Cha Seung Won: From ‘Bodyguard’ To ‘Man on High Heels’


“Man on High Heels,” starring Cha Seung Won, has drawn widespread attention for its unique script which involves a transgendered detective who becomes the subject of a revenge plot.

As homicide detective Yoon Ji Wook, Cha Seung Won embraces his inner feminine side.

The role is a challenging one for Cha Seung Won, who is best known for presenting a tough exterior as a Korean blockbuster action star.

Although, Yoon Ji Wook presents the appearance of a hard-as-nails detective, he harbors a dark secret.

Ji Wook has yearned to become a woman and is about to receive a sex change operation, when his plans are foiled. A gang which Ji Wook helped to take down is set to extract revenge, leading to a maniacal adventure.

“Man on High Heels” made a strong debut during its opening weekend. The concept of a transgendered detective may be controversial, but “Man on High Heels” has been well received by audiences. Cha Seung Won is also currently starring in the SBS Wednesday-Thursday police drama “You’re All Surrounded.”

Cha Seung Won portrays Seo Pan Seok, a veteran captain who heads up the violent crimes unit at Gangnam Police Station.

Seo Pan Seok holds the responsibility of wrangling a rookie detective force that includes the brilliant but rogue detective Ahn Do Gyu (Lee Seung Gi). The role of Pan Seok is perfect for Cha Seung Won, as it encompasses aspects of action and comedy.

Since his supporting first role in the 1997 film “Holiday in Seoul,” Cha Seung Won has appeared in over twenty-three films and fourteen television dramas.

The breakout film role for Cha Seung Won was in the 2001 action comedy “Kick The Moon”. As the dauntless phys ed teacher Choi Gi Dong, he won over the hearts of filmgoers.

“Kick The Moon” set the tone for future film roles in which Cha Seung Won commanded the screen with a mix of arrogance and comedic timing.

The KBS drama “Bodyguard” was one of the first prominent television roles for Cha Seung Won.

In the 2003 KBS2 drama “Bodyguard,” Cha Seung Won portrayed Kyung Tak, an unemployed soldier who lands a position as a bodyguard within a security firm.

In 2005, Cha Seung Won transitioned from comedic roles to head up the historical thriller “Blood Rain.”

“Blood Rain” helped to substantiate his marketability as an actor who could reach all audiences.

After acting in film for six years, Cha Seung Won returned to television for the 2009 drama “City Hall.” He starred as Jo Gook, an obstinate deputy mayor, who aids Shin Mi Rae (Kim Sun Ah) in obtaining a coveted position as the mayor of Inju.

Jo Gook and Shin Mi Rae go head to head throughout the drama due to their conflicting personalities.

Like the American television program “Parks and Recreation”, “City Hall” explored the challenges faced when navigating bureaucracy. “City Hall” was written by Kim Eun Sook, who later went on to pen “Secret Garden” and “The Heirs.”

Following “City Hall” Cha Seung Won starred in the period film “Blades of Blood” and the war movie “71:Into the Fire” which also starred Big Bang’s T.O.P. “71:Into the Fire” commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Korean War and was the fifth highest grossing Korean film in 2010.

Cha Seung Won continued his action image for the 2010 SBS drama “Athena:Goddess of War”. “Athena:Goddess of War” was a spin-off of “Iris” and followed some aspects of the “Iris” plot.

His role in “Athena:Goddess of War” approached the sensitive subject of the Los Angeles riots, which devastated the Korean American community in 1992. Cha Seung Won portrayed Son Hyuk, a former U.S. CIA agent, who was influenced by his experiences during the Los Angeles riots. Son Hyuk falls in love with Yoon Hye In (Soo Ae), whose family was killed during the LA riots.

In 2011, Cha Seung Won took one of the most iconic roles in Korean drama. He portrayed Dokko Jin, an egotistic action star with a fragile heart in the MBC drama “The Greatest Love.”

Cha Seung Won starred opposite Gong Hyo Jin, Yoon Kye Sang, and Yoo In Na in the meta Hong Sisters drama which explored the harsh complexities of fame.

Although, Cha Seung Won maintained great popularity prior to “The Greatest Love,” the drama helped propel his career into a different stratosphere.

Cha Seung Won had previously appeared in K-Pop music videos, but in 2011 he delivered a stunning performance in for the T-ARA’s “Cry Cry.”

“Cry Cry” was created with a large budget and segued into the drama version of “Lovey Dovey”, which was released in January 2012.

Both videos capture the mystique which surrounds Cha Seung Won, introducing the actor to international K-Pop fans.

In 2014, Cha Seung Won signed on with top Korean entertainment agency YG Entertainment.

If his performance in “Man on High Heels” is any indication, the best is yet to come for Cha Seung Won.

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