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Kim Nam-gil (Hangul김남길; 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
김남길 Kim Nam-gil 20161109 01.png
Kim Nam-gil in 2016
Born (1981-03-13) March 13, 1981 (age 36)
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
Years active 1999–present
Agent O&Entertainment
Korean name
Revised Romanization Gim Nam-gil
McCune–Reischauer Kim Nam-kil




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).[1] 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%[2]), and Kim became a household name and the series' breakout star.[3] 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.[4][5][6] A horse-riding-related injury on set,[7] and a brief hospitalization due to H1N1 flu,[8] 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,[9][10] 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.[11][12][13][14][15] But while still in the middle of filming, Kim received his draft notice for mandatory military service.[16] He tried to ask for deferment in order to wrap up the shoot for the series, but it was not granted.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19][20] In 2017, he starred in the time-slip drama Live Up to Your Name, Dr. Heo.[21]


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[1]), 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,[1][22] a relationship drama which the director described as a "Korean Leaving Las Vegas."[23] Following his discharge from the army in 2012,[24] 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.[25] 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.[26] This was followed by the 2014 period adventure film The Pirates, which reunited him with Shark costar Son Ye-jin.[27][28] 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. [29] Kim was next cast as powerful nobleman Heungseon Daewongun whose concubine takes up pansori in the period film The Sound of a Flower.[30] In 2016 Kim starred in disaster blockbuster Pandora portraying the aftermath of an explosion in a nuclear plant.[31] 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.[32]

In July 2013 he released his debut single in Japan. The title track is a cover of Kōji Tamaki's "Roman," and the single also included Kim's two songs from the Queen Seondeok soundtrack.[33]



Year Title Role Notes
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
2009 Handphone Jang Yoon-ho
2010 Lovers Vanished Kim Su-in
2012 Ensemble N/A Producer
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
2016 Pandora Kang Jae-hyeok
2017 Memoir of a Murderer Tae-joo
One Day Kang-soo
2018 Strange Family


Year Title Role Network
1999 School 1 Min-soo KBS2
2004 MBC Best Theater
"Kang Jang-soo's Love House"
Nonstop 4
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
Lovers Tae-san SBS
2007 When Spring Comes Kim Joon-ki KBS2
Several Questions That Make Us Happy Im Seok-joo
2008 Terroir Jo Yi-young SBS
2009 Queen Seondeok Bidam MBC
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
2013 Shark Han Yi-soo KBS2
2017 Live Up to Your Name, Dr. Heo Heo Im / Heo Bong-tak tvN

Music videoEdit

Year Song title Artist
1999 "Gift" Kim Jang-hoon
2005 "Attention" Lady
"Start" M.Street
"Don't Forget, Don't Forget" The Red
2007 "Just Ten Days" J


Year Title Role
2000 A Midsummer Night's Dream
2003 Park Mu-geun's Family


Album information Track listing
Can't I Love You?
  • Track from Queen Seondeok Special OST
  • Released: January 8, 2010
  • Label: Star J Entertainment, Danal
You Don't Know

Photo bookEdit

Year Title Publisher ISBN
2010 Into the Wild The Book Company ISBN 9788991317512
2012 Way Back to the Road MCK Publishing ISBN 9788996985402

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
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[35] Asian Rising Star N/A Won
2015 24th Buil Film Awards Best Actor The Shameless Nominated

Reference listEdit

  1. ^ a b c Sung, So-young (11 March 2010). "An actor comes into his own". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  2. ^ Kim, Lynn (22 December 2009). "Seon-deok wraps up final shooting today". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  3. ^ Beck, Una (31 December 2009). "FOCUS: The 16 stars of 2009 - Part 3". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  4. ^ Choi Ji-eun, Wee Geun-woo (4 November 2009). "INTERVIEW: Kim Nam-gil from Seon-deok (Part 1)". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  5. ^ Choi Ji-eun, Wee Geun-woo (4 November 2009). "INTERVIEW: Kim Nam-gil from Seon-deok (Part 2)". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  6. ^ Choi Ji-eun, Wee Geun-woo (4 November 2009). "INTERVIEW: Kim Nam-gil from Seon-deok (Part 3)". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  7. ^ Moon, Yong-sung (26 October 2009). "Seon-deok hero Kim hospitalized for checkup". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  8. ^ "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. 
  9. ^ Ko, Jae-wan (10 February 2010). "Actor Kim Nam-gil to hold fan meeting in Korea". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  10. ^ Hong, Lucia (15 May 2012). "Tribute event for Kim Nam-gil to take place in Japan next month". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  11. ^ Choi, Ji-eun (31 March 2010). "Press conference for drama Bad Guy". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  12. ^ Choi, Ji-eun (20 May 2010). "Kim Jae-wook says Kim Nam-gil "like a time bomb" - Part 1". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  13. ^ Choi, Ji-eun (20 May 2010). "Kim Jae-wook says Kim Nam-gil "like a time bomb" - Part 2". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  14. ^ Han, Sang-hee (25 May 2010). "Will Kim, Han create magic thru Bad Boy". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  15. ^ Choi, Ji-eun (16 June 2010). "INTERVIEW: Bad Boy Actors Kim Nam-gil and Kim Jae-wook". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  16. ^ Ko, Kyoung-seok (9 March 2010). "Kim Nam-gil to enter military "between fall and winter"". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  17. ^ Kim, Lynn (12 July 2012). "Kim Nam-gil to enter Korean military next week". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  18. ^ Park, Jong-kyu (15 July 2010). "Kim Nam-gil bids farewell to fans upon entering military". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  19. ^ Oh, Jean (22 May 2013). "Kim Nam-gil back to being bad". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-05-22. 
  20. ^ 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. 
  21. ^ "Kim Nam-gil, Kim Ah-joong slip through time in tvN drama". 3 September 2017. 
  22. ^ Lee, Ji-hye (11 March 2010). "Kim Nam-gil says his love was weak compared to Vanished". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  23. ^ "Lovers Vanished - Press Kit" (PDF). M-LINE Distribution. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-03-02. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  24. ^ 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. 
  25. ^ "Ensemble". 8th Jecheon International Music & Film Festival. Archived from the original on 2014-04-19. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  26. ^ Jang, Sung-ran (9 May 2013). "4 Celebrities Make Smartphone Shorts". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2013-05-10. 
  27. ^ 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. 
  28. ^ Ahn, Sung-mi (29 July 2014). "Herald Interview: Kim Nam-gil returns in perfectly tailored role". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  29. ^ Won, Ho-jung (24 April 2015). "The Shameless gears up for Cannes". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2015-04-26. 
  30. ^ Conran, Pierce (8 January 2015). "Korean Period and War Films Wrap Shoots". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2015-01-08. 
  31. ^ Lee, Maggie (9 December 2016). "A horrific nuclear disaster film with uncanny contemporary political relevance". 
  32. ^ 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. 
  33. ^ 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. 
  34. ^ Ho, Stewart (14 January 2013). "Actor Kim Nam Gil Joins as First Singer for Yawang's OST". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  35. ^ Lee, Min-ji (24 March 2014). "Kim Nam Gil Wins Award from Asia Film Awards Special Awards". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 

External linksEdit