Kim Sung-hoon (born March 11, 1978), better known as Ha Jung-woo (Korean하정우), is a South Korean actor, film director, screenwriter and film producer. One of the highest grossing actors in South Korea, Ha's starring films have accumulated more than 100 million tickets. Only 3 other actors have reached this milestone, with Ha being nearly a decade younger than the rest when achieving this.

Ha Jung-woo
Ha in 2017
Kim Sung-hoon

(1978-03-11) March 11, 1978 (age 45)
Seoul, South Korea
EducationChung-Ang University (School of Performing Arts and Media – Theater)
  • Actor
  • film director
  • screenwriter
  • film producer
Years active2002–present
AgentWalk House Company
PartnerGoo Eun-ae (2008–2012)
RelativesCha Hyun-woo (brother) Hwang Bo-ra (sister-in-law)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationHa Jeong-u
McCune–ReischauerHa Chŏngu
Birth name
Revised RomanizationGim Seong-hun
McCune–ReischauerKim Sŏnghun

His breakthrough to stardom came with the role in Na Hong-jin's serial killer film The Chaser (2008). One of the leading actors of his generation in Korean cinema, Ha showcased his versatility across films of various genres: road movie My Dear Enemy (2008), sports film Take Off (2009), action thriller The Yellow Sea (2010), gangster saga Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time (2012), romantic comedy Love Fiction (2012), spy actioner The Berlin File (2013), and action thriller The Terror Live (2013). Ha is also known for his role as grim reaper Gang-rim in the fantasy action film Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds (2017) and its 2018 sequel.

He made his directorial debut through the comedy film Fasten Your Seatbelt (2013), followed by Chronicle of a Blood Merchant (2015).

Early life edit

Born as Kim Sung-hoon, Ha Jung-woo came from an acting family. His father Kim Yong-gun is a well-known veteran actor who has appeared in many movies and television series, while his younger brother Kim Young-hoon (stage name: Cha Hyun-woo) is an aspiring actor.[1] Ha has said that since he was 4 or 5 years old, he has always dreamed of becoming an actor like his father. Before entering college, Ha studied at a private acting institute and at one point had actor Lee Beom-soo as his instructor. He then enrolled at Chung-Ang University as a theater major, where he acted on the stage.

In 1998, Ha began his military service, working in the Armed Forces Public Relations Department. He put his acting experience to good use during this time, appearing in 10 promotional films for the military.

Career edit

2002–2007: Beginnings edit

Kim Sung-hoon made his acting debut in the 2002 SBS sitcom Honest Living and his feature film debut in the 2003 film Madeleine. For the next few years, Kim's acting career was relatively low-key, appearing in several supporting roles, but not receiving a lot of attention. In 2005, Kim signed with talent agency SidusHQ and on their recommendation adopted the stage name "Ha Jung-woo."[2] He then appeared in his first starring role in the indie film The Unforgiven, a blistering critique of the physical and psychological violence within military ranks.[3][4]

Ha's subsequent roles in controversial arthouse director Kim Ki-duk's Time and Breath brought more notice to his acting talents in Korea and overseas.[5] His portrayal of a cool-headed prosecutor who is romantically involved with a feisty police officer played by Go Hyun-jung in the popular MBC drama series H.I.T attracted female fans and gained him popularity among the masses. He also starred in the American indie film Never Forever opposite Vera Farmiga, which garnered praise from the film festival circuit.[6]

2008–2009: Breakthrough edit

Ha's breakout came in the 2008 film The Chaser, in which he played a psychopath character loosely based on serial killer Yoo Young-chul.[7] The movie became a huge hit at the Korean box office, raking in over 5 million ticket sales, while also garnering high praise from critics and numerous awards from local award-giving bodies. American director Martin Scorsese, rumored to be attached to a Hollywood remake of The Chaser,[8][needs update] has complimented Ha as having as much potential as his The Departed stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon.[9] Ha followed this up with a portrayal of a charming scoundrel in My Dear Enemy that same year, showcased his versatility and elevated his status as one of the most sought-after actors in the Korean film industry.[10] From 2008-2009, he took on diverse but compelling roles in The Moonlight of Seoul,[11] Boat,[12] and Take Off.[13] Take Off, based on the Korean national ski jumping team, became one of the biggest box office hits of 2009.[14][15][16]

