An Appreciative Eye On: Kim Soo Hyun

Most of you are familiar with my 3 big k-loves. And although I’m currently spazzing over and lovin’ on Kim Woo Bin more — uunghh I wuv my Woobie ❤ — I love ’em each in their own special way.

If you’ve known me for a while, &/or taken a look at my fangirl motto on the side-bar to your right, you’d probably also know that having big k-loves — or major Woobie love, heh — doesn’t mean that I don’t have room to admire and.. appreciate (ahem) other talented k-men in dramaland.

In fact, I’ve got quite a few of those medium k-loves, at least a few of whom I plan on introducing to you guys this year.

First up: Kim Soo Hyun!

I’ve liked Kim Soo Hyun since his Dream High days in 2011, and have had my eye on him and his work ever since. Every time he’s got a new drama or movie out, I perk up and take notice. And now that I’m watching You From Another Star, my Kim Soo Hyun radar has switched itself into Mmmm.. mode all over again. Which, really, is the catalyst for this post.

Come squee with me, y’all!

Encounter 1: Dream High

To be honest, even though Kim Soo Hyun already had a nice, solid filmography before Dream High, I hadn’t seen him in anything prior. All I knew was, lotsa folks in the dramaverse were really excited — chomping at the bit, to put it mildly — to see him in this. That made me really curious to see who this boy was, who had everyone and their mothers all aflutter.

When Kim Soo Hyun finally made his appearance in episode 2, though, I really couldn’t see what the fuss was about. He was all decked out in country bumpkin gear, topped off with an unruly mop of curls.

The fangirl in me was unimpressed. What I did dig, was the dorky, buff, Song Seung Hun-esque appeal of our other male lead Taecyeon, and I lapped up the generous shirtless awesome the show served up via Taecyeon.

As I got further into the show, though, I was happily quite taken with Kim Soo Hyun’s acting chops. He made Song Sam Dong a likable, engaging and endearing character, and I enjoyed having him on my screen.

Plus, partway through the show, Song Sam Dong gets an image overhaul, and Kim Soo Hyun got to show some broody smolder too. And a bad-boy ear stud.

I liked what I saw.

I didn’t exactly walk away from Dream High with a crush on Kim Soo Hyun, but I certainly came away with a new-found admiration for him. Not only was his acting solid and nuanced, he clearly took his craft very seriously.

Perhaps the thing that blew me away the most, was the realization that he’d held his own as the only non-idol among the main cast, doing a very solid job of all the singing and dancing even though those weren’t quite his strengths. In fact, he’d trained at JYP for 3 months prior to starting to film for Dream High, living the trainee idol life, and learning to sing and dance. Respect.

I decided that Kim Soo Hyun was definitely a young man worth keeping my eye on and put him firmly on my radar.

Here’s the track that Kim Soo Hyun sang for the Dream High OST, complete with some excellent (& rather spoilery) Song Sam Dong footage:

For those who want to avoid spoilers but still want to hear Kim Soo Hyun’s singing voice, this vid is for you:

Not bad at all, eh?

Edit: You can check out my quick review of Dream High here!

Mesmerized and Swooned Out: The Moon that Embraces the Sun

In 2012, a year after Dream High, Kim Soo Hyun came back to dramaland in The Moon that Embraces the Sun. And promptly blew me away.

In Dream High, Kim Soo Hyun had struck me mostly as cute and likable. In MoonSun, though, he was regal, smoldery, and very, very sexy.

I thought the kingly robes became him:

As did the sardonic, barely-hidden sarcasm that his king Lee Hwon got to display:

Most of all, I swooned at the intense, smoldery gazes that he showed his leading ladies:

Rawr.

This was a whole different, very sexy side to Kim Soo Hyun, and I loved every swoony minute.

Sure, the writing was flawed, and yes, Han Ga In was completely underwhelming as his leading lady. But in my eyes, Kim Soo Hyun and his sexy king more than made up for it.

I lapped up episode after episode, eager for more mesmerizing, sexy, regal Kim Soo Hyun. And I definitely came away from MoonSun with a newly minted Kim Soo Hyun crush.

