Have you ever seen an actor who can play nearly every type of role given to them? Kim Sung Oh is that type of actor. In his 15-year career he has played a wide variety of different characters that includes a murderous psycho and an adorably awkward secretary. He plays his characters so well, you don’t think he can ever convincingly play another one, until, well, when he does play another one and you forget all about his previous roles. From one movie, you feel chills run down your spine every time you seem him on screen, but after watching his next drama, you just want to hug him for being so sweet.
Kim Sung Oh has taken on many memorable roles that range from the sweetest of people to the most horrendous. What were some those memorable roles? Let’s take a look.
In one of his best known roles, Kim Sung Oh played Hyun Bin‘s bumbling assistant, Secretary Kim, who always seemed a bit awkward and was always bickering with his even stranger (and unreliable) boss. Secretary Kim was a very likable character whose interactions with Kim Joo Won (Hyun Bin) made “Secret Garden” far more hilarious than it already was. Even though he was just a supporting character, he got his happy ending with Gil Ra Im (Ha Ji Won)’s roommate/best friend, Im Ah Young (Yoo In Na). He may not have been a main lead, but he got a satisfying ending.
The Man From Nowhere/Ajusshi
In this film, Kim Sung Oh played a borderline psychotic drug dealer named Jong Seok, who aids in the kidnapping of a woman and her daughter. Anyone can take on the role a psychopathic villain, but it takes an extraordinary actor to show how psychotic that character can really be. SPOILER*********** Kim Sung Oh’s character may have died in the film, but he definitely left a lasting impression on viewers with his amazing portrayal of Jong Seok.
Kim Sung Oh not only knows how to play very polarizing good or evil characters, but also the ambiguous ones. In “When a Man Loves,” he played the role of Lee Chang Hee, a baddie gangster who also cared for his brother. Everything he did was for his younger brother, Lee Jae Hee (Yeon Woo Jin). Even when he became a ‘bad guy,’ he was never a terrible person. Sure he’s done some crazy (i.e. illegal) things to protect those he cares about, but overall Chang Hee was never a bad guy. In this role, Kim Sung Oh showed the human, or more complex, side of those whom we just presume to be straightforward villains.
If you can ever describe a role in which Kim Sung Oh played a quirky character, his portrayal as designer/fabulous fashionista Kim Nam Jung in the film “Fashion King” would be it. Nam Jung is quite popular for his unique fashion sense and sells knockoffs of popular brands. He takes Woo Ki Myung (Joo Won) and Kim Chang Joo (Shin Ju Hwan) under his wing and introduces them to the world of fashion. This role put Kim Sung Oh back into his comedic roles, but Nam Jung is more than just a funny character – he serves as a mentor to Ki Myung and Chang Joo. He shows them how to be confident no matter how unpopular you may be and that brands don’t matter when it comes to personal fashion. He even showed how much he cared about them by making over Kwak Eun Jin (Sulli), Ki Myung’s friend who also likes him.
In his most recent role, our actor has been bumped up to second lead. Kim Sung Oh played Hwang Wook, mayor of a small Jeju town who competes for Lee Jung Joo (Kang So Ra)’s affection. I’m sure many viewers ended up with SLS (Second Lead Syndrome) while watching this drama since Mayor Wook was just so adorable throughout the series. Unlike most second leads, his feelings for Jung Joo didn’t put him into evil second lead territory (we already had our female second lead for that) and we mainly saw him being adorable and awkward. Even when he did something selfish, he apologized for it. So how does playing a second lead deserve praise? Well it’s Kim Sung Oh and who else could play multiple family members of their character? None, I tell you (well maybe some others) and he pulled off every single family member effortlessly. Though Mayor Wook didn’t get Jung Joo, he did get his own happy ending with Cha Hee Ra (Ok Ji Young).
With an ability to pull off any type of character, it’s no wonder he’s been able to have a consistent career over the years. With other notable dramas and movies under his belt such as “Giant,” “The Tower,” and “The Nigh Watchman,” his popularity will only continue to grow. Let’s cross our fingers for when he finally gets to be the main lead in a new project.