In this writer’s humble opinion, it is the actress and her performance that makes or breaks a Korean drama. This is why I take the casting of lead actresses — even if they’re not billed as the headliner — into so much consideration. Several upcoming Korean dramas slated for the summer of 2011 have made interesting and unexpected casting decisions for their respective leading ladies, so this summer is already becoming one to look forward to.
Gong Hyo Jin: “Greatest Love”
One of the more interesting casting decisions. “Greatest Love,” scheduled to broadcast in May, has cast actress Gong Hyo Jin as Goo Ae Jung, a washed-up pop-star who gets to live out the ultimate romantic-comedy fantasy when she’s paired for a reality TV show with a “top star” played by Cha Seung Won. Personally, I am thrilled to hear that Gong Hyo Jin will have a chance to show off her lighter, bubblier side since she’s more than proven her melodramatic chops in “Thank You.” She’s a spunky, stylish woman whose pulled off many-a-role, and I feel that she’s versatile enough to make this one a home run.
On another note: it comes to me as a surprise that the production company didn’t hire an actual ex-popstar to play the role of Goo Ae Jung, especially since there’s a plethora of them chomping at the acting bit — i.e. Yoon Eun Hye, Hwang Jung Eun, Sung Yuri.
Sung Yuri: “Romance Town”
Speaking of Sung Yuri, this former singer of pop girl group Finkl stars in (what else?) a romantic comedy titled “Romance Town” (not much of an improvement from its previous title “Maids”). In it, Sung Yuri plays a poor, but hard-working girl who finds herself working for a rich family. The premise is gimmicky and overdone, but still, it’s an unusual role for Sung Yuri, who’s usually cast to play dramatic roles as either an ice-queen or fair-maiden prototype. It’ll be interesting to see how she takes on something with a more comedic tone.
Jang Nara: “Baby Faced Beauty”
It seems to me it that on paper, Sung Yuri, being the former pop star and all, should have been cast for “Greatest Love”, and vise versa, Gong Hyo Jin, who has played feisty girls with a strong sense of will and work ethic, would have been a good maid in “Romance Town.” But in “Baby Faced Beauty”, Jang Nara is cast perfectly for her role as a woman who looks much younger than her age. She stars opposite Daniel Choi of “High Kick Through The Roof.”
Which leading actresses is everyone else looking forward to? Personally, I can’t wait to see Gong Hyo Jin dance in her drama. Rumor has it she was teased for doing it so badly.
All dramas scheduled to air in May.
[Edit]: Not covered here is Yoon Eun Hye’s casting for drama “Lie To Me.”