He may be known primarily as a rapper from BIGBANG, but T.O.P., aka Choi Seung Hyun, is chalking up a nice chunk of credits on his acting resume. The sometimes model was most recently seen in the film “Tazza: The Hidden Card” (sequel to the 2006 film, “Tazza: The High Rollers”).
In “Tazza : The Hidden Card,” T.O.P. plays Ham Dae Gil, a wunderkind gambler in the omnibus sequel. The lighthearted feature takes audiences through the shady world of gambling alongside cast members Honey Lee, Shin Se Kyung, Kim Yun Seok, and Yoo Hae Jin.
T.O.P.’s early foray into acting was as terse, fresh-faced bad boy Choi Moo Shin in 2007‘s “I Am Sam,” a drama starring the then-fledgling Park Min Young and Yang Dong Geun (with a cast that included Lee Min Ho, pre-”Boys Before Flowers” curls). Although a bit green, the actor played into the part nicely as a tough, laconic high school student.
You may have seen him as student Jung Hoon in the film “19,” the limited release feature following the lives of three teens suspected of a young woman’s murder. The flick also costarred Huh Yi Jae and fellow BIGBANG memberSeungri. The character may have hit more closely to home, as he played an aspiring rapper (with a featured freestyle rap performance), but also relatable as a disenchanted student more interested in his part-time job and the crush on his female co-worker than his studies.
He played the role of Vick, an elusive spy in the thriller drama “Iris” (and subsequent film), sharing the screen with an impressive cast that included Lee Byung Hun and Kim Tae Hee. Pretty notable acting heavyweights to swap dialogue with onscreen, especially with less than a handful of credits to his name.
There’s a fair share of weariness when it comes to viewing inexperienced actors who are mainly known for being pop stars or models. But T.O.P. holds his own; his presence onscreen carries with an easy magnetism.
In 2010 came the film “71: Into the Fire,” the thesp’s arguably first serious dramatic role, wherein he took on the role of a student soldier fighting North Korean military during the Korean War (based on a true story). The film opened with Choi Seung Hyun as Oh Jang Beom, witnessing the death of a fellow officer. He was caked in dirt and blood, he carried the weight of a reluctant leader on his shoulders (his character was appointed to lead the squad of teenaged fighters, since he was the only one with combat experience); he transformed into a student soldier from 1950.
Last year’s film releases included “Commitment,” in which Choi Seung Hyun played Kang Dae Ho (aka Lee Myung Hoon), a North Korean spy on a covert mission in South Korea in order to save his sister. Somewhat of a safe star vehicle, he played a man of few words as a cold, withdrawn, and lonely defector spy. Fight scenes were gritty and believable, carrying the makings of an action star.
The rising actor’s career is just heating up; it would be interesting to see him take on riskier roles. Maybe share the screen with other actors of his generation, like Seo Jun Young or Seo In Guk.