Today on January 22, the South Korean film industry was blessed by the legendary actor Choi Min-Sik. The actor’s outstanding work in the industry is highly commendable. As he turns 62 today, let’s look back to his inspiring journey as an actor and his contribution to the world of cinema.

Choi’s passion for acting started at a very young age, when he was in high school, and he began acting as a research student at a theatre company. Interestingly, acting was not Choi’s first career choice. When he was young, he was so driven by filmmaker Ha Gil-jong’s films that he wanted to become a director. However, the dream was short-lived, as Choi was destined to be an actor.

The actor began his acting journey as a theatre artist. Theater played a significant role in shaping Choi’s acting skills which later became a great contribution to the film industry. Despite having immense passion and dedication to his craft, Choi had to face many hurdles to become an actor. For instance, when Choi was offered a role in a play, Equus, he had to let go of it due to compulsory military enlistment.

Eventually, his career gained momentum with the KBS drama, The Years of Ambition, where he gained massive recognition for his performance. His early film career include films like  Our Love as It Was (1991) and  Sara Is Guilty (1993).

However, the television drama The Moon of Seoul (1994)  is considered as his breakthrough performance as it received remarkable success. However, dominating television was never his dream. Hence, in 1997, he returned to the stage with the play Taxi Driver. Subsequently, he made a comeback to the film industry with No 3. His 1999 film Shiri became a huge success and the actor was acclaimed for his role as a North Korean Agent.

Choi went on to achieve great success in his career as he became internationally famous with Oldboy (2003). He continued giving numerous notable performances in films like Springtime, Crying Fist, and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.

Apart from contributing to the film industry with great performances, Choi has also made a major contribution to it by protesting against the decision of the South Korean administration to reduce the Screen Quotas. He even imposed an exile on himself from making films for four years. However, that wasn’t the end of Choi’s era as the actor returned with a bang with films like I Saw the Devil (2010), Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time (2012), and New World (2013).  Later Choi extended his arena to Hollywood with the 2014 film Lucy. He made his comeback to episodic narratives after almost three decades, with the Disney+ series Big Bet (2022).

Choi’s talent and dedication to acting have never gone unnoticed, or rather, I should say that it is difficult not to notice rare talents like Choi Min-Sik. In 2023, the actor was honored by the 27th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, which organized a special exhibition titled I Saw Choi Min-Sik, to give homage to his acting career spanning over 30 years.

Choi’s career is indeed inspiring and admirable. Someone said it is very true that great legends have great stories, and Choi is no less than a legend in the field of cinema.

Similar Posts