The South Korean drama production industry has long suffered from complaints of K-Pop crossovers leading to idols being given major roles which they do not have sufficient acting talent to effectively perform. But these days seem to be past, as increasingly younger stars are not singers, or even particularly well-connected via family members in behind the scenes roles in the industry. This has, however momentarily, given South Korean dramas an air of meritocracy.
Han So-hee of "The World of the Married" has been the most obvious exemplar of this trend. The twenty-five year old actress worked at bars before moving into modeling and even music videos. Her progress throughout the industry has been quite steady, and she scored a critical role in "The World of the Married" largely on the strength of her previous work in minor roles, which left a clear impression on casting directors.
Moon Ga-young of "Find Me in Your Memory" has had a very different career trajectory, making her debut as a child actress back in 2006. However, she never had many high profile roles, with her turn as the second lead in "The Great Seducer" in 2018 being her most visible point prior to "Find Me in Your Memory". Her background is also surprisingly well-rounded, speaking German and English in addition to Korean. She's also quite literate, appearing in a tvN variety show centered around books.
In such ways casting directors have become more interested in immediately relevant image rather than marketing potential. In a drama market where concept is less important than relatability, actresses with distinct quirks and compelling personal stories are now at an advantage. But long term success remains an elusive dream in this industry, so it is unknown how much further Han So-hee or Moon Ga-young will rise in the future.
Written by William Schwartz
"The World of the Married" is directed by Mo Wan-il, written by Joo Hyeon-I, and features Kim Hee-ae, Park Hae-joon, Han So-hee, Park Sun-young, Kim Young-min, Chae Gook-hee. Broadcasting information in Korea: 2020/03/27~Now airing, Fri, Sat 23:00 on jTBC.
"Find Me in Your Memory" is directed by Lee Soo-hyun-II, Oh Hyeon-jong, written by Kim Yoon-joo, Yoon Ji-hyun-I, and features Kim Dong-wook, Moon Ga-young, Cha Kwang-soo, Gil Hae-yeon, Lee Joo-bin, Yoon Jong-hoon. Broadcasting information in Korea: 2020/03/18~2020/06/13, Wed, Thu 20:55 on MBC.
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.
"[HanCinema's News] Actresses Rather Than Idols Emerge as New Top Stars"
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