Han Suk-kyu

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Han Suk-kyu
190702 한석규.jpg
Han Suk-kyu in 2019
Born (1964-11-03) November 3, 1964 (age 56)
EducationDongguk University - Theater and Film
Years active1990–present
Myung Ju Im
(m. 1998)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationHan Seok-gyu
McCune–ReischauerHan Sŏkkyu

Han Suk-kyu (born November 3, 1964) is a South Korean actor. One of the leading actors of Korean cinema, Han's notable works include Green Fish (1997), No. 3 (1997), Christmas in August (1998), Shiri (1999), The Scarlet Letter (2004), and The President's Last Bang (2005).

He won the Grand Prize (Daesang) at the 2011 SBS Drama Awards, for his lead role as King Sejong in the historical drama Deep Rooted Tree (2011).[1] He won the Grand Prize (Daesang) Award again in 2016, for his performance as Master Kim in the hit medical drama Dr. Romantic (2016).[2] In 2019, he played the role of police in the drama WATCHER.[3] And, he reprised his role in Dr. Romantic 2 (2020).[4]

Life and career[edit]

While a student at the Theater and Film department of Dongguk University, he sang in an amateur folk rock band. He took a brief, year-long contract as voice actor at KBS, before moving on to TV and film acting.[5]

After a debut in the 1990 MBC campus drama Our Paradise, Han rose to stardom as "Hong-shik" in The Moon of Seoul (1994), a charming gigolo from the slums determined to attain wealth at all cost in the big city. "Choon-seop", an old friend from hometown played by Choi Min-sik, struggles hopelessly to stop "Hong-shik" from his self-ruin. The partnership of Han and Choi as uneasy allies or foes, parlayed into two flagship films of the 1990s: No. 3 and Shiri. Both the series and "Hong-shik" character have since become beloved icons, as part of the Korean television's golden era before the advent of Korean Wave.[6]

Before the end of the 20th century, Han headlined films that were critically acclaimed (Green Fish, No. 3) and commercially successful (The Contact, Christmas in August,[7] Shiri — the latter two making particular impact in Japan).[8]

Han's experience in the early stages of Korean cinema renaissance in the 1990s, cemented his belief in a script-driven model for movie-making. Thus the founding of "Makdong Script Festival" (named after his role in Green Fish), with co-sponsor film magazine Cine 21. Winners may claim two cash prizes funded by Han, with the potential to launch directing careers based from their own scripts. The annual contest is now extant over 10 years, with two titles produced so far: the comedy 2424 (2002) and Private Eye (2009) starring Hwang Jung-min.


Han went into an extended hiatus in 1999, declining several lucrative opportunities with name directors as he suffered disc problem.

Han returned in 2003 with espionage film Double Agent.[9] The film, which netted one million admissions, was seen as a failure for a star labeled by the media as "box office guarantee." This was followed by a sizable backlash from netizens and the press, who rushed to bury the co-self-produced spy thriller as the public disgrace of a former golden boy.[citation needed]

His press and image took further beating in the next two, even more polarizing films: the unforeseen tragedy surrounding The Scarlet Letter, and the incendiary political content of The President's Last Bang.[10][11] Nonetheless, these controversial works screened at Cannes, and were featured in a tribute to the actor at the Austrian FilmAsia festival.[12] Han then chose quickie B-movie Mr. Housewife as his next project, which he filmed as a keepsake for his children.[13] In spite of this rocky return to feature films, Han remains well regarded by such major directors as Park Chan-wook, Lee Joon-ik, Kang Woo-suk and Jang Jin. Compared to his peak popularity in the 90s, his work may seem an acquired taste for general audiences, although some cult following ensued for his ultra-sadistic turn in A Bloody Aria.[14]

He remained self-managed until as late as 2006, before joining the KM Culture agency[15] due to increased regimentation of the industry. Making 2006 a busy year, Han starred in period sex comedy Forbidden Quest, followed by black comedy film A Bloody Aria and melodrama film Solace.[16][17][18] Stylish thrillers followed, where Han starred alongside Cha Seung-won in Eye for an Eye[19] and Son Ye-jin in the adaptation of Keigo Higashino novel of White Night.[20] Han then starred in Villain and Widow with Kim Hye-soo.[21]


Han returned to the spotlight with his performance in historical drama Deep Rooted Tree, where his performance of King Sejong earned him the Grand Award at the 2011 SBS Drama Awards.[22]

In 2013, Han starred in the action thriller film The Berlin File, playing a South Korean agent.[23] He then starred in musical film My Paparotti, playing a music teacher who is stuck in a rut until he meets a delinquent teenager.[24]

He returned to the small screen in historical drama Secret Door, playing King Yeongjo. This was followed by period film The Royal Tailor, about a rivalry between two tailors at the Sanguiwon. However, both projects were less successful.[25][26]

Han bounced back with the hit medical drama Dr. Romantic, written by acclaimed screenwriter Kang Eun-kyung.[27] The drama garnered over 20% viewership ratings, and Han received positive reviews for his performance.[28] He also won the Grand Prize (Daesang) Award at the 2016 SBS Drama Awards.

