Choi Min-sik

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Choi Min-sik
Choi Min-sik.jpg
Born (1962-04-27) April 27, 1962 (age 51)
Seoul, South Korea
Occupation Actor
Years active 1989–present
Agent C-JeS Entertainment
Korean name
Hangul
Hanja
Revised Romanization Choe Min-sik
McCune–Reischauer Ch'oe Minsik

Choi Min-sik (Korean pronunciation: [tɕʰwe minɕʰik]; born April 27, 1962) is a South Korean actor. He is best known for his critically acclaimed role in Oldboy.

Together with Song Kang-ho and Sol Kyung-gu, Choi is considered both domestically and on the global scene as among the very top echelon of Korean actors in terms of presence and talent.[1]

Early life[edit]

Choi Min-sik was born on April 27, 1962 in Seoul, South Korea.[2] When he was in third grade, Choi was diagnosed with tuberculosis and told by his doctor that there was nothing that could be done for him. Refusing to give up, he has eventually restored his health through an extended stay in the mountains.[3]

Career[edit]

Graduating with a degree in Theatre from Dongguk University,[4] Choi first made a name for himself on the stage before breaking into the film world with roles in Park Jong-won's early films Kuro Arirang and the acclaimed Our Twisted Hero. In the mid-nineties he continued to act in theater productions as well as in several TV dramas, including The Moon of Seoul with Han Suk-kyu.[1]

1997 marked his return to motion pictures, with a role as a tough-talking police investigator in Song Neung-han's No. 3. After a turn in Kim Ji-woon's debut film The Quiet Family, Choi's breakthrough would come in 1999, when he was cast in the record-breaking Shiri. His portrayal of a North Korean agent garnered him much praise and a Best Actor award from the 1999 domestic Grand Bell Awards. After starring in a theater production of Hamlet in the spring of 1999, Choi took on his first lead role as a husband who discovers his wife's infidelity in Happy End, and in early 2001 starred as a third-rate gangster opposite Hong Kong actress Cecilia Cheung in the cult melodrama Failan.[1]

In 2002, Choi took on his most high-profile role yet in Im Kwon-taek's Chihwaseon ("Strokes of fire"), where he played the famous nineteenth-century Korean painter Jang Seung-up.[5] The film won a Best Director prize at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. Two years later, Choi would be back at Cannes with Oldboy, Park Chan-wook's Grand Prix-winning story of a man locked up for 15 years without knowing the reason why. Choi's impassioned and cool acting in Oldboy caused his popularity in Korea to soar, and made his name known to many overseas viewers.[6][1]

He continued displaying his versatility in 2004 and 2005, playing a trumpet player who agrees to teach a school music class in Springtime, a down-and-out former boxer who struggles to put his life back together in Ryoo Seung-wan's Crying Fist, and a child murderer in Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, the last film in Park Chan-wook's revenge trilogy.[1]

In 2005 he and Song Kang-ho were accused by director and Cinema Service head Kang Woo-suk of upping guarantees for high-profile actors, though Kang later rescinded the statement and apologized.[7][8][9][10]

At various points during 2006, Choi (and other Korean film industry professionals, together and separately from Choi) demonstrated in Seoul[11][12] and at the Cannes Film Festival against the South Korean administration's decision to reduce the Screen Quotas from 146 to 73 days as part of the Free Trade Agreement with the US.[13][14][15] As a sign of protest, Choi returned the prestigious Okgwan Order of Cultural Merit which had been awarded to him, saying, "To halve the screen quota is tantamount to a death sentence for Korean film. This medal, once a symbol of pride, is now nothing more than a sign of disgrace, and it is with a heavy heart that I must return it."[16]

In the next four years, Choi went on a self-imposed exile from making films,[17][18] begun in protest over the screen quota but also partly due to the studios' reluctance to hire the outspoken and politically active actor. Instead he returned to his theater roots in the 2007 staging of The Pillowman, his first play in seven years.[19][20]

During the retrospective on Choi held at the 14th Lyon Asian Film Festival in November 2008,[21][22] the actor was asked his reaction to the upcoming remake of Oldboy, and he admitted to the French reporters present that he was upset at Hollywood for using what he described as low-style pressure tactics on Asian and European filmmakers so they could remake foreign movies in the United States.[citation needed]

Feeling a renewed passion for acting, Choi made his comeback in Jeon Soo-il's 2009 art film Himalaya, Where the Wind Dwells, in which he was the only Korean actor working with locally cast Tibetan actors.[23][24]

Though Kim Ji-woon's 2010 thriller I Saw the Devil drew criticism from some quarters for its ultra-violent content, reviewers agreed that Choi's performance as a serial killer was memorable.[25][26]

He did voice acting for Leafie, A Hen into the Wild, which in 2011 became the highest grossing Korean animated film in history.[27] In his 2012 follow-up Nameless Gangster, Choi essayed another complex, layered antihero, and the Yoon Jong-bin film was both a critical and box office hit.[28][29][30]

Choi's next film was Park Hoon-jung's New World, a 2013 noir about an undercover cop in the world of gangsters, which also became successful critically and commercially.[31][32] Choi plays Yi Sun-sin in the upcoming period epic Battle of Myeongryang, about the titular battle regarded as one of the admiral's most remarkable naval victories.[33]

