PICK: 5 Korean Actors Who Gained and Lost Drastic Weight for Roles

korean actress weight loss

Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Yu Jin Kim

Credit: tvN

Park Min Young’s dramatic weight loss for her role in upcoming tvN drama Marry My Husband has become a hot topic. She lost her weight to 37 kilograms to authentically portray her character as a cancer patient in the series. Expectations are running high for her intense performance in the new drama, where she takes on the role of a woman seeking revenge by revisiting the events of ten years ago.

Numerous actors have lost and gained weight for their film and TV projects. Now, let’s take a look at 5 actors who went to extreme lengths to transform their bodies for a role.

Moving – Lee Jung Ha


In the drama Moving, high-school student Bong Seok conceals his superhuman senses, his ability to fly in the sky and hear the tiniest sounds most people wouldn’t notice. Despite learning to control his emotions and supernatural powers from his mother Mi Hyun (played by Han Hyo Joo), he struggles and can’t live a day without carrying a heavy dumbbell in his backpack and tying a sandbag on his ankle. Whenever he has an emotional dream or faces his crush Hee Soo (Go Yoon Jung), his body floats.

To better embody his character, Lee Jung Ha began gaining weight ahead of his audition and ended up adding 30 kilograms by the end of the drama’s shoot. His reported diet consisted solely of ramen for three months, and he even engaged in dancing and Pilates for his wire scene. His relentless effort likely is what endeared him to viewers.

>> ‘Moving’ Star Lee Jung Ha Spotted Looking Sharp and Slim After Major Weight Loss

Mask Girl – Ahn Jae Hong


Mask Girl has captured significant attention with its bold character and compelling storyline. In particular, Ahn Jae Hong found himself at the forefront, prompting reactions suggesting that the drama might be his retirement project. His portrayal of Ju Oh Nam, a character with an unlikable appearance and poor social skills, leaves him lacking presence in the workplace. Additionally, he adds an eccentric touch to his role as a devoted fan of his co-worker Kim Mo Mi’s (Lee Han Byul) internet broadcast.

To fully embrace the eerie nature of his character in the original work, the actor underwent a drastic physical transformation, gaining 10 kilograms and adopting baldness makeup, as recommended by the director. The positive responses were not only attributed to his changed appearance but also to his well-fitted improvisions, adding more depth to his character. Surprisingly, it was revealed that he concurrently worked on an entirely different sports movie, Rebound, during the filming of Mask Girl.

>> Ahn Jae Hong Highly Praised for His Remarkable Performance in Netflix’s ‘Mask Girl’

The Roundup: No Way Out – Lee Joon Hyuk


Lee Joon Hyuk stepped into the role of the antagonist in The Roundup: No Way Out, marking the third chapter in The Outlaws movie series. Given the outstanding performances of previous villains played by Yoon Kye Sang and Son Suk Gu who masterfully portrayed ruthless and vicious characters, there were high expectations for Lee Joon Hyuk’s new villainous character. Cast as Joo Sung Cheol, the mastermind behind a new drug cartel, he engages in a tense confrontation with Ma Suk Do (Ma Dong Seok).

Despite having portrayed numerous villainous roles in past projects, Lee Joon Hyuk crafted a fresh character by gaining 20 kilograms to face off against the invincible Ma Dong Seok. Regarding the major weight gain, he explained, “Wouldn’t it be odd if viewers thought it’s strange when they see scenes of me facing off with Ma Dong Seok in the movie?” Known for his hearty appetite—consuming up to six meals a day—the actor focused on physical and vocal training alongside his weight gain. Additionally, his tanned skin and long hair added to his transformation into a formidable villain.

>> Lee Joon Hyuk Dishes on Ma Dong Seok’s Knockout Punch in ‘The Roundup: No Way Out’

Believer – Cho Jin Woong
Credit: NEW

Cho Jin Woong surprised viewers with his remarkable weight loss in Believer. The movie follows Detective Won Ho, who goes on an undercover mission to expose the true identity of Mr. Lee, the mastermind behind a massive drug ring. The actor shed 10 kilograms to convincingly portray his character, a detective who doggedly pursues criminals.

Cho Jin Woong is widely recognized as an actor with a fluctuating weight, often referred to as having a “rubber band weight.” In previous works like Once Upon a Time in High School and My Brother as well as in drama My Too Perfect Sons and The Slave Hunters, he showcased a larger physique, weighing over 100 kilograms. However, in films like The Handmaiden and My New Partner, he intentionally lost more weight. Notably, in Believer 2, some viewers were disappointed as he appeared with his regular weight, diverging from the thinner appearance in the previous installment.

Smuggler – Park Jung Min


Smuggler, starring  Kim Hye Soo and Yum Jung Ah, grabbed attention for its narrative centered around female divers entering the world of smuggling. Park Jung Min left a lasting impact with his impressive supporting role in the film led by two veteran actresses. Playing Jang Do Ri, he skillfully portrays a character who incites viewers’ anger by assisting the divers in smuggling, all the while secretly chasing his grand ambition.

Given the oceanic setting, Park Jung Min gained 15 kilograms at director Ryu Seung Wan’s suggestion to embody the image of a robust sailor. Notably, he decided to join the project without even reading the script, solely because it was directed by Ryu Seung Wan, and he even enjoyed the process of putting on weight. The actor also showcased an exaggerated 70’s fashion style to depict his character’s greedy and ostentatious nature, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to the film.

Editor Seo Hayne: I like actors as they faithfully lead through their long running-time. I also like idols who accomplish everything on stage within 3 minutes.

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