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Ryu Jun-yeol (류준열)

It took playing a classic tsundere in Reply 1988 to elevate Ryu Jun-yeol to k-drama stardom. The actor’s nuanced acting delicately and, in seemingly measured increasing intensity, revealed viewers Kim Jung-hwan's sweetness while his stoic exterior harbors a secret crush on her childhood friend—forever wrecking Team Jung-hwan's hearts.

GwenchaNoona | Actor's Profile: Ryu Jun-yeol

Photo from HanCinema / STARDAILYNEWS

Birthday: September 25, 1986 Instagram: @ryusdb Facebook: @ryujunyeol.v

Before becoming an iconic second lead, Ryu Jun-yeol paid his dues: He completed military service in 2009, studied film in Suwon University as a scholar with part-time jobs, and acted in short/indie films starting in 2012. Then came his breakout year 2015, where he received acting awards in the Korean Academy of Film Arts hit movie Socialphobia. He debuted in TV with a bit part in The Producers but closed the year with a big starring role in Reply 1988 alongside Lee Hye-ri, Park Bo-gum, Go Kyung-pyo, and Lee Dong-hwi. He won Baeksang Best New Actor as Jung-hwan after subjecting his fans to a lethal combination of uwu-kilig-frustration. The nostalgic series was so popular that it created shipping wars and its leads were “kidnapped” for the travel show Youth over Flowers: Africa in 2016.

For the next three years, he would work with Hallyu A-listers on eight movies, attaining Hallyu star status himself. In 2017, he portrayed a gangster in the Jo In-sung noir thriller The King and a Gwangju student-protester in the Song Kang-ho-led biopic, A Taxi Driver. On top of A Taxi Driver becoming 2017's highest-grossing film, he earned another Baeksang Best New Actor, this time for Film, for his short but endearing role in The King. In the following year, he co-starred with Kim Tae-ri in the critically acclaimed movie Little Forest. He then worked with Choi Jin-woong's character as an informant in the crime suspense Believer, 2018’s fourth highest-grossing film. In 2019, he won international awards in his first lead role as a stockbroker in the crime blockbuster Money. Striking an item off his bucket list, he was cast in the Korean-Japanese war smash hit The Battle: Roar to Victory as a commander. Following his wildly successful cinema stint, he came back to the small screen with the variety show Traveler, backpacking around Cuba with Lee Je-hoon.

After his highly anticipated 2021 melo k-drama Lost with Jeon Do-yeon, he reunited with Kim Tae-ri in the 2022 sci-fi movie Alienoid Part 1 and hosted the 27th Busan International Film Festival opening ceremony with Jeon Yeo-been. As a testament to his talent in portraying a blind acupuncturist, he won Best Actor for Film—his third Baeksang acting award—in his first sageuk (historical show) The Night Owl (2022).

Beyond his towering stature at 1.83 m (6 ft) and his deep voice, Ryu Jun-yeol truly never fails to leave his fans enthralled with his intense screen presence and nuanced acting.

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