K-rush of the Week: Ok Taec-yeon
From being a “jimseung-dol” or “beast idol” along with other members of boyband 2PM, to his being dubbed “Captain Korea” during his time in the military, Ok Taec-yeon possesses one of the most admired and desired bodies in the Korean entertainment industry. But the most attractive aspect of this idol-actor is what’s inside his perfectly chiseled physique.
The multifaceted, multilingual US-raised Korean has been a “happy virus” since 2008, when he joined the reality show Hot Blood Men to eventually debut as a rapper for 2PM. His success as an idol brought him to the world of acting, not just in Korea but also in Japan. He has also shared his fun, easygoing personality on popular variety series Three Meals a Day.
Off-screen, he has earned praise for his determination to serve his country. First, he gave up his US permanent residence visa. Second, after failing the medical exam in 2008, he retook it in 2013 after two operations on his spinal discs in order to be cleared for active duty. In 2017, he finally began his service, earning distinctions from the military, the “Model Soldier” award from the Ministry of National Defense. As if that isn’t enough, it’s no surprise that this former US National Honor Society student and Business Administration graduate also runs successful businesses on the side!
Know more about actor Taecyeon and his rise from ensemble cast member to k-drama leading man.
Dream High (2011)
After debuting in the k-drama Cinderella’s Sister in 2010, Taecyeon joined Kim Soo-hyun and fellow idol-actors Miss A's Bae Suzy, Lee Ji-eun (IU), T-ara's Ham Eun-jung, and 2PM's Jang Woo-young in Dream High in 2011. In the hit youth musical series about students at the fictional Kirin Art School dreaming of make it big in the music industry someday, Taecyeon played Jin-guk/Hyun Shi-hyuk, a talented but troubled dancer. Aside from showcasing his acting chops, Taecyeon won an OST of the Year Award for the drama’s track “My Valentine.”
That same year, he debuted on Japanese TV, bagging a role in the Sunday drama Boku to Star no 99 Nichi.
Bring It on, Ghost (2016)
Based on a popular Naver webtoon, Bring It on, Ghost (also known as Let’s Fight, Ghost) was one of the highest-rated cable series of 2016.
The supernatural rom-com stars Taecyeon as Park Bong-pal, a college student who uses his ability to see ghosts to earn money as an exorcist. After meeting wandering ghost Kim Hyun-ji (Kim So-hyun), they decide to fight ghosts together, and in the process, develop feelings for each other.
Bring It on, Ghost became so popular that it even got a Thai adaptation in 2021.
Save Me (2017)
After showing off his comedic chops in Bring It on, Ghost, Taecyeon proved his versatility in the 2017 thriller Save Me. In this dark OCN drama about a powerful, sinister religious cult, Taecyeon portrays the role of Han San-wang, the son of a wealthy and corrupt politician who, together with three other young men, helps Im Sang-mi (Seo Yea-ji) escape the clutches of the cult and its charismatic leader, Father Baek Jung-ki (Jo Sung-ha).
For his second post-military drama, Taecyeon decided to show a completely different side of himself, giving us arguably his most iconic role to date—the intern/cold-blooded villain in the hugely popular tvN crime comedy Vincenzo (2021). In an interview, he said that the role of Jang Jung-woo/Jang Han-seok, a seemingly fun and goofy intern with dark diabolical secrets, appealed to him because it allowed him to show many sides.
Already a popular idol-actor at this point, he gained an even bigger following for his impressive transformation as he faces off with the former mafia lawyer Vincenzo Cassano (Song Joong-ki).
Secret Royal Inspector & Joy (2021)
Not one to be typecasted, Taecyeon followed up Vincenzo with the comedic historical rom-com Secret Royal Inspector & Joy (2021). He played Ra Yi-eon, a nobleman who dreams of only a simple life of cooking but was forced to become a secret royal inspector instead. Hijinx ensue alongside divorcee Kim Jo-yi (Kim Hye-yoon).
This was a smart project choice as it became a refreshing palate cleanser after his intense iconic role in Vincenzo and also allowed him to show comedic skill and his ability to generate chemistry with his co-lead.
In his latest role, Taecyeon plays Ryu Sung-joon, a top detective racing against time to catch a serial murderer targeting the jury members of a particular case. Blind also features Ha Seok-jin as an upright judge and Sung-joon’s older brother, and Apink’s Jung Eun-ji as a social worker who is a member of the jury. This nail-biting tvN/OCN thriller kept its viewers guessing until the very end!