For this fangirl, before there was Rain, there was Hyun Bin. I have some mad love for Hyun Bin and am happy to completely love on him here as my next K-Shot of Hot.
Hyun Bin The Actor
Hyun Bin is a wonderfully gifted and brilliant actor. Really, there’s not much more need be said and I can just move on to pics and video, if you like! But, I have seen a reasonable amount of his work so I might as well go ahead and talk about it! You really don’t have to see much of his work to realize that he is one of the more prolific and intelligent actors on the K-drama/film scene. In everything I have seen him in, to date, he has been consistently good. I know I am still making my way down this K-rabbit hole, and I have so many dramas, movies and music yet to ingest, Hyun Bin’s included. I will most assuredly need a few lifetimes to accomplish it. For now, let me focus a little while on what I know of and what I like about Hyun Bin (who I will just call “Bin” from here on end). As a FYI, the dramas and films listed are in the order in which I viewed them and not chronologically in which they were made. Just thought I’d let you know.
If you have seen any of Bin’s work, you may very well agree with me that he is an extremely versatile actor. When I watched him in Friend, Our Legend I was quickly reminded of US-born actor, Edward Norton. I think Bin might consider it a compliment if I told him that his acting method reminds me a lot of Edward Norton. They each have that same varied range and a way of easing into a character methodically, with patience. I saw this with Bin’s Hoon in Late Autumn, too. Oh, he such a yummy actor!!!
My Lovely Sam Soon
I first met Bin in My Lovely Sam Soon. Sam Soon was the second drama I watched when I began my foray into K-dramaland. I recall reading the synopsis of this drama and was immediately interested because I like a heroine down on her luck, relationship-challenged and slowly slipping from what is societally considered (although not by my standards), marriageable age! Perhaps it was a little TOO close to home!!
Bin’s cocky, angst-ridden restaurateur Hyun Jin Hun is easy to dislike because Bin played him that way and was convincing. In fact, early on, I held as much disdain and disgust towards this ‘Sam Shik’ as Sam Soon did!! Initially, I didn’t like him at all and, he did absolutely nothing for me. But as I continued on, he grew on me and I actually started to like him. I guess I’m a sucker for a smittened man. *shrugs* Kim Sun Ah is stellar in her comedic turn as Kim Sam Soon. I found Sam Soon and Jin Hun’s evolution from ‘I loathe you’ to ‘I love you’ endearing because, let’s face it, when Bin’s Jin Hun starts to melt under the blanket of love, there is no escaping his boyish charm and, yes, those dimples!
An endearing moment for me is when Sam Soon (after diligently learning to play the piano) gives Jin Hun a private concert. Yeah, I like romantic, endearing moments like these. It was thoughtful and loving and I simply adore how he is sitting there with that little smile on his face, enjoying the moment. And, yes, real men can wear pink and rock it! Actually, I rather love how his character evolves from a rude, arrogant punk to an adorkable smittened man. Love turns us into the most unlikely people, ne?
On the comedic side, there were many moments – but a couple of my faves include the fantasy dance scene.
Don’t you just love that incredulous look on Bin’s face?! Priceless!
And, (ok, yes, maybe I am a little freaky deaky to go for this one) when Sam Soon finally decides to give into Jin Hun and sleep with him –ZooooMG – he is excited and happy and ready and, and, and, and, has no protection. He does what any good boyfriend would do: combs the city looking for some condoms. I was ROARING because apparently there must have been A LOT of couples with the same idea that night as there was not a single condom to be found. And, after scouring for what seemed like hours (probably wasn’t though), he FINALLY finds some, heads home only to find Sam Soon fast asleep – yeah, out cold! >.< Awwww, Jin Hun I feel for ya, buddy, I know you tried!!
I am not ashamed to admit that I love to see a K-Shot getting his kiss on, and in My Lovely Sam Soon, this one was so very lovely. The apprehension, the tension, and the tenderness made this kiss extra special sweet! I like that he seems confused by Sam Soon making the first move, but after the kiss he looks so swoony and woozy as he looks at her. Yes, Sam Soon, I would be compelled to kiss him, too. Indeed. Mmm, mmm, mmm, I do love a tender-kissing man.
