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Choi Min-sik (born May 30, 1962)[1] is a South Korean actor. He is best known for his critically acclaimed roles in Oldboy (2003), I Saw the Devil (2010), and The Admiral: Roaring Currents (2014). He also starred alongside Scarlett Johansson in the 2014 film Lucy.
His critically acclaimed film Oldboy (2003) won him the Best Actor prize in three prestigious award ceremonies: 40th Baeksang Art Awards, 24th Blue Dragon Awards and 41st Grand Bell Awards — a feat that only Lee Byung-hun has to be repeated.

Choi Min-sik
Choi Min-sik.jpg
Choi Min-sik at the 44th Carlsbad International Film Festival, July 9, 2009
Born (1962-05-30) May 30, 1962 (age 57)
NationalitySouth Korean
OccupationActor
Years active1989–present
AwardsROK Order of Cultural Merit Og-gwan (4th Class) ribbon.PNG Okgwan Order of Cultural Merit (2004)
Korean name
Hangul
Hanja
Revised RomanizationChoe Min-sik
McCune–ReischauerCh'oe Minsik

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Choi was born in Seoul, South Korea.[1] When he was in third grade, Choi was diagnosed with tuberculosis and told that he could not be cured. He claims to have regained his health by a month-long stay in the mountains.[2]

CareerEdit

Graduating with a degree in theatre from Dongguk University,[3] Choi began his career as a theatre actor. He then started filming, playing roles in Park Jong-won's early movies, like Kuro Arirang and Our Twisted Hero. He continued to act on stage, as well as in television dramas like The Moon of Seoul with Han Suk-kyu.[4]

In 1997, he played a police investigator in Song Neung-han's No. 3, and then accepted a role in Kim Jee-woon's debut film The Quiet Family. The first real success came with his role of a North Korean agent in Shiri in 1999. The film was not only critically acclaimed but also achieved box office success. Choi received the Best Actor award at Grand Bell Awards for his portrayal. In the same year he also took part in a stage production of Hamlet, and then starred in Happy End, where he portrayed a man who is cheated on by his wife. In 2001 he took the role of a gangster opposite Cecilia Cheung in Failan.[4]

A year later he portrayed Jang Seung-eop, a Joseon painter in Im Kwon-taek's Chihwaseon,[5] which was awarded the Best Director prize in Cannes.

In 2003 he starred in Park Chan-wook's Oldboy, which made him popular not only in South Korea but also won him international recognition.[6][7][4]

He continued displaying his versatility in 2004 and 2005, playing a trumpet player in Springtime,[8] a struggling former boxer in Ryoo Seung-wan's Crying Fist,[9] and a child murderer in Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, the last film in Park Chan-wook's revenge trilogy.[10]

In 2005 he and Song Kang-ho were accused by director and Cinema Service head Kang Woo-suk of being greedy for money and demanding profit share for "contribution" when no contribution was done. Kang later rescinded the statement and apologized.[11][12][13][14]

At various points during 2006, Choi (and other South Korean film industry professionals, together and separately from Choi) demonstrated in Seoul[15][16] and at the Cannes Film Festival against the South Korean administration's decision to reduce the Screen Quotas from 146 to 73 days as part of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States.[17][18][19] As a sign of protest, Choi returned the prestigious Okgwan Order of Cultural Merit which had been awarded to him, saying, "To halve the screen quota is tantamount to a death sentence for Korean film. This medal, once a symbol of pride, is now nothing more than a sign of disgrace, and it is with a heavy heart that I must return it."[20]

In the next four years, Choi went on a self-imposed exile from making films,[21][22] begun in protest over the screen quota but also partly due to the studios' reluctance to hire the outspoken and politically active actor. Instead he returned to his theater roots in the 2007 staging of The Pillowman, his first play in seven years.[23][24]

During the retrospective on Choi held at the 14th Lyon Asian Film Festival in November 2008,[25][26] the actor was asked his reaction to the upcoming remake of Oldboy, and he admitted to the French reporters present that he was upset at Hollywood for using what he described as pressure tactics on Asian and European filmmakers so they could remake foreign movies in the United States.[27]

