Gang Dong-won

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Gang Dong-won
Kang Dong-won in Feb 2016.jpg
Gang Dong-won in February 2016
Born (1981-01-18) January 18, 1981 (age 40)
NationalitySouth Korean
Other namesKang Dong-won
Alma materHanyang University (Mechanical Engineering)
Years active2000-present
AgentYG Entertainment
Korean name
Revised RomanizationGang Dong-won
McCune–ReischauerKang Tong-wǒn

Gang Dong-won (born January 18, 1981) is an award-winning South Korean actor, and also a chungmuro actor.

Early life[edit]

Gang Dong-won was born January 18, 1981 in Busan, and grew up in Changwon of Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea. He is 186 cm tall. His father, Gang Cheol-woo, was an engineer and later vice president of SPP Heavy Industries.[1] Gang's family suffered economic hardship at times and Gang had to work part-time in college to pay for his tuition.[2][3] Academically gifted with an IQ of 137, Gang graduated from Hanyang University at Ansan with a degree in mechanical engineering.[4]


2000–2004: Beginnings[edit]

In 2000, when Gang was a first year university student, he was spotted on the street by a modeling agent. Thus began his modeling career, and he appeared on the catwalk for prêt-à-porter collections in Paris such as DKNY, Gucci and Hugo Boss, as well as for the local Seoul Fashion Artists Association (SFAA).[5]

After being cast in the music video for Jo Sung-mo's "I Swear," Gang began taking acting classes, leading to a change in career.[6] He made his acting debut on television in 2003, playing a doctor with a regional dialect in Country Princess (also known as Funny Wild Girl), and a chaebol's son in Something About 1%.[5][7] In 2004 he shot his first movie, the romantic comedy Too Beautiful to Lie, which was moderately successful.

2005–2010: Career breakthrough and mainstream success[edit]

Gang's first real breakthrough was in Temptation of Wolves, the film adaptation of Guiyeoni's teen internet novel.[8] Gang's popularity subsequently rose, extending to other Asian countries, especially Japan. He then briefly returned to television as an antihero in Magic, though it received low ratings.[5][7]

Gang's next roles were an inmate on death row in Maundy Thursday,[9] and the antagonist in Voice of a Murderer.[10] His two collaborations with auteur Lee Myung-se in Duelist and M further cemented Gang's status as one of the top young actors in Korean cinema,[6][11][12] earning him critical recognition for his stylish flair and diverse choice of roles.[5]

Gang said that he decided to play the mischievous titular character in the action fantasy Jeon Woo-chi: The Taoist Wizard because "he wanted to work on a fun movie, as he was emotionally drained while formerly having worked on several serious films.[13] The Choi Dong-hoon film turned into a holiday blockbuster, selling over 6 million tickets over the winter season despite opening in theaters only a week after the release of Avatar in Korea.[14][15] In 2010, he was cast opposite veteran actor Song Kang-ho in Jang Hoon's spy film Secret Reunion.[16] It became one of the biggest Korean box office hits of 2010, with over 5 million tickets sold. He then joined the Busan-centered omnibus Camellia, starring in Jang Joon-hwan's short film Love For Sale.[17] Gang's last project before enlistment was the psychic thriller Haunters.[18][19]

2010–2012: Military service[edit]

Gang enlisted for his mandatory military service on November 18, 2010 for four weeks of basic training at the Nonsan military camp in South Chungcheong Province.[20] This was followed by non-active duty as a public service worker at Seoul City Research Institute of Public Health and Environment. He was discharged on November 12, 2012.[21] On the day of his release, his agency uploaded a three minutes YouTube clip of him in various locations throughout the city, titled "Gang Dong-won in a Day."[22]

2013–present: Return to acting and Hollywood debut[edit]

In 2013, Gang appeared in The X, a 30-minute spy thriller directed by Kim Jee-woon.[23]

In 2014, Gang returned to the big screen in Yoon Jong-bin's period action film Kundo: Age of the Rampant, playing an illegitimate nobleman's son who attempts to destroy a group of Robin Hood-like outlaws in 19th century Joseon Dynasty.[24][25] He next starred in My Brilliant Life, E J-yong's film adaptation of Kim Aeran's bestselling novel My Palpitating Life about a couple who must watch their son suffering from progeria grow prematurely old.[26][27][28]

