2013 ‘Blue Chip’, ‘Invincible Ratings Card’, ‘Ratings Guarantee’…Actor Joo Won came to us as a Dark Horse with such words.
It is not an exaggeration to say 2013 was Joo Won’s year. Starting with a drama, variety show, musical, and even into movies , his impressive performance in various fields has been deeply carved into people’s mind daily.
In 2010, Joo Won made his debut in the ” Baker King Kim Tak Gu” and produced at least one hit each year. The dramas he appeared not only achieved first in the drama ratings amongst the dramas produced in the same time slot, in case of “Baker King Kim Tak Go” it achieved ratings over 50% in 3 years.
From superior consciousness chairman’s son Gu Ma Jun, tough and strong criminal investigative Detective Hwang Tae Hee, a brash member of the National Intelligence Service Agent Han Gil Ro, to a genius doctor with Savant Syndrome Park Shi-On. Joo Won displayed his extreme spectrum of acting ability and showed his various colorful charms.
He also captured audience’s attention through variety programs with his outstanding singing ability and active feel for variety show. He also received much love in variety show KBS 2TV ‘Happy Sunday 1Night 2Days’ with his down-to-earth and dandy image of a young man
Joo Won with his busy recording schedule, also met with audience through Musical and Movie. He came back to the performing stage in 4 years with Musical ‘Ghost’ and in December 2013, his movie ‘Catch Me’ with Kim Ah-Joong will be released.
What is Actor Joo Won’s secret of his popularity which is sprinting forth without hesitation? The directors who worked with him point to his “sincerity and hard work” as his advantageous point. Senior actors also give him full of praise saying Joo Won has the passion and confidence that is not easily found in a new actor.
Perhaps it is an obvious result for a person such as him to form so many fandom and soaring as an actor in a short period of time. Joo Won, who is enjoying the highest peak as an actor in 2013. Let’s find out his every colorful charm that cannot be missed.
Moon Joon Won, Until He Became Joo Won Today
Joo Won’s real name is Moon Joon Won. The name Joo Won is the stage name that was given to him by his father with a meaning ‘God-willing.’ He is known to continue his faithful Christian religious life by praying time to time in his busy schedule.
In 3rd year of middle school, he joined the theatre class to change his passive personality. Since then, he went on to Performing Art High School and continued on to Sungkynkwan University Performing Art Major and continued his growth.
In 2006, he joined the Co-ed group called “Freeze” as a member singer. As nation’s first childern’s Educational Entertainer (Edutainer), they produced an album called ‘Tell me about your dreams’, showing the cute, brigh and fresh side. But since his true vision was in acting, he changes his course to musical and withdrew from the group shortly afterwards.
Foundation of what made today’s Joo Won is ‘Musical’
As a new student at Sungkyunkwan University’s Department of Performing Art late class of 2006, Joo Won captured the heart and attention of a senior who was a musical actor while cleaning the theatre murmuring a song. He enterd the Muscial with 2007 Musical ‘Altar Boys’appearing as Matthew and began cultivating his skills gradually, becoming a popular Musical Actor with his appearance on a number of musicals.
“Appearing in “Altar Boys’, ‘Singls’, ‘Grease’ in this order (I) learned the teamwork, self-confidence, stamina (physical strength) all evenly. In ‘Spring Awakening’ I learned the true attraction of acting.”
Although Joo Won does not seem to have a time of unknown as an actor, he did have a difficult time as an actor. While he was an understudy, he felt the sorrow of not being able to perform on stage. But he practiced even more ferociously than anyone else. One day when the main actor was sick, he rehearsed in place of the main actor and won the chance and fortune of becoming the lead actor for the rest of the remaining (150 out of 250) show.
