Chungmuro/Film News
Kang Dong-won returns from army, eyes comeback project
by | November 7, 2012 | 106 Comments

And another one returns! Kang Dong-won (Psychic, Jeon Woo-chi) has completed his mandatory military service and is reportedly already back to civilian life. He made his exit from army duty as quietly as he went in, choosing to avoid the press and usual fanfare. There’s already talk about his comeback project, though it’s still in the “considering” stage: he’s in talks to star in the action historical film Band of Thieves slated for next year, opposite Ha Jung-woo.

The movie is the next project from director Yoon Jong-bin, of Nameless Gangster, Beastie Boys, and The Unforgiven — all starring Ha Jung-woo, by the way. They must be besties, or he just really really likes Ha Jung-woo (not that I blame him of course). Nameless Gangster, also called War With Criminals: The Golden Age of Bad Guys was a box office hit earlier this year, though with the sheer number of commercially successful movies in 2012, it’s now just one of the many. But he’s a young director with buzz, enough to garner excitement over this new project that literally has a one-line description.

Band of Thieves is an action sageuk set in the Joseon era, and in keeping with Yoon’s gangster repertoire, it’ll be about a group of bandits. Same dudes, different costumes? Ha Jung-woo has already signed on to star as the hero, and Kang Dong-won is being wooed to play the villain. Though in a story about thieves, I’m not sure which is the good guy or the bad guy, or if they’re all thieves and just antagonistic about it.

Kang Dong-won’s reps are being careful not to attach him to anything too hastily; he’s one of the industry’s most bankable stars and there’s always a whole host of expectations surrounding The Comeback, so we’ll have to see how things shake out. But I’d love to see him return to the big screen in a badass sageuk.

The movie plans to start shooting first thing in the new year.

Via Sports Hankook


106 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. rainbow

    haven’t seen any of his films…..

    • 1.1 MsB

      Then you have to see Psychic! Wow! If not, Duelist! I loved 1% of Anything but most would not!

      • 1.1.1 Steph

        I loved 1% of anything as well. I thought it was really good. It was one of the first five Kdramas I watched and I’ve rewatched it plenty of times over the years. I’ve only seen one movie of his, A Romance of Their Own, and loved him in it. I’ve been meaning to watch the Duelist forever. Must get to it. Love him. Give me all the recs, please.

        And I’m kinda sad to hear his comeback project is a movie. I want to see him in another drama soon.

        • MsB

          He has done mostly movies anyway. His last drama was 2004. Psychic is phenomenal! Highly recommend it!

        • rori0711

          1% of Something and Too Beautiful to Lie are probably the only piece u would see Kang Dong Won in a cute, dorky and hilarious way. I’d say he’s got a funny side too.

          Maundy Thursday & Romance of their Own are very humane and had me in tears.

          Duelist & M are both fashionable films and leaved me in vague & mystery.

          Can’t say more of Secret Reunion…i think most of his film’s are in diverse quality.

          I must check out Jeon Woo Chi, Psychic, Voice of Murderer & Camella for more of him.

          • DeeDee

            You should definitely watch A Wolf’s Temptation. Loved that movie to bits (even though it is a bit melodramatic HEH)

    • 1.2 gala

      Missing a lot, in my humblest opinion.

    • 1.3 ravens_nest

      You should def watch a few of them.

      The 2nd ever Korean media work I watched was Temptation of Wolves about 6 years ago. It was a pretty good movie although def on the melo side. The performances were the real stand out for me including Kang Dong Won’s.

      Duelist was one of the best Kmovies I’ve ever watched and cemented my love of Kang Dong Won. I re-watch it every few months. (I have it on DVD.)

      It’s a bit artsy and a fusion sageuk movie but I enjoyed everything. The chemistry between Kang Dong Won and Ha Ji Won was fabulous.

      The fight choreography is where it’s at though. Beautifully crafted and lovingly filmed, the dance-like fights are the definite take away from that movie if you like noting else.

      Psychic was also fantastic and he was chillingly murderous in that one. The way he embodied a psychotic supernatural serial killer was mesmerizing.

      Jeonwoochi was pretty fab too though I’m sure it’ll be different from the new drama coming up of the same name/story. The magic was fun and Kang Dong Won’s character was a charming rapscallion wizard.