I LOVED Bin in this one! LOVED. I think I loved him in this one more than I loved him in Secret Garden. That’s kind of blasphemous, right? I mean, Secret Garden is the quintessential K-drama favorite among his fans yet I totally, completely, and unequivocally fell head over heels in love with him in Worlds Within. Sam Soon introduced me to him, Worlds Within made me swoon deep and hard. I was Bin-fixated for a good couple of months. I admittedly went back to various episodes and scenes in this one long after I finished it as I plowed through it pretty quickly. I don’t do that now. I rarely marathon because as my good friend Kfangurl over at the The Fangirl Verdict once told me, you only see a drama for the first time once. So.true. I went through Worlds pretty quickly because I wanted to see Bin and I wanted to see the romance unfold and, yeah, I wanted to see Bin.
I liked this drama because it was a drama about making dramas. Mix in a cup each of romance and Hyun Bin – I’m all over that!! And Bin was looking ferociously HOT.
Then there was the chemistry with Song Hye Kyo. Yes, this chem was palatable, indeed. I believe this drama landed the two of them in a real life romance. I like her with him – a lot. Song Hye Kyo looks good with a tall man. I saw this with Rain and I see with Bin. I most likely have an obsession of sorts as I am vertically challenged myself, and LOVE tall men. And, SHK is taller than me! Yet, she looks teeny tiny next Bin (as she did next to Rain). This leads me to believe that I might reach the solar plexus on each of these guys, on a good hair day! Anyway, I have to take a moment here to admire Bin for his strong and sturdy physique in this drama. Very nice!!!!
I like him filled out like this. In fact, it is here where I like his physique the best.
I appreciated Bin’s character in this drama because his Jung Ji Oh is a man from humble beginnings, a farm boy, actually, who goes to the big city and makes his way as a successful drama director. There is almost a naiveté about him that makes him so endearing. It’s not that he hasn’t had his share of experiences in both life and love, it is that he carries this of-the-earth quality with him. And this relaxed sweetness is what I think wins over the seemingly more cosmopolitan Joo Joon Young who views him as her sunbae and mentor and who ultimately becomes his lover. They have a history so neither of them are treading unfamiliar territory here and although a bit apprehensive, they decide to make a go of the relationship. It would not have taken much for Ji Oh to win me over, seriously! Oh and yes, Bin’s a yummy kisser! Here is a compilation of what you get in Worlds Within (some audio sync problems in the beginning of the video, but stick with it):
He gets me all swoony! Bin moves through Worlds Within with such a relaxed easy flow. I just adored him in this drama!
Okay, yes, he was absolutely fantastic here. Hands down. I love a smittened Bin! With smittened Bin we get to see those dimples, a lot! And, you have to admit, his dimples are charming and adorable. In fact, I think his dimples deserve a co-star credit in his dramas and films!! Dimples aside, I really liked Bin in this role. The premise of this drama, as I see it, is about two people whose lives intersect as a result of a tragic event. They are brought back together with neither one connecting who the other is and, as fate would have it, end up falling in love. The twist is the sci-fi/fantasy element incorporating a body switch between our OTP and this is where mayhem ensues! Bin and Ha Ji Won were delightful to watch when they were in their respective characters, but oh so funny when they switched. This still makes me roar as hard as I did the first time I saw it!
Both Bin and Ha Ji Won were simply hilarious when the body switches occur although I think he rocked it a little better than she did. I thought Bin was fully committed and really embraced the idea that he was a woman trapped in a man’s body. Loved it!
And I absolutely LOVED when Kim Joo Won was embodied by Gil Ra Im and her phone goes off with a text message!
Yes, this was good fun wrapped in a romance with both Bin and Ha Ji Won displaying good chemistry together and nice comedic timing! Oh, and true fact, my phone sings ‘munja wa shong’ too, when I get a text message. Sure does.
I also like the fact that even Kim Joo Won himself could not conceivably wrap his own brain around why he was so smitten with Gil Ra Im. According to him, she wasn’t his type. She was definitely out of his social class. Yet he continually pursued her and pursued her AND pursued her no matter how incredulous and irrational it appeared to even himself!! He was relentless! I thought Bin played it out all so perfectly. We ultimately know why he is drawn to her but I love that, to him, it remains a mystery until the end. Oh, and isn’t he so absolutely gorgeous on top of it?!
The added bonus for me here in Secret Garden was the OST. What a fantastic soundtrack accompanied this drama AND, we even get a song sung by Hyun Bin, himself! I have to be honest, no one is probably going to come close to the smooth, sultry, deep and husky voice of Rain. But in Bin’s defense, he can carry a tune and he sings this song, That Man, like a man in love. I really like it.