Sincere Hard Work Ethics and possessor of Strong Physical Strength/Stamina
The filming of ‘Good Doctor’ and movie ‘Catch Me’ overlapped in the beginning of ‘Good Doctor’, and at the same time he has been preparing for the Musical ‘Ghost that was to open the following month. In the same period, he had fixed appearance on variety show KBS 2TV ‘Happy Sunday 1Day 2Night.’ From Musical, Movie, Drama to Variety Show, there was not an area that did not overlap
Joo Sang Wook, a senior actor who worked with him said, “Joo Won’s greed for acting probably cannot be caught by other actor with a certain amount of passion. I can say with confidence I am one of Korean actor working without a rest but an actor who rest less than me is Joo Won.” The actors form Joo Won’s same agency who are known for working multi projects Kim Sang-Ho, Kang Shin-Il, and others even said “I work a lot but you take the first place.”
Joo Won’s Management Company’s President Shim Jung Woon said “Since he was a rookie until now, he is the same. The usually polite and straight forward personality of Joo Won’s biggets advantage point is his positive mindset. The positive mind and sincerity shown within his diligent and hard work is being passed through to the audience through the dramas and 1Night 2Days.”
The Confidence that comes from Passion
Behind his diligent and hard work and strong physical strength/stamina, you can always find his passion for acting which cannot be surpassed by anyone. This is the reason why he never lost his confidence as a rookie JooWon, who has always played an important role since his debut drama.
The writer for the ‘Baker King Kim Tak Gu,’ Kang Eun Kyung said about Joo Won who took a role of Gu Ma Jun, “He was very confident from the beginning and had no fear.” Towards the production team who were contemplating with skepticism about an inexperienced (in drama) Joo Won taking on the role of Gu Ma Jun, Joo Won showed his strong wish to take on the role without any hesitation.
Unlike the most rookies who hesitate and observe others before they barely say ‘they want to be,’ Joo Won was confident without any hesitation. “During the casting, Gu Ma Jun role was decided early on, come to think of it now, it must have been a role that was for Joo Won”
A Man who Faces Reality with Cold Strong Decisiveness
As 2010 drama “Baker King Kim Tak Gu” was Joo Won’s first deubt drama, he received some reviews that says he was somewhat lacking. There were opinions that his control of stong and weak points were difficult and the expression of the character looked unnatural.
To this, Joo Won responded “I know there is a discussion about my acting ability. I know I lack much in acting. I will work hard to become an actor who improves little by little,” and started concentrating on improving his skills.
And three years passed. He breathed a new life into a charater Pediatrician who has disability with Savant Syndrome and impressed viewers with his sincere and heartfelt acting. He improved to a point no one can file a complaint about his acting and turned the criticism 3 years ago into praise and thus opened up Joo Won’s era.
TV Debut, KBS 2 ‘Baker King Kim Tak Gu’
In Joo Won’s first debut drama ‘Baker King Kim Tak Gu,’his role was a sorrowful villain character Gu Ma Jun. His character was an heir to Gu-Sung Shik Poom, a Bakery Emplire Legendary in bakery industry until he is pushed away when his Father Gu Il Joong’s biological son Kim Tak Gu shows up.
He digested a role of Gu Ma Jun who holds onto an uncontrollable victimized complex towards Kim Tak Gu who resembles father and pushes Tak Gu towards unhappiness. JooWon said he read and saw many reference in order to express the villain. He was determined to express the villain as a villain with a sad behind story that audience could sympathize with.
The result of it was ‘Baker King Kim Tak Gu’ recorded ratings of 50.8% on TNMS Multi-media, and ratings of 49.3% on AGB Nielson Media Research and became the first drama that had ratings over 50% in 3 years after the 2007 MBC drama ‘JooMong.’ Ever since he became the topic of viewers with his debut drama, heruns forth without resting in each new project he faces afterwards.
Becoming Class of a Leading Man, KBS2 ‘Ojakyo Brothers’
In 2011, Joo Won accepts 2 projects. In KBS2 weekend drama ‘Ojakyo Brothers,’he took on the role of Hwang Tae Hee and became the leading man for the first time. In this drama, he took on the character of a detective with rough edges, firmness and with few words who had romance acting with singer Uee.
When ‘Ojakyo Brothers’ kept the ratings of 30% and received huge popularity, the production team extended the episodes from 50 to 58 adding 8 more episodes. ‘Ojakyo Brothers’ completed with record ratings of 39.6% for Ep. 56 and 37.3% for the last episode.