Kim Soo Hyun also lent his vocals to MoonSun’s OST:

Post-MoonSun Interview Awesome

I haven’t checked out that many Kim Soo Hyun interviews, but I really liked this episode of tvN’s Taxi, in which he guested.

He comes across as fairly natural and quite savvy, managing to answer questions tactfully while toeing the fine line between humility and self-praise. At the same time, his answers show how much thought he puts into each and every scene, and I love a man who’s serious about his craft.

Here’s the full episode, which I genuinely enjoyed. Be warned that there are MoonSun spoilers, since this aired after the series wrapped.

Movie Moment 1: The Thieves

I don’t watch a whole lot of movies, but with Kim Soo Hyun now firmly on my radar, I couldn’t not check out The Thieves.

Much as I was disappointed with the heavy turn the movie took halfway through, and with the relatively small amount of screen-time Kim Soo Hyun had, I did like the introduction to his sinewy arms:

And his character’s crush on Jeon Ji Hyun’s character did yield some mild shirtless smolder:

And a less mild, fleeting-yet-sensuous kiss:

Overall, a fairly underwhelming movie, but it sure had some pretty tantalizing Kim Soo Hyun tid-bits.

Movie Moment 2: Secretly Greatly [aka Covertly Grandly]

Still with my eye firmly on Kim Soo Hyun, I was super excited to see trailers for Secretly Greatly. I mean, not only did this movie promise much more Kim Soo Hyun screentime, it also promised awesome stuff like Kim Soo Hyun as a spy! And Kim Soo Hyun in uniform! (rawr) And! Kim Soo Hyun’s new abs! (double rawr)

While I wasn’t too taken with the movie itself, it did deliver on those 3 things that it had promised, and I was somewhat mollified.

Not bad at all, I say. Not bad At All.

A Transition: From Boy To Man

As all of this movie stuff was going on, I also noticed something else about Kim Soo Hyun: he made the transition from boy-man:

To man:

Ooh. Rawr.

As boy-man, Kim Soo Hyun could still get away with playing a high-schooler, but with this new look, I would place him firmly — very firmly! — in man territory.

Needless to say, I really dig the manly vibe about him:

Ahem. Moar please, is what I’m thinking.

Eeee!! Really, REALLY Liking: You From Another Star

Given that (a) I’ve decided to include one currently-airing drama on my drama plate, (b) I dig Kim Soo Hyun’s (yummy) transition from boy-man to man, and (c) I really enjoyed the sparks that he shared with Jeon Ji Hyun in The Thieves, You From Another Star was the natural choice when the new drama cycle came around.

10 episodes in, I’m pleased to report that I’m enjoying it very, very much. It’s cracky rom-com at its best. And Kim Soo Hyun does not disappoint.

Well. There are other actors and factors that also do not disappoint, but since this is a post about Kim Soo Hyun, I’ll save those other details for the review to come (Review here!).

Kim Soo Hyun awesome: let me count the ways.

First of all, Kim Soo Hyun is very, very dapper as Do Min Joon and is often shown wearing sharp suits. And you know how I love a man in a sharp suit.

Yum. I approve.

Secondly, I find it hot that his character has superpowers.

Thirdly, Kim Soo Hyun’s turn as Do Min Joon is faceted and nuanced. Even though his character is supposed to be all stiff and unemotional, Kim Soo Hyun does lend layers with the subtle shifts in his gaze.

I particularly love this scene, where you can see the almost imperceptible glimmer of a tear in Min Joon’s eye, even as he carefully keeps his expression unreadable.

Very nice.

Ahem. Something else that’s also very nice? Kim Soo Hyun’s shower scene:

Rawr.

And let’s not forget the chemistry between Kim Soo Hyun and Jeon Ji Hyun, combined with his heretofore firmly established smoldering ability:

Ooh. Yum. Yum yum yum.

I need moar, I really, really do.

Photo Treats of the Kim Soo Hyun Kind

While doing, er, research for this post, I realize that I categorize Kim Soo Hyun’s various looks thusly:

Boyish & Playful

Despite his recent more sexy turn, Kim Soo Hyun can definitely turn on the cute:

Cozy

And he does warm, cozy and a little snuggly very nicely too.