2009–2013: Commercial and critical success edit

Ha reunited with his The Chaser director Na Hong-jin and costar Kim Yoon-seok in Na's sophomore feature The Yellow Sea,[17] which netted Ha Best Actor trophies from the Asian Film Awards, Baeksang Arts Awards and the Korean Association of Film Critics.[18][19][20] Ha then starred in the legal thriller The Client, which evoked his early days of theater, and the director praised Ha for his "moments of true brilliance and genius" during the production.[21][22][23] In early 2012, Samsung Electronics produced an ambitious PPL-frequent-film project featuring Galaxy Note, their latest Tablet hybrid mobile. Titled as Cine Note, the giant project comprises three shorts by directors Kang Hyeong-cheol, Jang Hoon and E J-yong. Ha played the leading role for all the three of the films, while celebrated musician Lee Seung-chul produced music using the device, and noted webtoon artists Son Jae-ho and Lee Gwang-soo created the film’s animated content.[24][25][26]

Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time was Ha's third collaboration with longtime friend director Yoon Jong-bin, also starring acclaimed veteran actor Choi Min-sik.[27] This was followed shortly by the unconventional romantic comedy Love Fiction opposite Gong Hyo-jin.[28][29] Both were box office hits.[30] After wrapping Love Fiction, Ha along with Gong and 14 other actors went on a cross-country walking trip from Seoul to Haenam, South Jeolla Province. Their journey was chronicled in the documentary 577 Project, denoting the total distance covered in kilometers. Ha was in charge of three aspects of the production including planning, acting and casting. He said he did it to thank fans for their support after he won back-to-back Best Actor awards at the 2010 and 2011 Baeksang Arts Awards.[31][32][33] In Ryoo Seung-wan's The Berlin File, Ha starred as a North Korean agent in Berlin who is betrayed and cut loose in the midst of a financial espionage intrigue.[34][35][36] He then appeared the action thriller The Terror Live, playing a news anchor with an exclusive, live broadcast on a terrorist attack.[37][38][39]

2014–present: Career resurgence and return to television and film edit

Ha then made his directorial debut with Rollercoaster (released internationally as Fasten Your Seatbelt), based on his own screenplay about the comic interactions between the cabin crew and passengers (including an arrogant Hallyu star played by Jung Kyung-ho) of a flight from Tokyo to Gimpo International Airport which becomes in danger of crashing when the plane hits a major storm.[40][41][42] The film was a box office success.[43]

Working with Yoon Jong-bin again, Ha played a Joseon era butcher-turned-outlaw in the period action film Kundo: Age of the Rampant.[44][45] In 2015, Ha directed, wrote and starred in Chronicle of a Blood Merchant, a film adaptation of Chinese author Yu Hua's 1995 novel.[39][46][47][48][49] He then appeared in one of the biggest domestic hits of the year, Choi Dong-hoon's Assassination about resistance fighters given orders to kill a Japanese army commander in the colonial era.[50]

In 2016, Ha starred again in two box office hits; Park Chan-wook's The Handmaiden, an adaptation of the Sarah Waters novel Fingersmith also set during 1930s Korea;,[51] and survival thriller The Tunnel.[52]

In 2017, Ha starred in Kim Yong-hwa's Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds, an adaptation of the webtoon Along With the Gods, about a court in the afterlife where the deceased undergo multiple trials for 49 days,[53] and 1987: When the Day Comes, about a political crisis that led to the June Democratic Uprising in 1987 which ended the military regime of President Chun Doo-hwan.[54][55] He reprised his role as Gang-rim in the 2018 sequel, Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days.[56][57][58]

In 2018, Ha starred in the action thriller Take Point, reuniting with The Terror Lives director Kim Byung-woo.[59]

In 2019, Ha was cast in the science fiction action film Mount Paektu.[60][61]

In 2020, Ha starred in the horror film The Closet.[62]

In 2023, Ha starred in the sports drama film Boston 1947, which tells the story of the 1947 Boston International Marathon.[63]

Other activities edit

Ha is also an artist. Though it began as a hobby in his university days, Ha began painting in earnest in 2007. His paintings, all done in a hybrid of Pop art and Expressionist styles,[64] have been displayed in several solo art exhibitions.[65][66][67][68][69][70][71][72] Critics have said his paintings, with their strong colors and interesting composition[73] are reminiscent of those by American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.[74] "Life as an actor is like living through an invisible war. Paintings soothe me and make me rational. It is too extravagant to say that painting is my hobby; it is rather a way for me to survive as an actor," said Ha.[75][76]

