There's no stopping the global Hallyu takeover. With Parasite still being the only international film to ever bring home the coveted Academy Award for Best Picture, we’d be remiss not to keep tabs on its cast and director.
One to watch is the talented Choi Woo Shik. Whether in K-dramas or the big screen, there’s no denying the rising star brings a dynamism that supercharges every scene he's in. Get to know him more below!
10 things you need to know about "Parasite" actor Choi Woo Shik:
1. He’s an Aries.
Woo Shik was born on March 26, 1990 in Seoul, Korea.
2. He grew up in Vancouver, Canada.
Back in a 2012 Star English interview, the actor was very candid about his experience living in Canada. Having moved to the Land of Maple Leaf when he was in the fifth grade, he shared that middle school was a bit rough for him with his classmates teasing him about his “smelly food,” a.k.a. kimchi. He eventually found his footing and had a blast in high school. Fun fact, his English nickname is Eddie.
3. He made his on-screen debut in 2011.
He was on his freshman year at the prestigious Simon Fraser University when he ultimately decided to head back to Korea and pursue acting. It took him a while to convince his parents, but they eventually lent him money for the airfare, and soon enough, he was able to land a gig. He debuted in 2011 as the young Gwi-dong, who was switched at birth, in the period drama The Duo.
4. His first leading role also won him his first award.
Set Me Free follows 16-year-old Yeong-jae, a clever young man who feigns interest in becoming a priest so he can extend his stay at the group home he grew up in. Woo Shik’s powerful portrayal of the troubled teen garnered him Actor of the Year in the 19th Busan International Film Festival. He's since built a prolific career as a movie star, appearing in films like Golden Slumber, The Princess and the Matchmaker, Monstrum, The Divine Fury, The Witch, and Time to Hunt.
As for K-dramas, fans of Woo Shik can find him on Rooftop Prince, The Boy Next Door, and Our Beloved Summer, among other titles.
5. "Train To Busan" opened international doors for him.
In the 2016 global blockbuster, Woo Shik showed off his acting chops as a high school baseball player fighting for survival against a throng of zombies. The year after, he appeared in Okja alongside an international star-studded cast that included Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal and Lily Collins. He hopes to follow up the Hollywood crossover with more projects and emulate the careers of his favorite actors, Shia LaBeouf and Timothée Chalamet.
6. "Parasite" Director Bong Joon Ho had him in mind early on to play Ki-woo.
The first time the actor worked with Bong Joon Ho in Okja, the director told him to “stay skinny”. This peculiar request came with no further explanation, until four months after. He learned Joon Ho was writing a script and thought he could play the role of Ki-woo perfectly.
Actress Park So Dam, who plays his sister in the hit movie, even graciously shared, “I need to be grateful to [Woo Shik] for the rest of my life, because he had already been cast first. I was only cast in the film because I looked like him. So it’s thanks to him that I got the part.”
7. He sings, too!
Did you know that Woo Shik was the crooner behind Parasite’s end credits? Also written by Bong Joon Ho, the original song, Soju One Glass, was even shortlisted for the Oscars! His music career looks just as promising as he recently released Poom, a swoon-worthy ballad that featured his good friend and K-artist Peakboy.
8. He’s close friends with Park Seo Joon and V from BTS.
They say birds of the same feather flock together and the Wooga Squad is definitely proof. The highflying barkada is composed of K-pop idols V and Peakboy, as well as K-drama leading men Park Seo Joon, Park Hyung Sik, and Woo Shik. Constantly supporting each other by making special appearances in each others’ fan meets and variety shows, sending each other coffee trucks and love via social media, and even spending holidays and vacations together, this is one friend group we'd definitely want to be part of!
9. He’s vocal about the importance of mental health.
“Consider your mental health over your physical,” he advised during his Vogue Korea interview. Practicing meditation and mindfulness, he shared that concentrating on the present helped to decrease his insomnia. Another practical tip? “When I'm stressed, I drive or go on a trip," he revealed. "Goseong in Gangwon-do, Hawaii, and Bali are my favorite travel destinations. It's all sea. I like mountains, but these days I am drawn to the sea."
10. He’s on Instagram.
See more of the Korean leading man, get behind-the-scenes access, and know more about his latest projects and endorsements by joining his over 2 million followers at @dntlrdl
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