For his English-language debut, in 2014 Choi appeared in Luc Besson's Lucy, which starred Scarlett Johansson as a drug mule who inadvertently acquires superhuman powers.[34][35]

Filmography[edit]

Choi Min-sik at New York Asian Film Festival, on June 30, 2012

Television[edit]

  • Love and Separation (MBC, 1997)
  • Miss and Mister (SBS, 1997)
  • Dad Is the Boss (SBS, 1996)
  • Their Embrace (MBC, 1996)
  • The Fourth Republic (MBC, 1995)
  • Till We Meet Again (SBS, 1995)
  • The Last Lover (MBC, 1994)
  • The Moon of Seoul (MBC, 1994)
  • Ilwol (KBS, 1993)
  • The Burning River (MBC, 1993)
  • Sons and Daughters (MBC, 1992)
  • The Beloved (KBS1, 1992)
  • Years of Ambition (KBS2, 1990)

Theater[edit]

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Paquet, Darcy. "Actors and Actresses of Korean Cinema: Choi Min-shik". Koreanfilm.org. Retrieved 2012-06-23. 
  2. ^ Jobling, Alison (30 April 2005). "Choi Min Sik - Korean Chameleon". YesAsia. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  3. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (30 January 2012). "Actor Choi Min-sik reveals that he nearly died in grade three.". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  4. ^ Kim, Sang-yoo (4 November 2010). "Dongguk Conquers Movie Screens and TV shows". Dongguk University News Clipping. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  5. ^ "Interview with Main Actor, Choi Min-sik". Kino International. Retrieved 2012-06-23. 
  6. ^ "The Break-Up Artist". The Chosun Ilbo. 9 November 2003. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  7. ^ Chun Su-jin, Park Jeong-ho (30 June 2005). "Director says actors are getting greedy". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  8. ^ "Stars Miffed by Money-Grubbing Slur". The Chosun Ilbo. 29 June 2005. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  9. ^ "Kang Woo-suk Apologizes to Song Kang-ho and Choi Min-shik". KBS Global. 30 June 2005. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  10. ^ "Choi Min-shik, Song Kang-ho Accept Kang Woo-suk's Apology". KBS Global. 1 July 2005. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  11. ^ "Korean Screen Quota Reduced From July". Twitch Film. 6 January 2006. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  12. ^ "Scores of Stars Mobilize to Fight Against Quota Cuts". The Chosun Ilbo. 8 February 2006. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  13. ^ Gowman, Philip (15 May 2006). "Choi Min-sik to stage screen-quota protest at Cannes". The Korea Times via London Korean Links. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  14. ^ Bertolin, Paolo (23 May 2006). "Koreans, French Fight Hollywood Domination". The Korea Times via Soompi. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  15. ^ Yi, Chang-ho (30 May 2006). "Cannes Backs Anti-screen Quota Cut Protests". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  16. ^ "Old Boy Returns Medal in Screen Quota Protest". The Chosun Ilbo. 7 February 2006. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  17. ^ "Choi Min-sik: Mr. Vengeance". Subway Cinema. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  18. ^ "NYAFF 2012 Exclusive Interview: Choi Min-sik". The Diva Review. 2 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  19. ^ "Choi Min-sik to Act in Theater Play". KBS Global. 22 March 2005. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  20. ^ Choi, Min-woo (20 February 2007). "Film star back on stage for The Pillowman". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  21. ^ Han, Sang-hee (22 October 2008). "Film Fests Offer Retrospective, Award to Korean Movie Stars". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  22. ^ Yi, Chang-ho (24 October 2008). "CHOI Min-sik retrospective at Lyon fest". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  23. ^ "Choi Min-sik Rediscovers His Passion for Acting". The Chosun Ilbo. 7 October 2008. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  24. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (31 May 2009). "Choi Min-sik Escapes Oncreen to Himalaya". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  25. ^ Seo, So-ya (20 August 2010). "A shocking look at the corrosive power of evil". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  26. ^ Sung, So-young (27 August 2010). "Violent films raise alarms". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  27. ^ "Leafie wins APSA Best Animated Feature". Korean Film Biz Zone. 25 November 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  28. ^ Lee, Claire (1 February 2012). "Choi Min-sik returns as layered villain". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  29. ^ Lee, Ga-on (14 February 2012). "INTERVIEW: Actor Choi Min-shik - Part 1". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  30. ^ Lee, Ga-on (14 February 2012). "INTERVIEW: Actor Choi Min-shik - Part 2". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  31. ^ Kubas-Meyer, Alec (5 July 2012). "Choi Min-sik's next film is like The Departed, he's a cop". Flixist. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  32. ^ Lee, Rachel (21 January 2013). "3 actors to show off talent in Sinsegae". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-01-23. 
  33. ^ Conran, Pierce (1 August 2013). "CHOI Min-sik Wraps Naval War Epic BATTLE OF MYEONGRYANG". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2013-08-06. 
  34. ^ Tae, Sang-joon (5 September 2013). "CHOI Min-sik Will Star in Luc Besson's LUCY". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2013-09-07. 
  35. ^ Park, Si-soo (6 April 2014). "Korean stars grace Hollywood movies". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 

External links[edit]