Celebrity News
Starting a new career with a new name
by | November 19, 2008 | 28 Comments

I’d wondered why actor Kim Nam-gil, who had gone by the name “Lee Han” for the past few years, suddenly reverted to a different name, particularly when his career was beginning to take off.

He was “Lee Han” until his role in 2008’s Public Enemy Returns, after which point he reverted to his real name (he may be more recognizable in the pic to the right; his new look had me double-taking to make sure it was really him, and the name change didn’t help!). Other projects he’s done as Lee Han include dramas When Spring Comes, Lovers, and Goodbye Solo.

But he’s used Kim Nam-gil ever since, with subsequent films Modern Boy and Portrait of a Beauty. He’s picked up something of a reputation as “Chungmuro’s dark horse,” and he’s seems poised for a big career; keep an eye out for him in the future.

One reason for his initial name change to Lee Han was that as a new actor at MBC, he’d often encounter the similarly named veteran comic actor Kang Nam-gil (Who Are You, Gourmet). But after using a stage name for a while, he began to feel a desire to use his real name: “I felt that acting under my birth name would make me be more honest with myself.”

At around the time he started feeling that way, directors Kang Woo-seok (producer of Modern Boy) and Jung Ji-woo (Modern Boy writer and director), as well as actor Seol Kyung-gu (Public Enemy Returns), encouraged him to revert to using his real name. “As I started using my real name, I felt I was starting anew. It allowed me to feel more humble and gave me the opportunity to be harder on myself, which is satisfying on a personal level.”

Via E Daily

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28 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Jac

    I really like him. I mean REALLY……
    I noticed him in Lovers, which I had watched for Lee Seo Jin, but I turned traitor. Lovers bored me out somewhere in between, but I had to forge on for Lee Han. His charisma pushed Lee Seo Jin out of the picture totally (the truth is Lovers sidetracked into cheesy relationships and dragged LSJ along with it).

    He is good in the movie No Regrets and I’m waiting to catch up with his latest projects. I’m glad he is receiving the attention that he deserves.

    I was confused about this name-change issue, and I was wondering if I got his name wrong in the first place. Thanks for clearing it up.

  2. PrincelyLuna

    i love him (and Lee Young Hoon) in No Regret which was the first of his works that i watched. sadly, he mostly played supporting roles in dramas so far. though i wish he’d have bigger roles in dramas and movies in the future, i’d still be thankful just to see him acting however minor his role is. he’s not too overly good-looking but i like his face.

  3. paula

    Jac, Thank you for mentioning the gay indie film No Regrets (Huhoehaji anha), reviewed at http://koreanfilm.org/kfilm06.html#noregrets. I thought this was a courageous move for a mainstream actor in Korea. I liked him also in When Spring Comes — must be the most overlooked drama ever. ^^

    There’s also a director named Lee Han (b 1970) ~~ maybe he wanted to avoid the confusion?

    Thank you, Dramabeans, for everything you do! We are forever in your debt. :)))

  4. Sere

    Huh. I have troubles with Korean names (always have, probably always will) and celebs changing names back and forth sure doesn’t help. *clings to dramabeans.com* Thanks, Javabeans, for always telling us who does what and when.

    Jac and Paula, thanks for mentioning that short!

  5. mintglide

    i have to agree with 4. sere…i have the toughest time with korean names. it just doesn’t make sense to me. i know a doctor from israel who had the same problem with “american” names. he said that israeli/hebrew names had a meaning so he would have to translate back to his head to remember any patients on rounds.
    ps: dramabeans and colleagues, i really admire your dedication to your site and projects. thanks.

  6. marie

    he is much better looking in Lovers than now i dont like his looks now not very handsome anymore LOL

  7. ikanmas

    didnt he play in times between dog and wolf? I think he played something else again, but I forgot…

  8. wz

    gosh he does not really look good now.. prefer his look in lovers. but that’s just my opinion. but he’s still cool (:

  9. jamrote

    he’s awesome as bidam in qsd!=)

  10. 10 rambutan

    ‘He’s picked up something of a reputation as “Chungmuro’s dark horse,” and he seems poised for a big career; keep an eye out for him in the future': DB

    How true! It didn’t take long for him to break out. And to think that I watched “Portrait of a Beauty” without noticing him. The lead girl was the fascination and he wasn’t well-known. I had to rewatch Portrait after Queen Seonduk to appreciate KNG in all his (nekkid) glory. Bonus!

