From Boys to Men: A Stalker's Guide to Korean Eye Candy Over 30
The life of an actor is a difficult one, especially in the age of the flower boy idols. I love Lee Min Ho, Joo Won, and the adorable Song Joong Ki the same as any drama addict; however, when it comes to eye candy, I prefer those seasoned actors who’ve already learned how to navigate in this world of entertainment and mastered the game.
Requirements for this list: age, acting ability, charisma, yum...
THIS LIST IS NOT IN ORDER
2007’s Mawang/The Devil was the drama that made me take notice of the man I had previously known only as Uhm Jung Hwa’s little brother. Tae Woong was awesome as detective Kang Oh Soo and his serious glare and that sexy smirk pitted against the dark and vengeful Joo Ji Hoon kept me intrigued until the end. But it was 2012’s The Equator Man that has come to be my favorite of his works. (The ability to move one eye at a time is an amazing feat!) The story of betrayal by his closest friend and the ultimate fight for revenge has catapulted him to one of my top 10. In 2011, he started his weekly appearance on the variety show 1N2D, showing he’s quite unlike the calculated, brooding and effortlessly sexy characters he tends to play. On the show, he’s adorable and silly, and his dry humor makes me love him even more. He also has quite a few movies under his belt, proving his versatility and so his performances only get better.
Upcoming: A recent newlywed and soon to be a dad, he will star opposite Kim Ok Bin in the saeguk Sword and Flower. With Tae Woong and Choi Min Soo (first on my list of yumbot ajusshis to come later) as his dad, I’m looking forward to a hot July. And of course, you can’t miss his weekly adorkableness on 1N2D.
On My List to Watch: Queen Seon Duk, Fight, Handphone, Intro to Architecture, Never Ending Story
My Weakness: That smirk.
Recommendations: The Equator Man, Dr. Champ, Mawang/The Devil, Cyrano: Dating Agency and the upcoming Sword and Flower for the hotness alone.
This guy…. Don’t let that baby face fool you. Ji Sung’s versatility in his acting proves that he’s not just about looks. I think my first time seeing him was in 2007’s New Heart ,which aired with Chinese subtitles on a local TV station. I had to look it up online with English subs and watch from the beginning. It was his first drama after being released from the army and I enjoyed him as the playful doctor, determined to prove himself amongst his peers. Then I was convinced to try Kim Soo Ro in 2010. I waited until after it aired so that I could marathon it and it didn’t disappoint. That face is only enhanced by Soo Ro’s curly waves. His follow-up, Royal Family, is my favorite of his works behind Soo Ro. Starring in two dramas that year, 2011 also saw him in Protect the Boss opposite Kim Jae Joong, but I couldn’t get into it. As much as I may love one actor, I can’t watch if I can’t stomach the supporting cast. He may not be tall, but his charisma makes him shine brighter than anyone. I’m looking forward to watching The Great Seer.
On My List to Watch: The Great Seer, My PS Partner
My Weakness: He's so adorable....
Recommendations: Kim Soo Ro, New Heart, Royal Family, Fate
Soo Bin’s career took a little longer to blossom. He debuted in China in 2002, but it wasn’t until he starred as the second lead opposite Lee Seung Ki in 2009’s Shining Inheritance did he start to get noticed. Park Joon Se was the ultimate temptation, smart and sweet to a fault, though his relationship with Go Eun Sung (Han Hyo Joo) was destined to fail. It was then that I started to fall for him, and his follow up, a leading role in Temptation of an Angel roped me in for good. Soo Bin’s eyes speak more than words and he’s able to superbly express the emotions of each character he plays. The following year he teamed with Han Hyo Joo again in the saeguk Dong Yi as her protector and family along with Ji Jin Hee. He hasn’t seen the small screen since 2011’s 49 Days where he played evil to the core fiancé Kang Min Ho. In all of his roles, he seems to never get the girl even when he is the lead. He has preferred to stick with movies as of late and has also taken to the small stage in a few critically acclaimed plays. Soo Bin is very involved in charities and serves as an ambassador.
Upcoming: My heart breaks but I’m happy for him that he’s going to be wed in the fall, and the upcoming movie Mai Latima will be released soon. It was also recently announced that he would be one of the male leads against idol group Kara in a miniseries.
On My List to Watch: I’ve managed to catch almost everything he’s acted in but there’s a few that I’ll need to find the time for since they’re long…. Let’s Get Married and Jumong and the movies After the Banquet and 26 Years (recently released).
