The master of acting who rules his film with his gaze. A mentor of Korean cinema for 50 years in progress

Baek Yoonsik

Baek Yoonsik is an actor with the grace and gentle charm, and the relaxedness from his long experience always shines. He became a TV actor through KBS open audition and was mainly active in TV dramas in the 1980s, enjoying popularity through the TV series, including The Moon of Seoul and A Bluebird Has It, which represented the 1990s. It was the SF film Save the Green Planet (2003) that led Baek Yoonsik to open his second heyday in his 50s. CEO Kang, the character Baek played enthusiastically, shocked the public when he was revealed to be an alien. In particular, the act of order to explode the earth while using an alien language made headlines at that time. Through the performance, the actor swept all the Best Supporting Actor awards at major domestic film awards, including the Grand Bell Awards and the Blue Dragon Awards. It was the moment of rediscovering actor Baek Yoonsik.

Driven by his popularity, Baek hit the ceiling as Mr. Kim, the godfather of crooks dreaming of one big success in The Big Swindle (2004), and Mr. Pyeong in Tazza: The High Rollers (2006), who raises the main character Goni (Cho Seungwoo) as a sharper. Just like appearing as a legendary fighting master in The Art of Fighting (2006), Baek was cast mainly for the roles of a mentor, a master, or a teacher. It was rare in the Korean film industry that an actor in his 50s showed such huge popularity and commercial influence. His outstanding and unique performance was praised to the point that movie professionals said, “Now, we have middle-aged Robert DeNiro in Korea.” After the crime films, Baek Yoonsik portrayed the sorrow of a forever manager who dreamed of becoming a drummer in Bravo My Life (2007) and also appeared in small comedy films like Meet the In-Laws (2011). The peculiar audacity from his serious acting was enough to make people laugh. And delivering lines tastily with an expressionless face is his unique humor. Just as DeNiro went back and forth between Martin Scorsese’s crime and popular comedy films, Baek’s comedy acting was free.

Baek also starred as Taejong in the popular TV series Deep Rooted Tree and Yoo Uitae in Hur Jun, the Original Story in the 2010s. As such, especially in his 60s, the actor added profound charms to his acting with the seasoned and serious characters. In the political thriller Inside Men (2015), he played Lee Kanghee, the chief editor who manipulates Korean public opinion by becoming one with corrupt politicians. Baek’s weight was cut out for the role of a lord in the costume dramas. In The Face Reader (2013), he played Kim Jongseo, a courageous loyalist who faces his death while confronting Prince Suyang, and made a special appearance as Emperor Gojong in The Last Princess (2016). In FENGSHUI (2018), the actor appeared as Lord Kim Jwagun, who freely controls the king. Kim Jwagun is the embodiment of the desire to use the propitious site for a grave to control the country. Also, in the thriller The Chase (2017), he played the elder of the neighbor who solved the cold murder cases, and his know-how in acting naturally melted even in the image of a miser with warm-hearted. He also participated in Noryang: Sea of Death, which deals with Admiral Yi Sunshin’s last naval battle. Baek Yoonsik’s upcoming performance in his 70s will mark a chapter in Korean film history. Jeon Jonghyuk