He made his theatre debut with ‘Taxi Driver’ in 1997. He made his first big screen appearance in the movie ‘Park V. Park’ but couldn’t gather any attention.
Thereafter, he appeared in KBS2’s drama ‘Sad Temptation’ in 1999.
He then appeared in the movie ‘Dance Dance’ in 1999. He went through professional dance training for his role in the movie.
After gaining publicity from his minor roles, he finally captured the hearts of his audience through the smash-hit flick ‘Happy End’, a movie that got him his due success. His portrayal of a disdain lover in the romantic drama got him a lot of attention from Korean and overseas audience.
In 2000, he appeared in KBS2’s show, ‘Look Back in Anger’ and acted in another movie titled, ‘Real Fiction’ which was shot in just 3.5 hours without any retakes.
In 2001, he took on another major role in one of the biggest motion pictures in the history of Korean cinema, ‘Musa’, a movie that was set in 14th century China. He starred opposite Zhang Ziyi of ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ fame.
He starred in the melodrama ‘Wanee & Junah’ in which he played an easy-going writer who struggles to make it big. He then became part of SBS’ boxing drama, ‘Punch’.
He returned to the silver screen in 2004 with the comedy drama ‘Liar’ which was based on a play (‘Run For Your Wife’) by Ray Rooney.
From 2004 to 2005, Joowas part of the historical drama series, ‘Bichunmoo’ (Dance in the Sky). Due to copyright issues the series was aired in China and Taiwan (2006) before it was aired in South Korea (2008).
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In 2005, he starred in SBS’ hit show, ‘Fashion 70’s’ with Lee Yo-won. In 2006, he starred in ‘Puzzle’, a movie about a bank robbery gone wrong.
He starred in another romantic comedy, ‘200 Pounds Beauty’, which became quite popular at the time of its release. He also became part of the TV series, ‘Queen of the Game’.
In 2007, he starred in the gangster romance, ‘A Love’ along with Park Si-yeon. The following year, he starred in the controversial movie, ‘A Frozen Flower’, which was about a love triangle between a homosexual Goryeo King, his Queen and the Royal Guard.
In 2009, he returned to television with SBS’ series ‘Dream’in which he played a sports agent to a K-1 fighter. In 2010, he appeared in ‘A Better Tomorrow’ along with Son Seung-yeon. The film came to be known as John Woo's classic Hong Kong noir.
In 2011, he sang ‘Like Rain, Like Music’ by late singer Kim Hyun-sik during his first fan meeting in Japan. His singing skills were so admired by the fans that he ended up releasing his own cover of the same song and released the digital single in September 2011.
In 2012, he returned to silver screen with his portrayal of a 19th century con man in ‘Gabi’. The con man gets indulged in a political conspiracy involving King Gojong.
In 2013, he starred in the Chinese TV drama, ‘Flowers in Fog’ which was based on a novel by Qiong Yao. The series was shot in France.
He starred in another historical drama, ‘Empress Ki’ in which he played a character based on King Chunghye. He also starred in the sequel to the 2001 hit movie, ‘Friend: The Great Legacy’, in which he played a gangster.
He went back to theatre in 2015 with the staging of Margaret Mitchell’s classic, ‘Gone With the Wind’. Following this, he starred in the drama series, ‘Beloved Eun-dong’ with Kim Sa-rang.
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In 2016, he appeared in MBC network’s ‘Woman with a Suitcase’. In 2017, he starred in OCN’s drama, ‘Bad Guys: City of Evil’.
Awards & Achievements
In 2000, he won the Best Supporting Actor award at the 36th Baeksang Arts Awards for ‘Happy End’.
In 2000, he won the Best New Actor award at the KBS Drama Awards for ‘Look Back in Anger’.
In 2003, he won Excellence Award, Actor in Special Drama for ‘Punch’ at the SBS Drama Awards.
In 2005, he won Top Ten Starsat the KBS Drama Awards for ‘Fashion 70’s’.
In 2007, he won the Popular Star Award at the 28th Blue Dragon Awards for ‘A Love’.
In 2009, he won the Best Actor (Film) at the 45th Baeksang Art Awards for ‘A Frozen Flower’.
In 2010, he won Style Icon Award, Movie Actor at the 3rd Style Icon Award for ‘A Better Tomorrow’.
In 2013, he won Top Excellence Award, Actor in Special Project Drama at the MBC Drama Awards for ‘Empress Ki’.