My Weakness: His eye smile.
Recommendations: Shining Inheritance, Dong Yi, 49 Days, any YouTube clip of him talking smiling, breathing…
With striking good looks and a smile that melts chocolate, Joo Jin Mo’s career spans almost 15 years. My first glimpse of him was in the 2001 movie Musa: the Warrior, one of the first movies I watched as a newbie of the Asian entertainment way back in 2005. The first drama I watched starring Jin Mo was Queen of the Game in 2006, where I learned how tortuous waiting for subs could be. (Ah, the days when everyone streamed on YouTube…) I haven’t seen many of his works but each that I’ve seen was definitely not a waste of my time. He has also taken to the silver screen and has not done a drama since Dream in 2009. In 2008, he broke new ground as the king in the movie A Frozen Flower. He threw himself into his character and convincingly portrayed a man who loved his male guard. He even joked how his friends started to question his sexuality and treated him differently after the premier. Now that’s acting.
Upcoming Movie: Friend 2
On My List to Watch: Dream, Gabi/Coffee, Puzzle, Bicheonmu
My Weakness: Everything
Recommendations: A Frozen Flower, A Better Tomorrow, 200 Pound Beauty, Musa: The Warrior, Wannie & Junah, Queen of the Game
Is it possible to call a 41-year-old man adorable?! Jin Hee’s portrayal of King Suk Jong in Dong Yi made me squeal every time he smiled. He was innocent and naïve, but also an intelligent and determined king and Jin Hee won an excellence award for his performance. I have only seen pieces of his other dramas such as The Man Who Can’t Get Married form 2009. However, I felt that he should get a mention if not for his handsome profile alone. I have lots to catch up on when it comes to Jin Hee including finishing TMWCGM (and yes, he was adorable in the bowties). His most recent drama The Great Seer also stars Ji Sung; however, since I cannot watch more than one saeguk at a time, I’m saving it for a rainy day. He’s also had parts in a few movies including the Chinese musical Perhaps Love starring Kaneshiro Takeshi. Jin Hee’s also appeared on SBS’s Running Man a few times, proving his humility and sense of humor.
Upcoming: Great Seer ended in February after a 35-episode run so I hope he’s resting.
My Weakness: King Suk Jong
Recommendations: Dong Yi, Perhaps Love, H, Man Who Can’t Get Married
My first taste of that deep bass-y voice was during 2007’s Coffee Prince where Sun Gyun played the second lead to yumbot Gong Yoo. His character was full of charm akin to Soo Bin’s Joon Se, and provided a sense of maturity to boyish Yoon Eun Hye. Sun Gyun plays his characters with a sort of swagger that when added to that voice will make anyone swoon. That walk, that crooked smile, that overly confident attitude made me hate and oh so love his character in 2010’s Pasta. He has many good dramas under his belt and even more movies so I have a lot to catch up on, including Golden Time ,which I had been watching during breaks at work.
Upcoming: Recently starred in Nobody’s Daughter Hae Won and variety show March
My Weakness: The voice, the walk....
Recommendations: Coffee Prince, Pasta, Romantic Island, Petty Romance
Do you smell something burning? That greasy line Eric delivered in Bulsae/Phoenix is what catapulted Shinhwa’s Eric Mun into a different class in entertainment. Known as the leader to Kpop’s longest running “boy band”, Eric seems to be natural at acting. His roles since have not been able to match in ratings, however, he still throws himself into each role he plays. He barely starred in the drama Wolf in 2006, hit by an errant stunt car while literally saving Han Ji Min’s life, the drama with Uhm Tae Woong as his counterpart cancelled after 3 episodes and multiple surgeries thereafter for Eric. Though many claim Super Rookie as their favorite of his dramas, Que Sera Sera is what I consider his best work. Kang Tae Joo was sexy, honest, and seriously flawed and he poured his heart into the character. His latest drama was completed in 2011, Spy Myeongwol, his first after serving his duties in the military. Dogged with real life drama behind the scenes and a wacky script, I wasn’t able to get past episode four, although he looked absolutely delicious in every scene. Lately, he has been busy with Shinhwa’s comeback activities and the variety show Shinhwa Broadcast. Although he has the looks of a model, the acting chops that have won him countless awards and the brain of a CEO, our strange leader is not afraid to kill his image each week by dressing in drag, farting, and shouting at his dog.