Sharp & Smart

Kim Soo Hyun suits up very nicely, and here’s evidence:

Shirtless

Kim Soo Hyun doesn’t have a whole lotta shirtless pix out there, but I found that the ones that are out there, are sensuously appealing. Yum.

Scruffy

Kim Soo Hyun doesn’t do scruffy all that often, but I really do dig him when he’s a little undone. Sexy boy.

Sexy Smolder

Hands-down, this is my favorite look on him. I mean, he does the sexy smolder so well. Can you blame me for going melty?

Mmm.. Quite delicious, amiright?

This is why I’m makin’ room in my fangirl heart for Kim Soo Hyun.

I’ve got my eye on you too, you sexy, smoldery boy 😉

#FINDMYTRIBE:

Can’t get enough of You From Another Star?

You might want to check out the shirt and hoodie I designed as a tribute to this amazing show. While it’s mainly focused on Song Yi, the love of Do Min Joon’s life, there’s also a cheeky nod to his royal alienness. Both the shirt and the hoodie bear an adorable gat-wearing alien. I think Do Min Joon-sshi would be amused. 😉

Click on the pictures below to get a closer view of the items, and detailed descriptions as well.

The hoodie is available until 9 March 2015.

The campaign for the shirt has ended, but you can still register your interest! When a total of 10 people have registered their interest, the shirt’s campaign restarts, and you’d be able to place your order and get your very own piece of starry goodness.

If you have more questions, check out our FAQ section. 🙂

You From Another Star: Sawwry

YFAS: Sawwry

Hoodie: Sawwry (Available until 9 March 2015!)

Hoodie: Sawwry

180 thoughts on “An Appreciative Eye On: Kim Soo Hyun

  1. kkddrraammaa

    Its been a month since his new drama, Its Okay to not be okay ended but I’m still hungover. Came over to check your website to see your review about it as I loved it! I see it on your watching list, excited to read your review!

    In the mean time revisited this KSH post because I miss him already haha. I feel the “boy to man” section of the post could use an update coz OMG, the 5 year hiatus plus military brought forth a whole new fan-yourself-screen-radiating-hotness-MANLINESS version of him.

    PS- while watching the show, the scorching chemistry of the leads led to some high quality fanfiction. https://archiveofourown.org/users/SweetestLamb1711/pseuds/SweetestLamb1711/works. I’ll just leave this here, in case you want to indulge 🙂

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Thanks for the link, I will refer to it when the need arises! 😉 The review for IOTNBO will be out in a couple of weeks, so you can check back then! 🙂 I must agree that he’s attained a new level of sexy, after the military! 😍😍

      Reply
  2. Amy

    Thank you for your lovely appreciation post on KSH. I’m very late to the party as I’ve only noticed KSH after watching the Hotel Del Luna ending – OH, and What A Screen Presence ! I quickly followed that with a weekend binge of Moon Embracing Sun (after reading your review first tho 😉 ). Next up Producers and then Love From Another Star (yikes ! I’ll be drowning in KSH morning, day and night ! *long sigh*)

    Oh, and thank you so much for including the Taxi clips. I love that show – the first one I watched was with Hyun Bin. :))

    Glad to know you’re watching Rookie Historian too. Looking forward to your review.

    Thanks again for all your hard work.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi there Amy! Thanks for enjoying this post! <3 And I hope that you've completed – and thoroughly enjoyed! – your Kim Soo Hyun binge by now! 😀 I actually also thought he did very well in Dream High, so if you're in the mood for some high school and some music and some more Kim Soo Hyun, that one is worth checking, I think! 🙂

      Also, since you mentioned that you were looking forward to my review of Rookie Historian, you can now check that out here. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Pingback: Review: You From Another Star [My Love From Another Star] – New Funnys

  4. Sucheta Khinchi

    OMG your writting style made me fall for Kim even more. I blushed so many times while going through your post girl. And your pics collection of Kim is just sexily ama-z-iiii-ng. Thankyou so much for this post.

