Choi Woo-shik (born March 26, 1990) is a Korean-Canadian actor. He first gained widespread recognition for his role in the film Set Me Free (2014). He then co-starred in the films Train to Busan (2016) and Parasite (2019), both of which received international critical acclaim and success, the latter of which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Choi Woo-shik
Choi U-shik in 2018.jpg
Choi in 2018
Born (1990-03-26) March 26, 1990 (age 29)
NationalitySouth Korean, Canadian
Alma materChung-Ang University – Cultural Studies
OccupationActor
Years active2011–present
AgentManagement SOOP[1]
Korean name
Hangul
Hanja
崔宇植
Revised RomanizationChoe U-sik
McCune–ReischauerCh'oe U-sik

Early lifeEdit

Choi was born in Seoul, South Korea, the youngest of two sons. He immigrated to Canada with his family when he was in grade five, living in British Columbia, where he spent the next ten years of his life.[2] He attended high school at Pinetree Secondary School.[3] His English name is Edward and he goes by the nickname Eddie. [4]

Then in 2011, while a junior at Simon Fraser University, then-21-year-old Choi returned to Korea to attend acting auditions, and subsequently made his acting debut. While in Korea, he enrolled in ChungAng University, where he majored in cultural studies.[3]

CareerEdit

2011–2015: Early yearsEdit

Choi made his acting debut in the period drama The Duo in 2011.[5] Supporting roles followed, and Choi was cast in crime drama Special Affairs Team TEN as detective Park Min-ho.[6] Choi reprised his role when the series was renewed for a second season in 2013.[7] He made his big screen debut that same year, starring as a supporting character in the film Secretly, Greatly. In the interim, Choi played several characters on television series such as Rooftop Prince, You Are My Destiny and Pride and Prejudice.

In 2014, Choi took on his first leading role in the coming-of-age independent film Set Me Free.[8] He played the role of Young-jae, a sixteen-year-old student living in a group home, who pretends that he wants to become a priest in order to prolong his stay at the home. The film was well received by critics, and Choi was praised for his portrayal of the protagonist's inner conflict.[9] He won several awards for his acting, including Actor of the Year at the Busan International Film Festival.[10][11] Later that year, Choi also starred in the action comedy film Big Match, playing the role of genius hacker Guru.

Choi starred as the titular character in the romantic comedy cable series Hogu's Love. The series began airing on 9 February 2015.[12] Choi also took part in the R-rated Hong Kong-Singaporean film In the Room later that year. The film featured an anthology of characters, set in a single-room brothel at a hotel in Singapore.[13]

2016–present: rising fame and international breakthroughEdit

Choi first gained international recognition with the blockbuster zombie thriller film Train to Busan, where he played the role of high school baseball player, Yong-guk. Premiering at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival on May 13, the film was a critical and commercial success, going on to gross over $93.1 million worldwide.[14] He followed this up with a short, but memorable role as a truck driver in action-adventure film Okja.[15] This marked his first collaboration with director Bong Joon-ho and featured an international cast, including Tilda Swinton and Paul Dano. Okja was screened in several independent theatres domestically, and released on streaming platform Netflix worldwide.

Choi continued starring in several other films after this, including The Princess and the Matchmaker and Monstrum. In 2018, Choi was cast as a mysterious assassin called the "Nobleman" in the action film The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion.[16] The dark persona of the Nobleman was a shift from the bubbly characters Choi usually played. In a press interview, co-star Park Hee-soon remarked that Nobleman could be Choi's once-in-a-lifetime character.[17]