In 2011 he published a compilation of essays titled Ha Jung-woo, Good Feeling. Besides his musings on life, Ha also wrote his thoughts on famous artists such as Pablo Picasso. The book also included about 60 of his own drawings.[77]

Personal life edit

Ha dated fashion model Goo Eun-ae from August 2008 to January 2012.[78][79][80][81]

Filmography edit

Film edit

As actor edit

Film performances
Year Title Role
English Korean
2003 Madeleine 마들렌 Joon-ho
2004 Superstar Mr. Gam 슈퍼스타 감사용 Kim Yoo-weol
2005 She's on Duty 잠복근무 Detective Jo
The Unforgiven 용서받지 못한 자 Yoo Tae-jeong
2006 Time 시간 Ji-woo
The Fox Family 구미호 가족 Son fox
2007 Never Forever 두번째 사랑 Kim Ji-ha
Breath Yeon's husband
2008 Forever the Moment 우리 생애 최고의 순간 Blind date man
The Chaser 추격자 Je Yeong-min
Beastie Boys 비스티 보이즈 Jae-hyun
Our School's E.T. 울학교 이티 Handsome doctor
My Dear Enemy 멋진 하루 Jo Byung-woon
2009 Like You Know It All 잘 알지도 못하면서 Sculptor / Cheon-soo's neighbor
Boat 보트 Hyung-gu
Take Off 국가대표 Cha Heon-tae / Bob
2010 Parallel Life[82] 평행이론 Jang Soo-young
The Yellow Sea 황해 Gu-nam
2011 Come Rain, Come Shine 사랑한다, 사랑하지 않는다 Other man
The Client 의뢰인 Kang Sung-hee
2012 Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time 범죄와의 전쟁 Choi Hyung-bae
Love Fiction 러브 픽션 Goo Joo-wol / Detective Ma Dong-wook
577 Project 577 프로젝트 Himself
2013 Behind the Camera 뒷담화: 감독이 미쳤어요 Himself
The Berlin File 베를린 Pyo Jong-seong
The Terror Live 더 테러 라이브 Yoon Young-hwa
2014 Kundo: Age of the Rampant 군도: 민란의 시대 Dolmuchi / Dolchi
2015 Chronicle of a Blood Merchant 허삼관 Heo Sam-gwan
Assassination 암살 Hawaii Pistol
2016 The Handmaiden 아가씨 Count Fuijiwara
The Tunnel 터널 Jung-soo
2017 Suh Suh Pyoung, Slowly and Peacefully 서서평, 천천히 평온하게 Narrator
Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds 신과 함께: 죄와 벌 Gang-rim
1987: When the Day Comes 1987 Choi Hwan
2018 Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days 신과함께: 인과 연 Gang-rim
Take Point PMC: 더 벙커 Ahab
2019 Ashfall 백두산 Jo In-chang
Miss and Mrs. Cops 걸캅스 Motel Desk Clerk
2020 The Closet 클로젯 Sang-Won
2023 Ransomed 비공식작전 Min-jun[83][84]
Road to Boston 보스턴 1947 Sohn Kee-chung
TBA Night Trip 야행 [85]
Hijacking 하이재킹 [86]

As filmmaker edit

Film performances
Year Title Note Ref.
English Korean
2013 Fasten Your Seatbelt 롤러코스터 Director, screenwriter
2015 Chronicle of a Blood Merchant 허삼관 Director, screenwriter, producer
2017 Single Rider 싱글라이더 Producer
2018 Take Point PMC: 더 벙커 Producer [87]
TBA Lobby 로비 Director [88]

Television series edit

Television series performances
Year Title Role Note
English Korean
2002 Honest Living 똑바로 살아라 Ha Jung-woo
2003–2004 Age of Warriors 무인시대 Lee Ji-gwang
2005 Lovers in Prague 프라하의 연인 Ahn Dong-nam
2007 H.I.T 히트 Kim Jae-yoon
2016 Entourage 안투라지 Himself Cameo, ep.1[89]

Web series edit

Web series performances
Year Title Role Ref.
English Korean
2022 Narco-Saints 수리남 Kang In-gu [90]

Web shows edit

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2023 Bros On Foot Cast Member with Ju Ji-hoon, Choi Min-ho, and Yeo Jin-goo [91]
Our Game: LG Twins Storyteller Sports Documentary [92]

Music video edit

Theater edit

Discography edit

Book edit

  • Ha Jung-woo, Good Feeling (essays, 2011)
  • Walker, Ha Jung-woo (essays, 2018)