      • 1.3.1 delta7757

        Yep…peeps are missing out. My introduction 2 KDW was also ” Temptation of the Wolves”, “Duelist” etc. …and “Duelist” is still on my top 5 fave list at MDL. In complete agreement w/ raven’s take on KDW’s roles….a brilliant actor.

    • 1.4 alua

      Duelist! Duelist! Duelist!

      Planning on watching Woochi soon. Been mentally prepping myself for Maundy Thursday for months – read the manga & cried buckets – but I think I’m skipping the screening in London next week and will watch it at home instead. Just so I can take a break when I need it.

      I still have a lot of his stuff to watch but that makes me happy because he’s another one I have soft spot for.

      “He made his exit from army duty as quietly as he went in, choosing to avoid the press and usual fanfare.”

      That makes me like him even more!

      • 1.4.1 zsa

        He is awesome in Maundy Thursday so don’t miss it…it’s like having watched one litre of tears…you regret it, but you’ll regret more not watching it…so GO Ahead!!

        • alua

          I will definitely watch it, I just don’t think I handle a screening at the cultural centre.

          I know how much I cried with the manga. I watched Ann Hui’s A Simple Life in the cinema and that was a mistake. I mean it was an amazing film, but two hours of crying straight was exhausting! I really wanted a break in the middle.

      • 1.4.2 red

        Maundy Thursday…just thinking about that movie makes me cry.

        Its the heartbreaking and beautiful and the only movie which had me sobbing

        I first discovered him in temptations of a wolf although the storyline had me rolling my eyes his performance had me mesmerised.

        After that I baisically did a Kang Dong Won movie marathon.

        The only one I haven’t seen is M- with Gong Hyo Jin and Lee Yeon Hee

        • alua

          Try the Hong Kong movie A Simple Life. Cried two hours straight.

          Or Dancer in the Dark (also involves the death penalty).

          I mean, I cry super easily, whether with books, movies or even when reading a newspaper article about some tragic event, but those films come to mind as really, really, really making me cry.

          Haven’t seen M yet either, though they also screened that in London in January – unfortunately I was still at my parents then. But you are reminding me that I need to go back to that (should probably do a Kang Dong-Won movie marathon like you did!).

          • Nev

            I also picked up on the comparison of Maundy Thursday with Dancer in the Dark, and in the same way I sobbed for at least half the film and spent the rest in rightous indignation. Such amazing films. KDW is just amazing in everything I have seen him in, much MUCH more than a ‘pretty face’ he is a real actor.

      • 1.4.3 tazzy

        I watched Maundy Thursday after watching Temptation of Wolves and I was still very very new to Korean entertainment. I cried my eyes out that day ;;___;;

        • alua

          I can imagine! Same with the manga… (which I do recommend, but with a big stack of tissues beside you only).

    • 1.5 tika

      u HAVE to watch woochi. it’s so funn.. and he’s so yummy too. and secret reunion too, it’s really really good. maundy thursday is so sad though,, but it’s so goodddd

    • 1.6 unik

      I honestly think you are missing a lot! I haven’t seen most of his dramas, which wasn’t many to begin with. But, I have seen all his movies. They are diverse and have their own charm. I like him more with each role because it is all so different and display a facet of him yet unknown.

      Those that wasn’t mentioned like “Voice of a murderer” had me on the edge of my seat with just hist voice acting. He’s got a beautiful voice and did I tell you that he could sing very well?! fan-girl mode!

      M, was somber and dark and mind boggling. He was quite charismatic there in a disturbing way. A man/writer stuck with first love.

      “Too beautiful to lie”, is up their with Duelist and Maundy Thursday for a very different reason. It was laugh out loud funny. I cracked up with “pepper boy”. He and Kim Han Neul played their roles to a tee.

      “Secret Reunion”, he was bad ass here. The tension was high between the Northern spy and the ex-agent but the bromance was touching.

      “Camelia”, I watched without subtitles so my opinion would be based solely on the acting and the visuals. Image wise, I think he looked sexiest in this role, closer to his model persona. Acting, I felt he and Song Hye kyo didn’t mesh well but if he was going for disturbed, vengeful, suicidal-lover, then I’m sold.

      Back to the article, YES, Kang Dong Won is back. Be it movie or drama, I will be anticipating his return to my screen, army abs included. I won’t be surprised if he takes on the villain role. It’s not the first time. I still rooted for his redemption in Psychic till the end, even when it became apparent that he was a lost cause. lol!

