- South Korean film and television actress Han Hyo-joo is best known for her TV roles in Spring Waltz and W, and for starring in the film Cold Eyes
- Here are some memorable performances that made her one of South Korea’s biggest stars
Han Hyo-joo, a household name across Asia and a former best actress winner at South Korea's prestigious Blue Dragon Film Awards, turns 33 today. She also celebrates 17 years in the television and film industry.
Here are some of her most outstanding performances.
1. Spring Waltz (2006)
Han's profile got a boost when she starred in the television drama Spring Waltz, the fourth and final season of director Yoon Seok-ho's Endless Love series, which helped propel the emerging "Korean wave" across Asia in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
It's the story of a boy called Lee Soo-ho, played by Seo Do-young, and Seo Eun-young, played by Han, who become close friends. Soo-ho's gambling addict father runs off with the money Eun-young's mother has saved for her daughter's operation, leaving Soo-ho behind. He is later adopted and takes a new name. Fifteen years later, the couple meet again in Austria and their romance is rekindled.
2. Heaven and Earth (2007)
Han became a household name for her role in this drama series, which depicts how family traditions affect children's personalities and behaviour as they grow. Han plays Seok Ji-soo, who is dedicated to her family and always keen to help others.
Heaven and Earth was the third most watched television drama in South Korea in 2007.
3. Brilliant Legacy (2009)
Han's popularity across Asia rocketed after she starred in this drama series, which outperformed all others in South Korea in 2009.
Brilliant Legacy tells the tale of Ko Eun-seong, played by Han, who inherits a vast sum of money from a grandmother who is disappointed with her own biological grandson, Seon Woo-han, played by Lee Seung-gi. The young man is angry and jealous of Eun-seong but gradually grows fond of her.
4. Dong Yi (2010)
Dong Yi is based on the inspirational real life story of 17th-century palace maid Choe Suk-bin, played by Han, who comes from the lowest class of Joseon society. She is selected by King Sok-jong as a concubine, survives political struggles and court factions, and gives birth to a son, Yeong-jo, who later inherits the throne.
The drama received an almost 30 per cent viewership rating in South Korea " where 10 per cent is considered a high figure. Han won the Daesang (Grand Prize) at the MBC Drama Awards in 2010 and was crowned best actress at Baeksang Arts Awards in 2011. Dong Yi was broadcast not only across Asia, but also in North America between 2010 and 2011.
5. Cold Eyes (2013)
This remake of the 2007 Hong Kong action thriller Eye in the Sky depicts a team of detectives taking down a criminal gang.
Han plays one of the film's detectives and was named best actress at the Blue Dragon Film Awards for her performance.
Cold Eyes was watched 5.5 million times in South Korea in the month after its release in 2013. It was also screened in North America that year, including at film festivals in Toronto, Hawaii and Philadelphia.
6. W (2016)
This television series revolves around the romance between Oh Yeon-Joo, a surgeon played by Han, and Kang Chul, played by Lee Jong-Suk, who lives in a digital comics world.
Han won the top excellence award at the 5th APAN Star Awards and MBC Drama Awards for her performance.
7. Treadstone (2019)
Han upped her game last year when she got her first acting role outside Asia.
Han plays a North Korean mother faced with a difficult choice in the US television drama series Treadstone, a spin-off from the Jason Bourne film franchise. The drama revolves around how a covert CIA programme transforms agents hired around the world into unstoppable, superhuman killers.
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