    Reply
  5. kaiaraia

    I miss this guy already so I went back to this post. Now I miss him badly! Just finish The Producers and decided going on a reverse chronological watch of his projects. Ì

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Wow, you really are missing him a lot! I rarely rewatch shows these days; I find that I can’t even keep up with the new shows that I want to check out! 😅 Happy KSH soaking, m’dear! 😘

      Reply
  6. Pingback: kfangirl’s 2012 Drama Awards [Repost] | The Fangirl Verdict

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  8. MoniW

    Hello again kfangirl :). Before I start my comment, thank you kindly for your reply to my post (on your YFAS Review). I would never, ever get upset if a blogger didn’t acknowledge or replied to my post where the original subject matter was over 12 months old BUT it was such a treat to have received such a lovely reply. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

    It would appear that I am here AGAIN to express my thanks but this time for the KSH compilation! I didn’t even notice it at first and I only discovered it while exploring your blog a little further. You did such a terrific job. It is such a treasure trove of useful information and the pics themselves….well…..let me say you have gone “over and above the call of duty” to cater to every type of a fangirl from ones liking their KSH sweet and cute to ones appreciating the manly and smoldering KSH.

    My biggest surprise about him was just how well he sings. Usually if an actor is good at acting I would never expect them to sing THAT well too. He can really deliver a tune. I do enjoy his husky, manly voice to go with that rather angelic looking face. What a bonus.

    I have only ever seen 3 Korean dramas and 2 Korean movies to date so I am very much a newbie and a “tourist” in this industry. After seeing YFAS, I had to “investigate” KSH a little further 🙂 and you have given me everything in one blog. I am especially grateful for the “Taxi” interview! If it wasn’t for you I would never even know it existed! It was such a great segment. I confess I am sometimes weary of watching interviews with actors that spike my interest because it is very easy to be “cured” once you see them in an interview (if they come across conceited or not very bright). Well, no fear with this boy! I am very mindful that he was younger in it and his popularity has grown since that time so he is probably different now but I really loved the vibe he gave. He came across intelligent and honest with great sense of fun. I cannot begin to tell you how much I LOVED, LOVED the fact that he gave his favourite scenes from Moon as the ones a lot of fans enjoyed as well. It was so refreshing to see an actor not being scared to admit he liked a sexy scene (with the Queen) or they were moved by their crying scene. That fact alone made me appreciate him a whole lot more.

    Which brings me to the next point – and please forgive me if you believe this is NOT the spot to talk about it…(I think you have the “power” to delete this post anyway if you believe it’s inappropriate and waaaaay too long lol… :). I understand KSH is making a new movie REAL and if you are in the blogger-sphere no doubt you would have heard the rumblings about the casting call out for actresses prepared for some nudity and implying potential for uhmm, stronger “scenes” which straight away had people talking and questioning if those “scenes” will relate to KSH’s character.

    This is nothing but speculation at the moment and not much is known what KSH will or won’t do and whether in fact he will have nude or bed scenes in it, but what I found fascinating was people’s reactions and the variety of reactions to that very notion. Some fans are a bit worried, some said they will not support him in it, some can’t wait lol, some just commented that they are “not ready” to see him in those scenes.

    The one comment that stuck in my mind the most was when a person posted that “a smart actor knows their fanbase and caters to them” (strongly implying that KSH should NEVER make “scenes” like that…). Personally, I thought that last comment was the most stupid one. Yes, a good actor will appreciate his fans and be humble BUT an intelligent actor will also recognise that we fans are fickle. Let’s face it, we might fangirl someone like crazy one day and then “move on” to someone else. Even the most loyal fans can eventually outgrow a star. We all have different tastes and have enjoyed KSH in different roles. So imagine if KSH (or any other actor for that matter) tried to cater to and satisfy everybody’s whim. From the limited interviews or information I have seen about KSH one thing that has definitely struck me is that he is intelligent and driven and seems determined to become a solid, experienced actor and NOT just a “star”. Hey, if it were up to me I would cast him in only romantic, sexy comedies but thankfully he doesn’t listen to me lol. I understand he really wanted to play a villain for a change. I like and respect him for the fact that he wants to challenge himself and take risks which yes, can alienate some fans but also make him some new ones. I hope he has a good enough relationship with his agency that they will allow him to take on projects that HE wants even if that scares them lol.

