|Education||Dongguk University - Theater and Film|
Myung Ju Im
|Revised Romanization||Han Seok-gyu|
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). He won the Grand Prize (Daesang) Award again in 2016, for his performance as Master Kim in the hit medical drama Dr. Romantic (2016). In 2019, he played the role of police in the drama WATCHER. And, he reprised his role in Dr. Romantic 2 (2020).
Life and career
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.
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.
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, Shiri — the latter two making particular impact in Japan).
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. 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.
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. Nonetheless, these controversial works screened at Cannes, and were featured in a tribute to the actor at the Austrian FilmAsia festival. Han then chose quickie B-movie Mr. Housewife as his next project, which he filmed as a keepsake for his children. 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.
He remained self-managed until as late as 2006, before joining the KM Culture agency 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. Stylish thrillers followed, where Han starred alongside Cha Seung-won in Eye for an Eye and Son Ye-jin in the adaptation of Keigo Higashino novel of White Night. Han then starred in Villain and Widow with Kim Hye-soo.
In 2013, Han starred in the action thriller film The Berlin File, playing a South Korean agent. He then starred in musical film My Paparotti, playing a music teacher who is stuck in a rut until he meets a delinquent teenager.
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.
Han bounced back with the hit medical drama Dr. Romantic, written by acclaimed screenwriter Kang Eun-kyung. The drama garnered over 20% viewership ratings, and Han received positive reviews for his performance. He also won the Grand Prize (Daesang) Award at the 2016 SBS Drama Awards.
Image and influence
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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. 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.
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Forbidden Dream||King Sejong|
|1990||Our Paradise||Hyun Chul||MBC|
|1991||Eyes of Dawn||Young Man from Seobuk|
|1992-1993||Sons and Daughters||Suk Ho|
|1994||The Moon of Seoul||Hong Shik|
|2011||Deep Rooted Tree||Lee Do / King Sejong||SBS|
|2014||Secret Door||King Yeongjo|
|2016||Dr. Romantic||Teacher Kim / Boo Yong-joo|
|2020||Dr. Romantic 2||Teacher Kim / Boo Yong-joo||SBS|
Awards and nominations
|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|
|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||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||Idol||Won|
|28th Buil Film Awards||Nominated|
|19th Director's Cut Awards||Nominated|
|2020||56th Grand Bell Awards||Forbidden Dream||Nominated|
|25th Chunsa Film Art Awards||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|
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