Han returned to the big screen in crime drama film The Prison.[29] Han is slated to star in upcoming thrillers Idol and Father's War, and period drama film Astronomy.[30][31][32]

In 2019, Han starred in OCN's thriller drama Watcher as a detective.[33]

In 2020, Han reprised his role of Teacher Kim in Dr. Romantic 2.[34]

Image and influence[edit]

Known for his distinctive voice and diction, Han has been a long-time mentor to Kam Woo-sung, including coaching the latter's enunciation for his film debut in Marriage is a Crazy Thing. Actors of the younger generation also continue to cite him as an influence; among them: Hwang Jung-min, Ryoo Seung-bum, Kim Myung-min, Kim Joo-hyuk of Blue Swallow, Kim Ji-soo of This Charming Girl, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi (who famously began a second career in Korea after seeing Han in Shiri), Rain, Lee Sung-jae of Barking Dogs Never Bite, TV heartthrob Lee Jin-wook, and the current darling of independent films, Im Ji-kyu.[35][36][37][38][39] He also remains well respected among major peers for his distinctive style (a cerebral and intricate minimalism driven by semantics and implosive restraint): Kim Hye-soo, Song Kang-ho, Oh Dal-su (especially for their collaboration in Forbidden Quest and A Bloody Aria), Sol Kyung-gu, and Choi Min-sik.[40][41][42][43]

For his part, Han has cited influences by legendary Korean actor Kim Seung-ho, Al Pacino, Ken Takakura, The Godfather trilogy, and Hayao Miyazaki.[citation needed]



Year Title Role
1995 Mom, the Star, and the Sea Anemone special appearance
Doctor Bong Bong Joon-soo
1996 The Ginkgo Bed Soo-hyeon/Jong-moon
1997 Green Fish Kim Mak-dong
No. 3 Seo Tae-ju
The Contact Kwon Dong-hyeon
1998 Christmas in August Jung-won
1999 Shiri Yoo Joong-won
Tell Me Something Detective Jo
2003 Double Agent Rim Byeong-ho
2004 The Scarlet Letter Lee Ki-hoon
2005 The President's Last Bang KCIA Chief Agent Joo
Quiz King Jo Jin-man
2006 Forbidden Quest Kim Yoon-seo
A Bloody Aria Lee Moon-jae
Solace Shim In-gu
2008 Eye for an Eye Baek Seong-chan
2009 White Night Han Dong-soo
2010 Villain and Widow Kang Chang-in
2013 The Berlin File Jeong Jin-soo
My Paparotti Na Sang-jin
2014 The Royal Tailor Jo Dol-seok
2017 The Prison Jung Ik-ho
2019 Idol Goo Myeong-hoe
Forbidden Dream King Sejong


Year Title Role Network
1990 Our Paradise Hyun Chul MBC
1991 Eyes of Dawn Young Man from Seobuk
1992-1993 Sons and Daughters Suk Ho
1993 Pilot Park Sang-hyun
1994 The Moon of Seoul Hong Shik
1995 Hotel Im Hyung-bin
2011 Deep Rooted Tree Lee Do / King Sejong SBS
2014 Secret Door King Yeongjo
2016 Dr. Romantic Teacher Kim / Boo Yong-joo
2019 Watcher Do Chi-kwang OCN
2020 Dr. Romantic 2 Teacher Kim / Boo Yong-joo SBS