Accolades edit

Awards and nominations edit

Year presented, name of the award ceremony, award category, nominated work and result of the nomination
Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2005 Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best New Actor The Unforgiven Won
Director's Cut Awards Best New Actor Won [93]
Cine 21 Awards Best New Actor Won
2006 Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actor (Film) Nominated
Blue Dragon Film Awards Best New Actor Nominated
Korean Film Awards Best New Actor Nominated
Pyeongtaek Film Festival Best Actor The Unforgiven, Time Won
2007 Oporto International Film Festival Best Actor Time Won [94]
2008 A-Awards (Arena Homme + and Audi Korea) Man of the Year (Intelligence category) Won [95]
Director's Cut Awards Best Actor The Chaser, My Dear Enemy Won [96]
Buil Film Awards Best Actor The Chaser, Beastie Boys Nominated
Chunsa Film Art Awards Best Actor The Chaser Won
Premiere Rising Star Awards Best Actor Won [97]
Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Nominated
Korea Visual Arts Festival Photogenic Award Won [98]
Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Nominated
Golden Cinematography Awards Best Actor Won [99]
Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Leading Actor Nominated
Cine 21 Awards Best Actor Won
Korean Film Awards Best Actor My Dear Enemy Nominated
2009 Busan Film Critics Awards Best Actor Won [100]
Buil Film Awards Best Actor Won
Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Nominated
Asian Film Awards Best Actor The Chaser Nominated
Mnet 20's Choice Awards Hot Movie Star - Male Take Off Won
Chunsa Film Art Awards Ensemble Acting Award (Cast) Won
Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Nominated
University Film Festival of Korea Best Actor Won [101]
Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Leading Actor Nominated
Popular Star Award Won
2010 Max Movie Awards Best Actor Won [102]
Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Won [103]
2011 Asian Film Awards Best Actor The Yellow Sea Won [18]
Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Won [19]
Buil Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best Actor Won [20]
2012 Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival Producer's Choice Award Won [104]
Style Icon Awards Top 10 Style Icon Won
Asia-Pacific Film Festival Best Supporting Actor Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time Nominated
Buil Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
Pierson Movie Festival Best Actor Won [105]
Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Leading Actor Nominated
Popular Star Award Won [106]
2013 Asian Film Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) The Berlin File Won [107]
A-Awards (Arena Homme + and Audi Korea) Charismatic Award Won
Busan Film Critics Awards Best Actor The Terror Live Won
Buil Film Awards Best Actor Nominated
Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Leading Actor Nominated
2014 Max Movie Awards Best Actor Nominated
Golden Cinema Film Festival Grand Prize (Daesang) Won
Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Nominated
Best New Director (Film) Fasten Your Seatbelt Nominated
Osaka Asian Film Festival Most Promising Talent Won [108]
Grand Prix Award Nominated
2015 Chunsa Film Art Awards Best Actor Kundo: Age of the Rampant Won [109]
Hawaii International Film Festival Renaissance Award Won [110]
Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Assassination Nominated
2016 Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Leading Actor The Tunnel Nominated
Grand Bell Awards Best Actor Nominated
2017 Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor (Film) Nominated
Chunsa Film Art Awards Best Actor Won [111]
2018 Taxpayers' Day Presidential Commendation Won [112]
Florence Korea Film Fest Cultural Award Won [113]
Marie Claire Film Awards Pioneer Award Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds Won
The Seoul Awards Best Actor (Film) Won [114]
Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Leading Actor Nominated [115]
KCA Consumer Day Awards Best Film Actor Won [116]
Asia Artist Awards Artist of the Year Won [117]
Best Artist Won
Fabulous Award Won
2021 Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival Silver Crow Award The Closet Won [118]
2022 13th Korea Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Narco-Saints Won [119]
2023 21st Director's Cut Awards Best Actor in Television Nominated [120]
2nd Blue Dragon Series Awards Best Actor Won [121]
Asian Academy Creative Awards Best Actor in A Leading Role (National Winners – Korea) Won [122][123]

State honors edit

Name of country, year given, and name of honor
Country Ceremony Year Honor Or Award Ref.
South Korea Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards[a] 2012 Prime Minister Commendation [127]
52nd Taxpayer’s Day[b] 2018 Presidential Commendation for Exemplary Tax Payer [129]