My absolute favorite song from the OST, however is from 4 Men……I adore this song!!
The Snow Queen
This is a hardcore melodrama that was heavy and deep – and it allowed Bin to go to a deeper, darker place, a place I felt he handled exceptionally well and would serve him down the line when Friend, Our Legend happens.
Things start off really promising for his character, Han Tae Woong/Han Deuk Gu (no, he doesn’t play twins – his character changes names to attempt to obliterate the past). As Han Tae Woong, he has a doting, hard-working mother and he happens to be quite the math genius. Social status aside, he is able to get into a fine school and things start to really gel for the guy. Enter a precocious little girl and an adversarial antagonist, and the drama begins to set forth the connection between the three – because there is ALWAYS some kind of connection. Unfortunately, we are on the precipice of disaster!
I am not going to go into detail but will say that a tragic event throws Bin’s character into an abyss of guilt and pain. For the better part of the drama following this event, we have to watch his character suffer the effects of that event over and over. Bin was exceptionally good at guiding his now Han Deuk Gu through the emotional minefield he walked through daily. Having given up his educational dreams, he kind of waifs through life without expectation or hope. I’m telling you, it was really sad. Bin looks GORGEOUS in this drama. He is rocking the longer hair and a goatee. He is a combo of soft and edgy which I find very attractive.
I really wanted to like this drama because Bin is good in it. But I could not get past Sung Yu Ri, the actress playing female lead, Kim Bo Ra. I just did not believe her. I think this entire drama would have been so much better had there been a different lead actress.
Nevertheless, I stuck with it because of Bin and it did have amazing cinematography and a gorgeous OST. See, it really had a lot going for it, but Sung Yu Ri was so meh in it – it just ruined it for me. One scene stayed with me, however, and still remains with me. Even though Deuk Gu and Kim Bo Ra are in love, they can’t be together (no surprise there, right?). She decides to leave the country and there is a scene where she is listening to a voicemail message he leaves her basically bidding her farewell and wishing her the best. We only hear Bin’s voice as a voice over message in the scene but it STILL rocked me because at the end of the message he repeats 6 times (yes, I counted), ‘saranghae.’ GAWD if I could only find the audio on that so you can hear his voice!!! It was so sincere, urgent and emotionally charged. He wasn’t even ON THE SCREEN and I melted. That’s some power you have there Bin-ssi!
AND, check out Bin singing the Love Theme from the movie!! Yes, he is not a singer first and foremost, but he handles this pretty well. He lovingly did this for his fans, which is top shelf in my book!
This drama had a very slow start for me. It is definitely a character study piece and Bin’s Kang Gook is one of four main characters. I wasn’t sure what to make of this one early on. It is very offbeat for drama, but I like offbeat. Of the four main characters, Kang Gook appears to be most level-headed and seemingly stable but I think he holds it together with a very fragile string. Kang Gook is quite fragile as well. Nevertheless, the other three seem to dance around him unraveling as their lives tilt out of balance. And, as their lives continue to intersect, they realize they are all connected. When everyone discovers who is who and how they are connected, it gets messy and complicated. But, that’s drama, right?
Okay, so Kang Gook (Bin) is married to Lee Joong Ah (Lee Na Young) (she’s a little mentally imbalanced due to a traumatic event in her life). Lee Joong Ah is in love with Lee Jae Bok (Kim Min Joon). Lee Jae Bok may or may not be her biological brother but neither know that because she was given up for adoption at an early age. Lee Jae Bok is in love with Lee Joong Ah but is in a relationship with Han Shi Yeon (Kim Min Jung). Han Shi Yeon ultimately falls in love with Kang Gook. Omo, this is confusing! Are you following?? I think that Kang Gook is the grounding factor for all of them because he is central to each of them.
Bin is soft, gentle and quiet in this drama but simmers a little underneath and has a few explosive moments. He continues to have an excellent ability to balance these qualities in a character. I see this a lot in Legend, Our Friend which I watched simultaneously. He is good here and the drama takes some time to even out. It’s offbeat and kind of veers off course now and then, but gets back on track so it never completely lost me. There were some incredibly wonderful scenes between Bin and Kim Min Joon. It is no wonder these two ended up opposite each other in Legend. Someone was paying attention!