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1984 MBC Gangbyeon Song Festival Encouragement Award N/A Won
1993 MBC Drama Awards Best New Actor Pilot, Sons and Daughters Won
1994 MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor The Moon of Seoul Won
TV Journal Star of the Year Excellence Award Won
1995 16th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Leading Actor Doctor Bong Nominated
6th Chunsa Film Art Awards Best New Actor Won
1996 Cine 21 Awards Won
32nd Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actor (Film) Won
34th Grand Bell Awards Best New Actor Nominated
Best Actor The Ginkgo Bed Nominated
17th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Leading Actor Nominated
1997 18th Blue Dragon Film Awards Green Fish Won
Popular Star Award Green Fish, The Contact, No. 3 Won
35th Grand Bell Awards Popularity Award Won
Best Actor Green Fish Won
17th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Won
20th Golden Cinematography Awards Most Popular Actor Won
33rd Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Won
1998 1st Director's Cut Awards Best Actor Christmas in August Won
3rd Women Viewers Film Awards Won
19th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Leading Actor Nominated
Popular Star Awards Won
Cine 21 Awards Best Actor Won
1999 7th Korean Culture and Entertainment Awards Shiri, Tell Me Something Won
20th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Leading Actor Tell Me Something Nominated
Popular Star Awards Shiri Won
36th Grand Bell Awards Popularity Award Christmas in August Won
Best Actor Nominated
1st Asian Film Critics Association Awardsr Nominated
35th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Shiri Nominated
2000 37th Grand Bell Awards Popularity Award Tell Me Something Won
2004 25th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Leading Actor The Scarlet Letter Nominated
6th Asian Film Critics Association Awards Best Actor Nominated
2005 41st Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) The President's Last Bang Nominated
2006 5th Korean Film Awards Best Actor Forbidden Quest Nominated
2008 17th Buil Film Awards Eye for an Eye Nominated
2011 SBS Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Deep Rooted Tree Won
Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special Nominated
Top 10 Stars Won
2012 48th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (TV) Nominated
5th Korea Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Nominated
1st APAN Star Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor Nominated
3rd Korean Popular Culture Awards Presidential Recommendation N/A Won
2014 SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Serial Drama Secret Door Nominated
2016 SBS Drama Awards[44] Grand Prize (Daesang) Dr. Romantic Won
Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Genre & Fantasy Drama Nominated
Top 10 Stars Won
2017 53rd Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (TV) Nominated
10th Korea Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Nominated
54th Grand Bell Awards Best Actor The Prison Nominated
2019 23rd Fantasia International Film Festival[45] Idol Won
28th Buil Film Awards Nominated
19th Director's Cut Awards Nominated
2020 56th Grand Bell Awards[46] Forbidden Dream Nominated
25th Chunsa Film Art Awards[47] Nominated
56th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Nominated
29th Buil Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
SBS Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Dr. Romantic 2 Nominated
Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Genre/Action Drama Nominated