After making record ratings on his second drama following his first, he started getting the nick name ‘Ratings Guarantee Card’and started receiving attention and trust of the Industry officials and people from Entertainment Industry. That year, Joo Won was awarded Best New Actor at 2011 KBS Drama Awards with Uee.
Challenging himself to a 1 man 2 acts, KBS2 ‘Bridal Mask’
In 2012 KBS2 Special Production Drama ‘Bridal Mask,’he took the role of the imperial police Lee Kang To and national hero Bridal Mask, and completed perfect acting of 1 man 2 acts. With this, he received a review that he showed a clean action and melodrama, and elaborate inner emotional acting.
Through ‘Bridal Mask’ Joo Won showed acting ability that was raised another bar. Joo Won caught audience’s eyes with his ever changing acting and stable and detailed inner emotional acting. His acting of ruthless eyes and unique charisma received the favorable criticism of being more than expected and projected a success of the drama.
“On the contraray, I did not calculate while I was acting. I threw everything at the field. While I was acting, if the emotions came, I just screamed. Kang To is the character that should not be held back and have the feeling of control so it matched very well. Should I say I threw my body into it? At first, there were many apprehension and concerns but I was able to digest the character because I put everything down.”
Furthermore, Joo Won through Drama’s OST, showed off his surpassing singing ability and more, effusing his colorful (good at everything) charm. ‘Bridal Mask’ OST ‘Judgment Day’ following Drama ‘Baker King Kim Tak Gu’s OST ‘My Love’ with Joo Won’s emotional vocal harmonized in a soft melody line became a subject of attention at various portal sites. His singing ability as an actor who began as a musical actor was acknowledged.
MCB ‘Level 7 Civil Servant’ Haughty ‘Han Gil-Ro’
In 2013, he took on the role of a member of the National Intelligence Service, Han Gil Ro in MBC Wednesday, Thursday drama ‘Level 7 Civil Servant.’ ‘Level 7 Civil Servant.’ is a drama that shows the exciting romance of new members of the NIS and the struggles arising inside the organization. Joo Won usually is innocent like a child but infront of love and dream, he shows off the manly side of Han Gil Ro through his acting and effused another different charm.
However, ‘Level 7 Civil Servant’started giving away it’s top rating of 16% to other competing dramas KBS2 ‘Iris2’ and SBS ‘That Winter, The Wind Blows’ and finished final episode with 8.4% rating. This was the moment formula of Joo Won being the gurantee rating card when he appears by creating a hit in his dramas, ‘Baker King Kim Tak Gu’ and ‘Ojakgyo Brothers’ was broken.
He had the burden of ‘with Joo Won, ratings are guaranteed’ pressure and with expression of good riddance and being refreshed, he showed attitude of, now I feel like I am walking the normal actor’s road, and kept with his course and duty without any wavers.
KBS2 ‘Good Doctor’, Acknowledged as an Actor with Acting Skill
KBS ‘Good Doctor’ is the drama that made actor Joo Won the leading man of 2013. Joo Won completely absorbed the genius Pediatrician Park Shi-On character with Savant Syndrome and showed the detailed and complete character acting. At the same time the audience responded by crying and laughing together with his acting.
Joo Won’s acting which was completely immersed into character of Park Shi-On with monotone or lilting speaking tone, a look without a focus and attitude of attending to patients with sincere heart showed that his acting matured further compared to his previous works. Through ‘Good Doctor’ he stepped onto the ranks with actors with skills and naturally placed down the title of New Actor (Rookie).
Joo Won’s outstanding performance even shined in the scenes showing the ability to understand and see the space through Savant Syndrome and ability of amazing photographic memory of his character. He continued to recite the difficult medical terms which are even hard to pronounce. His expression acting of casually throwing a direct comment with an innocent childlike face and his panic acting in operating room scene at the beginning of the drama showed that he paid careful attention to even the smallest details in his acting.
Unique Park Shi-On because of JooWon’s acting
Joo Won expressd the most difficult part of acting Park Shi-On was not having a person as a reference through one interview. There was no character that was like Park Shi-On character from the various past works with developmental disability. Besides the glances and hand gestures showing insecurity, Joo Won had to come up with the rest.
