How Did Jang Dong-gun Become the ‘Actor’s Actor’

“Then let’s say that you are in love with me unrequitedly from now on…” Jang Dong-gun is the ‘hot’ guy in the TV drama scene in Korea. For the first time in his acting life, he made a catchy phrase that appeals throughout ‘Gangnam Style’ guys and girls to ajummas and ajussis. “Let’s say that we are Jang Dong-gun in our speeches~”

Jang Dong-gun, with his appearance in the SBS drama ‘A Gentleman’s Dignity’, is continuing on the writer Kim Eun-sook’s ‘arrogant city men’ imagery, following up on Hyun Bin’s ‘Secret Garden’. What are the similarities between them? They are rich, tall, ridiculously handsome and smart, in short, a ‘man of dreams’. The pair would put even the princes and knights in shining armor to shame.

The bad things? They’re narcissistic jerks, who live for themselves and for themselves only. We can’t say that it is a bad thing, though, since the even their namesake from the mythologies were proud of his looks.

Jang Dong-gun is an actor who has had the title of ‘flower boy’ longer than any actors in Korean cinema. Perhaps he is the first after the legendary looks Shin Seong-il. He has been the epitome of the ‘flower boy’ for nearly 20 years since his debut. He is also a model celebrity, without any scandals or incidents, and is a happily married father and a husband of Ko So-young, another legendary actress for her looks. Jang Dong-gun is at the ground zero when it comes to model behavior and attitude.

Perhaps as a result, Jang Dong-gun is always at the helm when it comes to ‘perfect man’ roles. But he hasn’t been really shining much when he appeared onscreen as a ‘nice guy’.

Jang Dong-gun the bad guy? He established his name as the actor’s actor when appeared as the vicious man of action in the gangster movie ‘Friend’, and after a long slump, has succeeded in reclaiming that title after his Kim Do-jin in ‘A Gentleman’s Dignity’.

His charm comes alive when he takes on a ‘bad guy’ imagery. Perhaps the audiences and the viewers want a ‘defect’ on the perfect images he displays onscreen. Jang Dong-gun plays the role of Kim Do-jin in ‘A Gentleman’s Dignity’, a Gangnam Style rich guy and the perfect man, who knows that he is hot and uses that to his full advantage. While Kim Do-jin would have been chased off the screen for being a jerk 10 years ago, he is a ‘man of dreams’ for the women in front of the TV these days.

Ridiculously handsome and tall, smart professional, a flamboyant single and a playboy, women can’t help but be charmed. His charm even won over Seo Yi-soo, that innocent and rigid ethics teacher.

Living as the epitome of ‘a good and nice and cool guy’ in his recent films, Jang Dong-gun has achieved the grand-slam turnover in his acting life. Many were tired of Jang Dong-gun’s ‘good guy’ image in past movies like ‘Good Morning President’ and such. “He is so perfect, but he is a nice guy to the boot? That’s just lame…” was the answer of the many viewers.

Meeting writer Kim Eun-sook, throwing lewd glances, and proclaiming “aren’t I too hot for you?” as the ‘arrogant city man’ Kim Do-jin hit the jackpot, the potential that he hid beneath his ‘good guy’ roles.

In his next film, he is set to play a bit more vicious, and much more rich playboy in director Hur Jin-ho’s ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ alongside Chinese beauties Zhang Ziyi and Cecilia Cheung.

Jang Dong-gun’s rebirth carries significant meanings. In the acting industry where 30s were said to be a thing to be laughed at and 40s were unacceptable, Jang Dong-gun has created a formula for success beyond his 40s. He has shown that model of success to the stars of the olden days, slowly blinking off in fear of different challenges. His determination for change is that model of success that others can think to attempt- and the current Jang Dong-gun syndrome, no less than its heyday 20 years ago, is the testament to that determination and its fruit.

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