  1. ^ "Han Suk-kyu reclaims glory at SBS Drama Awards". 10Asia. January 2, 2012.
  2. ^ "[연기대상] 한석규, 영예의 대상 '검은 도화지' 특별한 수상소감". tv.naver.com (in Korean). Retrieved 2021-04-26.
  3. ^ 이정현 (2019-07-02). "'왓쳐' 한석규 "선 굵은 연기만? 오히려 디테일로 승부"". 연합뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved 2021-04-26.
  4. ^ "'낭만닥터 김사부2' 유인식 PD "현시대 직업인들의 고민 담으려 노력"". 스포츠조선 (in Kanuri). 2020-01-06. Retrieved 2021-04-26.
  5. ^ "[97 문화 '새뚝이']'초록물고기' '접속'주연 영화배우 한석규". JoongAng Ilbo (in Korean). December 20, 1997.
  6. ^ "'허준' '올인' '주몽'…연타석 홈런 드라마작가 최완규". Naver (in Korean). July 25, 1997. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012.
  7. ^ "일상에 관한 섬세한 묘사, <8월의 크리스마스>". Cine21 (in Korean). January 17, 1998.
  8. ^ "Han Seok-kyu". Koreanfilm.org.
  9. ^ "'이중간첩' 되어 돌아온 한석규". Cine21 (in Korean). January 24, 2003.
  10. ^ "The Scarlet Letter". The Donga Ilbo. October 20, 2004.
  11. ^ "<그때 그 사람들>의 진상 [2] - 소문과 진실 ②". Cine21 (in Korean). January 4, 2005.
  12. ^ "Program Schedule". Film Asia. October 26, 2007. Archived from the original on October 26, 2007.
  13. ^ "Donning an Apron, Han Suk-gyu Cooks Laughter". The Donga Ilbo. September 22, 2015.
  14. ^ "김지수 "남자친구와 함께 최고로 인정한 배우가 한석규"". CBS (in Korean). October 31, 2006.
  15. ^ http://www.kmculture.co.kr/
  16. ^ "[K-FILM REVIEWS] 음란서생 (Forbidden Quest) - Part 1". Screen Anarchy. June 11, 2006.
  17. ^ "'A Bloody Aria'". Los Angeles Times. January 18, 2008.
  18. ^ "New movie 'Solace' appeals with open ending". Yonhap News Agency. November 21, 2006. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007.
  19. ^ "CHA Seung-won and HAN Seok-gyu finish shoot". Korean Film Biz Zone. January 23, 2008.
  20. ^ "Mystery Thriller White Night Opens". Korean Film Biz Zone. November 30, 2009.
  21. ^ "[PREVIEW] Film "Villain and Widow"". 10Asia. November 24, 2010.
  22. ^ "Han Suk-kyu reclaims glory at SBS Drama Awards". 10Asia. January 2, 2012.
  23. ^ "Interview [Interview] Han Seok Gyu Sometimes Hates to See Himself Act". Mwave. January 31, 2013. Archived from the original on February 16, 2013.
  24. ^ "After slump, Han Suk-kyu returns to spotlight". Korea JoongAng Daily. March 21, 2013.
  25. ^ "Han aims to relive box office success through 'Royal Tailor'". The Korea Times. December 12, 2014.
  26. ^ "HAN Suk-kyu and KO Soo Headline New Period Film". Korean Film Biz Zone. December 26, 2013.
  27. ^ "(Yonhap Interview) Actor Han Suk-kyu is embodiment of 'Dr. Romantic': director". Yonhap News Agency. December 4, 2016.
  28. ^ "'Romantic Doctor' tops 20 percent viewership". The Korea Times. November 23, 2016.
  29. ^ "HAN Suk-kyu and KIM Rae-won Go to THE PRISON". Korean Film Biz Zone. February 25, 2016.
  30. ^ "IDOL Begins Filming with HAN Suk-kyu, SUL Kyung-gu and CHUN Woo-hee". Korean Film Biz Zone. November 6, 2017.
  31. ^ "HAN Suk-kyu & BAEK Sung-hyun Play Father & Son in FATHER'S WAR". Korean Film Biz Zone. February 14, 2017.
  32. ^ "HAN Suk-kyu and CHOI Min-shik Fated to Reunite for ASTRONOMY". Korean Film Biz Zone. June 25, 2018.
  33. ^ "'Watcher' explores a mysterious incident". Korea JoongAng Daily. July 3, 2019.
  34. ^ "'낭만닥터 김사부 시즌2' 한석규-이성경-안효섭 캐스팅 확정, 내년 1월 첫방송[공식]". Star News (in Korean). 18 September 2019.
  35. ^ "[★포토]대종상을 웃긴 박중훈". Money Today (in Korean). June 8, 2007. Archived from the original on November 18, 2007.
  36. ^ "영화 '왕의 남자' 대박 & 결혼이후 첫 드라마 복귀 감우성". Naver (in Korean). April 15, 2006. Archived from the original on July 13, 2012.
  37. ^ "김명민 "바른생활 사나이? 나도 한때 놀았어요"". The Donga Ilbo (in Korean). April 23, 2008.
  38. ^ "이진욱 "아리송함이 제 매력이죠"". Nate (in Korean). April 14, 2008.
  39. ^ "독립영화 스타 연기 변신을 꿈꾸다". The Donga Ilbo (in Korean). December 18, 2007.
  40. ^ "송강호 "인생은 뜻대로 사는 게 아니잖아요?"". Naver (in Korean). March 29, 2007. Archived from the original on July 23, 2012.
  41. ^ "Song Kang Ho GQ Feature". GQ Korea (in Korean). Archived from the original on 2007-12-11.
  42. ^ "송강호, "영화계에서의 순위 의미없어"". Naver (in Korean). April 29, 2005. Archived from the original on July 14, 2012.
  43. ^ "최민식 "내 성공은 한석규의 후광 덕분"". Naver (in Korean). March 18, 2005. Archived from the original on July 14, 2012.
  44. ^ "Han Suk-kyu nabs top actor award". The Korea Herald. January 1, 2017.
  45. ^ "IDOL, HAN Suk-kyu and SUL Kyung-gu Awarded at Fantasia". Korean Film Biz Zone. August 6, 2019.
  46. ^ "[공식] '제56회 대종상 영화제' 오는 2월 25일 개최, 최종 노미네이트 작품 발표" (in Korean). 17 January 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  47. ^ "'엑시트' 개최 연기 춘사영화제 6개 부문 최다 노미네이트". NAVER. 9 March 2020. Retrieved 2020-03-18.

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