Kim Nam-gil (Hangul: 김남길; born March 13, 1981) is a South Korean actor, producer, singer and philanthropist. He is best known from leading roles in disaster blockbuster Pandora (2016); crime thriller The Shameless (2015); adventure film The Pirates (2014) and period drama Portrait of a Beauty (2008). His breakthrough role was Bidam in the hit television period drama Queen Seondeok (2009). Kim is also the founder and CEO of a non-profit organization Gilstory that focuses on preserving cultural heritage, promoting arts and raising special purpose relief funds.
Kim Nam-gil in 2016
March 13, 1981 |
Seoul, South Korea
|Other names||Lee Han|
|Education||Myongji University - Theater and Film (dropped out)
Cyber Hankuk University of Foreign Studies - Chinese
|Occupation||Actor, producer, singer|
|Revised Romanization||Gim Nam-gil|
Kim Nam-gil began his acting career on television with a minor role in the 1999 KBS youth drama School 1. Four years later, he won the 2003 Talent Audition conducted annually by MBC, and appeared in various minor roles on the network's shows, such as Be Strong, Geum-soon!. During this time, he was using the stage name Lee Han, which he made up to give himself a more sophisticated image (The name Nam-gil is considered to be somewhat old fashioned). In the following years he took on more supporting roles in television dramas, among them Goodbye Solo, Lovers, and When Spring Comes.
In 2009, Kim was cast as one of the supporting characters in the historical drama Queen Seondeok, in a role that would soon change his life. It became one of the highest-rated TV series of that year (reaching a peak of over 40%), and Kim became a household name and the series' breakout star. For his portrayal of the playful but tragic Bidam, Kim said he was inspired by comic book characters such as Han Bi-kwang in Ruler of the Land, Miyamoto Musashi in Vagabond, and Kang Baek-ho in Slam Dunk. The writers rewrote the script to respond to Bidam's popularity with the viewing audience, giving the character more screen time and emphasizing his romance with the titular Seondeok (despite the incredible historical inaccuracy), until there were two main male leads in the series. A horse-riding-related injury on set, and a brief hospitalization due to H1N1 flu, were minor negatives compared to the impact the series had on Kim's career. He won several awards for his performance, gained more local and international fans, received advertisement offers, and was flooded with film and TV scripts.
In 2010 he played an antihero lead role in Bad Guy, a dark melodrama about revenge, ambition, and fatal love. But while still in the middle of filming, Kim received his draft notice for mandatory military service. He tried to ask for deferment in order to wrap up the shoot for the series, but it was not granted. Kim shot as much as he could (his scenes were reduced, and a body double was also used) then entered the army two days later on July 15, 2010. He received four weeks of basic training at Nonsan, and served for two years as a public service worker.
In 2013 Kim starred in the revenge TV series Shark (also known as Don't Look Back), from the makers of Resurrection and The Devil. In 2017, he starred in the time-slip drama Live Up to Your Name, Dr. Heo.
Kim Nam-gil debuted on the big-screen in 2004 gangster movie Low life. In 2006, he made the bold decision to portray a homosexual character in the controversial queer indie No Regret in a role which included several gay sex scenes. The film was critically praised and traveled the film festival circuit, being shown among others in the Panorama section of the 57th Berlin Film Festival. He then was cast in 2008's Public Enemy Returns, where he could work with the actor Jung Jae-young. Kim had stated in interviews that Jung Jae-young, who attended the same high school he did, had been his role model as an actor. Upon the influence of the film's director Kang Woo-suk (but against the advice of his agent and manager), Kim stopped using the stage name Lee Han and reverted to his birth name. Later that year, Kim played his first leading role in a major commercial film, Portrait of a Beauty. Though his co-star Kim Min-sun garnered most of the attention for the erotic costume drama, Kim's strong performance did not go unnoticed. Another side benefit of Kim's popularity resulting from the Seondeok was the theatrical release in 2010 of his indie Lovers Vanished, a relationship drama which the director described as a "Korean Leaving Las Vegas."
Following his discharge from the army in 2012, Kim produced the film Ensemble, a music mockumentary about a group of classical musicians who form a group and take to the streets to perform outside their usual concert halls, showing their youthful passion in making music accessible. It premiered at the Jecheon International Music & Film Festival. He was also one of four celebrities in 2013 who directed a short film using smartphone Samsung Galaxy S4 with the theme "Meet a Life Companion"; his short Hello, Mom depicted the love between a mother and her daughter, and evoked the warm feeling of an analog film. This was followed by the 2014 period adventure film The Pirates, which reunited him with Shark costar Son Ye-jin.