    I totally understand some fans might be embarrassed if they were to see the object of their affection in compromising scenes because we all have personal views on the subject. These views can be the result of our upbringing, religion or just personal choice. On the other hand some fans are more mature and can handle it. I totally respect everyone’s views and can only speak for myself when I say that I am an adult and have no issues with either nudity or bed scenes PROVIDED they are done tastefully and fit into the storyline (let me make it clear that I am NOT referring to p*** here but normal movies!). If a movie is good and has substance then I have no problems with it. In fact, I have more issues with seeing extreme violence or torture than watching someone’s naked bottom. In any event I seriously doubt that KSH would do anything too risqué.

    IF you ever run out of topics to cover on your blog OR are particularly bored – I would love for YOU to do a piece to examine if in fact Korean Actors commit professional suicide by doing risqué scenes in Kdramas or movies. Are there any popular actors that you know of that went down that path and now regret it? I should add that I respect and in fact love how private and reserved Koreans are, I just wonder if there is a place in their hearts where they can accept their wholesome actors expanding their image etc.

    I think you would do a terrific job on the subject and I can’t think of anybody else to tackle this issue lol… Although, this would have to be one piece of work WITHOUT example videos to demonstrate lol… If you have already done a blog like that OR know of someone else who has covered this issue then please kindly direct me to it and I would love to read it.

    I promise I will not be offended if you delete most of this post… part of me is too scared to post it lol… 🙂

    Reply
    1. kfangurl

      Hi, MoniW! How very nice to see you again! 😀 I’m super pleased that you enjoyed this KSH post, and that you found it helpful in your appreciation and understanding of this very talented man. And he really is talented, isn’t he? I was really surprised by his singing voice too! Given what a nuanced actor he is, I hadn’t expected him to have singing talent too, on top of it all! And I totally know what you mean about being “cured” of an actor fixation after seeing said actor in interviews. Besides coming across as conceited or dim, many of them can come across as boring, giving only manufactured, obviously prepared answers. I really appreciate that KSH comes across as none of those things. He manages to be interesting, and he sounds like he’s talking off-the-cuff through it all, while managing to be politically correct. That’s serious skillz, and I think that natural savvy is a part of why he’s so sought after 🙂

      On a tangent, I’m keen to introduce you to more great kdramas, since you’ve got so many ones that you haven’t yet seen, to choose from. This year, I really loved Healer. I loved it as much as I loved YFAS, and I don’t say that lightly. 😉 If you haven’t seen it, I do suggest you check it out! 🙂

      As for your question about actors taking on more risqué roles, it really depends on the context, I think. Generally speaking, k-movies have much more freedom to show violence, nudity etc, which kdramas typically don’t. That’s because the guidelines governing movies and general broadcast are very different. In terms of fandom, I personally think it depends on the type of actor in question. I think if an idol actor were to attempt a more risqué type of role involving nudity and sex scenes, the fans would really go quite ballistic, given that fans in the kpop side of things tend to be a lot more, er, passionate – and rather obsessive, too – in their fan love.

      On the other hand, I think that if an actor is known for being serious about his craft, fans tend to be a lot more accepting and supportive of such risqué roles. For example, Jang Hyuk is one of my favorite actors, and he’s famously serious about acting and is very dedicated to his craft. It’s said that the top 3 most important things to him, are family, acting and martial arts. In 2014, he took on the lead role in k-movie Innocent Thing, which involved nudity and a sex scene or two. And in 2015, he starred in k-movie Empire of Lust, which also involved nudity and a sex scene. Through it all, his fans have remained supportive, and his popularity has not suffered for it. Of course, I think a key point is that he chooses his roles very carefully, and both movies were not skin flicks, but had more serious themes.

      And then of course, there’s the curious case of Song Seung Hun, who’s famously stiff at the acting, but is beloved for his chiseled, top-to-toe beauty. After years of working hard at the acting (but not getting much better for it, sadly), he decided to take on the lead role in k-movie Obsessed, which was marketed as something of an erotic period melodrama. It involved several pretty explicit sex scenes for SSH, and put his hot bod on glorious display, and this didn’t seem to upset his fans. In fact, the movie debuted at #1 at the box office.

