Gang Dong-won

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Gang Dong-won
Kang Dong-won in Feb 2016.jpg
Born (1981-01-18) January 18, 1981 (age 36)
Busan, South Korea
Nationality South Korean
Other names Kang Dong-won
Education Hanyang University
(Mechanical Engineering)
Sangmyung University Graduate School
(Theatre and Film)
Occupation Actor
Years active 2003-present
Agent YG Entertainment
Korean name
Revised Romanization Gang Dong-won
McCune–Reischauer Kang Tong-wǒn

Gang Dong-won (born January 18, 1981) is a South Korean 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 from an economic hardship at that 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 with a degree in Mechanical engineering.[4]


2003–2004: 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," the experience intrigued Gang so much that he decided to take some acting classes. Realizing that acting was what he had been looking for his entire life, the revelation meant a change of career.[6] He quit modeling and 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 1% of Anything.[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] With his beautiful, androgynous looks, Gang's popularity rose, extending to other Asian countries, especially Japan. He then briefly returned to television as an antihero in Magic, though it was not successful ratings-wise.[5][7]

Instead of starring in more mainstream fare, Gang surprised audiences with his next roles as 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] With its strong, star-filled ensemble cast and a high effects budget, the Choi Dong-hoon film turned into a blockbuster holiday event, 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 acclaimed 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[edit]

Gang lay low in 2013, with the exception of appearing in The X, a 30-minute spy thriller directed by Kim Jee-woon that showcases the visual potential of ScreenX, a new 270-degree exhibition system.[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 mystery thriller The Priests.[29] He next starred in the crime film A Violent Prosecutor[30] which became the 2nd highest grossing Korean film of 2016.[31]

In 2016, after ending the contract with United Arts Agency,[32] Gang signed with a new agency, YG Entertainment in January.[33] He next appeared in Uhm Tae-hwa's fantasy film Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned[34] and Cho Ui-seok's financial thriller film Master together with Lee Byung-hun and Kim Woo-bin.[35]

Making 2017 a busy year, Gang is cast in three movies. He will star in thriller Golden Slumber, based on Isaka Kotaro's novel of the same name.[36] He will also feature in war film 1987.[37] He has also been cast in the science fiction action thriller In-Rang, a film adaption based on Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade Japanese animated thriller.[38][39][40]


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 a mining project during Japanese colonial rule, as well as being responsible in part to the creation of the infamous & controversial comfort women. Because of the revelation, an interview Gang gave in 2007 in which he praised his maternal great-grandfather resurfaced online. Gang and his agency, YG Entertainment issued apologetic statements; and Gang cancelled all his upcoming appearances.[41][42]



Year Title Role Notes
Too Beautiful to Lie Choi Hee-cheol
Temptation of Wolves Jeong Tae-seong
Duelist Sad Eyes
Maundy Thursday Jeong Yun-soo
Voice of a Murderer Kidnapper (voice)
M Han Min-woo
Jeon Woo-chi: The Taoist Wizard Jeon Woo-chi
Secret Reunion Song Jee-won
Haunters Cho-in
Camellia Man segment: "Love For Sale"
The X X (short film)
Kundo: Age of the Rampant Jo Yoon
My Brilliant Life Dae-su
The Priests Deacon Choi
A Violent Prosecutor Han Chi-won
Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned adult Sung-min
Master Kim Jae-myung
Golden Slumber Kim Gun-woo
1987 Lee Han-yeol Special appearance
In-Rang Im Joong-kyung

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Network
Country Princess Min Ji-hoon
1% of Anything Lee Jae-in
Magic Cha Gang-jae

Music video appearances[edit]

Year Song title Artist
"I Swear" (Hangul다짐; RRDajim) Jo Sung-mo
"Light" (Hangul; RRBit) J
"It Rains" (Hangul비가와; RRBigawa) Jung Chul
"Let's Break Up" (Hangul헤어지자고) Joo Hyung-jin

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
MBC Drama Awards Best New Actor 1% of Anything Won
40th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actor (Film) Too Beautiful to Lie Nominated
Most Popular Actor (Film) Won
41st Grand Bell Awards Best New Actor Nominated
25th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best New Actor Temptation of Wolves Nominated
Popular Star Award Won
24th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best New Actor Won
3rd Korean Film Awards Best New Actor Won
Too Beautiful to Lie Nominated
7th Director's Cut Awards Best New Actor Won
3rd CGV Audience Choice of the Year Awards Best New Actor Temptation of Wolves Won
41st Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actor (Film) Won
28th Golden Cinematography Awards Best New Actor Won
26th Blue Dragon Film Awards Popular Star Award Duelist Won
43rd Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Maundy Thursday Nominated
46th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Secret Reunion Nominated
19th Buil Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
30th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best Actor Won
47th Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Nominated
31st Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
51st Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Kundo: Age of the Rampant Nominated
11th Max Movie Awards Best Actor The Priests Nominated
8th Style Icon Awards Bonsang ("Main Award") N/A Won
New York Asian Film Festival Star Asia Award[43] Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned Won


  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. ^ YG와 전속 계약 강동원, 학창시절 성적표 보니? `아이큐 137 엄친아` [Gang Dong-won signs contract with YG, his school records show an IQ of 137]. MK News (in Korean). 19 January 2016. Retrieved 2016-11-28. 
  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. ^ "Gang Dong-won closes contract with UAA". The Korea Times. 23 April 2013. 
  33. ^ Son, Ji-hyoung (18 January 2016). "YG clinches contract with Gang Dong-won". K-pop Herald. Retrieved 2016-05-10. 
  34. ^ "Kang Dong-won to appear on big screen". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2017-03-04. 
  35. ^ "Top actors to light up action film “Master”". The Korea Times. 17 December 2015. 
  36. ^ "GANG Dong-won & HAN Hyo-joo Headline Thriller GOLDEN SLUMBER". Korean Film Biz Zone. 27 December 2016. 
  37. ^ "‘1987,’ film on historic democratic movement boasts star-studded cast". The Korea Herald. 3 April 2017. 
  38. ^ "Kim Jee-woon’s upcoming sci-fi flick boasts stellar cast". The Korea Herald. 18 July 2017. 
  39. ^ 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. 
  40. ^ "KIM Jee-woon’s Sci-fi Action INRANG Starts Shooting in August". Korean Film Biz Zone. 28 July 2017. 
  41. ^ "A-list actor mired in controversy". Korea JoongAng Daily. 8 March 2017. 
  42. ^ "Kang Dong-won apologizes for pro-Japanese controversy". Kpop Herald. Herald Corporation. 6 March 2017. 
  43. ^ "GANG Dong-won Receives the Star Asia Award at NYAFF". Korean Film Biz Zone. 20 June 2017. 

External links[edit]