- Joo Young-hoon
May 16, 1982 (age 38)
Ju Ji-hoon (Hangul: 주지훈; also romanized as Joo Ji-hoon; born May 16, 1982) is a South Korean actor. His first leading role was in the 2006 hit drama Princess Hours. His other notable works include The Devil, Antique, Mask, Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds and Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days.
Life and career
In 2003, Ju debuted as a model, in advertisements for clothing brands such as Calvin Klein, Levi's and Reebok. He won many awards for modeling. Before entering the entertainment industry, he studied at Tongwon College, majoring in e-Business.
2006–2008: Acting debut and recognition
Ju's debut drama was Old Love, but it was in 2006's romantic comedy Princess Hours, based on the manhwa Goong, that he achieved breakthrough. The drama was a hit domestically with a peak rating of 28.3%, and internationally across Asia, catapulting Ju into Korean Wave stardom. He won the Best New Actor award at the MBC Drama Awards along with his co-star Yoon Eun-hye.
In March 2007, Ju starred in KBS2 revenge drama The Devil, opposite Uhm Tae-woong and Shin Min-a. He reportedly lost 5 kg for the role. The same month, he received the New Asian Star award at the 1st Astar TV Drama Awards for his performance in Princess Hours and The Devil.
Ju's movie debut was in Antique (2008), based on the manga Antique Bakery. The film was invited to the 59th Berlin International Film Festival. He then reunited with The Devil co-star Shin Min-ah in the romantic comedy The Naked Kitchen.
2009: Drug scandal
On April 27, 2009, Ju was arrested by Seoul Metropolitan Police on drug charges. He was arrested along with 15 people and an actress identified as Yoon on suspicion of supplying ecstasy. On June 23, 2009, Ju pleaded guilty in court to drug use of ecstasy and ketamine. He was sentenced to six months of jail time, suspended for one year, 120 hours of community service, and a fine of ₩360,000. The judge explained, "The nature of the crime is by no means light. However, he has reflected deeply on the crime and has not taken any drugs since the time a year and two months ago. Also, many fans from within the country and from overseas have appealed for an appropriate handling of the matter and sent petitions." Ju's lawyer also stated, "Of course he must accept the price of his crime, but wrong information kept coming out and exaggerated him as a habitual user, and some of it was unfair."
2010: Military service
On February 2, 2010, Ju enlisted in the Republic of Korea Army to serve his mandatory military service for five weeks of basic training at 306th draft in Uijeongbu of Gyeonggi Province, followed by active duty with the reserve forces.
In August, Ju co-starred with fellow actor Lee Joon-gi in the military musical Voyage of Life. The musical, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, was co-produced by the Ministry of National Defense and Korea Musical Theatre Association. It ran from August 21 to 29 at the National Theater of Korea. Ju was discharged on November 21, 2011.
In January 2011, ahead of Ju's discharge in November, he signed with entertainment agency KeyEast, owned by actor Bae Yong-joon.
In August 2012, Ju made his comeback in the period comedy film I Am the King. Inspired by the popular novel The Prince and the Pauper, Ju played the dual role of Grand Prince Choong-nyung and the slave Deok-chil, in a fictional period before the prince becomes King Sejong the Great. This was followed by his starring role as pianist Yoo Ji-ho in the television melodrama Five Fingers, broadcast from August to November 2012. Joo also starred in medical drama Medical Top Team.
Ju made his film debut in China with Love Suspicion, a romantic thriler. In 2014, Ju was paired up with Ji Sung and Lee Kwang-soo in Confession, a neo-noir film that brutally explores the aftermath of three men's friendship after the death of one's mother.
In 2015, Ju starred in the period film The Treacherous, reuniting him with the director of Antique and Naked Kitchen. He then made his small screen comeback with SBS melodrama Mask alongside Soo Ae.
In 2016, Ju starred in the noir crime thriller Asura: The City of Madness, which premiered globally at the 41st Toronto Film Festival. He received the Popular Film Star award at the Korea Top Star Awards.
2017–present: Career resurgence
From 2017 to 2018, Ju starred in the two-part fantasy epic Along With the Gods. The film was the second highest grossing film in South Korea, and Ju became known for his role as Haewonmaek.
In 2018, Ju starred in the thriller films The Spy Gone North and Dark Figure of Crime. He is set to return to the small screen in Netflix's upcoming zombie period drama, Kingdom.