  11. 11 ceejhay

    .. wow.. i love his role as BIDAM.. i find him fascinating and handsome… more projects.. Kim Nam Gil.. !!!!

  12. 12 Sheila Mae F. Santos

    happy happy happy birthday to you
    kim nam gil
    i want to see you and celebrate you’re birthday with me but
    i’m here in the philiphine’s
    and you’re place in Korea
    but i’m happy because
    i great you a “happy birthday”
    i really love you
    i’m Sheila Santos of bulacan
    if you came in the philiphine’s
    i really want to see you because i am you’re avid fun
    i hope this my comment to you is have a comment from you

  13. 13 jessha mhae

    ♥omg♥
    ♥kim nam gil i really love you!♥
    ♥ur so cute and handsome and ur awesome as bidam..♥
    ♥in QSD♥
    ♥i hope you and lee yoo won have more project to come..♥
    ♥kim nam gil and lee yoo won have the best couple..♥
    ♥promiz…♥ hehehe..♥
    ♥i hope again that the cast of QSD is going here in phililippines speacially you and lee yoo won…♥
    ♥ahhmmm…♥

  14. 14 jessha mhae prasmo

    ♥by the way im your no# 1 fan….♥
    ♥here in phil.♥
    ♥hehehe..♥
    ♥i love you poh..♥
    ♥haixtzzzzz♥

  15. 15 mara dulce

    hi.just wondering if u really reading this messages.but anyways..you only not catch my eyes because or your looks.im much interested when i here your heart melting song.cant i love you.?well ive realized that your song is my song for you.its driving me crazy.everytime i here you singing..not only that,,.your truly a good one.i love the way you help for peoples whose in needs.hmm…wishing that someday i meet you.or see either in person.just want to say i just love the way you are,not for any reason.

  16. 16 mara dulce

    hey mr.Kim Nam Gil.or whatsoever your name.i cant resist thingking of you all the time.am i crazy or what.well tnx for being one,who makes me believed that love still existing in this world.glad to know you.

  17. 17 ~@~ Rylene ~@~

    I love his character in Queen Seon Deok as Bidam! Geez! He’s amazing! I’m crazy about him! I really don’t care about his change of name. He’s a good actor. Hope he’s also a good person.

  18. 18 jing

    Kim Nam Gil your so amazing portraying the role of bidam.
    Your a great actor.
    Hope to see more movies to come.
    I love you killer smile, keep smilling.
    God bless.

  19. 19 anne

    i really like him,,,,,specially when he smile,,,or even laugh…

  20. 20 libra13

    looking forward to kim nam gil’s new movie and drama series. keep up the good work KNG. hope you visit manila some day. you have conquered not shilla but the hearts of many filipinas! we luv you!!! keep smiling : )

  21. 21 janette

    kim nam gil

    where he is the best korean actor i have been notice ….especially in his role in queen seon deok i admire him so much i now he can be the best korean actor at this decade ..hope he can do movie

  22. 22 jinky

    pretty sure im not contented if i cannot see his cute face

  23. 23 jeanet

    can i asked my best idol to please give me more info on how can i catch up more about u love u bidam

  24. 24 jeanet

    i just want to inform bidam that you are already recognize here in philippines in queen seon deok telenovela bidam your the best

  25. 25 shiela

    hope to see you here in the philippines bidam. you are a great actor the killer smile that makes all the girls crazy. . .

  26. 26 goldielyn

    perhaps its a good sign coming from the stars that you will shine brighter in starting a new career with a new name!

    PLS DO TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH.DESPITE OF UR BUSY SKED PLS DO MANAGE NOT TO ESCAPE ANY MEALS ESPECIALLY BREAKFAST OKAY?and taking daily vitamins also will make a difference!

    sunn muslim27(“,)

  27. 27 joyowon

    Lee Han or Kim Nam Gil…doesn’t really matter. What matter is that this guy can really act. He is one of the best Korean actor ive seen so far. Very versatile who can pull off his character so well. I admire him so much in his works esp his character Bi-Dam in Queen Seon Deok…

  28. 28 rose kim

    ..I love kim nam gil as bidam…you have many fans here n Philippines…you are so cute,,handsome..you are a good actor… if you read this kindly visit this website?
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/jhoana-marie-tan-jhake-vargas/121756211172371?v=wall#!/kngph?ref=ts pls

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