Ha Jung-woo

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Kim. In the stage name or pen-name, the surname is Ha.
Ha Jung-woo
Born Kim Sung-hoon
(1978-03-11) March 11, 1978 (age 39)
South Korea
Education Chung-Ang University
School of Performing Arts and Media - Theater
Occupation Actor, film director
Years active 1998-present
Agent Fantagio
Artist Company
Parent(s) Kim Yong-gun
Korean name
Revised Romanization Ha Jeong-u
McCune–Reischauer Ha Chŏng-u
Birth name
Revised Romanization Gim Seong-hun
McCune–Reischauer Kim Sŏng-hun

Ha Jung-woo (born Kim Sung-hoon on March 11, 1978) is a South Korean actor and film director. Ha studied theater at Chung-Ang University, and after several years of minor and supporting parts, he was cast in his first starring role in the low-budget indie The Unforgiven (2005), directed by his friend Yoon Jong-bin. This was followed by Kim Ki-duk's Time (2006), and Never Forever (2007) with Vera Farmiga. But his breakthrough role to stardom was in Na Hong-jin's serial killer film The Chaser (2008). Known to attract both critical acclaim and commercial success, Ha quickly became the most in-demand leading actor of his generation in Korean cinema, showcasing his versatility in road movie My Dear Enemy (2008), sports film Take Off (2009), crime drama The Yellow Sea (2010), gangster saga Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time (2012), romantic comedy Love Fiction (2012), spy thriller The Berlin File (2013), and action thriller The Terror Live (2013). He made his directorial debut through the comedy film Fasten Your Seatbelt (2013), followed by Chronicle of a Blood Merchant (2015).

Early life[edit]

Born as Kim Sung-hoon, Ha Jung-woo came from an acting family. His father Kim Yong-gun is a well-known veteran actor who has appeared in many movies and television series, while his younger brother Kim Young-hoon (stage name: Cha Hyun-woo) is an aspiring actor.[1] Ha has said that since he was 4 or 5 years old, he has always dreamed of becoming an actor like his father. Before entering college, Ha studied at a private acting institute and at one point had actor Lee Beom-soo as his instructor. He then enrolled at Chung-Ang University as a theater major, where he acted on the stage.

In 1998, Ha began his military service, working in the Armed Forces Public Relations Department. He put his acting experience to good use during this time, appearing in 10 promotional films for the military.


2002–2007: Beginnings[edit]

Kim Sung-hoon made his acting debut in the 2002 SBS sitcom Honest Living and his feature film debut in the 2003 film Madeleine. For the next few years, Kim's acting career was relatively low-key, appearing in several supporting roles, but not receiving a lot of attention.

In 2005, Kim signed with talent agency SidusHQ and on their recommendation adopted the stage name "Ha Jung-woo."[2] He then appeared in his first starring role in the indie film The Unforgiven, a blistering critique of the physical and psychological violence within military ranks.[3]

Ha's subsequent roles in controversial arthouse director Kim Ki-duk's Time and Breath brought more notice to his acting talents in Korea and overseas. His portrayal of a cool-headed prosecutor who is romantically involved with a feisty police officer played by Go Hyun-jung in the popular MBC drama series H.I.T attracted female fans and gained him popularity among the masses. He also starred in the American indie film Never Forever opposite Vera Farmiga, which garnered praise from the film festival circuit.[4]

2008–2009: Breakout[edit]

Ha's breakout came in the 2008 film The Chaser, in which he played a pyschopath character loosely based on serial killer Yoo Young-chul. The movie became a huge hit at the Korean box office, raking in over 5 million ticket sales, while also garnering high praise from critics and numerous awards from local award-giving bodies. American director Martin Scorsese, rumored to be attached to a Hollywood remake of The Chaser,[5] has complimented Ha as having as much potential as his The Departed stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon.[6]

Ha followed this up with a portrayal of a charming scoundrel in My Dear Enemy that same year, showcased his versatility and elevated his status as one of the most sought-after actors in the Korean film industry. From 2008-2009, he took on diverse but compelling roles in The Moonlight of Seoul,[7] Boat, and Take Off. Take Off, based on the Korean national ski jumping team, became one of the biggest box office hits of 2009.[8][9][10]