Friend, Our Legend
Here is where Hyun Bin threw down the acting gauntlet and said I dare you to defy my greatness! From the script, to the acting, to the cinematography, and the music, this drama knocked it out of the ballpark. From the first episode on I was completely and utterly mesmerized. Each episode was that captivating. Legend uses flashbacks expertly. I like this tool because it gives us a fuller picture of a character as you can see who they are at present and how there got there – without having to wait for it to evolve. Here, the use of flashbacks creates an uneasy urgency which lends itself well to this drama because there is so much unrest and unease in both the plot and in the characters. This is another character-driven drama with underlying themes of friendship, love, loyalty & betrayal. It’s a story of 4 friends who meant everything to each other at one time but ultimately become bitter enemies.
As I mentioned, Bin stars alongside his Ireland co-star, Kim Min Joon. It is interesting that I watched both Ireland and Legend simultaneously. Not only do Bin and Kim Min Joon look so incredibly different in each drama, the characters they play in both are so far removed from each other that I almost felt that they were not the same actors!! Truly amazing. Both are phenomenal in Legend. If you wondered if Bin can play menacing convincingly and you wanted to witness it, then definitely watch Legend. His Dong Soo is broody, insolent, angry, unforgiving, silent and deadly. Underneath all of that, however, is a deeply artistic and quietly introspective soul. The female characters in this drama assist us in seeing that part of Dong Soo as they are able to look beyond the tough exterior and almost leach out the softer parts of him that he has long since buried. He’s quite the thug for the most part and is so different from any of the other characters I’ve seen Bin play to date. What a meaty role. For anyone who may have thought Bin’s looks were perhaps too soft to play a tough guy, so not the case in Legend.
Just look at Bin. This is just one good drama.
A Millionaire’s First Love
Bin managed to do two melo romances in the same year (2006), both with tragic endings. One was the drama Snow Queen and the other was the film, A Millionaire’s First Love. I tend to like melo a lot and have a sturdy enough constitution to weather the onslaught of heavy even when it is served with a side of tragedy. Since I really like Bin, I was open to checking this one out.
A Millionaire’s First Love is typical romance with all of the proper elements in place. Arrogant rich kid Kang Jae Kyung (Bin) is set to come into his inheritance when he turns 18, but there’s a twist. A provision of the inheritance states that he has to transfer to a remote school, finish the school year and graduate. Until then all of the perks he enjoyed as a rich kid (credit cards, car, penthouse apartment, etc.) are revoked pending successful graduation. Now he is given the choice to walk away and not comply, but the outcome will be a reduction in inheritance meaning he would receive only 0.1% of the total amount. He’s none too pleased, so opts to go to school.
By happenstance, Jae Kyung continues to run into Choi Eun Hwan (Lee Yeon Hee). She knows who he is but he doesn’t remember her. Of course, they were best of buds in their youth at an orphanage and circumstances separated them and left Jae Kyung with no recollection of his past. He slowly starts to piece together that past and in doing so remembers Eun Hwan and falls deeply in love.
Like I mentioned way up there somewhere, love sometimes renders us unrecognizable. Jae Kyung is no longer a smug wise ass. He is in love and everything has changed. There comes a point in the film, a shift as it were, when he no longer wants or needs that inheritance and decides to give it up completely. Something changes him. I guess that something is love.
Of course tragedy is going to strike. It is, nevertheless, a lovely film, sentimental and sweet. It’s predictable for the most part and the acting is adequate enough. Bin is good, like always. Even as a cocky spoiled brat, he still manages to be likeable. And he is looking majah hot…I mean, hot! Let’s take a moment to ogle him because my goodness he was looking all kinds of handsome in this movie. Still rocking that longish hair as he did in Snow Queen, he is without the goatee but as lovely as ever!!
Bin speaking English in a film set in the US?!!!! Wait, playing a what? A gigolo?! Really? Hoon (Bin) is a gigolo on the run. It seems Hoon has been diddling (yes, I just said diddling) a woman named Ok-ja, a Korean-born woman married to a powerful US businessman. And THAT is about all we know about Hoon. It’s another character piece giving Bin a co-starring role and I was all kinds of excited to check this one out. I love the feel of indie films, as you well know by now! I love the offbeat vibe of Late Autumn. I wanted a little more background on Hoon, however. But, since he was not really the main character here, I suppose keeping him a little mysterious was ok.