In 2015, Gang reunited with Jeon Woo-chi co-star Kim Yoon-seok in Jang Jae-hyun's mystery thriller The Priests.[29]

In 2016, Gang played a young con artist in the crime film A Violent Prosecutor directed by Lee Il-hyung,[30] which became the second highest grossing Korean film of 2016.[31] He also starred in Um Tae-hwa's fantasy film Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned[32] and Cho Ui-seok's financial thriller film Master together with Lee Byung-hun and Kim Woo-bin.[33] After ending the contract with United Artist Agency,[34] Gang signed with a new agency, YG Entertainment in January 2016.[35]

In 2017, Gang made a special appearance as Yi Han-yeol in Jang Joon-hwan's historical film 1987: When the Day Comes.[36]

In 2018, Gang played a delivery man framed for the assassination of a politician in Noh Dong-seok's thriller Golden Slumber, based on Isaka Kotaro's novel of the same name.[37][38] His next project was Kim Jee-woon's science fiction action thriller Illang: The Wolf Brigade, which is a film adaption based on Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, a Japanese animated thriller.[39][40][41] In March, Gang is set to make his Hollywood film debut in the American disaster action film Tsunami LA.[42]


In March 2017, a user of movie website Max Movie uploaded a list of currently active movie actors who are descendants of pro-Japanese collaborators, and listed Gang. His maternal great-grandfather Lee Jong-man (1885-1977) is listed in the pro-Japanese biographical dictionary, having been involved in mining business during the Japanese colonial rule and donating to the Japanese army.[43] Because of the revelation, Gang issued a public apology, and cancelled his scheduled recording for “Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned” commentary.[44][45]



Year Title Role Notes
2004 Too Beautiful to Lie Choi Hee-cheol
Temptation of Wolves Jeong Tae-seong
2005 Duelist Sad Eyes
2006 Maundy Thursday Jeong Yun-soo
2007 Voice of a Murderer Kidnapper Voice
M Han Min-woo
2009 Jeon Woo-chi: The Taoist Wizard Jeon Woo-chi
2010 Secret Reunion Song Jee-won
Haunters Cho-in
2011 Camellia Jay Segment: "Love for Sale"
2013 The X X Short film
2014 Kundo: Age of the Rampant Jo Yoon
My Brilliant Life Dae-su
2015 The Priests Deacon Choi
2016 A Violent Prosecutor Han Chi-won
Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned adult Sung-min
Master Kim Jae-myung
2017 1987: When the Day Comes Lee Han-yeol Special appearance
2018 Golden Slumber Kim Gun-woo
Illang: The Wolf Brigade Im Joong-kyung
2020 Peninsula Jeong-seok
TBA Tsunami LA Hollywood film debut
Broker [46]
The Incident Brain [47]

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Network
2003 Country Princess Min Ji-hoon
Something About 1% Lee Jae-in
2004 Magic Cha Gang-jae

Music video appearances[edit]

Year Song title Artist
2000 "I Swear" (Korean다짐; RRDajim) Jo Sung-mo
2001 "Light" (Korean; RRBit) J
2004 "It Rains" (Korean비가와; RRBigawa) Jung Chul
2010 "Let's Break Up" (Korean헤어지자고) Joo Hyung-jin
2016 "Telling A Secret" (Korean비밀을 말하다) Joo Hyung-jin


Year Song title Notes
2005 "Shadow" and "Love Song" Featured in closing credits of Duelist (duet with Ha Ji-won)
2015 "Victimae paschali laudes" (Deacon Choi version) The Priests (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
2017 "A Hidden Path (Korean가리워진 길)" 1987: When the Day Comes (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (duet with Kim Tae-ri)
2018 "Cheer Up (Korean힘을 내)" (Friends with Shin Hae Chul version) Golden Slumber (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (with Kim Sung-kyun, Kim Dae-myung, and Shin Hae Chul)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2003 22nd MBC Drama Awards Best New Actor Something About 1% Won
2004 40th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actor Too Beautiful to Lie Nominated
Most Popular Actor Won
41st Grand Bell Awards Best New Actor Nominated
7th Director's Cut Awards Won
3rd Korean Film Awards Won
Temptation of Wolves Won
25th Blue Dragon Film Awards Nominated
Popular Star Award Won
24th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best New Actor Won
2005 3rd CGV Audience Choice of the Year Awards Won
28th Golden Cinematography Awards Won
41st Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actor Won
26th Blue Dragon Film Awards Popular Star Award Duelist Won [48]
2007 43rd Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor Maundy Thursday Nominated
2010 46th Baeksang Arts Awards Secret Reunion Nominated
31st Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
19th Buil Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
30th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Won [49]
47th Grand Bell Awards Nominated
2014 51st Grand Bell Awards Kundo: Age of the Rampant Nominated
2016 InStyle Star Icon The Priests Won
2017 16th New York Asian Film Festival Star Asia Award Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned Won [50]
2018 27th Buil Film Awards Popular Star Award Illang: The Wolf Brigade Nominated
2020 29th Buil Film Awards Peninsula Won [51]