2009–2013: Commercial and critical success[edit]

Ha reunited with his The Chaser director Na Hong-jin and costar Kim Yoon-seok in Na's sophomore feature The Yellow Sea,[11] which netted Ha Best Actor trophies from the Asian Film Awards, Baeksang Arts Awards and the Korean Association of Film Critics.[12][13][14] Ha then starred in the legal thriller The Client, which evoked his early days of theater, and the director praised Ha for his "moments of true brilliance and genius" during the production.[15][16][17]

In early 2012, Samsung Electronics produced an ambitious PPL-frequent-film project featuring Galaxy Note, their latest Tablet hybrid mobile. Titled as Cine Note, the giant project comprises three shorts by directors Kang Hyeong-cheol, Jang Hoon and E J-yong. Ha played the leading role for all the three of the films, while celebrated musician Lee Seung-chul produced music using the device, and noted webtoon artists Son Jae-ho and Lee Gwang-soo created the film’s animated content.[18][19][20]

Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time was Ha's third collaboration with longtime friend director Yoon Jong-bin, also starring acclaimed veteran actor Choi Min-sik.[21] This was followed shortly by the unconventional romantic comedy Love Fiction opposite Gong Hyo-jin.[22] Both were box office hits.[23]

After wrapping Love Fiction, Ha along with Gong and 14 other actors went on a cross-country walking trip from Seoul to Haenam, South Jeolla Province. Their journey was chronicled in the documentary 577 Project, denoting the total distance covered in kilometers. Ha was in charge of three aspects of the production including planning, acting and casting. He said he did it to thank fans for their support after he won back-to-back Best Actor awards at the 2010 and 2011 Baeksang Arts Awards.[24][25][26]

In Ryoo Seung-wan's The Berlin File, Ha starred as a North Korean agent in Berlin who is betrayed and cut loose in the midst of a financial espionage intrigue.[27][28][29] He then appeared the action thriller The Terror Live, playing a news anchor with an exclusive, live broadcast on a terrorist attack.[30][31][32]

2014–Present: Directorial works and Continued success[edit]

Ha then made his directorial debut with Rollercoaster (released internationally as Fasten Your Seatbelt), based on his own screenplay about the comic interactions between the cabin crew and passengers (including an arrogant Hallyu star played by Jung Kyung-ho) of a flight from Tokyo to Gimpo International Airport which becomes in danger of crashing when the plane hits a major storm.[32][33][34]

Working with Yoon Jong-bin again, Ha played a Joseon era butcher-turned-outlaw in the period action film Kundo: Age of the Rampant.[35][36]

In 2015, Ha directed, wrote and starred in Chronicle of a Blood Merchant, a film adaptation of Chinese author Yu Hua's 1995 novel.[32][37][38][39] He then appeared in one of the biggest domestic hits of the year, Choi Dong-hoon's Assassination about resistance fighters given orders to kill a Japanese army commander in the colonial era.[40]

Ha retained his success in 2016, starring in two box office hits; Park Chan-wook's The Handmaiden, an adaptation of the Sarah Waters novel Fingersmith also set during 1930s Korea;,[41] and survival thriller The Tunnel.[42]

Ha has been cast in several upcoming films: a biopic on Andre Kim, Korea's first male fashion designer;[43] Kim Yong-hwa's With God, an adaptation of the same-titled webtoon about a court in the afterlife where the deceased undergo multiple trials for 49 days.[44] and 1987, about a political crisis that led to the June Democratic Uprising in 1987 which ended the military regime of President Chun Doo-hwan.[45]

Other activities[edit]

Ha Jung-woo is also an artist. Though it began as a hobby in his university days, Ha began painting in earnest in 2007. His paintings, all done in a hybrid of Pop art and Expressionist styles,[46] have been displayed in several solo art exhibitions.[47][48][49][50][51][52][53][54] Critics have said his paintings, with their strong colors and interesting composition[55] are reminiscent of those by American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.[56] "Life as an actor is like living through an invisible war. Paintings soothe me and make me rational. It is too extravagant to say that painting is my hobby; it is rather a way for me to survive as an actor," said Ha.[57][58]