The main focus of the movie was actually Anna, played by Tang Wei, who I thought was really good in this. In prison for manslaughter (she killed her husband), she is given a 72 hour furlough to attend her mother’s funeral. She has a painful past – not being able to marry the man she really loves, married to an abusive husband, and a murder conviction. En route to attend her mother’s funeral in Seattle, she meets Hoon on the bus.
Bin did well with what he had to work with for Hoon. His character had a rather free spirit, devil-may care kind of attitude which I suppose is fitting for a gigolo. I am reminded of Rain in Sang Doo – but Sang Doo did what he did as a means to an end (medical treatment for his sick daughter). Hoon seems to rather enjoy what he does and does it well. Things shift a bit when he meets Anna. I think we have all met people in our lives that kind of create a shift that makes us re-examine where we are and what we are doing. I think Anna and Hoon did this for each other.
The film is slow-moving, has limited dialogue, and is dank and foggy, much like the city in which it takes place: Seattle.
Perhaps the most memorable part of the film is the parting kiss Hoon and Anna share. I think this kiss was well-played because it encompasses everything these two shared in the 72 hours they knew each other: passion, desperation, loss of hope, sadness, good-bye, uncertainty and yeah, maybe love. It’s possible to fall in love in 72 hours, right? And man, can Bin kiss!
K-drama producers need to let him unload like that in a drama – then again fangirls everywhere may spontaneously combust!
The music was sparse throughout this film but the closing credits song was lovely. Here it is accompanied with slides of Hoon and Anna.
Hyun Bin The Model
Not going to even bother with an intro. None needed. Besides, I’ve yacked long enough. Going to let Bin’s fabulousness speak for itself.
Even in these various print shots you can see his incredible versatility.
Hyun Bin in Music Videos
I found a couple of music videos Bin lent his lovely self to so I wanted to share those as well.
Answer me this: How can you not fall in love with this guy???? SWOON~~~~~
Ok, this one reminds me so much of the 1987 Wim Wenders film Wings of Desire. It is a film about an angel that wanted to become mortal again because he falls in love with a woman he is sent to comfort. And that is where the other premise of the movie comes into play. The idea is that angels are sent to us at times we feel we are at the end of our rope, and everything seems hopeless. If there comes a moment of calm, of comfort or of reprieve – it is that moment when an angel has come beside us and placed its hand on our shoulder. I cannot begin to describe visually how beautiful those moments were in the Wenders film but this MV is very reminiscent of that and Bin looks absolutely angelic and ethereal here.
Candid Hyun Bin
I love candid photos! They are often hard to find, unless you take them yourself! Here are a few I found of the gloriously handsome and delightful Hyun Bin.
I have mentioned them countless times throughout this post so why not give them their just do. When he smiles just ever so slightly….BAM, there they are! I think they even made an appearance in Legend a few times!!
Hyun Bin Post-MS
On December 6, 2012, Bin was discharged from his military service. And let me pause for a moment here to say how totally badass it was that he chose the Marines for his MS service! I don’t know, I find that somewhat hot because he completely rocked THAT uniform:
Nice! Post-MS, Bin went on a fan meet and greet tour throughout Asia and it is only recently that we learned he will be returning to the screen…the big screen IN A SAGEUK! Yes, The King’s Wrath will be Bin’s comeback piece and his first period drama. Squee with me if you like historicals!!! I like them and I think Bin is going to burn the screen up as King Jeongjo. True I would have rather he chose a 20 episode drama but to have him back on the screen is really all that matters! Cannot wait!
I have not met many K-drama/K-pop stars in my limited experience, but I think I am meeting some pretty potent ones to start off with! During my Bin research, I wondered what he was like in the world outside of drama and had a feeling he might be a shy and gracious kind of guy. I think I might be right!
Obviously playful and über cute!
Adorable!! And he just seems like a doll to work with, doesn’t he?
Hyun Bin is a versatile, intelligent and consistent actor who I really enjoy watching. I continue to be impressed by his ability to do what he has been able to do with every single one of his characters: ease into them patiently. It is as if he is getting to know them and then slowly revealing them to us. That’s kind of brilliant, actually.
He can be boyishly charming, introspective, sexy and even menacing. He can look soft, hard and all points in between. I love that kind of versatility in an actor. Couple that with some good looks, a nice lean and, yes, tall physique, and I think what you have here is a bona fide K-Shot of Hot!