  2. kelinci biru

    Wow!!! He’s baaaaack!


  3. momosa

    Yay! Hello Kang Dong Won! It’s been a long time!

  4. snuffie

    Out of all the ‘comeback’ers recently, this is the only one I toootally squealed for. New year? Bah. Give him to us NOW

    On that note, I’d half die to see him star in a badass sageuk DRAMA. 30 episodes of KDW+mane of glory? *dies from excessive pretty imagery*

    • 4.1 gala

      We might never see him in a drama. He’s stated that his acting process is slow, which is convenient for a movie but not for a drama given the live-shooting ways. But we’ll never know. Things might change after 2yrs of being out of spotlight. But if you’re a major KDW fan, it’s best not to hope to see him weekly.

  5. mas


  6. megara

    i am so excited for whatever project that he will be working on!

  7. kakashi

    oh. yummy. he looks VERY good in this picture. I must admit I’ve only seen him in “1% of Anything”, or rather tried to see him in it, because I hated that drama and dropped it pretty quickly – but I am oh-so-ready to fully embrace him.

    That said, I think there should be a law in Korea that forces (some) actors to appear in TV shows at least once a year. Ok, every two years is also fine. In some cases. In the part of the world I live in, Korean films are not easy to come by and they take too long to film. It’s simply unacceptable how that removes actors from KDramaland for years sometimes!

    • 7.1 JoAnne

      Watch Psychic, but prepare yourself for the WTF ending. Plus: Go Soo is his protagonist.

      Or the movie he did with Kim Ha Neul where she’s a con artist of sorts – can’t remember the name but it was actually a lovely film for both of them.

      • 7.1.1 nomu nomu nomu

        The movie you’re thinking of with Kim Ha-neul is called “Too Beautiful to Lie”

    • 7.2 kay

      watch the duelist! he was beautiful in it… i’m so glad he’s back!

      • 7.2.1 kakashi

        thanks for the tipps!! will definitely watch them!!

    • 7.3 koreamom

      ikh!we need kang dong won! to be around and visible. it is so hard to wait til we can actually watch the movies after they come out. you need to watch him in more of his stuff and just fall a bit deeper into the world of kang dong won awesomeness! this news makes me very very happy!

    • 7.4 Danna

      Duelist, Maundy Thursday, Too beautiful to lie, M…all some of his best stufff…also his awesome villainous turn in Psychic

    • 7.5 gala

      People are forgetting Jeon Woo Chi. Although if you’re planning to see the Cha Tae Hyun version, you might want to stay away from the KDW- just to prevent expectations or constant comparisons. Like for me, I don’t think CTH can play the character as well as KDW, and I love CTH.

    • 7.6 anna

      The DUELIST and watch yourself fall in love <3

  8. Hafy

    MY BABY IS FINALLY BACK! I’ve been waiting for you my sweet.. sweet.. love. He is like one of my first Kdrama hero. Now that he is back… xDDD WOW! Just WOW!

  9. apple

    He is BACK!

    How about doing a Drama for a change?! pretty please!!!

    He really seems like a slightly older version of Joo Won πŸ™‚

    They should do a project together.

    • 9.1 mud

      I thought so too! Their resemblance is uncanny and could totally pass as brothers.

    • 9.2 MsB

      I was just going to comment that! I started to like Joo Won because of Kang Dong Won!

      • 9.2.1 yammy

        lol me too. started watching joo won’s stuff cuz he reminded me of KDW, and KDW was in the army…but…

        Kang Dong Won is back!!! πŸ˜€ <3

    • 9.3 red

      I know right!! at least a CF!!

      I remember before when I wasn’t a Joo Won fan, when they made the comparison, I was like what no!!. But then when I saw him in action in Ojakyo Brothers I started to see the resemblance which piqued my interest…But I’m a Joo Won fan not cos of a resemblance.

      But they are both amazing actors and it would be awesome to see them together…like even in a cameo

  10. 10 mud

    Yeah!!!! He’s baaaaack! And I would as much as the other beanies here wish him to grace the small screens….but alas that’s usually not the case once they’ve made it big.

    And boy oh boy is Ha Jung-woo keeping busy. But I’ve come to subconsciously link workaholism with a little bit of a happy surprise, thanks to Tae-woong’s Keyser Soze. Just sayin’.