In 2011 he published a compilation of essays titled Ha Jung-woo, Good Feeling. Besides his musings on life, Ha also wrote his thoughts on famous artists such as Pablo Picasso. The book also included about 60 of his own drawings.[59]

Personal life[edit]

Ha dated fashion model Gu Eun-ae from August 2008 to January 2012.[60][61][62]



As actor[edit]

Year Korean Title English Title Role Production Company
2003 마들렌 Madeleine Joon-ho Cinema Service
2004 슈퍼스타 감사용 Superstar Mr. Gam Kim Yoo-weol CJ Entertainment
2005 잠복근무 She's on Duty Detective Jo Showbox
용서받지 못한 자 The Unforgiven Yoo Tae-jeong Chungeorahm
2006 시간 Time Ji-woo Happinet Pictures Korea
구미호 가족 The Fox Family Son fox MK Pictures
2007 두번째 사랑 Never Forever Kim Ji-ha Prime Entertainment
Arts Alliance
Breath Yeon's husband Sponge Entertainment
2008 우리 생애 최고의 순간 Forever the Moment Blind date man Sidus FNH
추격자 The Chaser Je Yeong-min Showbox
비스티 보이즈 Beastie Boys Jae-hyun Lotte Entertainment
울학교 이티 Our School's E.T. Handsome doctor SK Telecom
멋진 하루 My Dear Enemy Jo Byung-woon Lotte Entertainment
2009 잘 알지도 못하면서 Like You Know It All Sculptor / Cheon-soo's neighbor Sponge Entertainment
보트 Boat Hyung-gu
국가대표 Take Off Cha Heon-tae / Bob Showbox
2010 평행이론 Parallel Life Jang Soo-young CJ Entertainment
황해 The Yellow Sea Gu-nam Showbox
2011 사랑한다, 사랑하지 않는다 Come Rain, Come Shine Other man Next Entertainment World
의뢰인 The Client Kang Sung-hee Showbox
2012 범죄와의 전쟁 Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time Choi Hyung-bae
러브 픽션 Love Fiction Goo Joo-wol / Detective Ma Dong-wook Next Entertainment World
577 프로젝트 577 Project Himself Filament Pictures
2013 뒷담화: 감독이 미쳤어요 Behind the Camera Himself
베를린 The Berlin File Pyo Jong-seong CJ Entertainment
더 테러 라이브 The Terror Live Yoon Young-hwa Lotte Entertainment
2014 군도: 민란의 시대 Kundo: Age of the Rampant Dolmuchi / Dolchi Showbox
2015 허삼관 Chronicle of a Blood Merchant Heo Sam-gwan Next Entertainment World
암살 Assassination Hawaii Pistol Showbox
2016 아가씨 The Handmaiden Count Fuijiwara CJ Entertainment
터널 The Tunnel Jung-soo Showbox
2017 신과 함께 With God - Part 1 Gang-rim Lotte Entertainment
1987 1987 CJ Entertainment
앙드레 김 Andre Kim André Kim
베를린 2 The Berlin File 2 Pyo Jong-seong CJ Entertainment

As director/screenwriter[edit]

Television series[edit]

Year Korean Title English Title Role Network Notes
2002 똑바로 살아라 Honest Living Ha Jung-woo SBS
2003-2004 무인시대 Age of Warriors Lee Ji-gwang KBS
2005 프라하의 연인 Lovers in Prague Ahn Dong-nam SBS
2007 히트 H.I.T Kim Jae-yoon MBC
2016 안투라지 Entourage Himself (ep.1) tvN cameo

Music video[edit]




