[CELEB] Kim Woo-bin is bulletproof and back on the big screen in sci-fi fantasy film 'Alienoid'


Actor Kim Woo-bin is back on the big screen for the first time in six years in director Choi Dong-hoon’s sci-fi fantasy film “Alienoid” and is fit, healthy and eager to appear before viewers again since recovering from his battle with nasopharyngeal cancer.

In “Alienoid,” Kim plays an alienoid referred to as “the guard,” who maintains order on Earth by keeping watch over alien prisoners locked inside human brains. In the planet he comes from, criminals are banished to Earth as punishment, where they are then imprisoned inside humans and lose their memories of who they are and where they came from.

The actor initially debuted as a runway model in October 2008 and made his acting debut in January 2011 as he starred in KBS2 television series “White Christmas” with other newer actors at the time, such as Kim Young-kwang, Lee Soo-hyuk, Kwak Jung-wook, Hong Jong-hyun and Esom.

Actor Kim Woo-bin as “the guard,” an alienoid who keeps the alien prisoners locked inside human brains in line. [CJ ENM]

His breakthrough came relatively early in his acting career with KBS2 drama series “School 2013” (2012-13) and SBS’s “The Heirs” (2013), in both of which he portrayed similar yet different characters: defiant, rebellious teens in high school. The former dealt with real-life high school issues such as bullying, student suicide, school violence, private tutoring and problems of the school system, whereas the latter is set in a fictional high school for the privileged and dives into the relationships between the students as they prepare to take over their families’ business empires. Between the romance, friendships and character clashes, the series also indirectly highlights social problems such as class hierarchy and school bullying.

The actor has since starred in hit films such as “The Con Artists” (2014) and “Twenty” (2015) and took his first leading role in television with singer and actor Suzy in KBS2 drama series “Uncontrollably Fond” (2016), where he portrays a top star named Shin Joon-young, diagnosed with brainstem glioma with only a year left to live.


Kim was set to appear in another of Choi’s films tentatively titled “Wiretap,” a remake of the Hong Kong film “Overheard” (2009) with a star-studded cast including Lee Jung-jae of “Squid Game,” Yum Jung-ah and Kim Eui-sung, but suddenly had to put a stop to all of his activities when he was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer in May 2017.

Instead of replacing Kim, however, Choi halted the film's production altogether.

Kim said he first heard about the filmmaker’s decision on “Wiretap” during the showcase for “Alienoid Part 1” on July 18, according to the actor at a press interview the following day at a cafe in Samcheong-dong, central Seoul.

“I had decided to work on ‘Wiretap,’ but then I was hit with cancer,” Kim said. "After that, Choi told me to just focus on recovery, and halted the project. Pre-production for the film was already underway, but I heard that he told [the distributer] CJ Entertainment that he didn’t want to work with anyone else in that role except for Kim Woo-bin. And CJ understood, which I heard about from CJ members yesterday at the afterparty. I was so touched, grateful. There are so many reasons and people that gave me the strength to return, but one of the biggest contributors that decision by Choi.


"I always thought I should repay him after I return to the industry. If I do get to return, and if Choi needs me in any way, whether it’s a cameo or whatever small role it is, I will be there no matter what. And when I was thinking about returning [to acting], Choi came over to my house and asked about my health. I said I was good, to which he suddenly leaned forward and said, ‘So, there's this character named guard…,’” Kim recalled with a laugh.

Kim had the chance to truly show off his various sides in “Alienoid Part 1,” perhaps reminiscent of his slyness in “The Heirs,” as the guard’s robot colleague, dubbed “Thunder,” who often morphs into his human form to mingle within human society.

Along with the cold, distant guard, Kim also portrays three other personalities, all different forms of Thunder.

“I thought of the guard as a lonely soul,” Kim explained as he discussed how he portrayed the different roles. “He exists for the completion of his missions and tries not to get himself involved in other situations, and he doesn't express how he feels. I thought of him as an observer who, for many centuries, has seen humans, their mistakes and their deaths and who would have been lonely because he never interacted with anyone. For Thunder, [although he’s a robot] he ironically expresses himself more [than the guard], in his relationship with young Lee Ahn. For the guard, his feelings had to be shown through little motions because he’s not the one to express much.”

Kim officially returned to acting after his battle with cancer in the hit tvN drama series “Our Blues,” a series of omnibus tales revolving around 14 residents of Jeju Island, which ended in June.


After “Alienoid Part 1,” Kim is also set to appear as a lead role in a Netflix original series “Black Knight” sometime later this year, where the role of delivery drivers takes on a whole new meaning in world with air so polluted that people cannot move around freely and need to rely on respirator masks to breathe. Kim portrays the delivery driver “5-8.”

Kim says that his forced time off from acting allowed him to reflect on himself and come out as a better person.

“[Before], I was living only for the future,” Kim said. “I was constantly pushing myself to become a better actor, with a better physique in each coming year. At some point, though, I realized that I couldn’t really remember moments when I was happy. I knew they were there, but I couldn’t remember them. I only remembered pushing myself, lashing out, urging myself to do better, which felt sad and regretful.

Kim Woo-bin returned to the entertainment industry after a six-year hiatus since being diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer in May 2017 in tvN drama series “Our Blues,” which tells a series of omnibus tales revolving around 14 residents of Jeju Islan
Kim Woo-bin's first lead role was in KBS2's "Uncontrollably Fond" (2016). He starred with singer and actor Suzy. [KBS2]

"I don’t think I’ve ever really consoled myself," Kim continued. "I think it’s because I started working at a young age, when I was 20 years old and I just wanted to live up to the expectations of the people who trusted me with a project or work. I never let myself have peace, I was always striving to fill in the holes: For instance, if I had three hours of free time, I would spend two hours working out and spend just an hour sleeping. So now, I try to give myself a pat on the back, tell myself I did a good job, and love myself more. I became happier, and I think it also gave me room to love others more too. This is not always so easy, and there are times when I resent myself, but I think it’s all about practice."

Kim Woo-bin (Kim Hyun-jung)

Date of birth: July 16, 1989
Zodiac sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Seoul
Debut: October 2008 as a model at Seoul Fashion Week 2009 S/S
Agency: AM Entertainment

Kim Woo-bin initially debuted as a runway model in October 2008 at Seoul Fashion Week 2009 S/S and made his acting debut in January 2011 through the KBS2 television series “White Christmas.” His breakthrough came as he consecutively appeared in two hit television series “School 2013” (2012-13) on KBS2 and “The Heirs” (2013) on SBS. Since then, the actor has starred in hit films such as “The Con Artists” (2014) and “Twenty” (2015), and took his first lead role on a television show with singer and actor Suzy in KBS2 drama series “Uncontrollably Fond” (2016). The actor took six years off to receive treatment for nasopharyngeal cancer, which he was diagnosed with in May 2017.

This information was confirmed by AM Entertainment on July 22, 2022.