Name of publisher, year listed, name of listicle, and placement
Publisher Year Listicle Placement Ref.
Forbes 2011 Korea Power Celebrity 21st [52]


  1. ^ 강동원 “아버지 재벌설? 월급 부사장인데..”(인터뷰) [Gang Dong-won "My father is a chaebol? He is just a hired vice president]. JoongAng Ilbo (in Korean). 8 November 2010. Retrieved 2016-11-28.
  2. ^ [인터뷰] <의형제> 강동원 “오직 다음만을 생각한다”. Maxmovie (in Korean). 27 January 2010. Retrieved 2016-11-28.
  3. ^ 강동원 "곱게 자란 이미지? 논두렁 다니며 컸다"(인터뷰). XPORT Media (in Korean). 19 July 2014. Retrieved 2016-11-28.
  4. ^ 강동원, 아이큐 137...명문 사립고+한양대 출신 ‘엄친아’. (in Korean). 2015-08-19. Retrieved 2018-05-11.
  5. ^ a b c d Kang, Myoung-seok (9 April 2010). "10LINE: Actor Gang Dong-won". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  6. ^ a b Yang, Sung-hee (7 November 2007). "More than just a pretty face". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-11-24.
  7. ^ a b "All That Star: The Handsome and Talented Actor with Superior Genes, Gang Dong-won, who gradually rose to stardom!". Arirang News. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  8. ^ "Gang Dong-won Selected As Top Dream Date". KBS Global. 24 March 2005. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  9. ^ "Happy Hours and Two Complex Stars". The Chosun Ilbo. 6 September 2009. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  10. ^ Lee, Min-a (8 January 2007). "Time for boy's killer to repent". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  11. ^ Min, Dong-yong (2 June 2005). ""I Have Chi Coming Out of My Fingertips Now"". The Dong-a Ilbo. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  12. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (7 October 2007). "M Sets Busan Film Festival on Fire". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  13. ^ Kang, Myoung-seok (17 December 2009). "Gang Dong-won says he may write Woochi sequel". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  14. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (17 December 2009). "Woochi Marks Birth of Korean Superhero". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  15. ^ "Korean box office sets all-time high during first half of 2010". HanCinema. July 7, 2010.
  16. ^ Park, Sun-young (21 January 2010). "Bonds of brotherhood, on and off screen". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  17. ^ Kim, Lynn (20 January 2010). "Gang Dong-won, Song Hye-kyo start filming Love". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  18. ^ Hong, Lucia (18 October 2010). "Gang Dong-won says "wants the power to teleport"". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  19. ^ Sung, So-young; Lee, Jung-hee. "Pretty-boy actor takes his turn as a villain". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
  20. ^ Lee, Eun-ji (2010-11-18). "Gang Dong-won to enter military today". 10Asia.
  21. ^ Lee, Tae-ho (2012-11-12). "Actors Gang Dong-won, Ko Joo-won Discharged from Military Today". 10Asia.
  22. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (2012-12-14). "Military releases Gang Dong-won". Korea JoongAng Daily.
  23. ^ Lee, Maggie (28 October 2013). "Film Review: The X". Variety. Retrieved 2014-01-08.
  24. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (13 June 2014). "Chemistry for Ha, Gang in Kundo". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
  25. ^ Lee, Seung-mi (21 July 2014). "Gang back in bitter bad boy role". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
  26. ^ "Gang, Song Hye-kyo to star in new film". The Korea Times. 4 December 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-08.
