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K-rush of the Week: Rain

Updated: Jul 14

It's hard to believe that Rain (born Jung Ji-hoon) was once rejected at an audition, not for his singing nor dancing, which they claimed was great, but for not looking the part, i.e., not having double eyelids. It's a good thing he didn't listen and worked his way up from backup dancer to world-renowned performer.

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Rain

Photo from HanCinema


Every day this week, let’s deep dive into a few of his memorable works.

 

Sang Doo! Let's Go to School (2003) 

Available on Kocowa, Viki (territories and periods vary) 

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Rain in “Sang Doo! Let's Go to School” (photo of Rain and Gong Hyo-jin)

Photo from KBS/HanCinema

Rain’s journey from a k-pop star to his acting debut in the youth sitcom Orange (2002) led to his compelling role in the KBS2 romance drama Sang Doo! Let’s Go to School. He played Cha Sang-doo, an ex-convict, single father, and escort. When Sang-doo later meets his childhood best friend and secret crush Cha Eun-hwan (Gong Hyo-jin), now a math teacher, he tries to win her back.


Rain’s portrayal of a single father striving to provide for his young daughter resonated deeply with many audiences. His performance was so gripping that, despite airing alongside the immensely popular Jewel in the Palace (also known as Dae Jang Geum), his drama secured a loyal viewership. His dedication to his complex character did not go unnoticed, earning him a nomination for Best New TV Actor and a trophy for Most Popular TV Actor from the Baeksang Arts Awards.



Full House (2004)

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

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Rain in “Full House” (photo of Rain and Song Hye-kyo) 

Photo from KBS/HanCinema

Unbeknownst to aspiring scriptwriter Han Ji-eun (Song Hye-kyo), her best friends orchestrate the sale of her treasured home, the "Full House", to renowned actor Lee Young-jae (Rain). Forced to share the residence, Ji-eun and Young-jae can’t help but bicker constantly. Later, they agree to a contract marriage, setting the stage for their romantic feelings for each other to develop.


Adapted from a manhwa (Korean comics) of the same name, the KBS rom-com was such a monumental success that it inspired eight international remakes and one sequel. It catapulted Rain to Hallyu stardom, solidifying his global presence beyond the music scene. 

 

Watch episode 1 below:


I'm a Cyborg, but That’s OK (2006, film)

Available on Netflix, Prime Video (territories and periods vary) 

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Rain in “I'm a Cyborg, but That’s OK” (photo of Im Soo-jung and Rain) 

Photo from HanCinema 

In his cinematic debut, Rain stars in a quirky romantic comedy crafted by the esteemed director Park Chan-wook. Set within the unconventional confines of a psychiatric ward, the film introduces Cha Young-goon (Im Soo-jung), a patient who is under the delusion that she is a cyborg. She crosses paths with Park Il-soon (Rain), a fellow patient who whimsically believes he can “borrow” the traits and talents of others, such as yodeling. Juggling his commitment to both music and acting, Rain dedicated three months to master yodeling and another three to table tennis, ensuring a performance that resonated with authenticity and dedication. His commitment was recognized when he was honored with the Baeksang Best New Actor award.


Despite its modest commercial success, one viewer suggested that the film's unique blend of dark comedy and romance was perhaps too avant-garde for mainstream audiences yet lacks the pace of Park Chan-wook's acclaimed revenge trilogy. However, this unconventional narrative did not go unnoticed, as the film garnered the prestigious Alfred Bauer Award at the 57th Berlin International Film Festival and had the honor of inaugurating the 31st Hong Kong International Film Festival, a testament to its inventive charm and cinematic allure.



Welcome 2 Life (2019)

Available on AppleTV, Kocowa, Viki, Viu (territories and periods vary) 

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Rain in “Welcome 2 Life” 

Photo from MBC/HanCinema 

The MBC fantasy rom-com follows Lee Jae-sang (Rain), an ace but selfish lawyer who, after a mysterious car accident, finds himself in a parallel universe where he becomes an upright prosecutor. As he navigates this new life, he struggles to reconcile his different selves and the choices he made in each world.


The series was well-received for its unique concept and engaging storyline. It showcased Rain's versatility, handling complex characters and switching between different personas seamlessly. His performance also demonstrated his comedic timing and emotional depth, adding more dimensions to his acting portfolio.



Ghost Doctor (2022)

Available on Netflix, Viki, Viu (territories and periods vary)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Rain in “Ghost Doctor”

Photo from tvN/HanCinema

The tvN fantasy medical series follows two doctors with contrasting personalities and skills who end up sharing one body. Dr. Cha Young-min (Rain) is a genius but arrogant surgeon. After an accident, he possesses the body of Dr. Go Seung-tak (Kim Bum), a resident doctor who is afraid of conducting surgery. Hijinks ensue as they navigate this unusual situation, but they eventually learn to work together.


The k-drama marked Rain's return to television after a three-year hiatus. The show was so popular that it ranked in the Netflix Global Top 10 TV (Non-English) in 23 countries.



Red Swan (2024)

Available on Disney+ (territories and periods vary)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Rain in “Red Swan” (photo of Rain and Kim Ha-neul) 

Photo from Disney+/MyDramaList 

The Disney+ romance revenge drama follows Oh Wan-soo (Kim Ha-neul), a woman who rises from poverty to become a world-class golfer and marries the Hwain Group heir. Her life takes a dramatic turn when she discovers her husband's affair and has Seo Do-yoon (Rain) as her new bodyguard. An ex-cop skilled in martial arts, Do-yoon has his own motives for taking on his new job. As the two navigate these complex relationships, they face life-threatening challenges and uncover dark secrets within the Hwain family.


 

Which of Rain's roles is your fave?

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