He next starred opposite award-winning actress Jeon Do-yeon in the 2015 thriller The Shameless; Kim played a detective who falls for the girlfriend of the murderer he is investigating. The Shameless had its world premiere at 2015 Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section.  Kim was next cast as powerful nobleman Heungseon Daewongun whose concubine takes up pansori in the period film The Sound of a Flower.
In 2016 Kim starred in disaster blockbuster Pandora portraying the aftermath of an explosion in a nuclear plant. Pandora premiered internationally at the International Film Festival and Awards Macao, receiving standing ovation.
In 2012 Kim published a book titled Way Back to the Road, his memoir of the past two years, which contained photos had taken himself. It also featured New Zealand scenery captured by photographer Cho Nam-ryong, and contributions from writer Lee Yoon-chul.
|2004||Low Life||Police officer at checkpoint|
|2006||Don't Look Back||Seok-woo|
|No Regret||Song Jae-min|
|2008||Public Enemy Returns||Park Mun-su|
|Modern Boy||Hidaka Shinsuke|
|Portrait of a Beauty||Kang-mu|
|2010||Lovers Vanished||Kim Su-in|
|2013||Hello, Mom||N/A||Short film, Director|
|2014||The Pirates||Jang Sa-jung|
|Glory for Everyone||N/A||Documentary narrator|
|2015||The Shameless||Jung Jae-gon|
|The Sound of a Flower||Heungseon Daewongun|
|2017||Memoir of a Murderer||Tae-joo|
|2004||MBC Best Theater
"Kang Jang-soo's Love House"
|Sweet Buns||Hong Hye-jan's boyfriend|
|2005||Be Strong, Geum-soon!||Noh Seong-hwan|
|The 5th Republic||Park Ji-man|
|My Name Is Kim Sam-soon||Kim Byung-tae|
|2006||Goodbye Solo||Yoo Ji-an||KBS2|
|2007||When Spring Comes||Kim Joon-ki||KBS2|
|Several Questions That Make Us Happy||Im Seok-joo|
|Tears of the Amazon||Documentary narrator|
|2010||Haiti, Tears of Tragedy||Documentary narrator|
|Personal Taste||Man sitting in cafe (cameo, episode 11)|
|Bad Guy||Shim Gun-wook||SBS|
|2017||Live Up to Your Name, Dr. Heo||Heo Im / Heo Bong-tak||tvN|
|"Don't Forget, Don't Forget"||The Red|
|2007||"Just Ten Days"||J|
|2000||A Midsummer Night's Dream|
|2003||Park Mu-geun's Family|
|Album information||Track listing|
|Can't I Love You?|
|You Don't Know|
|2010||Into the Wild||The Book Company||ISBN 9788991317512|
|2012||Way Back to the Road||MCK Publishing||ISBN 9788996985402|
Awards and nominationsEdit
|2008||29th Blue Dragon Film Awards||Best New Actor||Public Enemy Returns||Nominated|
|2009||46th Grand Bell Awards||Best New Actor||Modern Boy||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|17th Korean Culture and Entertainment Awards||Best New Actor (Film)||Won|
|2nd Style Icon Awards||New TV Icon||N/A||Won|
|MBC Drama Awards||Best Couple Award with Lee Yo-won||Queen Seondeok||Won|
|Best New Actor||Nominated|
|Excellence Award, Actor||Won|
|2010||46th Baeksang Arts Awards||Best New Actor (TV)||Won|
|SBS Drama Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special||Bad Guy||Nominated|
|2013||KBS Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actor in a Mid-length Drama||Shark||Nominated|
|Top Excellence Award, Actor||Nominated|
|2014||8th Asian Film Awards Special Awards||Asian Rising Star||N/A||Won|
|2015||24th Buil Film Awards||Best Actor||The Shameless||Nominated|
- Sung, So-young (11 March 2010). "An actor comes into his own". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
- Kim, Lynn (22 December 2009). "Seon-deok wraps up final shooting today". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Beck, Una (31 December 2009). "FOCUS: The 16 stars of 2009 - Part 3". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Choi Ji-eun, Wee Geun-woo (4 November 2009). "INTERVIEW: Kim Nam-gil from Seon-deok (Part 1)". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Choi Ji-eun, Wee Geun-woo (4 November 2009). "INTERVIEW: Kim Nam-gil from Seon-deok (Part 2)". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Choi Ji-eun, Wee Geun-woo (4 November 2009). "INTERVIEW: Kim Nam-gil from Seon-deok (Part 3)". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Moon, Yong-sung (26 October 2009). "Seon-deok hero Kim hospitalized for checkup". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- "Actor Kim Nam-gil Comes Down With H1N1 Virus". The Korea Times. 20 November 2009. Archived from the original on 2 March 2014. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Ko, Jae-wan (10 February 2010). "Actor Kim Nam-gil to hold fan meeting in Korea". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Hong, Lucia (15 May 2012). "Tribute event for Kim Nam-gil to take place in Japan next month". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Choi, Ji-eun (31 March 2010). "Press conference for drama Bad Guy". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Choi, Ji-eun (20 May 2010). "Kim Jae-wook says Kim Nam-gil "like a time bomb" - Part 1". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Choi, Ji-eun (20 May 2010). "Kim Jae-wook says Kim Nam-gil "like a time bomb" - Part 2". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Han, Sang-hee (25 May 2010). "Will Kim, Han create magic thru Bad Boy". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Choi, Ji-eun (16 June 2010). "INTERVIEW: Bad Boy Actors Kim Nam-gil and Kim Jae-wook". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Ko, Kyoung-seok (9 March 2010). "Kim Nam-gil to enter military "between fall and winter"". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Kim, Lynn (12 July 2012). "Kim Nam-gil to enter Korean military next week". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Park, Jong-kyu (15 July 2010). "Kim Nam-gil bids farewell to fans upon entering military". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Oh, Jean (22 May 2013). "Kim Nam-gil back to being bad". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-05-22.
- Bae, Sun-young (23 May 2013). "Kim Nam-gil and Son Ye-jin Returning with Hot Romance and Cold Revenge". 10Asia. Archived from the original on 29 March 2014. Retrieved 2013-05-23.
- "Kim Nam-gil, Kim Ah-joong slip through time in tvN drama". 3 September 2017.
- Lee, Ji-hye (11 March 2010). "Kim Nam-gil says his love was weak compared to Vanished". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- "Lovers Vanished - Press Kit" (PDF). M-LINE Distribution. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-03-02. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Sunwo, Carla (14 August 2012). "Kim Nam-gil's first step back into spotlight". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on 12 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- "Ensemble". 8th Jecheon International Music & Film Festival. Archived from the original on 2014-04-19. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Jang, Sung-ran (9 May 2013). "4 Celebrities Make Smartphone Shorts". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2013-05-10.
- Ha, Soo-jung (26 July 2014). "Interview: Kim Nam Gil Enjoyed Filming Pirates with Son Ye Jin and f(x)'s Sulli". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2014-07-26.
- Ahn, Sung-mi (29 July 2014). "Herald Interview: Kim Nam-gil returns in perfectly tailored role". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
- "Kim Nam-gil to replace injured Lee Jung-jae in film "Rouge"". The Korea Herald. 15 May 2014.
- Won, Ho-jung (24 April 2015). "The Shameless gears up for Cannes". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2015-04-26.
- Conran, Pierce (8 January 2015). "Korean Period and War Films Wrap Shoots". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
- Lee, Maggie (9 December 2016). "A horrific nuclear disaster film with uncanny contemporary political relevance". Variety.
- "1st Macau Film Fest Readies for PANDORA". Korean Film BIZ Zone. 25 November 2016.
- "SUL Kyung-gu, KIM Nam-gil Board New Thriller". Korean Film BIZ Zone. 1 September 2015.
- "KIM Nam-gil Set as Lead in New LEE Yoon-ki Drama". Korean Film BIZ Zone. 29 February 2016.
- "JUNG Jae-young, UHM Ji-won and KIM Nam-gil become a STRANGE FAMILY". Korean Film BIZ Zone. 12 October 2017.
- Sunwoo, Carla (23 November 2012). "Kim Nam-gil to launch photo book". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on 27 January 2013. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
- Kang, Jung-yeon (30 May 2013). "Kim Nam-gil to Make Singer Debut Japan in July". 10Asia. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
- Ho, Stewart (14 January 2013). "Actor Kim Nam Gil Joins as First Singer for Yawang's OST". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "소녀시대·송승헌·설경구 문화연예대상 대상". Star News (in Korean). 30 November 2009.
- "Style Icon Awards shines 2009 with edginess". TenAsia. 13 November 2009.
- Park, So-yeon (31 December 2009). "Ko Hyun-joung wins grand prize at MBC Acting Awards". 10Asia. Retrieved 2014-10-08.
- "Ko Hyun-jung, "Haeundae" win grand prize at PaekSang Arts Awards". 10Asia. 29 March 2010.
- Lee, Min-ji (24 March 2014). "Kim Nam Gil Wins Award from Asia Film Awards Special Awards". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2014-07-29.