The Rise of Kim Soo Hyun

Kim Soo Hyun has firmly established himself as a star; his acting growing by leaps and bounds with each project he undertakes.

Currently starring in SBS drama “Man from the Stars,” Kim Soo Hyun portrays alien Do Min Joon with a certain maturity in his acting. He’s had five hit projects in a row, making him one to watch amongst his fellow peers in their 20s. The drama reunites Kim Soo Hyun with his “The Thieves” co-star Jun Ji Hyun, and has crossed the 20% ratings mark.

Kim Soo Hyun debuted through 2007 MBC sitcom “Kimchi Cheese Smile” but didn’t receive much attention for his role then. Since then, he’s played a variety of child and adults roles in various dramas and films.

He began gaining attention through his role in 2009 SBS drama “Will It Snow for Christmas?,” where he played the teenage version of Go Soo’s character, Cha Kang Jin. Despite appearing for only a few episodes in the drama, he left a deep impression on audiences at home.

Kim Soo Hyun’s natural acting in the drama, where he fell in love with Nam Ji Hyun, in the role of Han Ji Wan, earned him high praise as a child actor. His expression of Cha Kang Jin’s emotions through his eyes was acknowledged by the drama viewers, and his eye acting became known as Kim Soo Hyun’s strength.

He played another child role in 2010 SBS drama “Giant,” as young Lee Sung Mo. Park Sang Min played his adult self. After witnessing his father’s death, Kim Soo Hyun displayed his character’s emotional changes as he cultivated vengeful thoughts against his enemy Jo Pil Yeon (Jung Bo Seok).

One scene that displayed his potential as an actor was the scene in which he witnessed his father’s death. He was able to portray the grief of losing his father, as well as fury at the man who killed his father at the same time.

Being Kim Soo Hyun did have its disadvantages. His image as a child actor was too strong. Thus, in order to shake off that image of him, his next project was the 2011 KBS 2TV drama “Dream High.” He played country bumpkin Song Sam Dong, a high school student whose dream was to become a singer, taking one step closer to the path of adult roles.

Kim Soo Hyun’s Sam Dong strives to improve himself inside and outside, after meeting and falling in love with Go Hye Mi (Suzy). The role of Sam Dong was a transitional role for him, paralleling his shift from child roles to adult roles. Sam Dong’s development into a star mirrored Kim Soo Hyun’s growth as an actor.

Kim Soo Hyun filmography

His next project, and perhaps the project that catapulted him into the limelight, was 2012 MBC drama “The Moon that Embraces the Sun.” He played the role of King Lee Hwon. Kim Soo Hyun’s strengths were best utilized in this sageuk, his expressive eyes and vocalization portrayed the king’s pure love for one woman. He also displayed chemistry with female lead Han Ga In, who is six years older than him, conveying his emotions through his eyes.

The drama’s ratings steadily rose as episodes progressed and had crossed the 40% barrier by the final episode. Kim Soo Hyun completed his transition to adult roles and rose to the top of the ranks of actors in their 20s, becoming highly sought after by the drama and film industry.

His first commercial film, “The Thieves,” a caper film with a star-studded cast, in 2012 was a huge success with a cinema audience of almost 13 million. Kim Soo Hyun’s first leading role in a film was 2013 movie “Secretly and Greatly,” and with an audience of 6.95 million, did quite well at the box office as well.

With that, he’s had a string of successes to call his own beginning with “Dream High,” and up to “Man from the Stars.” His acting and expressive eyes make it easy to see why he’s one of the top actors amongst his peers.

Kim Soo Hyun hasn’t shot to fame out of nowhere; he’s worked his way through child roles up to adult roles, and displayed his maturation and growth as an actor and accumulating an impressive filmography. How much more can he develop? And how wide is his spectrum as an actor? All we can say it, it’s just the beginning for Kim Soo Hyun.

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