Choi made his comeback in Jeon Soo-il's 2009 art film Himalaya, Where the Wind Dwells, in which he was the only South Korean actor working with locally cast Tibetan actors.[28][29]

Though Kim Jee-woon's 2010 action thriller I Saw the Devil drew criticism from some quarters for its ultra-violent content, reviewers agreed that Choi's performance as a serial killer was memorable and the film emerged as a box office success.[30][31]

He did voice acting for Leafie, A Hen into the Wild, which in 2011 became the highest grossing South Korean animated film in history.[32] In his 2012 follow-up Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time, Choi played another complex, layered antihero, and the Yoon Jong-bin film was both a critical and box office hit.[33][34][35] and earned him the Best Performance by an Actor award at the 2012 Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

Choi's next film was Park Hoon-jung's New World, a 2013 noir about an undercover cop in the world of gangsters, which also became successful critically and commercially.[36][37]

For his English-language debut, Choi appeared in Luc Besson's Lucy (2014), in the role of a gangster who kidnaps a girl and forces her to become a drug mule (Scarlett Johansson), but she inadvertently acquires superhuman powers.[38][39][40][41][42][43]

He then played Yi Sun-sin in the blockbuster period epic The Admiral: Roaring Currents about the Battle of Myeongnyang, regarded as one of the admiral's most remarkable naval victories.[44][45][42] Roaring Currents became the all-time most watched film in South Korean film history, the first ever to reach 15 million admissions and the first local film to gross more than US$100 million.[46][41][47]

Choi next starred in the period film The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale, where he played a hunter.[48][49]

Choi had three films in 2017; he played an unscrupulous mayor in the political film The Mayor,[50][51][52] and headlined the remake crime thriller Heart Blackened.[53][54]

He is set to star in the period film Astronomy next, playing Jang Yeong-sil.[55]

FilmographyEdit

 
Choi Min-sik at the New York Asian Film Festival, on June 30, 2012

FilmEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1989 Kuro Arirang
1990 That Which Falls Has Wings
1992 Our Twisted Hero Teacher Kim
1992 May Our Love Stay This Way
1993 Sara is Guilty
1995 Mom, the Star, and the Sea Anemone
1997 No. 3 Ma Dong-pal
1998 The Quiet Family Kang Chang-ku
1999 Shiri Mu-young
1999 Happy End Seo Min-ki
2001 Failan Kang-jae
2002 Chi-hwa-seon Jang Seung-up
2003 Oldboy Oh Dae-su
2004 Taegukgi North Korean commander Cameo
2004 Springtime Hyeon-woo
2005 Crying Fist Kang Tae-sik
2005 Sympathy for Lady Vengeance Mr. Baek
2009 Tidal Wave Man on Bridge, Man near Baby Store
2009 Himalaya, Where the Wind Dwells Choi
2010 I Saw the Devil Jang Kyung-chul
2011 Leafie, A Hen into the Wild Drifter Voice
2011 Ari Ari the Korean Cinema Himself Documentary
2012 Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time Choi Ik-hyun
2013 New World Kang Hyung-chul
2013 In My End Is My Beginning Doctor (voice) Cameo
2014 Lucy Mr. Jang
2014 The Admiral: Roaring Currents Admiral Yi Sun-shin
2015 The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale Chun Man-duk
2016 Old Days Himself Documentary
2017 The Mayor Byeon Jong-gu
2017 Heart Blackened Im Tae-san
2018 The Underdog
2019 Astronomy Jang Yeong-sil

Television seriesEdit

Year Title Network
1990 Years of Ambition KBS2
1992 The Beloved KBS1
1992 Sons and Daughters MBC
1993 The Burning River MBC
1993 Sun and Moon KBS2
1994 The Moon of Seoul MBC
1994 The Last Lover MBC
1995 Till We Meet Again SBS
1995 The Fourth Republic MBC
1996 Their Embrace MBC
1996 Dad Is the Boss SBS
1997 Love and Separation MBC
1997 Miss and Mister SBS

