Jung Woo-sung

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Jung.
Jung Woo-sung
LG 스마트폰, 블록버스터와 공동 마케팅 개시.jpg
Born (1973-03-20) 20 March 1973 (age 43)
Seoul, South Korea
Occupation Actor, director, producer, model
Years active 1994–present
Agent Artist Company
Korean name
Revised Romanization Jeong U-seong
McCune–Reischauer Chǒng U-sǒng

Jung Woo-sung (born March 20, 1973) is a South Korean actor, director, producer and model. He is also the first Korean UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. Jung started his career as a fashion model, rising to stardom and teenage cult figure status with the gangster movie Beat (1997), for which he received the Best New Actor award at the 17th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards. One of the top South Korean actors, he has received critical acclaim for his work in a wide range of genres; most notably A Moment to Remember, The Good, the Bad, the Weird and Cold Eyes.[1] [2]


1994–2003: Beginnings and Rising popularity[edit]

After first finding work as a model, Jung Woo-sung made his film debut in the 1994 movie The Fox with Nine Tails, together with Ko So-young.[3] For his first major TV drama role in Asphalt Man, he received Best New Actor award at SBS Drama Awards and at 32nd Baeksang Arts Awards.

Jung found widespread fame in Kim Sung-su's 1997 film Beat, in which he played a high school student who becomes caught up in gang life against his will. This movie started his rise to Korea's A-list actor and one of the most sought-after commercial model status. In the following years he portrayed a young boxer in City of the Rising Sun (1999), a naval lieutenant in Phantom: The Submarine, and a marathoner in Love.[3]

In 2001, Jung took on one of his most high-profile roles in Kim Sung-su's epic blockbuster Musa. Playing a long-haired slave, he acted opposite Chinese superstar Zhang Ziyi and received wide exposure abroad as well as in Korea. After spending time in 2002 directing a series of music videos and appearing in a large number of commercials, Jung took on the eccentric lead role in Mutt Boy, the fifth film by director Kwak Kyung-taek.[3]

2004–2010: Established screen image and Mainstream popularity[edit]

Jung's next roles would be in highly romantic roles that played off his established screen image. In the box office hit A Moment to Remember he played an architect whose wife (played by Son Ye-jin) is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease and in the Netherlands-set Daisy, he played a hired assassin who falls in love with a street artist played by Jun Ji-hyun.[3] He portrayed a happily committed fireman in Sad Movie, and rekindled a romance with an old friend in A Good Rain Knows.[4][5][6]

Jung next starred in big-budget martial arts films The Restless and Reign of Assassins, the latter a collaboration with John Woo and Michelle Yeoh.[7]

Kim Jee-woon's "kimchi western" The Good, the Bad, the Weird inspired by Sergio Leone's work, would become one of Jung's most iconic roles, using his physicality to great effect as the Clint Eastwood counterpart in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The film was screened out of competition at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival which also marked its world premiere. He won the Best Supporting Actor award at the 3rd Asian Film Awards and the Outstanding Achievement in Acting Award at the 2008 Hawaii International Film Festival for his performance. Shortly after Jung would work again with Kim Jee-woon on a short film for W Korea.[8]

2010–2012: Television comeback and Directorial works[edit]

Jung Woo-sung on set in 2008

In 2010, Jung returned to the small screen after 14 years' absence in the big-budget spy series Athena: Goddess of War, a spin-off to the 2009 highly successful KBS2 drama IRIS.[9] With a budget of ₩20 billion (US$17 million), the series was shot on location in Italy, New Zealand, Japan and the United States. The pilot episode gathered 22.8% of the audience share. Jung played an NTS (National Anti-Terror Service) agent. Jung and another actor were injured during filming in January 2011, causing a week's postponement of one of Athena's episodes. The series was also edited into a two-hour movie version, and released in 2011 as Athena: The Movie.