      I can’t think of an actor who’s committed professional suicide via taking on a risqué role, actually. There would probably always be a sector of fans who will voice their discomfort, but I think actors who choose their roles carefully and wisely tend not to suffer for it. And although it’s true that Korea is a patriarchal society where women tend to have it harder, SSH’s leading lady in Obsessed had a lot of nudity required of her for the role, which happened to also be her screen debut. This hasn’t stopped her from landing a nice, wholesome second lead role in current drama High Society, where she’s doing very well.

      I’m not sure if I’ve answered your question, MoniW, but I hope you found this informative, at least! 🙂

      Reply
      1. MoniW

        Thank you so much for such a well thought out reply! I read it with great interest. You have answered all my questions perfectly and in fact I really appreciated the more in-depth examples you gave about some actors and the movies they made and for outlining the differences between kdramas and kmovies. I even looked up Jang Hyuk (!) afterwards and I think I can understand why you would find him so appealing (yes he is yummy BUT I know you like him for so much more than that. I think he is in your top 3 so I’m sure he would have had to earn that spot on more than just looks alone!).

        You made an excellent point that as long as an actor is careful with their choices of work they can “experiment” and will be “forgiven” lol. And as much as I still believe that an actor shouldn’t just rely on the choices or preferences of their fans alone and should have some sort of an idea on how they want to be defined as an actor, I think it makes them feel absolutely chuffed and relieved when their fans stay loyal and accept the roles they undertake and support them no matter what (as you outlined above with your examples).

        Going back momentarily to the question of actors and interviews – I admit that my heart goes out to them all, especially the actors who are VERY famous because they have to be so much more careful what they say and how they say it. Comments get misconstrued all the time. Media is unforgiving and unrelenting and it would be sooo tough to be “politically” correct (as you mentioned) and yet remain interesting, especially when the actors get asked THE SAME questions over and over again. I often cringe at the stupid questions the actors are asked as well. I would love to see the legendary Michael Parkinson interview KSH (provided KSH would have the freedom to answer truthfully lol).

        And yes, point taken lol, I agree that I should see more Kdramas to broaden my “range”! Thank you for your recommendation! I have a little list of kdramas already that I would love to watch so I will put Healer on it as well! Watching kdramas is the best way to unwind after a hard week at work. It’s such a guilty little pleasure (teamed up with a tub of ice cream and a box of tissues if necessary lol).

        Thank you again. I will definitely visit this blog again for more “goodies” :).

        Reply
        1. kfangurl

          You’re very welcome, MoniW! 😀 And YAY that you looked up Jang Hyuk and found him yummy, coz HE IS. <3 <3 <3 He is gloriously, deliciously sexy, AND he's an amazing, dedicated actor as well. My favorite role of his, is in the epic period drama Chuno, where he plays a slave hunter. It's a brilliant drama, and his interpretation of his role is brilliant as well. If you are in the mood for an epic period drama with lots of glorious cinematography and fighting, with themes around creating a better world for mankind, I totally recommend it. Just know that it's not a romance, and has some tragic tendencies. 🙂

          Oh yes, it IS really tough for celebs to remain politically correct when being interviewed, because you're so right, that anything can be taken out of context and used against them. KSH is excellent at being interesting and sounding off-the-cuff, while remaining politically correct. It’s one of the things I love about him. My favorite actors tend to be those who have that ability too. Gong Yoo is also fantastic at that, I just LOVE his warmth and easy wit. Kim Woo Bin also manages to sound off-the-cuff yet thoughtful in interviews; I love how his answers tend to have substance, yet don’t sound pre-prepared. Jang Hyuk comes across as more serious, and therefore less witty and interesting, but I do appreciate the thoughtful substance in his words. 🙂

          Yay that you’re adding Healer to your watch list! 😀 I’d be happy to give you more recommendations as you need them, just let me know! Oh, if you’re looking for lower commitment k-movies, I highly recommend Miss Granny and My Brilliant Life. Both are fantastic – and I don’t often say that about k-movies 😉 Spoiler-lite reviews here and here.

          Reply

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