After six years away from the spotlight, K-drama fans are loving South Korean actor Kim Woo-bin’s action comeback as a main male lead in a new Korean series.
The Korean heartthrob who recently impressed fans in the Netflix drama Our Blues, is now winning hearts with his role in the dystopian sci-fi drama Black Knight.
Netflix’s viewership chart on May 24 showed that the series continued to be the most-watched non-English TV show on the OTT (over-the-top) platform for a second consecutive week. Reviewers are saying that it might become the next K-thriller obsession.
According to South Korean news agency Yonhap, the drama topped Netflix’s non-English TV show list for the week of May 15-21 with 35.11 million viewing hours.
The six-episode series, which premiered on May 12, is set in a dystopian future devastated by air pollution where humanity’s survival relies on “Black Knights”. They are deliverymen who provide vital supplies – yet, they’re far from your average deliverymen. The series follows the story of a deliveryman and a refugee who challenge a powerful conglomerate that unfairly distributes resources based on social class.
Fans took to Twitter to applaud Kim Woo-bin’s acting and shared reviews of Black Knight.
@lilnathaphon tweeted: “Black Knight on Netflix is just excellent, 10/10 Korean series…”
“So happy Kim Woo-bin is back to acting, you guys should watch black knight...,” tweeted his fan @zoe_agbetusin.
And @iamthatyinka2 posted: “Kim Woo Bin’s acting skill is everything….”
Kim Woo-bin’s journey
The 33-year-old model-turned-actor first burst onto the scene at the age of 24. Before his career as a K-drama leading man, he was a catwalk model.
It was fashion commercials that opened the door to screen dramas for a young Woo-bin soon. In 2011 he made his acting debut in the series White Christmas.
He went on to star in a string of TV and box-office hits and rose to further fame playing students in renowned K-dramas School 2013 (2012-2013) and The Heirs (also 2013).
In 2015, several reports started doing rounds of Woo-bin dating popular South Korean model and actress Shin Min-ah (of Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha fame).
The two had met when they were roped in for their first ad campaign together for Giordano, which they were brand ambassadors for. Many media outlets reported that the two had become close during the ad shoot and had started going out in May 2015. They kept it a secret due to their huge fan following.
After several reports started doing rounds, the agencies of the couple confirmed their relationship. Unlike most South-Korean celebrity couples, the two were quite open about their relationship and soon became a fan favourite. Their fans are always eager to spot the two together.
In 2016, Kim finally graduated from the perennial school student role to take his first leading television role in Uncontrollably Fond. Later that year his crime thriller smash hit Master made more than US$52 million (Dh190.9 million) in cinemas internationally.
However, in 2017 at the age of 28, he was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer. Various reports said that Shin Min-ah stayed by Kim’s side like a true partner.
After the forced hiatus for treatment and recovery, Kim returned to screens last summer with the sci-fi movie Alienoid, which will be shown at the Korean Film Festival 2023 in the UAE this June.
In a recent interview with The Korea Herald, Woo-bin said: “I was thinking about taking a bit of a break after shooting the 2022 sci-fi film, Alienoid, and the 2022 drama, Our Blues, [when] Director Jo (Jo Ui-seok) told me about this project. I simply became interested to see how the story would unfold.
“I try to choose a project by looking at it from the audience’s point of view. The priority is whether the story is interesting, then I look into whether I agree with the overall storyline, and then the casts and the characters,” he added.
“Although I had completely recovered from cancer when I shot this project, I did worry whether I'd be able to do it without getting hurt. Many of the staff and action actors helped me,” he said.
Recently, Woo-bin uploaded several posts appreciating his fellow actors and staff from Black Knight, writing out each of their names to show his gratitude.
Fans took to the comments section to congratulate the actor, while also applauding the team behind the series.