Feb 5, 2011

Korea Movie Star - Cho Seung Woo

Cho Seung-woo (b. March 28, 1980) grew up in a musical family: his father Cho Kyung-soo is a singer, and his older sister Cho Seo-yeon acts in musicals. Cho himself also dreamed of becoming a musical actor from an early age, however in 1999 while a student at Dankook University he was persuaded to join auditions for Im Kwon-taek's film Chunhyang, and he ended up winning the part from among a field of 1000 actors. Chunhyang would screen as the first Korean film in competition at Cannes, although domestically it failed to attract much of an audience.

Cho did go on to appear in musicals after his film debut, acting in local productions Subway Line 1 and The Last Empress. Soon he was drawn back into the film industry, however, with a key supporting role in Wanee and Junah (2001), plus leading roles in Who Are You (2002) and Kwak Jae-yong's popular The Classic (2003). Particularly after The Classic his popularity continued to grow, and in 2004 he appeared in Im Kwon-taek's 99th film Low Life, which flopped at the box office.

Cho's breakthrough would come in early 2005, when he played an autistic boy in the smash hit Marathon. With over 5 million tickets sold to the film, Cho attracted great praise for his naturalistic performance and won Best Actor at the 2005 Grand Bell Awards. In November he was even presented with a Best Actor award in the foreign film category of China's Hundred Flowers Awards. Nonetheless, he continued to pursue his career in musicals, with critically-acclaimed appearances in Hedwig and Jekyll and Hyde that had fans scrambling to find tickets. His success at pursuing both film and musicals make him an unusual case among contemporary actors.

Cho's latest film appearance is in Love Phobia (2006) playing opposite Gang Hye-jung, with whom he shares an off-screen romance. He will also appear in Tazza, the second film by Choi Dong-hoon, the director of The Big Swindle.

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