Happy Joo Ji Hoon Day: Looking back at the astounding career of ‘Kingdom’ and ‘Princess Hours’ star
On this joyous occasion, let’s take a look at the dazzling career of experienced actor Joo Ji Hoon.
Joo Ji Hoon (born May 16, 1982) is a South Korean actor and model. He had various bit parts in television dramas, but it was in 2006's romantic comedy ‘Princess Hours’, based on the manhwa ‘Goong’, that he achieved breakthrough. The drama was a hit domestically with a peak rating of 28.3%, and internationally across Asia, catapulting Joo Ji Hoon into Korean Wave stardom.
He played the role of Crown Prince Lee Shin, a smug, indifferent and insensitive man, who is actually lonely on the inside. After getting rejected by his girlfriend Min Hyo Rin (Song Ji Hyo), he decides to proceed with his arranged marriage to Shin Chae Kyeong (Yoon Eun Hye). Though he was initially annoyed by her naivete and enthusiasm, he gradually begins to open his heart to her. This role won him Best New Actor award at the MBC Drama Awards along with his co-star Yoon Eun Hye.
In March 2007, Ju starred in KBS2' revenge drama ‘The Devil’, opposite Uhm Tae Woong and Shin Min Ah. The same month, he received the New Asian Star award at the 1st Astar TV Drama Awards for his performance in ‘Princess Hours’ and ‘The Devil’. Joo Ji Hoon's film debut was in ‘Antique; (2008), based on the manga ‘Antique Bakery’.The film was invited to the 59th Berlin International Film Festival. He then reunited with ‘The Devil’ co-star Shin Min Ah in the romantic comedy ‘The Naked Kitchen’.
He made his film debut in China with ‘Love Suspicion’, a romantic thriller. In 2014, he was paired up with Ji Sung and Lee Kwang Soo in ‘Confession’, a neo-noir film that brutally explores the aftermath of three men's friendship after the death of one's mother. From 2017 to 2018, Joo Ji Hoon starred in the two-part fantasy epic ‘Along With the Gods’. The film was the second highest grossing film in South Korea, and Ju became known for his role as Haewonmaek.
In 2019, Joo Ji Hoon made a comeback to the small screen with two television series; Netflix's zombie period drama ‘Kingdom’, and MBC's fantasy legal drama ‘Item’. In the former drama, he played the role of Lee Chang, the Crown Prince of Joseon and heir presumptive to the throne. Although he is the King's only child, his late mother was unmarried, meaning that a son born from the Queen Consort would become the heir apparent and new Crown Prince. Suspicious of the illness afflicting the King, and his recent lack of public appearances, his investigation not only uncovers a dangerous plague that brings the dead back to life, but also a plot to betray the Royal family and usurp him as heir. Without a doubt, this was one of his best works. One, because it was great to see him back in a period drama but in a more matured and action-heavy way.
In 2020, he reprised his role in the second season of ‘Kingdom’, and starred in the legal drama ‘Hyena’ where he played the role of Yoon Hee Jae, a pedigreed and elite lawyer who is confident in his abilities. He possesses a brilliant mind that is wrapped around his ego, but he misses the grit of Geum Ja (Kim Hye Soo) and gets outsmarted by her on many occasions. Definitely an extremely underrated role of his, he did an amazing job as a lawyer with a comedic streak in him.
2021 was the year he starred in the awaited tvN drama ‘Jirisan’ alongside ‘Kingdom’ co-star Jun Ji Hyun. It was supposed to be the best drama, seeing the star-studded cast and the production value but the story didn’t hold up. This was not his best work but we hope to see him in new dramas in the coming year!
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Which is your favourite Joo Ji Hoon drama? Let us know in the comments below.