[PICK] Top Korean Actors’ First-Ever Villain Roles

Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

Contrary to their handsome looks, villains overwhelm their opponents with cynical attitudes and malice. Since most of them are merciless tyrants, it’s better to press down the thoughts of getting closer to them. Let’s take a look at the first-ever challenge of actors, who captivated many women’s hearts with their handsome looks and cool charms, in playing villain roles.


Jung Woo Sung – James (Cold Eyes)

Credit: Next Entertainment World

Since his debut, Jung Woo Sung has never been left out from the list of the top stars. Since he quickly emerged as an icon of youth with the film Beat in 1997, he has mainly played lead roles who are friendly, cool, kind, or desperate. This is because of this particular stubbornness he had, which is to avoid playing villain roles considering the power he has over teenagers. Cold Eyes is the film where he transformed himself into a cold-blooded crime boss for the first time in his 20 years of acting career. James, played by Jung Woo Sung, is the kind of person who never shows his emotions and is capable of bringing his enemies to their knees with a single pen. Later, Jung challenged another villain role in The King.


Lee Byung Hun – Park Chang Yi (The Good, The Bad, The Weird)

Credit: CJ Entertainment

Even now, The Good, The Bad, The Weird boasts the daunting cast. If Song Kang Ho and Jung Woo Sung swept the screen as “The Weird” and “The Good, “Lee Hyung Hun left a vicious impression with his bloody and fierce eyes. Lee Byung Hun later took on the role of a notorious swindler Jin Hyun Pil in the movie Master, portraying a whole new type of a villain who is cold and hypocritical.


Kang Dong Won – Jo Yoon (KUNDO: Age of the Rampant)

Credit: Showbox

While Ha Jung Woo shaved his head for KUNDO: Age of the Rampant, Kang Dong Won challenged his first-ever villain role. He did play the voice of a kidnapper in Voice of a Murderer, but Jo Yoon from KUNDO: Age of the Rampant is considered his first official villain role. Just like how Kang always exuded mysterious images in his works, Jo Yoon is quite different from any other villain. He had a sense of coldness and sorrow within him, creating a beautiful villain who could not be blamed.


Yoon Kye Sang – Jang Chen (The Outlaws)

Credit: Megabox Plus M, Kiwi Media Group

Is there any villain who has left an afterimage as vicious as Jang Chen from The Outlaws in Korean cinema in recent years? Jang Chan, who was tremblingly creepy and is beyond brutal in his methods, set a turning point in Yoon Kye Sang’s career, which for some reason, was quite far from the box office hit. Yoon entirely transformed himself into a ruthless crime boss that is quite far from his usual images, and dominated the screen with his overwhelming presence.


Yoo Ah In – Jo Tae Oh (Veteran)

Credit: CJ Entertainment

Jo Tae Oh, the tyrannical heir to an untouchable mega-corporation who always escapes the law, is considered one of the most anger-inducing characters. Despite the persistent pursuit of detectives, Jo Tae Oh is still untouchable, and he doesn’t hesitate to continue his rude behaviors, putting viewers in rage. Yoo Ah In, who mostly presented youthful images, has successfully broadened his territory by vividly portraying the role.


Ju Ji Hoon – Kang Tae Oh (Dark Figure of Crime)

Credit: Showbox

After making back-to-back hits in both box office and critique with Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days and The Spy Gone North in 2018, Ju Ji Hoon chose to challenge his first villain role as his next move. Ju Ji Hoon ideally took on the role of Kang Tae Oh, a notorious murderer who deals with a persistent detective. Most of the time, he puts on airs, but from time to time shows his true nature as a bloodthirsty murderer. Ju shaved his head and tried to pick up the Busan dialect in order to fully digest a person who is based on a real person.


Jo Jung Suk – Jung Jae Chul (Hit-and-Run Squad)

Credit: Showbox

Jo Jung Suk, who has been much loved for his friendly image, played his first villain role in Hit-and-Run Squad. Jang Jae Chul, a former Formula One racer, sent chills down the viewers’ spine with his chilling words, eyes, and gestures. Watching him committing all kinds of crimes with his madness for speed and cars and his tendency to decide on impulse create a sense of uneasiness.

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