Also, he was burdened by the change of view he may bring to the young men with developmental disability. The Park Shi-On he acted was different than the other young man with development disorder but he was a doctor who dealt with another person’s life and was a character who needed to perform above the duty that was given to him in society.
But ‘Good Doctor’ with Joo Won was successful in delivering production’s purpose and message to view the disabled people with equality and empathy instead of sympathy and pity. It also affected the image masses of people had towards the people with developmental disabilities.
The Sweet Romance Inside ‘Good Doctor’
Joo Won and Moon Chae Won’s romance in the drama received much love from female audience. In ‘Good Doctor’ Cha Yoon Suh gradually changes her mind after initially rejection Shi-On and it showed the process of her starting to lean on him. From the time Joo Won felt love towards Cha Yoon Suh female audience fell for his charm once again.
Joo Won expressed his fluttering heart through hiccups and not being able to contain his happyinnes, he expressed a man who fell in love properly. He also showed a man hurting from love when he saw the way Cha Yoon Suh was looking at Kim Do Han while he was unable to confess his feelings.
For Cha Yoon Suh, Joo Won showed adorable expressions and at times showed awkward but manly charm and captured the hearts of female audience and increased enjoyment of the piece. In drama, he won Cha Yoon Suh’s heart through the skill of push and pull.
Meeting of Park Shi-On and JooWon, and Sad Good Bye
Although there was a concern for consumed image for doing the movies and dramas nonstop, but on the contrary his steady work activies became the foundation of his growth for his acting skill. Perhaps that’s why the character of Park Shi-On had special meaning and attachment to Joo Won.
The day of final filming, JooWon mentioned on his twitter, “I learned so much becaseu of you. I have a big hole inside me again. Shi-on ah, good bye” showing his parting sorrow with the drama and the character.
‘Good Doctor’ by providing the calming inspiration and laughter, and without a sensational case or forced settings and stories, completed the episodes as the top Monday Tuesday drama. ‘Good Doctor’ kept the first place among the other dramas of the same time slot through out the 20 episodes and recorded average ratings of 18% (Nielsen Korea).
Joo Won, Conquers CF as Well
Joo Won’s popularity could be felt in CF as well. Usually the commercial that is purchased before and after the popular drama’s airing could be seen as top star’s exclusive possession. Joo Won proved that he is a top star enjoying his top popularity through showing his face in multiple commercials before and after the drama.
With his increased popularity, many CF love call flooded. The products using Joo Won as a model, such as Outdoor Wear, Refreshments, Formal Wear, Casual Wear all showed increase in revenue.
‘1Night 2 Day’s Cute Youngest Member
Joo Won who has received acknowledgement for his various charm, started extending himself to Variety. He was a permanent member on KBS ‘Happy Sunday’‘1Night 2Days’ from March of 2013 (ep 233) to October 2013 (ep 317) enjoyed the top popularity in variety. Joo Won from before his appearance received attention from the audience as ‘2nd Kang Dong Won’ and ‘Promising next generation member to continue on Lee Seung Gi.’
He was often compared with Lee Seung Gi as the youngest member and handsome face, singing ability, and multi-entertainer. At this, Joo Won always replied with modesty he wishes to become multi-entertainer just like Lee Seung Gi one day.
During the filming of ‘1Night 2Days’ Joo Won traveled places over the entire country, and attended with a grateful heart for the blessed time he was able to spend with good people. Even at the moment he was spending the final moments on the show, he showed his deep friendship with other members when he said he was able to withstand the busy schedule of drama and movies because he met trustworthy hyung.
On his last trip, Joo Won showed his affectionate heart by preparing breakfast for other members by himself. He also gave thanks to production team and staffs who’s worked with him.
Full of Charm and Natural Artist
Joo Won appeared on other variety such as ‘KBS2 ‘Late Night Variety’ and KBS ‘Happy Together Season 3’ appearing for ‘Baker King Kim Tak Gu’ Special besides ‘1Night 2Days.’ JooWon being so different than the villan Gu Ma Jun character attracted many attention.
