Familiar Faces is a new feature in which we highlight supporting actors. You’ve seen them – that actor or actress whose face pops up over and over again in your favorite dramas as the flighty aunt, the overbearing grandfather, or the scheming, distant father – yet you can’t quite pin down what their name is or where you know them from. This series is to clear up that mystery, to give names and backgrounds to those familiar faces.
And who better to start out with than Jun Kwang Ryul, who had that scene-stealing role as Tak Gu’s flawed, lovable father in last year’s hit King of Baking, Kim Tak Gu? Jun Kwang Ryul has been appearing in dramas since 1998 with Mt. Jiri (for those weak in math, that’s twelve years). With his thin, ascetic face, he can portray either sympathetic or cruel characters, but has been typecast in recent years as a morally ambiguous or ruthless father figure (roles which he played to perfection in King of Baking and Swallow the Sun). In the past five years, he’s had large roles in Jumong, The King and I, Swallow the Sun, King of Baking, and Sign. He generally plays men in positions of power who struggle with that power.
In 2006 he won a Top Excellence Award for his role in Jumong (also known as The Book of Three Han). In 2007, he won another Top Excellence Award for his role in The King and I, in which he played the head of the eunuchs. He’s appeared in a drama almost every year since 1998, and has appeared in both modern dramas and historical dramas. He also appeared in three films between 2000 and 2002. He has become over the years one of the most oft-utilized and beloved supporting drama actors, a staple of the Kdrama scene. He’s currently acting as a forensic specialist who is Park Shin Yang’s professional rival in Sign.