  11. 11 kopytko

    I’ve accepted the fact that Kang Dong Won doesn’t do dramas any more (thanks, live-shooting system!), but I would be much much happier if he chose something else than a sageuk.
    Anyway, it’s good he’s back. I must say it seems he went yesterday and he’s back already. I guess I am getting old πŸ™‚

    • 11.1 Danna

      Yea, It will take a lot to lure him back to dramaland anytime soon….especially with the movie career he’s got going on….but I have some hope because we’ve had quiet a few movie stars majke their drama comeback in recent years like Jang Dong Gun, Jung Woo Sung, Shin Ha Kyun and Jo Seung Woo etc…..Maybe of they have something truly wonderful, they could lure him back too

  12. 12 CA

    I love love loveeeeeeeeeee him! Glad he’s back! Jeon Woo Chi and Secret Reunion was spectacular and KDW is so charismatic on screen that you just want to watch more of him. This new film sounds pretty exciting too!

  13. 13 someone12

    hell yeah , THE MAN is back !!!!
    he is the only actor i have been waiting so patiently for his return , n it’s hard loving this man cuz he is too quiet about his whereabouts n since he has moved on to the kmovie land wif no sign of turning back , u have to wait until forever to get a glimpse of future projects , but it’s ok, this man still deserves all the fame he can get

    and wif kdw on board , it’s almost an instant success for any movie that is about to be made

  14. 14 ...

    Finally!!! Was just thinking the other day he shld be out soon! Wish he’d do a drama though. Because a movie next year just seems really far right now… And as always more of him is always nice πŸ˜‰

  15. 15 shingo

    The only reason why I watch him is because he’s handsome.

    • 15.1 rori0711

      don’t let his pretty face fool you.
      Kang Dong won was sooo in front of the line the minute God showered beauty…and acting. His eyes was so powerful – you’d be lost in them never find your way back:P

      • 15.1.1 shingo

        But I’m too busy looking at his beautiful face to admire his acting. haha….

  16. 16 Village Mrembo

    Love to see him, TOP and Joo Won in one programme, preferably Running Man so they can go around doing a Lee Kwang Soo to the other cast and go like ‘it wasn’t me!’

  17. 17 Jae Shin

    Kang Dong Won is back!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
    I’m so happy that he’s out of the army… Hopefully the drama will show “post-army abs”…. hehe

    • 17.1 Village Mrembo

      Wouldn’t bet on the abs fest, remember Lee Jun Ki in Arang? What a waste!

  18. 18 nabithoj

    KANG DONG WON!!!!!! I’ve been waiting and waiting forever for him to come back!!! I’ve seen all his movies and dramas. He’s the only actor who I have actually seen all his stuff and loved them. Can’t wait to see him again!!!

  19. 19 Hope

    Yeah, he’s back! Yesterday I just bought a box of Cafe French coffee with his picture (the one featured above) and wondered what happened to him. The gods must have heard me and here he is.

    Thanks, girlfriday for this post.

    I do not watch sagek but am glad he’s back safely after serving his country. Wish him all the best in whatever he wishes to do.

  20. 20 fangorn

    Yeah! **Dance of rejoice** He’s finally back!!! Looking forward to whatever he will be doing for his comeback project πŸ™‚

  21. 21 Kdw_is_love

    I cannot wait to see him post-army!!! I bet he’s manlier, sexier, more handsome, etc. Haha! One of my most fave actors is back!!! That could only mean one more awesome projects and more eye candies for us!:)

  22. 22 MariePhils

    yaaay! KDW will pass as the older brother of Joo Woon… loved to see KDW in a tv drama this time around.

    • 22.1 Peridot

      I agree with the Joo Won comparison. Could you imagine if the two of them acted together in a drama (or movie) and played siblings? That would be awesome. I’ve only seen KDW in movies, but I wonder if he would contemplate starring in a drama in the near future (because then I would definitely check it out!).

  23. 23 JoAnne

    Beebee is back! with his little chiclet teeth!

    I wouuuuuuld rather see him in a drama than a movie, but I will take ANYTHING, including CFs on Youtube.

  24. 24 yamapisukii

    holy shit!!! YESSSS!!! mwahahahaha~

  25. 25 MariePhils

    KDW also resembles Jung Joon Young of Super Star K4…

    • 25.1 Peridot

      Yes, I’ve noticed this resemblance as well!