TheaterEdit

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1990 KBS Drama Awards Best New Actor Years of Ambition Won
1992 13th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Supporting Actor Our Twisted Hero Nominated
1993 31st Grand Bell Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated
38th Asia Pacific Film Festival Best Supporting Actor Won
1997 21st Seoul Theater Festival Best Actor Taxi Driver Won
35th Grand Bell Awards Best Supporting Actor No. 3 Nominated
1999 22nd Golden Cinematography Awards Most Popular Actor Shiri Won
35th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Won
36th Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Won
20th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
2nd Director's Cut Awards Best Actor Happy End Won
2000 45th Asia Pacific Film Festival Best Actor Won
2001 2nd Busan Film Critics Awards Best Actor Failan Won [56]
22nd Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Won [57]
21st Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best Actor Won
4th Director's Cut Awards Best Actor Won
2002 38th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Nominated
39th Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Nominated
4th Deauville Asian Film Festival Best Actor Won [58]
23rd Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Chi-hwa-seon Nominated
2003 24th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Oldboy Won [59]
2004 40th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Won
41st Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Won [60]
12th Chunsa Film Art Awards Best Actor Won [61]
24th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best Actor Won [62]
1st Max Movie Awards Best Actor Won
49th Asia Pacific Film Festival Best Actor Won
7th Director's Cut Awards Best Actor Won
1st University Film Festival of Korea Best Actor Won
3rd Korean Film Awards Best Actor Won [63]
Springtime Nominated
25th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
2005 The Village Voice Annual Film Critics Poll Best Performance, Rank #40 Oldboy Won
9th Fantasia Festival Best Actor Crying Fist Won [64]
5th Korea World Youth Film Festival Favorite Actor Won
2010 13th Director's Cut Awards Best Actor I Saw the Devil Won
47th Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Nominated
8th Korean Film Awards Best Actor Nominated [65]
2011 Scream Awards Best Villain Nominated
2012 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Actor Nominated
48th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time Nominated
21st Buil Film Awards Best Actor Won [66]
6th Asia Pacific Screen Awards Best Actor Won [67]
49th Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Nominated
33rd Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Won [68]
2013 4th KOFRA Film Awards Best Actor Won [69]
7th Asian Film Awards Best Actor Nominated [70]
Favorite Actor Nominated
2014 2nd Marie Claire Asia Star Awards Actor of the Year The Admiral: Roaring Currents Won
23rd Buil Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
34th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best Actor Won [71]
51st Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Won [72]
4th SACF Artists of the Year Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Won [73]
35th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
3rd Korea Film Actors Association Awards Top Star Award Won
2015 6th KOFRA Film Awards Best Actor Won [74]
10th Max Movie Awards Best Actor Won [75]
20th Chunsa Film Art Awards Best Actor Nominated [76]
9th Asian Film Awards Best Actor Nominated [77]
51st Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (film) Nominated
Grand Prize (Daesang) (Film) Won [78]
2016 21st Chunsa Film Art Awards Best Actor The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale Nominated
53rd Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Nominated
2017 6th Korea Film Actors Association Awards Top Star Award Heart Blackened Won [79]

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (January 30, 2012). "Actor Choi Min-sik reveals that he nearly died in grade three". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  3. ^ Kim, Sang-yoo (November 4, 2010). "Dongguk Conquers Movie Screens and TV shows". Dongguk University News Clipping. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Paquet, Darcy. "Actors and Actresses of Korean Cinema: Choi Min-shik". Koreanfilm.org. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
  5. ^ "Interview with Main Actor, Choi Min-sik". Kino International. Archived from the original on October 5, 2009. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
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  7. ^ "The Break-Up Artist". The Chosun Ilbo. November 9, 2003. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
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  52. ^ "(Yonhap Interview) Politicians' craving for power now understandable, says 'The Mayor' actor". Yonhap News Agency. April 20, 2017.
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  78. ^ "South Korean Actor Choi Min-sik Wins Grand Prize at Baeksang Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. May 26, 2015.
  79. ^ "Top Star Awards for NA Moon-hee, LEE Jung-hyun, CHOI Min-shik and Hyun-bin". Korean Film Biz Zone. January 8, 2018.

External linksEdit