Kim Rae-won (김래원)
When his fans called him a “kiss expert,” Kim Rae-won was quick to attribute the fluttering kissing scenes in his popular drama Doctors (2016) to good camera angles, the director, or the OST.
Photo from HanCinema/STARNEWS
Birthday: March 19, 1981
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 in 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). The following year, he was cast 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.
While his work in TV gravitated 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. He then starred as a terminally ill prosecutor in the legal thriller k-drama Punch (2014) and as a CEO betrayed by his first love 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 in Gangnam Blues (2015), he even lost 15 kg in a month! 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 seem not to get enough of him. He returned to rom-com with the film Crazy Romance (2019) as a man dumped by his fiancée and as a navy commander in the action thriller Decibel (2022). He played a man with a special power in the sci-fi drama L.U.C.A.: The Beginning (2021) and an unfriendly detective in The First Responders (2022).
Catch him reprise his role in season 2 of The First Responders.