  27. ^ Song, Soon-jin (5 December 2013). "GANG Dong-won and SONG Hye-kyo to Collaborate on Human Drama". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2014-01-08.
  28. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (8 August 2014). "A-listers bring to life sad story of a fast-aging boy". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
  29. ^ Kim, June (9 December 2014). "Rendezvous for KIM Yun-seok and GANG Dong-won". Korean Film Biz Zone.
  30. ^ Conran, Pierce (12 May 2015). "GANG Dong-won and HWANG Jung-min Confirmed for A VIOLENT PROSECUTOR". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
  31. ^ "South Korea Yearly Box Office". Box Office Mojo.
  32. ^ "Kang Dong-won to appear on big screen". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  33. ^ "Top actors to light up action film "Master"". The Korea Times. 17 December 2015.
  34. ^ "Gang Dong-won closes contract with UAA". The Korea Times. 23 April 2013.
  35. ^ Son, Ji-hyoung (18 January 2016). "YG clinches contract with Gang Dong-won". K-pop Herald. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
  36. ^ "'1987,' film on historic democratic movement boasts star-studded cast". The Korea Herald. 3 April 2017.
  37. ^ "GANG Dong-won & HAN Hyo-joo Headline Thriller GOLDEN SLUMBER". Korean Film Biz Zone. 27 December 2016.
  38. ^ "Korean wrong-man thriller 'Golden Slumber' has the right stuff". Los Angeles Times. 25 February 2018.
  39. ^ "Kim Jee-woon's upcoming sci-fi flick boasts stellar cast". The Korea Herald. 18 July 2017.
  40. ^ Noh, Jean (17 July 2017). "'The Good, The Bad, The Weird' director Kim Jee-woon sets cast, shoot date for new sci-fi". Screen Daily. Retrieved 2017-07-20.
  41. ^ "KIM Jee-woon's Sci-fi Action INRANG Starts Shooting in August". Korean Film Biz Zone. 28 July 2017.
  42. ^ "Korea's Gang Dong-won to Star in Simon West's 'Tsunami LA'". Variety. 17 December 2016.
  43. ^ [K스타] 강동원 외증조부 ‘이종만’ 게시글에 대한 오해와 진실 [Misunderstanding and Truth About the Post on Gang Dong-won's Maternal Great-grandfather Rhee Jong-man]. KBS News (in Korean). 6 March 2017. Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  44. ^ "A-list actor mired in controversy". Korea JoongAng Daily. 8 March 2017.
  45. ^ "Kang Dong-won apologizes for pro-Japanese controversy". Kpop Herald. Herald Corporation. 6 March 2017.
  46. ^ Jeon Hyung-Hwa (February 1, 2021). "[단독]아이유, 송강호·강동원·배두나와 '브로커' 호흡..고레에다 히로카즈 감독 내한 [종합]" [Solo IU, Song Kang-ho, Kang Dong-won and Bae Doona, 'broker' director Hirokazu Koreeda. Respiration cold [General]]. (in Korean). Retrieved February 1, 2021 – via Naver.
  47. ^ Yoo Ji-hye (August 26, 2021). "[단독] 강동원, 영화 '엑시던트' 리메이크작 주연" [[Exclusive] Dongwon Kang, starring in the remake of the movie 'The Incident']. Sports Donga (in Korean). Retrieved August 26, 2021 – via Naver.
  48. ^ "`Sympathy for Lady Vengeance` wins Best Picture Award". KBS World. 30 November 2005.
  49. ^ "'Poetry' Wins Korean Critics' Prize". The Hollywood Reporter. 23 October 2010.
  50. ^ "GANG Dong-won Receives the Star Asia Award at NYAFF". Korean Film Biz Zone. 20 June 2017.
  51. ^ Ji, Min-kyung (October 22, 2020). '2020 부일영화상' 강동원X서예지, 남녀인기스타상 수상.."팬들 감사해" ['2020 Buil Film Awards' Kang Dong-won x Seo Ye-ji, won the Men's and Women's Popular Star Award.. "Thank you fans"]. Naver (in Korean). OSEN. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  52. ^ "Celebrity list 40". JoongAng Ilbo (in Korean). February 24, 2011. Retrieved May 23, 2021 – via Joins.

External links[edit]