Part of the success of the Korean wave and many people’s addiction to KDramas are their dreamy leading men (come on! admit it!). Apart from their gorgeous physique, many of them are good actors. Others, even if they do not have the traditional good looks, become handsome in my eyes once they begin acting. I have been watching KDramas since 2004 but I must admit that I have not watched a lot. I am not familiar with acting styles, my only basis is how they affect me.
This is a list of my favorite Korean actors who are in their 30’s. Most of their works I have seen were done when they were still a little younger and I am glad to see that some of them just gets better with age.
1. Jo In-sung
Jo In-sung is the typical image of the tall, handsome man. I first saw him in Memories of Bali where he played one of my most unforgettable KDrama characters Jung Jae-min. His role in “The Classic” also made me more drawn to him. But it was in “A Dirty Carnival” and “A Frozen Flower” that I got impressed. His latest works, “That Winter The Wind Blows” and “It’s Okay, It’s Love” show more of his acting. Though many say that he tends to overact in some scenes, he has that power to move and touch viewers in the right spot.
2. So Ji-sub
It seems So Ji-sub is the ideal man of many KDrama fans. Apart from his acting skills, his appeal is undeniable. I have always seen him as the serious and brooding type, probably because of “Memories of Bali.” But after watching him in “The Master’s Sun”, I was convinced that he can be funny and quirky too. I have yet to watch his earlier works and his movies but I am sure that I would not be disappointed.
3. Hyun Bin
Hyun Bin is the reason I came back to KDramas after not watching anything for years. “Secret Garden” is what made me stay for good and no matter how bratty he is, Kim Joo-won is one of my biggest crushes. “My Name is Kim Sam-soon” is a classic favorite of mine as well. He seems to have mastered playing the role of a rich, arrogant brat but this does not mean that he cannot do other roles. He had been a man on the run in “Late Autumn”, a man facing divorce in “Come Rain, Come Shine” and a man with mental illness in “I am Happy.” He would further demonstrate his acting in the upcoming drama “Jekyll and I.”
4. Gong Yoo
“Coffee Prince” has always occupied a very special place in my heart and a big part of that love is Gong Yoo’s portrayal of Choi Han-kyul. I just really felt him – his growing attraction, his denial, his confusion. And in that “I like you. Whether you’re a man or an alien, I don’t care anymore.” moment, I was screaming in kilig. His other notable works were “Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy” and “Silenced.” I have yet to watch “The Suspect” but I am sure that he can kick ass!
He’s Rain. Need I say more? I will admit I have not watched all his works. I love “Full House” and even “I am a Cyborg and That’s Ok.” I was disappointed in “A Love to Kill” and the recent “My Lovable Girl” but not with him. Rain always gives his best performance and he can display a lot of emotions. A friend said that he is not handsome at first glance but once he starts acting, he gets more and more good looking. And I agree (except for the not handsome at first glance part because for me he is the total package – singer, dancer, actor, good looks, great height, awesome abs).
6. Jang Hyuk
Jang Hyuk has a lot of loyal fans and I only understood quite recently in “Fated to Love You.” I will never forget Lee-gun’s laugh and all his tears in the midst of that laughter. I have yet to discover him. I have seen “Can You Please Teach Me English” and “Winstruck” and so far I am enjoying his performances.
7. Kim Rae won
He can be funny, dramatic, and even badass. Kim Rae-won has a lot of good movies and dramas. My favorites are “Attic Cat,” “Love Story in Harvard,” and “…ing.” I read good reviews about “Sunflower” and “Insadong Scandal” and watched a few episodes of “Gourmet” and “A Thousand Day Promise.”
8. Cha Tae-hyun
Cha Tae-hyun is the example of the not stereotypical handsome guy but gets handsome when he acts, he just grows on you. “My Sassy Girl” would not be so phenomenal if he did not do a good job playing Gyun-woo. I have not seen any of his dramas but I loved his performances in “Speedy Scandal,” “My Girl and I,” and “Babo: The Miracle of the Giving Fool.”
So that wraps up my list of my favorite Korean actors in their 30’s. Next time, I will write about the young actors in their 20’s who I am following.
How about you? Do we have the same favorites? Do you have a name I could check out? =)