In 2011, he appeared in KBS2 ‘Kim Seung Woo’s Win Win’ for Jun In Wha episode and Um Tae Woong episode as a secreat guest showing his hidden relations and showed his different side. He also showed off many of his personal charms in shows such as MBC ‘Come Play.’
In 2012, he appeared in KBS2 ‘Happy Together Season 3’ for ‘Ojakyo Brothers’ Special, KBS2 ‘Gag Concert’ as a guest, Story on ‘Lee Seung Yeon & 100 women’ etc and in KBS2 ‘Kim Seung Woo’s Win Win’ Ep 137, he appeared for JooWon special to find out everything about him on the show.
In 2013, he appeared with Joo Sang Wook, Jung Man Shik and Kim Young Kwang on ‘Happy Together Season3’ for ‘Good Doctor’ special, and appeared on Kang Nam Guerrilla Date corner in ‘Entertainment Weekly.’ On ‘One Night TV Entertainment’ he appeared with his romantic partner in movie ‘Catch Me’ Kim A-Joong.
Last month, he sang the OST from ‘Good Doctor’ ‘If I were’ on ‘Yoo Hee Yeol’s Sketchbook’ promoting his new Musical ‘Ghost.’ The audience this day gave ferocious cheer for the appearance of an unexpected guest JooWon. Yoo Hee Yeol gave high praises for his singing ability saying “out of all the actors who appeared on Sketchbook, he has the best singing ability”
Golden Return to Musical Through Musical ‘Ghost’
Joo Won also challenged himself to Musical ‘Ghost’ performing with singer Ivy. He is returning to the performing stage after 4 years since his last musical title ‘Spring Awakening.’ He takes on a role of Sam and is expected to show his emotional acting of a manly Sam who loves only one woman.
Musical ‘Ghost’ is based on the movie ‘Ghost’ in 1990 and has the theme of a truthful and eternal love. Hi-tech skill using with magic and images will implement a man’s eternal love even after he becomes a ghost beautifully and will emphasize the pure love that is more like analog.
He had wishes of returning to musical stage since he was on ‘King Baker Kim Tak Gu.’ However, since this cannot be decided on his own and good projects continuing to follow afterwards, he was not able to return to the stage. He then had in mind if he is going to return to the sage, he will wait for the great piece and return to the stage properly thus, he met with Musical ‘Ghost.’
Expressing the Emotional Love the Joo Won Way
Currently, Joo Won is in the process of finding his own Sam Wheat. Without being bound by the musical tone on stage, he is trying to express more like a drama acting and express naturally. With this, add great emotion is the Sam Wheat Joo Won wants.
“The 3actors acting Sams all have different acting style. I have the tendency of wanting to touch people’s emotions. Instead of pushing someone cry, I want to pass on the national emotions frankly without embellishment.”
Since young age, he always wished for a heartfelt love instead of pretty love, so he fell easily for the works like ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ ‘Note Book, ‘ and ‘Ghost.’ Once he watch them he said he could not forget the emotional feelings for a week. Since then, he said feels like he’s getting the vicarious satisfaction of love through these works.
“In each piece, I think the main character needs a dilemma. The more it has it can move the heart of audience. With out it, I wonder if it can be inspirational. There should be enough dilemma or hurt. Obviously, in real life, I hope there is not many but in a work piece, tragedy is a required element.”
6 Month Long Musical ‘Ghost’
‘Ghost’ is a formidable challenge to Joo Won. Being 6 month long performance is one and as per Joo Won, the main character Sam Wheat is on the stage for the entire 2 hours and 40 minutes of the performance. Musical ‘Ghost’ is a performance that will drain much energy and physical strength.
The Musical ‘Ghost’ Joo Won took on without any hesitation and invested his 6 months is based on Movie ‘Ghost’ in 1990 with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore which became a world- wide success.
It was produced successfully in 2011 in London and after it’s successful performance, went on a tour to America Broadway, Australia, Netherlands and the Korean performance is their first Asian performance. Musical ‘Ghost’ performance started as of November 24th at Dcube Art Center.
