Koihime Musou Girls and Famous Koreans - REBOOTED, Part IV: Guo Jia and Ji Sung
|Attention to Dr. Ji Sung, there is a patient who lost a pint of blood due to nosebleed. Please go to the ER immediately.|
Ji Sung (지성/地成) whose born as Kwak Tae-geun (곽태근/郭太根; Born: February 27th 1977 in Seoul) is a South Korean actor. Apart of his stage name, he is a member of Hyeonpung Kwak Clan (현풍 곽씨/玄風郭氏), a clan which is originated from Hyeonpung-myeon Commune, Dalseong County, Daegu Metropole. He is best known for his roles in the television dramas All In (2003), Save the Last Dance for Me (2004), New Heart (2007), Protect the Boss (2011) and Secret Love (2013).
Kwak Tae-geun's parents were both educators, and they expected him to also enter the teaching profession. But in his sophomore year in high school, his father bought him a VCR and the first movie he rented was Rain Man. Dustin Hoffman's acting left such an impression on him that he decided to become an actor. He later studied Theater and Film at Hanyang University.
Kwak first auditioned for the 1999 campus drama KAIST, where he met screenwriter Song Ji-na. Song took an interest in the young upstart and wrote a new character for him, leading to his acting debut. Upon the suggestion of his then-manager, he began using the stage name Choi Ji-sung, then decided to drop the surname "Choi," and became known simply as "Ji Sung." After several minor roles, he began playing bigger parts, notably in the television dramas Wonderful Days (also known as Splendid Days, 2001) and Sunshine Hunting (also known as Days in the Sun, 2002), as well as the North-South romantic comedy film Whistling Princess (also known as The Hidden Princess, 2002).
Producers of the 2003 gambling drama All In were having difficulty casting the second male lead because most actors were afraid to be compared to lead actor Lee Byung-hun. Ji Sung approached director Yoo Chul-yong, saying he wanted the role; Yoo looked hard at him, then to the production crew's surprise, said, "Okay, it's yours." All In was a big hit, and Ji Sung's popularity rose, not only in Korea but in other Asian countries. Wanting to challenge himself, he next appeared in his first period drama The King's Woman, which reunited him with Wonderful Days costar Park Sun-young. Ji Sung played Gwanghaegun of Joseon.
In Save the Last Dance for Me (2004), he played an amnesiac businessman who falls in love with a girl running a bed and breakfast who nurses him back to health (played by Eugene). He then made a guest appearance playing Bae Jong-ok's college boyfriend in "Outing," a two-episode arc written by Lee Kyung-hee for the omnibus drama Beating Heart (2005), followed by a supporting role in Kim Dae-seung's period thriller Blood Rain (2005).
Ji Sung enlisted on June 7, 2005 for his mandatory military service. Though he initially enlisted as an ordinary soldier, the Military Manpower Administration transferred him to the military promotion ("entertainers") unit in February 2006, for which he served as "public ambassador of military affairs." He was discharged on June 6, 2007.
He made his comeback in the medical drama New Heart (2007), playing a cardiothoracic surgery resident who came from a lesser-known rural university, whose compassion and impulsiveness clashes with his more ambitious colleague (played by Kim Min-jung). During a scene where his character cries after failing to save the life of a former comfort woman, Ji Sung said he thought of his maternal grandmother who'd recently passed away, remembering that she'd told him her only pleasure was watching him in reruns of All In. Contrary to his cheeky, playful character, Ji Sung said that he's taciturn and shy in real life, but that the drama made him find a different side of himself.
Action noir Fate (2008) explored the darker side of friendship, when four close friends (played by Song Seung-heon, Kwon Sang-woo, Kim In-kwon and Ji Sung) scheme to steal casino money so they can leave their gang, but it leads to betrayal. Ji Sung appeared in an extended cameo as the sophisticated right-hand man of the mob boss.
Swallow the Sun (2009) was his second collaboration with All In creators, writer Choi Wan-kyu and director Yoo Chul-yong. The revenge drama was adapted from the novel by Kang Chul-hwa, and shot on location in Jeju Island, Las Vegas and South Africa. Ji Sung trained hard to play the tough, strong-willed protagonist who goes to prison for his boss and later becomes involved in the city development of Jeju.
In February 2010, he signed with a new management agency, Namoo Actors. Several months later, he played another historical character in Kim Su-ro, The Iron King (2010), as the titular founder of Geumgwan Gaya.
In 2011, Ji Sung and Yeom Jeong-ah starred in Royal Family, about the power plays within a chaebol family. Later that year, he was cast in the workplace romantic comedy Protect the Boss. In a departure from his usual serious roles, Ji Sung played a dorky man-child with a panic disorder, who matures and learns to run his father's business after meeting a feisty secretary (played by Choi Kang-hee).
From 2012 to 2013, Ji Sung played a gifted seer/geomancer in The Great Seer. His fictional character becomes a "kingmaker" to Yi Seong-gye (played by Ji Jin-hee), the general who leads the overthrow of Goryeo and establishes the Joseon Dynasty, becoming its first king Taejo.
In late 2012, he starred in adult romantic comedy My PS Partner (also known as Whatcha Wearin'?), playing an aspiring singer-songwriter trying to get over a breakup, who becomes the wrong recipient of a phone sex call from a woman (played by Kim Ah-joong) trying to seduce her boyfriend into proposing. Ji Sung said he found the script intriguing, despite the discomfort of appearing in bed scenes. And after he saw Love & Other Drugs, he wanted to be in a movie that portrayed a romantic relationship in a realistic manner.
Ji Sung said he chose to star in 2013 melodrama Secret Love (also known as Secret) because he found the script "fresh, honest, and sophisticated." He played a rich "bad boy" whose girlfriend is killed, then falls for the woman who went to prison for the crime (played by Hwang Jung-eum).
Ji Sung next appeared in Confession, a 2014 neo-noir film that brutally explores the aftermath of three men's friendship after the death of one's mother. In 2015, he reunited with Secret Love costar Hwang Jung-eum in Kill Me, Heal Me, in which he played a chaebol millionaire with dissociative identity disorder who has seven different identities.
He met actress Lee Bo-young on the set of 2004 TV series Save Last Dance for Me, and they confirmed their relationship in 2007. On August 2, 2013, the couple announced their engagement by uploading handwritten letters on their respective official fan sites. They married at Aston House, W Seoul Walkerhill Hotel on September 27, 2013. Their first child, a daughter named Kwak Ji-yoo was born on June 12, 2015.