It is very clear that model-turned-actor Kim Woo Bin is no doubt, one of the hottest stars on the market these days.
When he appeared in SBS’ “Gentleman’s Dignity” and KBS’ “School 2013,” he was not as noticed. However, after his stellar performances on SBS’ “The Heirs” and the film “Friend 2,” Kim Woo Bin proved to be a hit-maker and has solidified his position as a top actor.
Even among strong acting seniors such as Yoo Oh Sung and Lee Min Ho, Kim Woo Bin’s charisma still left a deep impression on viewers. His unique face and modelesque body-line aren’t the only factors to his popularity but his acting skills as well. Recently, actresses Jeon Do Hyun and Ha Ji Won picked Kim Woo Bin as the actor they will be keeping an eye on in the future.
Let’s take a look into the television, advertisement and film industries’ reactions to the rising star.
It seemed like Kim Woo Bin’s popularity was not matching up to his “School 2013” co-star and best friend Lee Jong Suk‘s popularity earlier this year. However, Kim Woo Bin completely changed that through “The Heirs.” He plays the complex rebel Choi Young Do, showing a charm that doesn’t get shadowed by his co-star Lee Min Ho. The almost insane look in his eyes, his chic mannerisms and his secretly hidden scars combine to create a perfect “bad boy” character.
Sources from “The Heirs” commented, “Kim Woo Bin has just as many fans as Lee Min Ho these days. While Lee Min Ho has many fans from many different countries, it seems like all of the Korean high school female students come out to see Kim Woo Bin whenever he appears.”
Since Kim Woo Bin is still at the tender age of 24, he is expected to fill in the empty spots of the slightly older actors such as Song Joong Ki, Yoo Ah In and Park Yoo Chun when they have to serve their mandatory military time. At the moment, it is said that he and his best friend, Lee Jong Suk, are the top two actors receiving offers for television mini-series. Currently, other popular actors around the same age include Kim Soo Hyun (25), Kim Bum (24) and Sung Joon (23). These actors mostly carry on a soft image with a fair appearance. Therefore, Kim Woo Bin’s tough guy looks get a better chance to shine.
Drama department sources are reacting strongly to Kim Woo Bin. One of the top officials at the SBS drama department, Kim Young Sup, commented, “Choi Young Do’s character, if done badly, could make even the actor seem like a bad person. However, Kim Woo Bin is so good at portraying the character that a villain, who we can give our hearts to, was born.”
Drama producers are giving Kim Woo Bin high points for his ability to analyze a character and are sending him many lovecalls. One producer commented, “His greatest strengths are his ability to express his emotions in great detail and using his facial muscles in many different ways. His ability to understand the character is better than other actors his age.”
In terms of advertising value, Kim Woo Bin is said to have earned the biggest benefit out of “The Heirs” cast. According to industry insiders, before appearing on “The Heirs,” Kim Woo Bin’s advertising worth was around 200 million won (around $200,000) per year. However, he is now worth around 400-450 million won (around $400,000 – $450,000) per year. Lee Min Ho and Park Shin Hye were already worth a lot but have not seen that big of a difference after “The Heirs” had aired.
Currently, Kim Woo Bin is modeling for seven different brands including Trugen, Diadora, Smart Uniforms and Buckaroo. One of his agency reps stated, “We have recently been offered six more deals from different companies. Many of Kim Woo Bin’s current advertisement contracts have come to an end recently but we’re expecting an even higher number of contracts to come in after the drama ends.”
The companies that want Kim Woo Bin are usually brands that appeal to the younger audience. An advertisement source commented, “Kim Woo Bin’s body, eyes and atmosphere have a trendy feel, which fits with many fashion brands. To add to that, he recently played a wealthy hotel heir, which gives him a luxurious image as well.
Lee Jong Suk is known to be worth around 400-450 million won as well and it seems like Kim Woo Bin has caught up with his best friend.
It seems like everyone needs to get in line because film insiders have their eye on Kim Woo Bin as well. Many are saying that Kim Woo Bin has a certain masculine charm that is reminiscent of Korea’s most respected actors such as Shin Sung Il or Choi Moo Ryong.
One particular film producer stated, “What Kim Woo Bin showed us isn’t like those ‘flower boy’ stars who worked out to make a muscular body for a ‘manufactured’ toughness. Kim Woo Bin’s manliness comes from deep within, from his voice, facial expressions and eyes. He even has a certain sexiness on top of that. Since he’s not too good-looking, that actually opens up a wider range of roles for him. He is definitely someone to pay attention to in the film industry, which is lacking young stars right now.”
Director Kwak Kyung Taek of “Friends 2” also commented, “He has great bodily proportions and is very attractive. His sharp yet sexy eyes have the power to pull people in.” Director Kwak also spoke about his acting skills, “Looking at his experience, he is still a rookie. But he is a born-to-be actor. He is also very diligent and thorough so there was no need to point anything out to him on set.”
Another reason why Kim Woo Bin is being praised by the film industry is because of his diligent and humble attitude. Although he is enjoying great fame, Kim Woo Bin is said to be friendly and hard-working. Actor Yoo Oh Sung commented, “He is so diligent that I found even more affection for him. I’m not trying to be a senior to him but I liked him so much that I kept wanting to give him advice. I’m happy that I met such a good person, out of the many young people, for the first time in a while.”
Casting calls are flooding Kim Woo Bin’s inbox at the moment. His agency revealed, “We have received ten different movie scenarios right now. The film industry reacted a little after ‘School 2013’ but after ‘Friend 2,’ the scenarios are pouring in. The genres are very diverse such as teen movies, melodrama, romantic comedies and action.”
It seems like 2013 was a huge year for Kim Woo Bin and from the looks of it, 2014 may be even bigger. Soompiers, what are your thoughts on Kim Woo Bin and his recent success?