Capturing even the Screen, Movie ‘Catch Me’
Joo Won is being active even in movies. In 2011, he appeared in his screen debut of ‘SIU’ as a leading man, and in horror film ‘Don’t Click’ he made an appearance as a part-time worker in Cyber Crime Investigation Unit as Joon Hyuk.
This coming December, he is waiting for the release of movie ‘Catch Me’ which he was a main lead with Kim A-Joong. In the movie, Joo Won took on the role of a Lee Ho Tae who graduated from Police Academy/School as top of his class, who is a perfect and complete Profiler with charisma lacking nothing. But he also shows Lee Ho Tae who becomes soft hearted when is is faced with his first love Yoon Jin Sook from 10 years ago. He is expected to show character’s another sweet and charming side.
Movie ‘Catch Me’ is receiving the spotlight since the release of the kiss scenes and other still cuts with Kim A-Joong. JooWon is expected to capture many female audicne with his tall staure and handsome look with charisma. The movie ‘Catch Me’ directed by Lee Hyun Jong who returns after 11 years will open December 12 in the theatre. (Note: the relase date has changed to 12/19/2013)
Endless Passion for Acting and His Dream
Joo Won entered into University of Gun Kook 2013 class of Graduate School of Journalism to further his study midst his busy schedule. He is studying communication and broadcasting convergence Studies (Broadcasting major) for the master’s program. He has been receiving lectures since September and learning about he theory and practicality of broadcast images of Digital Media of the Information Age.
The reason for continuing on to graduate school is to full fill his dream he held since his high school year of becoming a ‘professor.’ He says if he is given a chance and capability, he would like to teach children. Just like many senior actors who’s giving him advice including Shin Hyun Joon.
However, at his given current position, becoming an actor with solid skills is his foremost. While being studious in his study, he wants to continue on with many projects and through the production teams, senior actors and peers’ advice, he wants to learn and improve and never stop continuing the growth .
Joo Won, An Actor who Shows Sincerity of Acting
Joo Won became top actor since his debut in 2010. With in 3 years he successfully enteredthe Drama, CF, Movie and Musical and climbed to the top. Although 3 years is a short period, since he as been working without a rest, his filmography has no gap.
Going onto University and becoming a Musical Actor, and debuting in drama, he may look like an actor who had a smooth path. Therefore some say he as an eye for a great scrip/work. But Joo Won just says he was was lucky and says little to this showing his humility.
Rather than say “lucky” He’s an actor who “does not miss an opportunity”. The opportunity to make a choice comes to anyone in any situation at least once. But the ones who have been making proper preparations are the ones who can make the choice into a precious opportunity, and into successful first steps .
The passion and sincerity of JooWon have always acted as a way to open more opportunities for him. No matter what you give him, practicing them hundred hours and preparing with sincere heart and passion is well known to people who already know him.
This is the reason viewers are expecting another Gu Ma Jun, Hwang Tae Hee, Han Gil Ro, Lee Gang To, Park Shi-On from him. Since he has always produced more than it was expected each time he faced the new situation, everyone wishes to see this ever shifting Joo Won.
Joo Won, an actor with acting that’s from bottom of his heart has received the high mark (passing mark) from the audience. He is an actor who is not conceited at the position he earned from his effort and hard work, who is always humble and has sincerity. Hope he will continue to approach any situation with the burning passion and be an actor who does not lose his humility.
(Photos provided by: wStar News DB, KBS Drama ‘King of Baking, Kim Takgu’, ‘Ojakyo Brothers’, ‘BridalMask’, ‘Good Doctor’, MBC ‘Level 7 Civil Servant’, Main Home Page and other program captures, KBS ‘Happy Sunday’, ‘YooHeeYeul Sketch Book’, ‘Kim Seung Woo’s Win Win’, other program captures, Musical ‘Ghost’, Official Blog and Home Page, Movie’Catch Me’ still-cut and Poster, Doong-Ji cold Noodles, Mountia, Cantata, KFC commercial material)
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English translation by Sdee HC @ joowoncutie.wordpress.com
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