[HanCinema's News] Movie Stars Come to the Small Screen
By William Schwartz | Published on
Hwang Jung-min, Lee Byung-hun, and Ha Jung-woo have long made their reputation in the South Korean media environment as movie stars. However, their upcoming projects are breaking this format as the major, older stars are coming back to television dramas. This suggests a recent improvement in the perception of scripted South Korean dramas as relates to relative industry prestige.
Hwang Jung-min's last major project was "The Spy Gone North" back in 2018, with over four million viewers at the South Korean box office. He comes back this year in "Hush", an office drama where he will co-star with Yoona, fresh off her own box office success as the female lead in "Exit - Movie" in 2019. Though Hwang Jung-min has several listed film projects COVID-19, among other issues, have stunted their calendars and left "Hush" as his only project with a definite release schedule.
Ha Jung-woo and Lee Byung-hun are more recent box office fixtures. The two co-starred in "Ashfall" late last year. More recently, before the COVID-19 lockdown on new major releases, Lee Byung-hun appeared in the major intelligence focused "The Man Standing Next", while Ha Jung-woo appeared in the more modestly performing horror movie "The Closet". While Lee Byung-hun appeared in the title role of "Mr. Sunshine" both actors are otherwise known exclusively for their film roles.
So it is with similar intrigue that the main definite titles for either actor are the tvN crime lord thriller "The Accidental Narco" for Ha Jung-woo and the NGO-centered "Our Blues" for Lee Byung-hun. Unlike "Hush", these more prestigous dramas are suffering some production issues due to COVID-19. But the very fact that major actors were interested in them before the outbreak shows how major film stars are more willing to appear in scripted television dramas than they used to be.
Written by William Schwartz
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.