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K-rush of the Week: Wi Ha-joon

Hwang Jun-ho, the cop who sneaks into the Squid Game in search of his lost brother, wasn’t even supposed to be in the Netflix phenomenon. Originally planned as a movie, the grisly survival drama had no plans of including Wi Ha-joon’s character, but sometimes things have a way of working out for the best. “I read the script in one breath,” he tells Men’s Health Magazine. “And I was just blown away by how immersive it was. It was something that I’ve never seen before.”

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Wi Ha-joon

You could say he had it coming. After all, a decade of diligence (and many, many hours in the gym) is the elusive mother of good fortune. And it is our extreme good fortune as well, to get to know “the hot Squid Game dude” whom People Magazine named one of its “25 Sexiest Men You Can Watch on TV” alongside Oscar Isaac and Penn Badgley. If you think he’s incredibly attractive in Squid Game, wait ‘til you see his performance as the deliciously unpredictable vigilante “K” in this year’s comedy action series Bad and Crazy where he flexes his wicked sense of humor and bromantic chops with Lee Dong-wook.

After playing minor roles in several films, Wi Ha-joon announced his arrival as an actor to watch in the 2018 horror film Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum, earning Best New (Film) Actor nominations from the prestigious Grand Bell and Blue Dragon Awards. He was then cast in supporting roles in Something in the Rain (2018), Romance Is a Bonus Book (2019) for which he received a Baeksang Arts Awards nomination for Best New (TV) Actor, and 18 Again (2020). Proving his versatility, he won praise for his role as a serial killer in the film Midnight.

What’s next for this charming actor? When he’s not flooding his Instagram with grateful posts and dance moves for his fans, he is the ambiguous money launderer with Kim Go-eun and Nam Ji-hyun in the tvN drama Little Women.

18 Again (2020)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Wi Ha-joon in "18 Again"

Wi Ha-joon plays the third leg in a rather interesting love triangle between a wife about to divorce her husband, and the said husband who is, well, 18 again. Confused? Don’t be. Ha-joon turns on the charm as Ye Ji-hoon, a baseball superstar who finds himself attracted to Jung Da-jung, a single mother trying to make it as a sports reporter. While he starts out as rather annoying and harsh, we find out later that all of it is a shell (of course) and that he really is a warm-hearted uncle and an earnest lover deep down.

K-drama is plagued with problematic second leads, but Ye ji-hoon certainly isn’t one of them. Despite his initial “tsundere” profile, he is in fact, a respectful, courteous, and upright man who put his best foot forward, but alas…some things aren’t meant to be.

Midnight (2021)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Wi Ha-joon in "Midnight"

In a wild turn from his heroic stint in Squid Game, Wi Ha-joon plays a psychopathic killer hunting a deaf woman (Jin Ki-joo). As Do-sik, Wi Ha-joon turns on a deadly combination of flippant charm and sheer brutality, and keeps the audience stressed till the very end.

Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (2018)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Wi Ha-joon in "Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum"

In real life, the Gonjiam Mental Hospital in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province has been declared by CNN as “one of the freakiest places in the world.” So it comes as no surprise that a found-footage horror movie would be made about it. Wi Ha-joon plays one of seven streamers who decides to enter the abandoned hospital in the hopes of finding both ghosts and internet fame.

While Korea isn’t as strong in the horror game as its Eastern neighbors, this movie certainly stood out for its excellent haunting scenes and memorable jump scares.

Bad and Crazy (2021)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Wi Ha-joon in "Bad and Crazy"

Wi Ha-joon is K, a crazy, violent, childish vigilante who has no qualms about hurting criminals in Bad and Crazy. Yet K manages to be completely adorable (thanks in large part to the actor’s charm). He shares a tentative bromance with Ryu Su-yeol (Lee Dong-wook), a violence-averse and morally ambiguous detective (with fabulous hair!). As Su-yeol attempts to solve a particularly difficult drug case, he constantly comes into contact with K, who slowly causes Su-yeol to reconsider the choices he’s made in his life. Wi Ha-joon can definitely make us reconsider our life choices too!

See our full review.

Squid Game (2021)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Wi Ha-joon in "Squid Game"

Wi Ha-joon was enjoying a steady — if not, quiet — career in kdramaland until Squid Game flung his career to unimaginable global heights. As Hwang Jun-ho, Ha-joon is a cop on the hunt for his missing brother. His search brings him into the arena where a grotesque death game is going on.

As part of the most-watched Netflix series, ever, Wi Ha-joon’s profile rose along with his co-stars, and he eventually landed a number of lucrative brand endorsements after the show ended. We hope to see him come back in the show’s second season!

See our full review.

Little Women (2022)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Wi Ha-joon in "Little Women"

We never really know which side of the fence Choi Do-il (Wi Ha-joon) is on in Little Women. As three sisters Oh In-ju (Kim Go-eun), Oh In-kyung (Nam Ji-hyun), and Oh In-hye (Park Ji-hu) try to take down a larger-than-life secret society, he plays a double agent, making us guess his true motives the whole time.

After a while we stopped trying to figure him out. We just know we’re on Wi Ha-joon’s side.

Read our full review.

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