In 2011, it was announced that Jung was cast in the English-language 3D remake of John Woo's The Killer.[10] The film was to be shot in Los Angeles, and reunite him with A Moment to Remember director John H. Lee and Reign of Assassins director John Woo acting also as producer.[11] The project has been put on hold while John Woo works on another film.[12]

He made his Japanese drama debut with a guest appearance in episodes 6 and 7 of Good Life ~Arigatou, Papa. Sayonara~.[13]

Jung followed that with another TV series Padam Padam... The Sound of His and Her Heartbeats which marked the establishment of new cable broadcasting station jTBC. Jung said he "decided on this drama because (he) was drawn to the way Noh Hee-kyung writes 'family drama'. Whether mother-son or father-son, the love and pain experienced by families is something (he)’d like to try portraying in a realistic way".[14] He played a man who has recently been released from jail after serving a 16-year sentence for a crime he didn’t commit.[15][16]

In 2012, Jung directed and starred in the promotional commercial for cable channel XTM.[17][18][19] He then directed another short film for Samsung Galaxy S4, with the theme "Meet a Life Companion." His short Love explored the feelings of first love, and recorded 1.8 million views on YouTube.[20] Jung would later direct another short film starring Choi Jin-hyuk for the project "Story of Me and S4".[21]

2013–Present: Critical acclaim[edit]

Jung drew praise in his first villain role in Cold Eyes, an action thriller that became a box office hit in 2013.[22][23][24][25] He portrayed the ruthless head of a criminal organization specializing in bank robbery, eluding the detectives chasing him with uncanny dexterity.[26]

In 2014, Jung along with Chinese actors Francis Ng and Chang Chen, directed three short films for Three Charmed Lives, an omnibus commissioned by the Hong Kong International Film Festival. Critics praised Jung's short The Killer Behind the Old Man as the strongest and most stylish entry. In it, a son hires an ultra-methodical hitman (played by Andy Choi) to assassinate his own father, but the killer however finds himself transfixed by the man's slow-moving and ordered life, and thus hesitates to carry through with his mission.[27][28] Jung was invited to present The Killer Behind the Old Man at the 9th London Korean Film Festival in November 2014.[29]

Jung next played a baduk player seeking revenge in The Divine Move,[30][31][32] followed by an adulterous university professor gradually losing his eyesight in Scarlet Innocence.[33][34] Scarlet Innocence had its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, meeting with positive reviews from critics.[35]

In 2015, Jung was cast in the Joseon-era monster movie Attack of the Strange Object.[36]

In 2016, he stars in the melodrama indie feature Don't Forget Me, a remake of the 2010 short film Remember O Goddess, both directed by Lee Yoon-jung. Jung had also co-produced this movie, explaining that he wanted to protect the director's original ideas that other producers wanted to modify.[37] He then starred in the noir crime thriller Asura: The City of Madness,[38] his fourth collaboration with director Kim Sung-su. Jung plays a detective who attempts to save his terminally ill wife while arresting a corrupt town mayor.[39] Asura premiered globally at the 41st Toronto Film Festival in September 2016, where it was shown in the Special Presentations section.[40] Jung won the Busan Film Critics Awards for Best Actor.

In 2017, Jung starred in Han Jae-rim's crime thriller The King, about a senior prosecutor being manipulated by an overambitious younger colleague connected to the mafia.[41] He was then cast in Steel Rain, playing a former agent from North Korea's intelligence bureau.

Other activities[edit]

UNHCR engagement[edit]

In May 2014, UNHCR Korea appointed Jung Woo-sung as its first celebrity supporter. He was officially nominated UNHCR National Goodwill Ambassador on June 17, 2015.[42] He went on his first UNHCR mission to Nepal in 2014. He then donated ₩50 million (US$46,000) to help victims of the April 25th earthquake. In 2015 he visited South Sudan and in the beginning of March 2016 he met with Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Artist Company[edit]

In May 2016, Jung and actor Lee Jung-jae established and became CEOs of their entertainment label called the 'Artist Company'.[43]

Film festival jury member[edit]

Jung has attended various international film festivals, not only as an actor or director, but has served on the following festivals' juries:

Personal life[edit]

Jung grew up in Sadang-dong, then one of the poorest towns in Seoul.[46] He gave up studying to pursue his dream of becoming an actor, dropping out of high school after one year. It was controversial at the time that he did not conceal this fact but rather claimed that he did not regret his decision.[47]

He grew very tall already in primary school, his height causing him to constantly hunch.[48] Later, when trying to break into the film industry, he was told he was too tall to become an actor, so he started his career in modeling instead.

