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Kim Rae-won (김래원)

Updated: Mar 19

When his fans called him a “kiss expert,” Kim Rae-won was quick to attribute his fluttering kissing scenes with Park Shin-hye in his popular drama Doctors (2016) to good camera angles, the director, the OST — but not to himself.

GwenchaNoona | Actor's Profile: Kim Rae-won

Photo from HanCinema

Birthday: March 19, 1981

Instagram: @krw810319

Though we have Chung-Ang University to thank for his theater and film acting training, if he did not suffer from an ankle tendon injury, we would have seen him on the basketball court as a professional athlete instead.

At 16 years old, he debuted as a television actor in the drama Me (1997). He shot to popularity and won awards after portraying an indolent law student in Cats on the Roof (2003) opposite the late actor Jung Da-bin. The following year, he starred alongside Moon Geun-young in the second-highest grossing domestic film My Little Bride. For his role as a college student in an arranged marriage with a 16-year-old girl, he won the 2004 Grand Bell Awards Best New Actor and the 2005 Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actor.

He then starred as a law student in the romance drama Love Story in Harvard (2004), who falls in love with a medical student, played by Kim Tae-hee.

While his work in TV gravitated mostly towards rom-com, he broke this mold by starring in the hit melodrama A Thousand Day’s Promise (2011) where he played an architect who marries a woman with Alzheimer’s disease (Park Soo-ae). He then starred as a terminally ill prosecutor in the legal thriller k-drama Punch (2014) and as a CEO who protects his love (Shin Se-kyung) in Black Knight: The Man Who Guards Me (2018).

In stark contrast to his small-screen roles, he portrayed dark and edgy characters in films. For his gangster role opposite Lee Min-ho in Gangnam Blues (2015), he even lost 15 kg in a month! Alongside Han Suk-kyu, he was cast as a detective-turned-convict in The Prison (2017), a movie invited to compete in the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival. In 2018, he starred in the action movie Long Live the King as a kingpin who becomes a politician.

While Kim Rae-won is a prolific actor, we cannot seem to get enough of him. He returned to rom-com with the film Crazy Romance (2019), co-starring with the rom-com queen herself, Gong Hyo-jin. Later, he played a man with a special power in the sci-fi drama L.U.C.A.: The Beginning (2021) and a former navy commander fighting against a terrorist (Lee Jong-suk) in the action thriller movie Decibel (2022).

Most recently, he portrayed an unfriendly detective nicknamed "Jindo Dog" ("Mad Dog") in the Disney+ mystery thriller The First Responders (2022). He reprised his role for the second season released the year after, continuing his character's collaboration with a fire investigator (Son Ho-jun) and a fire station paramedic (Gong Seung-yeon).

Kiss expert, action star, and drama king — Kim Rae-won captivates fans and non-fans alike in all his portrayals.

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