  26. 26 roake

    I am so glad he is back. Would die if he would do a drama again. I really don’t think any of the guys look that great in their manes but him as sad eyes in the duel is picture perfect.

    Looking forward to anything he plans on doing. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE KDW

  27. 27 MariePhils

    JoAnne, it’s Too Beautiful To Lie movie with Kim Haneul… well, hw about a reunion movie with KHN perhaps…. : )

    • 27.1 JoAnne

      That’s the one. I really enjoyed that movie! It was funny as hell and then got really sweet.

  28. 28 Fab

    So sad he doesn’t do dramas anymore! But you guys should check out his movies, he is got a pretty good resume in that area.

    And yeah I too see an uncanny resemblance to Joo Won.

  29. 29 Fab

    Ha looks almighty hawt with glasses…

  30. 30 boholAnna

    I’ve seen most of his movies. Great actor! So happy he’s back.

    Wish he would do a movie or drama with Joo Won.

  31. 31 hottestjen

    *melts me*
    He should sign onto Kim Tae Hee’s Jang Hee Bin’s drama for March!!!!!!!!

  32. 32 pan2cute

    I demand him for a drama!
    i mean he’s serving army so long which i don’t see him around on dramaland these past few year..
    and his army life is really quite!
    anyway welcome back joowon’s half brother ~~

  33. 33 Dongsaeng killer

    Oppa I waited for youuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! πŸ™‚

  34. 34 khina

    yes yes yes yes yeeeeeessssssss!!!

  35. 35 MsB

    He hardly does dramas so I have only seen one but I’ve seen many of his movies and I am so glad to see him back! Been waiting! I was really hoping that he would get back to drama land because he has been missed! Come back to us, baby!

  36. 36 Claire

    Omg Kang Dong Won is back??? Out of all the actors in korea, this one is one of those who really got my, brains, talented…gaaad where do I find this kind of guy??

    I’m so happy he’s back!

  37. 37 JoowonLover

    I think the drama gods are speaking to me…exactly what I wanted to see when I read this post πŸ™‚

    • 37.1 ravens_nest

      IKR? Gorgeous spread you have there. πŸ˜›

      PS. I see you’re on Incognito mode. Surfing at work? lol Me too. πŸ™‚

      • 37.1.1 JoowonLover

        You too?! I thought i was the only one that goes incognito at work!

    • 37.2 yammy

      omg!! lol how come this didn’t happen to me?!

  38. 38 VioletSakura

    He’s baaaa~ck!!!!!

  39. 39 anna

    OMFG!! WHAT??????????????? I thought it was the 12th! Sure is quiet that sneaky guy. I was hoping a drama because it has been wayyyyyy too long. I’m glad he’s back though ^^

  40. 40 Noelle

    I’ve only scene him in two things. Liked him dearly in both. Glad to hear he’s back and am looking forward to his return to the small screen.

  41. 41 Michelle

    OH MY #1 IS BACK!!! Can’t wait to see what he has planned for all of us. I need to catch up on a lot of his work though cause i got totally sidetracked (hangs head in shame). Thanks for the update!!!

  42. 42 jomo

    Loved how you snuck in a picture of HJW in this story.
    I am very grateful!

  43. 43 a_fan

    Omg. He’s back! I want to see him in a ROM com. I think he was great in the melodramas though, like Magic and Maundy Thursday.

  44. 44 butterbacon

    omo. Joo Won’s hyung is back.

    I missed you!!!

  45. 45 JJ

    welcome back KDW!! he’s one of my long list of fave K actors of all time! i’m just curious why he’s not doing any dramas but only movies most times? i believe his last drama was one percent of anything? pls pls do another drama! πŸ™‚

  46. 46 red

    Kang Dong Won!!! I missed you. He’s on of my favourite actors! And yay for a new project, but i guess he wont consider a drama? He hasnt done one since forever.

  47. 47 yee

    I love Ha-Jung won, but I love KANG DONG WON moar! Sadly kang dong won is playing the villain.

  48. 48 loveless

    I missed him so, so much….. KDW, I love you!…

  49. 49 rabbitsfortea

    And the world rejoices!

    I want him in a kdrama so bad, gosh.

  50. 50 Joy

    One of my fav. actor, so glad he’s back πŸ™‚ I like him in Duelist (love the chemistry with Ha Ji Won), Jeon Woo Chi and Temptation of the Wolves.

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