Upcoming: Shinhwa activities, Shinhwa Broadcast (currently on hiatus in filming, but hopefully will return with an updated format)
On My List to Watch: Seen it all
My Weakness: Zorric (My nickname for his masked character in Strongest Chil Woo)
Recommendations: Bulsae/Phoenix, Super Rookie, Invincible Parachute Agent, Que Sera Sera, Diary of June, A Bittersweet Life (his brief appearance definitely made an impact), Strongest Chil Woo (Leave all logic at the door and enjoy the antics), episodes 14 and 15 of Shinhwa broadcast which focused on pranking Eric
More Shinhwa Yay! And I’m not showing my bias, having been a fan of the group for about eight years now, these two truly are great actors and have made it possible for other idols to transition into dramas (although most cannot live up to the acting skill of even waiter #2”…. ). Kim Dongwan started off as an actor before being discovered and joining Shinhwa. He didn’t see the screen often until 2002, and only recently has he been able to prove his ability. After his army release he started filming Yeongasi/Deranged, a horror/suspense thriller that broke records at the box office. I still regret missing that his miniseries Lee Yuk Sa/The Peak that won an award at the Houston International Film Festival in 2012. I swear I went over the roster looking for something worth traveling across town to watch and saw nothing, the two episode drama where he became the famous poet garnered him respect as an actor and not just an idol. Recently he starred in the sitcom Cheer Up Mr. Kim! . Kim Tae Pyung was such a sweet and handsome guy that I bet no woman could resist falling for him, kids and all. Dongwan is an interesting guy, and brutally honest which I’ve noticed some fans don’t like, but I appreciate his wisdom and his wanting to share what he learns in the process of figuring out how to balance his life as an idol, actor, and a single man. He closed his long running blog while filming for Mr. Kim and I sincerely miss those bits of wit and amazing pictures he would post. Fortunately for me, I am recently overloaded by the handsome man with dimples while Shinhwa continues their activities.
Upcoming: Shinhwa activities, Shinhwa Broadcast (hopefully with an updated format)
On My List to Watch: Need to finish Goodbye Sadness, Beating Heart
My Weakness: His Brain
Recommendations: Yeongasi, The Peak, Cheer up Mr. Kim!, Spin kick (he strips and Hyun Bin is in it too), his official YouTube channel, old episode of Manwon Happiness where he almost blows up the kitchen
At 32, he’s the youngest on my list, but that doesn’t make him any less worthy of being in my top 10. He’s tall and lanky and has such naturally handsome features. They were what first caught my eye watching A Love to Kill back in 2005. His character though was one of the few second leads that I just could not find a soft spot for, no matter how good he looked. Still, I had to look him up afterwards and started with the movie The Classic. His character’s fate was the saddest of them all and he was just as good in Sad Movie. I laughed hysterically at the giant ballerina in the background as I watched Dongwan and Hyun Bin in Spin Kick, and I paid more attention to him than Song Seung Hun in He Was Cool. He was great in Outrageous Woman, his character falling for a much older divorcee. Most recently, my favorite has been Flower Boy Ramyun Shop where to me; he was the fairest of them all.
Upcoming: Recently completed the cable drama The Virus
On My List to Watch: Sweet Lies, Sin of a Family, The Virus
My Weakness: Simply dreamy
Recommendations: The Classic, Spin Kick, Sad Movie, A Love to Kill, Outrageous Woman, Flower Boy Ramyun Shop
Kim Kang Woo isn’t afraid to take on challenges when it comes to the roles he chooses. Each of his works that I’ve seen couldn’t have been successfully portrayed by anyone other than him. A Man’s Story/Slingshot is my favorite drama of all time and it’s because of him. His portrayal of Chae Do Woo gave me goosebumps. I wondered how a man could be so bat crap crazy yet still be so brilliant and sexy. Opposite Park Yong Ha (R.I.P.), the two’s back and forth struggle had me the most excited to get home from work to watch and it’s the only drama that I’ll watch over and over again. He gained international attention with the 2012 film A Taste of Money directed by Im Sang Soo. An extension of the controversial film The Housemaid, Kang Woo wasn’t afraid to test his limits as a private secretary who has an affair with a much older woman. Sadly, I couldn’t finish his latest drama Haeundae Lovers. It just wasn’t my style but I look forward to his next anything.
Upcoming: Night Before the Wedding opposite Joo Ji Hoon
On My List to Watch: Bicheonmu, Taste of Money, The Railroad, The Gifted Hands (recently released)
My Weakness: The jaw line
Recommendations: A Man’s Story, Breathless (with Eric), Le Grand Chef, Marine Boy, A Better Tomorrow