  • Ha Jung-woo, Good Feeling (essays, 2011)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
25th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards
Best New Actor The Unforgiven Won
8th Director's Cut Awards
Best New Actor Won
42nd Baeksang Arts Awards
Best New Actor (Film) Nominated
2nd Pyeongtaek Film Festival
New Currents Best Actor The Unforgiven, Time Won
27th Blue Dragon Film Awards
Best New Actor The Unforgiven Nominated
27th Oporto International Film Festival
Best Actor Time Won
2nd Mnet 20's Choice Awards
Hot Movie Star - Male The Chaser Nominated
16th Chunsa Film Art Awards
Best Actor Won
4th Premiere Rising Star Awards
Best Actor Won
44th Baeksang Arts Awards
Best Actor (Film) Nominated
9th Korea Visual Arts Festival
Photogenic Award Won
3rd A-Awards
(Arena Homme + and Audi Korea)
Man of the Year (Intelligence category) N/A Won
11th Director's Cut Awards
Best Actor The Chaser, My Dear Enemy Won
17th Buil Film Awards
Best Actor The Chaser, Beastie Boys Nominated
45th Grand Bell Awards
Best Actor The Chaser Nominated
31st Golden Cinematography Awards
Best Actor Won
29th Blue Dragon Film Awards
Best Actor Nominated
3rd Asian Film Awards
Best Actor Nominated
45th Baeksang Arts Awards
Best Actor (Film) My Dear Enemy Nominated
3rd Mnet 20's Choice Awards
Hot Movie Star - Male Take Off Won
17th Chunsa Film Art Awards
Ensemble Acting Award (Cast) Won
10th Busan Film Critics Awards
Best Actor My Dear Enemy Won
18th Buil Film Awards
Best Actor Won
46th Grand Bell Awards
Best Actor Take Off Nominated
5th University Film Festival of Korea
Best Actor Won
30th Blue Dragon Film Awards
Best Actor Nominated
Popular Star Award Won
7th Max Movie Awards
Best Actor Won
46th Baeksang Arts Awards
Best Actor (Film) Won
5th Asian Film Awards
Best Actor The Yellow Sea Won
Favorite Actor Nominated
47th Baeksang Arts Awards
Best Actor (Film) Won
31st Korean Association of Film Critics Awards
Best Actor Won
6th Mnet 20's Choice Awards
20's Movie Actor Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time Nominated
16th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival
Producer's Choice Award N/A Won
5th Style Icon Awards
Top 10 Style Icon N/A Won
56th Asia-Pacific Film Festival
Best Supporting Actor Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time Nominated
21st Buil Film Awards
Best Actor Nominated
4th Pierson Movie Festival
Best Actor Won
3rd Korean Popular Culture & Arts Awards
Prime Minister Award N/A Won
33rd Blue Dragon Film Awards
Best Actor Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time Nominated
Popular Star Award Won
7th Asian Film Awards
Best Supporting Actor Nominated
49th Baeksang Arts Awards
Best Actor (Film) The Berlin File Won
7th Mnet 20's Choice Awards
20's Movie Star – Male Nominated
14th Busan Film Critics Awards
Best Actor The Terror Live Won
22nd Buil Film Awards
Best Actor Nominated
6th Style Icon Awards
Top 10 Style Icon N/A Nominated
34th Blue Dragon Film Awards
Best Actor The Terror Live Nominated
8th A-Awards
(Arena Homme + and Audi Korea)
Charismatic Award N/A Won
9th Osaka Asian Film Festival
Most Promising Talent Fasten Your Seatbelt Won
Grand Prix Award Nominated
50th Baeksang Arts Awards
Best New Director (Film) Nominated
Best Actor (Film) The Terror Live Nominated
34th Golden Cinema Film Festival
Grand Prize (Daesang) for Acting Won
20th Chunsa Film Art Awards
Best Actor Kundo: Age of the Rampant Won
35th Hawaii International Film Festival
Renaissance Award N/A Won
15th Gwangju International Film Festival
Excellent Asia-Pacific Young Director Award Chronicle of a Blood Merchant Nominated
52nd Grand Bell Awards
Best Actor Assassination Nominated
37th Blue Dragon Film Awards
Best Actor The Tunnel Nominated
53rd Grand Bell Awards
Best Actor Nominated


