Choi Min-sik’s Career
In middle school, he grew to like acting and decided to pursue it as a career. But, he received backlash from his parents. Although his parents didn’t support him, he still did what he loved and became successful. Choi started his career on a small budget movie, and then, the movie No. 3, another low budget movie, succeeded in the box office. After starring in low budget movies, he started to get offers to play in big movies with famous actors, and some of his movies became a success in Korea and even overseas.
One of his movies, The Admiral: Roaring Currents, became the most-viewed Korean film ever by reaching 15 million admissions and was the first local film that grossed more than 100 million U.S. dollars. Choi’s movies are mostly unique. He either acts as the antagonist character or a character with a specialty, such as in the movie Springtime. In Springtime, his character is a struggling musician, and in I Saw the Devil, he acted as a serial killer and got criticism for the violent content, but it became the box office success in Korea.
- When Choi was in the third grade of elementary school, he almost died because of tuberculosis. The doctor told him that he should give up, but Choi recovered after staying in the mountains.
- Choi has been married twice. His first marriage was in 1990 with Lee Hwa-yeong, but they got divorced in 1996. He got married again in 1999 with Kim Hwal-ran, an actress. Their relationship has never been made public. Rumors said they expected to have a kid in 2017.
- He has a younger brother named Choi Kwang-il. His brother also works as an actor but is not as active as Choi.
In 2005, Choi and another actor, Song Kang-ho, were accused by Kang Woo-suk, the director of the movie Silmido, of being greedy for money after increased salary demands. Kang said that Choi abused his power and asked for more money. Feeling wronged, Choi stated that Kang falsely labeled him as the ‘Ringleader’ for the other lead actor. After Choi released his statement, Kang personally apologized to both actors via an e-mail to newspapers. Choi and Song accepted his apology. After this scandal, he chose to not do any more movies for about 3 years and then made a comeback with the movie Himalaya, Where the Wind Dwells.
“I felt like I was riding a new car just out of a warehouse starting from zero mileage. Now, my heart is full of all sorts of ambiguous emotions— I’m proud, relieved, and empty as if a passionate love is over.” Said Choi Min-sik in the press conference for the movie Himalaya, Where the Wind Dwells after his three-year absence.
- Choi is a big fan of Girls’ Generation. His favorite song is “Genie”.
- Choi has been best friends with Lee Kyung Kyu since freshmen year in university.
- When he was filming the penthouse scene in the movie Oldboy, he often dozed off in the middle of filming because most of his scenes required fighting.
- Choi ate a live octopus in the movie Oldboy even though he is a Buddhist and vegetarian.
- Luc Besson offered him a role in Lucy while he was vacationing.
- Choi did two movies with Park Chan Wook: Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.