He is best friends with fellow actor Lee Jung-jae, whom he met while filming City of the Rising Sun. They are co-owners and co-investors of several businesses.[18][19]

The actor is notoriously private about his romantic involvements. The only one that he publicly acknowledged so far was his short-lived relationship with Athena co-star Lee Ji-ah. After they were photographed on a date in Paris,[49] Jung confirmed in March 2011 they were dating.[50][51][52] But after Lee's married and divorced past with top Korean singer-songwriter Seo Taiji became exposed to the public the following month, the Korean press reported in June that Jung and Lee had broken up.[53][54] Despite this and contrary to some other South Korean mega stars Jung's life remains untouched by any scandals and he is often praised by fellow filmmakers for his cooperativeness and willingness to help junior colleagues on the set.[55] He is known for picking up the tab when eating with his co-workers or ordering meals for the entire crew.[56]



Year Title Role
1994 The Fox with Nine Tails Hyuk
1996 Born to Kill Kil
Shanghai Grand Ryu So-hwang
1997 Beat Min
Motel Cactus Lee Mi-ku
1998 City of the Rising Sun Do-chul
1999 Phantom: The Submarine Number 431
Love Myung-soo
2001 Musa Yeo-sol
2003 Mutt Boy Cha Cheol-min
2004 A Moment to Remember Cheol-su
2005 Sad Movie Jin-woo
2006 Daisy Park Yi
The Restless Yi-gwak
2007 Close to You (short film) cameo
2008 The Good, the Bad, the Weird Park Do-won, the Good
2009 Present (W Korea short film) Min-woo
A Good Rain Knows Park Dong-ha
2010 Reign of Assassins Jiang Ah-sheng/Zhang Renfang
2011 Friends & Love (Giordano short film)
2013 Cold Eyes James
2014 The Divine Move Tae-seok
Scarlet Innocence Shim Hak-kyu
2016 Don't Forget Me Seok-won
Asura: The City of Madness Han Do-kyung
2017 The King Han Kang-sik
Steel Rain Eom Chul-woo
TBA Attack of Strange Object Yoon Gyeom

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Network
1995 Asphalt Man Kang Dong-suk SBS
1996 Oxtail Soup SBS
1.5 Lee Jang-wook MBC
2010 Athena: Goddess of War Lee Jung-woo SBS
2011 Good Life ~Arigatou, Papa. Sayonara~ Dr. Lee (episodes 6-7) Fuji TV
Padam Padam... The Sound of His and Her Heartbeats Yang Kang-chil jTBC


Year Title Notes Starring
2000 "After You Left Me" g.o.d music video Shin Min-ah, Kim Kwang-il
2002 "You Just Don't Know" Shin Min-ah, Jo In-sung
"Sad Love"
"A Fool"
2012 EGO XTM station ID himself
2013 Love (4랑) short film Seo Ye-ji, Jo Seung-hyun
Beginning of a Dream short film Choi Jin-hyuk
2014 The Killer Behind the Old Man short film from Three Charmed Lives Andy Choi, Woo Sang-jeon


Year Title
2015 Don't Forget Me

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1995 SBS Drama Awards Best New Actor Asphalt Man Won
1996 32nd Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actor (TV) Won
1997 17th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best New Actor Beat Won
35th Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Nominated
18th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
1999 20th Blue Dragon Film Awards Popular Star Award Phantom: The Submarine Won
2001 22nd Blue Dragon Film Awards Popular Star Award Musa Won
2002 39th Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Nominated
2003 24th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Mutt Boy Nominated
2008 Hawaii International Film Festival Outstanding Achievement in Acting N/A Won
17th Buil Film Awards Best Actor The Good, the Bad, the Weird Won
29th Blue Dragon Film Awards Popular Star Award Won
Korea Fashion & Design Awards Best Dressed of the Year N/A Won
2009 3rd Asian Film Awards Best Supporting Actor The Good, the Bad, the Weird Won
2nd Style Icon Awards Style Icon Actor N/A Won
2011 Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Distinguished Korean Wave Entertainer Award for Film N/A Won
SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award,
Actor in a Special Planning Drama
Athena: Goddess of War Nominated
2013 6th Style Icon Awards Top 10 Style Icon N/A Won
34th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Supporting Actor Cold Eyes Nominated
2014 8th Asian Film Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated
50th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Nominated
51st Grand Bell Awards Best Actor The Divine Move Nominated
35th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
2016 37th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Asura: The City of Madness Nominated
Popular Star Award Won
17th Busan Film Critics Awards Best Actor Won


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  2. ^ http://kpopherald.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=201701191803371970483_2
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External links[edit]