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K-rush of the Week: Byeon Woo-seok

Updated: May 30

Beyond his youthful good looks and 189-cm (6’2”) towering stature, Byeon Woo-seok is the embodiment of grace as a model and depth as an actor. While he oozes with natural charm on the runaway and on screen, his rising star is born from his commitment to his craft and years of nurturing his talent.

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Byeon Woo-seok

Photo from Harper’s Bazaar/HanCinema

Read more about the charming rising star.


Every day this week, we’ll take a close look at his most memorable projects!

 

Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency (2019)

Available on Disney+, Kocowa, Netflix, Viki (territories and periods vary)


GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Byeon Woo-seok in “Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency”

Photo from HanCinema

Byeon Woo-seok's stars seemed to have aligned when he landed his first lead role in the JTBC rom-com sageuk (historical show). The 16-episode series follows a blacksmith-turned-king (Seo Ji-hoon) who enlists the help of the elite matchmaking agency, Flower Crew, to transform his beloved into a noblewoman. Byeon's character, Do-joon, is a suave and resourceful member of the Flower Crew (alongside Kim Min-jae’s and Park Ji-hoon’s characters), utilizing his striking looks to gather intelligence. His performance not only capitalized on his natural charm and appeal, contributing significantly to the drama's popularity, but also garnered critical acclaim. His breakout role cemented his reputation as a skilled actor with a flair for both drama and comedy.



Record of Youth (2020)

Available on Netflix (territories and periods vary)


GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Byeon Woo-seok in “Record of Youth” (photo of Park Bo-gum and Byeon Woo-seok

Photo from tvN/HanCinema

Byeon Woo-seok's portrayal of Won Hae-hyo in the tvN romantic k-drama mirrored his own burgeoning stardom. In the 16-episode series, he depicted the cutthroat world of entertainment through his character, an ambitious model-turned-actor navigating the highs and lows of young adulthood. His character's journey, marked by a tumultuous friendship with struggling celebrity Sa Hye-jun (Park Bo-gum) and a romantic rivalry over make-up artist Ahn Jung-ha (Park So-dam), resonated deeply with viewers.

 

The show's success paralleled Byeon's real-life surge in popularity, as evidenced by his Instagram following skyrocketing from 20,000 to 40,000. This role not only expanded his fanbase but also established him as a rising star in the global entertainment scene.



20th Century Girl (2022, film)

Available on Netflix (territories and periods vary)


GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Byeon Woo-seok in “20th Century Girl” (photo of Byeon Woo-seok and Kim Yoo-jung)

Photo from HanCinema

Set in 1999, the Netflix coming-of-age romantic movie captures the essence of first love and friendship. High school students Poong Woon-ho (Byeon Woo-seok) and Baek Hyun-jin (Park Jung-woo) become entangled in a love triangle/quadrilateral that tests the bond between besties Na Bo-ra (Kim Yoo-jung) and Kim Yeon-du (Roh Yoon-seo).


After its release, the movie made it to the Netflix charts, namely, the Global Top 10 Films (Non-English) for four weeks and the Top 10 Films in 46 countries. Byeon’s first leading role was pivotal in showcasing his leading man potential, for which he received Baeksang and Buil Best New Actor nominations.



Soulmate (2023, film)

Available on Prime Video (territories and periods vary)


GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Byeon Woo-seok in “Soulmate” (photo of Byeon Woo-seok and Kim Da-mi)

Photo from HanCinema

Adapted from the critically acclaimed Chinese movie Soul Mate (2016), the coming-of-age film explores a 14-year friendship filled with love, longing, and jealousy. Byeon Woo-seok played Ham Jin-woo, the first love interest that causes a rift between two friends (Kim Da-mi and Jeon So-nee). In this emotionally charged melodrama, his character stands in stark contrast to his green-flag personas in his other projects, most especially in Lovely Runner. Had the film been released soon after the scenes were shot in 2020, Soulmate—not 20th Century Girl—would have been Byeon’s first movie in which he played a major role. Nonetheless, it was invited to be screened in the “Korean Cinema Today – Panorama" section at the 28th Busan International Film Festival.



Strong Girl Nam-soon (2023)

Available on Netflix (territories and periods vary)


GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Byeon Woo-seok in “Strong Girl Nam-soon”

Photo from JTBC/HanCinema

The JTBC action series is a spin-off to the fan favorite Strong Girl Do Bong-soon (2017) which starred Park Bo-young and Park Hyung-sik. Byeon Woo-seok took on the enigmatic role of Ryu Shi-oh, a CEO whose success is as shadowy as his past. Shi-oh crosses paths with Nam-soon (Lee Yoo-mi) as she uses her superhuman strength for good. Later, he discovers the woman’s name as Tsetseg and that she works in his own warehouse. After Tsetseg passes Shi-oh's series of perilous and morally dubious tests of strength, he keeps her within arm's reach to harness her extraordinary abilities for his own ends.


Spanning 16 episodes, the k-drama allowed Byeon to inhabit a character brimming with action, malice, and vulnerability, marking his debut in a villainous role. Crafted with the precision of his bespoke suits, his performance exuded a dangerous charm, as if challenging the viewers’ sense of right and wrong. Despite comparisons to its 2017 predecessor, the series became so popular that it secured spots in the Netflix Global Top 10 TV (Non-English) for an impressive nine weeks and Top 10 TV in 45 countries. 



Lovely Runner (2024)

Available on Viki, Viu (territories and periods vary)


Photos from tvN/HanCinema (left) and Viu (right)

The romantic time-travel tvN series follows the journey of Im Sol (Kim Hye-yoon), a student and aspiring film director whose life takes a dramatic turn following an accident. Byeon Woo-seok stars as Ryu Sun-jae, a top star and former swimmer whose celebrity life ends tragically. More than a simple story of a fan’s several attempts to save her favorite singer, the k-drama depicts enduring love across time, defying fate and death.


The amazing chemistry between Kim and Byeon contributed immensely to the popularity of the show. In fact, “Sudden Shower” from the OST, which was composed and sung by Sun-jae for Im Sol, ranked 10th on the Melon TOP 100 chart. As the finale aired on May 28, Byeon Woo-seok solidified his reputation and ability as a main lead who can carry a k-drama to success.



 

Which of his roles is your favorite?

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