  1. ^ "Ha Jung Woo Reveals Family Matters". KP Culture. 7 August 2009. 
  2. ^ Hong, Lucia (2 September 2011). "Ha Jung-woo renews contract with fantagio". 10Asia. 
  3. ^ Beck, Una (13 May 2011). "A Wild Fugitive". Korea Cinema Today.
  4. ^ "Actor Ha Jung-woo Goes to Sundance Film Festival". KBS Global. 22 January 2007. 
  5. ^ Darcy Paquet, Michael Fleming (6 March 2008). "Warner Bros. to remake The Chaser". Variety.
  6. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (27 August 2008). "Jeon Do-yeon, Ha Jung-woo as Ex-Lovers". The Korea Times.
  7. ^ "Actor Goes From Killer to Professional Casanova". The Dong-a Ilbo. 29 April 2008. 
  8. ^ Park, Sun-young (3 July 2009). "Tale of Korea's ski jumpers flies onto the big screen". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  9. ^ Lee, Hoo-nam (1 September 2009). "National ski team schusses to glory, box office gold". Korea JoongAng Daily.
  10. ^ Han, Lisa (1 November 2009). "Korean cinema regains its confidence in 2009/Analysis of the Korean Film Industry 2009". Korean Film Biz Zone.
  11. ^ Noh, Jean (20 December 2010). "The Yellow Sea of Na Hong-jin". Korea Cinema Today.
  12. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (23 March 2011). "Korean cineastes sweep Asian Film Awards". The Korea Times.
  13. ^ Park, Min-young (29 May 2011). "Hyun Bin, Lee Byung-hun win Paeksang awards". The Korea Herald.
  14. ^ Hong, Lucia (31 October 2011). "The Frontline receives 4 honors by Korean Association of Film Critics". 10Asia.
  15. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (31 August 2011). "Ha Jung-woo confident about Korean-style legal thriller". The Korea Times.
  16. ^ Ki, Sun-min (7 October 2011). "Ha Jung-woo suits up for cinematic Client". Korea JoongAng Daily.
  17. ^ Wee, Geun-woo (24 October 2011). "Actor Ha Jung-woo's Song Picks". 10Asia.
  18. ^ "Cinenote Showcase: Korean celebrities explore the GALAXY Note". Samsung Tomorrow. 12 December 2011. 
  19. ^ Lee, Claire (20 January 2012). "Smartphones help directors look at films from new angles". The Korea Herald.
  20. ^ Lee, Claire (23 November 2012). "Movies based on webtoons flourish". The Korea Herald. 
  21. ^ Jung, Hyun-mok (17 February 2012). "Controversial director tackles corruption in Nameless Gangster". Korea JoongAng Daily.
  22. ^ Kwaak, Je-yup (2 March 2012). "Love Fiction rises above all hype". The Korea Times.
  23. ^ Hong, Lucia (9 April 2012). "Korean movies notch up higher number in 1Q ticket sales". 10Asia.
  24. ^ "On location with THE 577 PROJECT". Korea Cinema Today. 10 August 2012. 
  25. ^ "Ha Jung-woo's 540-kilometer odyssey nears end". Korea JoongAng Daily. 1 December 2011.
  26. ^ "Gong, Ha returning in road trip flick". The Korea Herald. 1 August 2012. 
  27. ^ "Gianna Jun to be in Ryoo's Berlin File". Korean Film Biz Zone. 19 December 2011.
  28. ^ "Ha Jung Woo Says He was Happy to be with Han Seok Gyu for The Berlin File". enewsWorld. 20 January 2013. 
  29. ^ "Interview: Ha Jung Woo Says He Loves Korean Food a Lot". enewsWorld. 13 February 2013. 
  30. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (16 July 2013). "Ha back with deskbound thriller". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  31. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (27 July 2013). "PiFan Closes With Local Thriller The Terror Live". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  32. ^ a b c Lee, Hwa-jung (29 September 2013). "Korean Film Guide to BIFF 2013: Star HA Jung-woo Jack of All Trades". Korean Cinema Today. 