Listicles edit

Name of publisher, year listed, name of listicle, and placement
Publisher Year Listicle Placement Ref.
Forbes 2010 Korea Power Celebrity 40 17th [130]
2015 27th [131]
2016 23rd [132]
2017 31st [133]
2018 34th [134]
2019 38th [135]
Herald Business Daily 2013 Pop Culture Power Leader Big 30 7th[c] [136]
The Screen 2019 2009-2019 Top Box Office Powerhouse Actors in Korean Movies 1st [137]
Sisa Journal 2008 Next Generation Leader—Film Industry 6th [138]

Notes edit

  1. ^ Honors are given at the Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards, arranged by the Korea Creative Content Agency and hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.[124][125] They are awarded to those who have contributed to the arts and South Korea's pop culture.[126]
  2. ^ Honors are given at the Taxpayers' Day (납세자의 날), organized by National Tax Service, Taxpayers' Day in Korea is March 3. An award ceremony is held annually, during which individuals and corporations receive commendation for being model taxpayers.[128]
  3. ^ Tied with Song Kang-ho

References edit

  1. ^ "Ha Jung Woo Reveals Family Matters". KP Culture. 7 August 2009.
  2. ^ Hong, Lucia (2 September 2011). "Ha Jung-woo renews contract with fantagio". 10Asia.
  3. ^ Beck, Una (13 May 2011). "A Wild Fugitive" Archived 2011-10-26 at the Wayback Machine. Korea Cinema Today.
  4. ^ "Director Looks at Pressures of Military Life". The Korea Times. 23 October 2005.
  5. ^ "Time". The DongA Ilbo. 19 August 2006.
  6. ^ "Actor Ha Jung-woo Goes to Sundance Film Festival". KBS Global. 22 January 2007. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  7. ^ "Ha Jung-woo explores his dark side". Korean Film Biz Zone. 6 February 2008.
  8. ^ Darcy Paquet, Michael Fleming (6 March 2008). "Warner Bros. to remake The Chaser". Variety.
  9. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (27 August 2008). "Jeon Do-yeon, Ha Jung-woo as Ex-Lovers". The Korea Times.
  10. ^ "Jeon, Has Chemistry Give Life to Enemy". The Korea Times. 18 September 2008.
  11. ^ "Actor Goes From Killer to Professional Casanova". The Dong-a Ilbo. 29 April 2008.
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  13. ^ "HA Jeong-woo becomes a national ski jumper". Korean Film Biz Zone. 6 August 2009.
  14. ^ Park, Sun-young (3 July 2009). "Tale of Korea's ski jumpers flies onto the big screen". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on 3 January 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
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  19. ^ a b Park, Min-young (29 May 2011). "Hyun Bin, Lee Byung-hun win Paeksang awards". The Korea Herald.
  20. ^ a b Hong, Lucia (31 October 2011). "The Frontline receives 4 honors by Korean Association of Film Critics". 10Asia.
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  22. ^ Ki, Sun-min (7 October 2011). "Ha Jung-woo suits up for cinematic Client"[usurped]. Korea JoongAng Daily.
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  29. ^ Kwaak, Je-yup (2 March 2012). "Love Fiction rises above all hype". The Korea Times.
  30. ^ Hong, Lucia (9 April 2012). "Korean movies notch up higher number in 1Q ticket sales". 10Asia.
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  34. ^ "Gianna Jun to be in Ryoo's Berlin File". Korean Film Biz Zone. 19 December 2011.
  35. ^ "Ha Jung Woo Says He was Happy to be with Han Seok Gyu for The Berlin File". enewsWorld. 20 January 2013. Archived from the original on 16 February 2013.
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  38. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (27 July 2013). "PiFan Closes With Local Thriller The Terror Live". The Hollywood Reporter.
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  50. ^ Won, Ho-jung (22 July 2015). "Herald Interview: Ha Jung-woo brings romance to dark era in Assassination". The Korea Herald.
  51. ^ Kim, Su-yeon (14 November 2014). "HA Jung-woo Confirms for PARK Chan-wook's AGASSHI". Korean Film Biz Zone.
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  61. ^ "LEE Byung-hun and HA Jung-woo Wrap MOUNT BAEKDU". Korean Film Biz Zone. August 28, 2019.
  62. ^ "HA Jung-woo Ventures into Horror with THE CLOSET". Korean Film Biz Zone. January 13, 2020.
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  74. ^ Sung, So-young (22 April 2012). "Stars play new roles in other media"[usurped]. Korea JoongAng Daily.
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