Edited by Hwang Hong Sun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
Joo Won, a former musical actor, made his official debut on the small screen in 2010 with the role of Goo Ma Joo in KBS drama King of Baking, Kim Tak Goo. Though there were many concerns around him as it was his first appearance in a TV series, Joo Won showed impressive performances, leading the work to a huge success. Since then, he has gained ground as an actor by starring in Ojakgyo Brothers, The Bridal Mask, and 7th Grade Civil Servant and has also expanded his scope of activities by making inroads into movies and variety shows.
After showing off his talents in various fields, Joo Won faced a critical turning point in his acting career when he statted in drama Good Doctor in 2013. Good Doctor is a drama about the efforts and joys of doctors and residents in the pediatric surgery department of the university hospital, and Joo Won took on the role of Park Shi On, an autistic savant with a genius-level memory who has to overcome the bias and discrimination of the world.
As soon as he received an offer, Joo Won studied how to express himself to become a likable character while breaking away from the fixed image of an autistic savant. So he personally met with people suffering from the disorder and studied, and as a result, he was able to complete his natural and flawless performances. He captured the subtle emotions and expressions of Shi On, who first lacked social skills but slowly changed after meeting good people and overcoming various things, successfully moving viewers’ hearts.
Good Doctor became a new hit drama, surpassing the 20% viewership mark. In particular, it drew favorable reviews for portraying disabled people as members of society who work together to better this world, not as objects of compassion and sympathy. The drama, which captured both popularity and quality, was later remade in Japan and the US, and Joo Won also received recognition by winning the KBS Best Actor Award that year.
Joo Won, who showed a further growth through Good Doctor, continued his activities by starring in Yong Pal, Naeil’s Cantabile, and film Fatal Intuition. In particular, he was honored with the Grand Prize at the 2015 SBS Drama Awards for his passionate performances in Yong Pal.
After being discharged from the military, Joo Won recently returned to the small screen after three years with the drama Alice, which deals with a time-traveling story. Just like his wish to become a “humane actor” as he said in interviews and acceptance speeches, we expect him to be an amiable actor with his honest acting in every project.