  33. ^ Park, Eun-jee (16 November 2012). "Korean actors find satisfaction off-camera". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  34. ^ Kim, Hyun-min (8 February 2013). "ROLLERCOASTER Mixes Panic with Humor". Korean Film Biz Zone. 
  35. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (13 June 2014). "Chemistry for Ha, Kang in Kundo". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  36. ^ "Ha Jung-woo Talks About Directorial Ambitions". The Chosun Ilbo. 19 July 2014. 
  37. ^ Baek, Byung-yeul (2 January 2015). "Actor Ha back with film adaptation of Chinese novel". The Korea Times. 
  38. ^ Ahn, Sung-mi (14 January 2015). "Herald Interview: Mastering both sides of the camera". The Korea Herald. 
  39. ^ Kim, Hyo-eun; Jin, Eun-soo (27 January 2015). "Ha shows his versatility in Chronicle". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  40. ^ Won, Ho-jung (22 July 2015). "Herald Interview: Ha Jung-woo brings romance to dark era in Assassination". The Korea Herald. 
  41. ^ Kim, Su-yeon (14 November 2014). "HA Jung-woo Confirms for PARK Chan-wook's AGASSHI". Korean Film Biz Zone. 
  42. ^ http://variety.com/2016/film/asia/korea-box-office-tunnel-beats-mechanic-resurrection-1201852223/
  43. ^ Kim, Hee-eun (21 June 2014). "Ha to star in fashion biopic". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  44. ^ "Ha Jung-woo signs up for webtoon-based movie". The Korea Times. 22 October 2015. 
  45. ^ http://koreanfilm.or.kr/jsp/news/news.jsp?blbdComCd=601006&seq=4098&mode=VIEW
  46. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (18 April 2012). Actor Ha Jung-woo to exhibit his paintings in Seoul and Hong Kong. Korea JoongAng Daily.
  47. ^ "Ha Jung-woo to Open 2nd Solo Art Exhibition". The Chosun Ilbo. 23 June 2010.
  48. ^ Kim, Heidi (17 February 2011). "Ha Jung-woo to hold 3rd art exhibition". 10Asia.
  49. ^ "Ha Jung-woo Brings on the Clowns in New Art Exhibition". The Chosun Ilbo. 26 April 2011.
  50. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (16 March 2012). "Ha Jeong-woo to show off his masterpiece". Korea JoongAng Daily.
  51. ^ Suk, Monica (5 April 2012). "Ha Jung-woo submits paintings to 5th Hong Kong's art fair". 10Asia.
  52. ^ Choi, Eun-hwa (17 April 2012). "How Would You Rate Ha Jung Woo's Paintings?". enewsWorld. 
  53. ^ Sung, So-young (30 January 2015). "Ha Jung-woo shows art in L.A.". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  54. ^ Ahn, Sung-mi (1 March 2015). "Actor Ha holds solo exhibition in LA". K-pop Herald. 
  55. ^ Ko, Kyoung-seok (27 April 2011). "Ha Jung-woo's paintings shown at Seoul art fair". 10Asia.
  56. ^ Sung, So-young (22 April 2012). "Stars play new roles in other media". Korea JoongAng Daily.
  57. ^ Park, Min-young (18 April 2012). "Action with brush in hand". The Korea Herald. 
  58. ^ Yoo, Joo-hyun (28 January 2014). "Ha Jung-woo's film roles bring out his artistic side". Korea JoongAng Daily. 
  59. ^ "Ha Jung Woo's First Attempt as an Author, "Go Hyun Jung Was a Big Help in the Pictures"". AskActor. 15 May 2011.
  60. ^ "Ha and Ku still together, says agent". Korea JoongAng Daily. 9 November 2011.
  61. ^ "Ha Jeong-woo comes clean about breakup following marriage rumors". Korea JoongAng Daily. 8 March 2012.
  62. ^ Lee, In-kyung (7 March 2012). "Ha Jung Woo and Gu Eun Ae Acknowledge Breakup". enewsWorld.

External links[edit]