
Joo Won One of Korea’s Hottest Actors
Among Korea’s hottest actors today, one rising star sets himself apart from the pack through a seemingly tireless pursuit of perfection. With the perfect blend of boyish charm and manly masculinity, Moon Joo Won is South Korea’s fastest rising star of this generation. He holds the unique distinction of being able to claim a runaway ratings hit from every drama he’s starred in and an uncanny ability to pick diverse roles that require absolute acting skill. Whether he plays a villain, the third in a romantic triangle or the heroic or romantic lead, he is able to make audiences just simply like him. Actors who appear with him on sets come away friends, impressed by his sheer like-ability.
Joo Won Started in Musical Theater
Having started his career in musical theater, his singing ability was never in question—and he often sings the sound tracks to his dramas. His strong theater acting chops led him to his first debut as a TV actor in 2010′s Bread, Love, and Dreams. Though he played a villain, he gave his character deep emotional depth, gaining the viewer’s sympathy for the antagonist role. The TV show went on to become South Korea’s national drama, and along with the show’s popularity and fame, so did Joo Won’s entry to the industry that has embraced him wholeheartedly for the last three years.
Watch Joo Won sing the main song for Bridal Mask live on stage at the KBS Drama Awards 2012:
After the show wrapped up, he immediately worked on a series of TV dramas. For the last three years, Joo Won has taken on roles from three different TV shows. After Bread, Love, and Dreams, he went on to play a detective in the family drama Ojakgyo Family, in a tear-filled romantic role that stole the hearts of fans. In this role he appeared vulnerable, real, loveable, a little noble and altogether cute with dimples that are simply irresistible. His charm was also apparent in Baker King, where he played a “supporting” role that threatened to steal the spotlight from the lead. Fans clamoured for more, and many were cheering for Joo Won over the protagonist character.
Joo Won as Action Hero
Perhaps to show he shouldn’t be typecast as the cute romantic lead, he shocked everyone with his ability to carry off the action-hero as Gaksital/Lee Kang-to in Bridal Mask. It was his role as Gaksital that sent him rising to the top as being the Prince of Ratings. Set in 1930′s Seoul, viewers and fans loved him as the masked man who fought injustice during the Japanese occupation. Action-packed, dramatic, and romantic, the show catapulted Joo Won as the ultimate leading man and action hero.
Not satisfied with action hero, Joo Won showed he could play comedic romantic lead as a secret spy in his next TV show, 7th Grade Civil Servant, about a couple of NIS agents who must keep their identities hidden from each other. His sense of comedic timing, and famous facial expressions—no one does the sneer, pout, grumble, happy face, or tragic face better than Joo Won—made him the hit of the show, even if the drama wasn’t quite up to the popularity of Bridal Mask. He also proved his mettle as the consummate professional, carrying on with action martial arts filming even with torn ligaments in his leg, and managing to appear on the variety show 1 Night, 2 Days each week during the filming of Birdal Mask.
Joo Won Plays Autistic Savant
His upcoming project is called Good Doctor, where fans will get to see him play a genius pediatric surgeon who is also an autistic savant. No doubt he chose this role, again to challenge his limits as an actor—limits he hasn’t come close to reaching. From the trailers, it seems he nailed the character with sensitivity. It would be easy to create a caricature out of this role without the sensitivity that Joo Won is famous for. It is also a role that required guts, since actors are only as good as their last drama, and Good Doctor will be a singularly challenging role.
Watch the teaser for Good Doctor and you’ll see those famous Joo Won eyes, eyes that emote more than words could, and an incredible ability to act nearly any role:
Emotional intensity is one of the reasons Joo Won has dominated drama ratings in diverse dramas—and a reason why fans seem to love him in every single role. Probably the most versatile actor in South Korea today, he has also sung the original sound track (OST) for Bridal Mask and Bread, Love and Dreams. More than just a triple threat, Joo Won has proven himself to show his great ability to play a variety of different characters. His Bridal Mask producer and agency only has praises for Joo Won, calling him this generation’s most outstanding star with a determination, sincerity, and honesty that is rare to find in the industry.
Busiest Actor in Korea
With a hectic schedule of filming a television show, he is also currently filming a movie with the working title, Only You, while appearing weekly on the variety program 1 Night 2 Days. The show is less acting and more fun/personality, and the real Joo Won shines, showing him to be as friendly, caring, fun and likeable as he appears in his dramas. He’s always quick with a hug for his bros on the show, ready to laugh at his failures, and never appears tired despite his 7 day-a-week schedule.
Since his debut in 2010, Joo Won has not had any breaks from work. The workaholic has admitted to being physically tired but has said that it is because of his hard work that he has achieved so much in such a short time, saying that everything is worth it. He keeps up with the demands of his career by exercising and eating well.
Certainly, there is no stopping Joo Won from becoming South Korea’s biggest star in the near future. He has unique, dreamy good looks—complete with killer dimples—can play both the villain and protagonist. He can play both the charming and sweet boyfriend, and a sexy, masculine vigilante. He can play the savant genius. The comic clown. The tear-jerker lead. He makes his audiences feel sad, happy, angry, thrilled. And he can sing with the best. With a staggering repertoire of unlimited talent and the looks to back it all up, Joo Won is set to light the K-pop and K-drama world on fire. Best of all, he has the talent and versatility to stay the lead for the long term. He’s not a trendy cutie, here today, gone tomorrow. No doubt Joo Won will dominate the ratings for a long time. He has what it takes to be a genuine Korean superstar.