Empire of Lust 순수의 시대(2015) Feature #2: Shin Ha-Kyun 신하균 Actor Feature

Empire of Lust #순수의시대(2015) Feature #2: #ShinHaKyun #신하균  Actor Feature

“Empire of Lust” (2015) is a new historical Korean Movie or 사극 opening in March based on the events of the 1st Conflict between the Joseon Princes that occurred in 1398 A.D.

I have a Feature tracing the historical events portrayed in the movie here.

It would be an understatement saying that Shin Ha-Kyun or 신하균, the male lead ofEmpire of Lust” (2015), has had a long career uptil now. I mean he has been called a lower case “god of acting” by some Korean media outlets. “Empire of Lust” (2015) is his first historical Korean Movie and an attempt to make somewhat of a comeback as a leading man.

Let’s get a look at his career!

The Beginning
Born in 1974, Shin Ha-Kyun has been active in both Korean Movies and Dramas for more than 15 years.  However, he has been more prominent in Korean Movies.  His start came with a supporting role in the 1998 Korean Comedy movie “The Happenings기막힌 사내들” (1998). It was a heist movie starring Choi Jong-won and Oh Yeon-su.  Shin Ha-Kyun played a member of the crew.

The Happenings

Sadly the movie bombed at the box office but Shin Ha-Kyun developed a fruitful working relationship with the director Jang Jin. The two end up working together in 6 movies in total. Director Jang Jin is well known for movies such as “Welcome to Dongmakgol웰컴 동막골 “(2005)

Welcome to Dongmakgol

Shin Ha-Kyun’s real breakthrough came with the mega hit movie “Joint Security Area JSA” (2000) about a murder at the Korean DMZ. It was the highest grossing Korean movie at the time.  Shin Ha-Kyun played a supporting role as a North Korean soldier. He won the Blue Dragon Award in the best male supporting role category.
Joint Security Area JSA

The Rise
After a series of supporting roles, Shin Ha-Kyun got a chance to lead a movie with “Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance” (2002) directed by now famous Korea director Park Chan-Wook. Other example of this director’s work is “Old Boy” (2003) that came out the following year. While this movie is now considered a classic as the first movie in the “Revenge Trilogy”, “Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance” (2002) was a commercial failure.

This would not be the last time he had a flop on his hands.
He was never a bankable leading man in Korean movies.

However, he was on the rise as a character actor. He hit big time with “Welcome to Dongmakgol 웰컴 동막골 “(2005) which is still the 23rd highest grossing Korea Movie for all time currently.

Shin Ha-Kyun went on to lead roles in other movies such as “No mercy for the rude예의없는 것들” (2006). “The Game 게임” (2007). However, none of these were successes at the box office. Rather, movies such as ”Thirst 박쥐” (2009) in which he had supporting roles tended to do better.

Korean Dramas
In 2010, he headed towards TV and got the lead role in the cable TV drama “Harvest Villa 위기일발 풍년빌라” (2010) which was a black comedy of sorts. It was a hit for cable drama standards.

Harvest Villa

Shin Ha-Kyun followed this success with the lead role in a Network TV drama “Brain” (2011) in which he basically played the Korean version of “House MD”. It was a huge hit and nabbed Shin Ha-Kyun several TV acting awards.

After two more Korean dramas …

“All About My Romance” (2013)

“Mr. Back” (2014)

Shin Ha-Kyun is heading back to the silver screen with “Empire of Lust“순수의 시대(2015). In a lot of ways, this is his attempt to make a jump from well renowned character actor to leading man movie start.

Will it succeed?

We will have to wait and see. March is a slow month for Korean movies.

Thanks for reading this article!

Other Reviews you may enjoy!

Detective K: Secret of the Lost Island (2015) [Link]

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