In 2019, Choi reunited with director Bong Joon-ho for the black comedy thriller film Parasite.[18][19] Choi played Ki-woo, the son of a poor family, who schemes to become employed by a wealthy family by infiltrating their household and posing as unrelated, highly qualified individuals. Choi was first approached by Bong after their first collaboration with Okja in 2016, who told the actor to "stay skinny" to play the character.[20] Parasite premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival on 21 May 2019, where it became the first South Korean film to win the Palme d'Or, and was the first film to win with a unanimous vote since Blue Is the Warmest Colour at the 2013 Festival. Among other numerous accolades, Parasite won a leading four awards at the 92nd Academy Awards. It became the first South Korean film to receive Academy Award recognition, as well as the first film in a language other than English to win Best Picture.[21] The cast also won the award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards.[22]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2011 Etude, Solo Short film
2012 Circle of Crime – Director's Cut [23]
2013 Secretly, Greatly Yoon Yoo-joon [24]
2014 Set Me Free Young-jae [8]
Big Match Guru [25]
2015 In the Room Min-jun Singaporean film [26]
2016 Train to Busan Yong-guk [27]
2017 Okja Kim Woo-shik [28]
2018 Golden Slumber Joo-ho Cameo appearance [29]
The Princess and the Matchmaker Nam Chi-ho [30]
The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion Nobleman
Monstrum Officer Hur [31]
2019 Rosebud Young Soon-cheol
Parasite Kim Ki-woo/Kevin (alias)
The Divine Fury Father Choi Cameo appearance [32]
2020 Time to Hunt Ki-hoon [33]
Puppy [34]
Past Lives [35]
Wonderland [36]

Television seriesEdit

Year Title Role Network Notes Ref.
2011 The Duo young Gwi-dong MBC [37]
Living in Style Na Joo-ra SBS [38]
Deep Rooted Tree young Jung Gi-joon / Ga Ri-on [39]
Special Affairs Team TEN Park Min-ho OCN [40]
2012 Rooftop Prince Do Chi-san SBS [41]
Shut Up Family Yeol Woo-bong KBS2 [42]
Drama Special – "Culprit Among Friends" young Do-hyun
2013 Special Affairs Team TEN Season 2 Park Min-ho OCN [43]
Who Are You? Hee-koo tvN Cameo, Episodes 10, 12 [44]
Drama Festival – "Principal Investigator: Save Wang Jo-hyun!" Boo Joong-shik MBC [45]
2014 You're All Surrounded Choi Woo-shik SBS Cameo, Episode 4 [46]
You Are My Destiny Lee Yong MBC [47]
Pride and Prejudice Lee Jang-won [48]
Dr. Frost Kim Jung-hoon OCN Cameo, Episode 8
2015 Dream Knight Naver TV Cast Cameo [49]
Hogu's Love Kang Ho-gu tvN [12]
My Fantastic Funeral Park Dong-soo SBS Two-part special [50]
2017 Fight for My Way Park Moo-bin KBS2 Cameo, Episode 1-7 [51]
The Package Kim Gyung-jae jTBC [52]
The Boy Next Door Park Gyu-tae Dingo Studios [53]

Variety showEdit

Year Title Network Notes Ref.
2012 Real Mate in Australia, Rooftop Prince Trio QTV Cast member [54]
2013–2014 Beating Hearts SBS [55]
2015 Law of the Jungle in Nicaragua [56]

Music video appearancesEdit

Year Song title Artist Ref.
2014 "My Old Story" IU [57]
2015 "Congratulations" DAY6 [58]
2017 "That Moment" Im Seulong [59]
"You Were Beautiful" DAY6 [60]

DiscographyEdit

Year Song title Notes
2017 "Some Guys" (with Jang Ki-yong) From an OST of the web series The Boy Next Door
2019 "Soju One Glass" From the OST of the movie Parasite

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2014 19th Busan International Film Festival Actor of the Year Set Me Free Won [61]
2015 10th Max Movie Awards Best New Actor Nominated
16th Busan Film Critics Awards Won [62]
2nd Wildflower Film Awards Won [63]
24th Buil Film Awards Nominated
35th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Won [64]
36th Blue Dragon Film Awards Won [65]
The Korea Film Actors' Association Awards Popular Actor Award Won [66]
2016 11th Max Movie Awards Rising Star Award N/A Won [67]
2017 22nd Chunsa Film Art Awards Special Popularity Award Won [68]
2019 24th Chunsa Film Art Awards Best Actor Parasite Nominated [69]
28th Buil Film Awards Nominated
18th Korea First Brand Awards Best Actor (Film) N/A Won [70]
2020 25th Critics' Choice Awards Best Acting Ensemble Parasite Nominated [71]
26th Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Won [72]

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit