Monday, August 26, 2013

Can they re-boost K-drama popularity?


Top 'hallyu' actresses to return to small screen

Choi Ji-woo, who is also known as “Ji-woo Hime”
Ha Ji-won
Kim Jung-eun
By Park Jin-hai

K-dramas seem to be having a momentary lull.

After a decade of bumper years, initiated by the success of “Winter Sonata (2002),” K-dramas have given the front seat to K-pop, which is taking the globe by storm on the back of "hallyu," or the Korean wave.

However, things could unfold differently in the latter half of this year - especially when three of the country’s most seasoned actresses have been drafted to the small screen to help.

The trio of actress in their 30s - Choi Ji-woo, Ha Ji-won, and Kim Jung-eun – are all making long-awaited comebacks. The three have long and proven track records of turning dramas they starred in into smash hits. Fellow 30-something actresses such as Ko Hyun-jung ("The Queen's Classroom") and Lee Bo-young ("I Hear Your Voice") have recorded sucess in the first half with respective dramas.

But the three - Choi, Ha and Kim - have long and proven track records of turning dramas they starred in into smash hits.

Actress Choi Ji-woo, 38, will be the first among the three to end a near-two year hiatus following her 2011 “Can’t Lose,” returning in the “Suspicious Housekeeper.”

In the remake of a 2011 Japanese hit “Kaseifu no Mita,” Choi will star as a housekeeper who comes to work for a widowed father and his four children. The original black comedy was a huge hit, garnering over a 40 percent viewership rating in Japan.

Atypical from her previous roles in romantic dramas, Choi will play heroine Park Bok-nyeo, who barely shows any emotion but acts as a catalyst for the family to heal itself following the suicide of their mother. The mother killed herself after learning that her husband had an affair.

Even before the first episode was shot, people were eager to see if Choi could join the group of other actresses who have successfully ventured into unique characters such as Kim Hye-soo in “Queen of the Office.”

All eyes are on first-generation “hallyu” star, nicknamed “Ji-woo Hime” (Princess Ji-woo) by her Japanese fans, to see if she can live up to her fame in the new drama, which will be aired from Sept. 23 on SBS.

Ha Ji-won, 35, will star in the period drama “Empress Gi,” a story of love and politics in the Goryeo Kingdom (918-1392), which will be broadcast in October.

One of the most sought-after actresses, Ha made period dramas such as “Da Mo” (2003) and “Hwang Jini” (2006) into successes

The 50-episode “Empress Gi” will also see Ha in wire-attached action scenes. Renowned screen writer Jang Young-chul, who wrote the screenplay of the 2006 TV series “Dae Jo Yeong” wrote the script.

The TV series will Ha’s first after she started her own agency for Korean work. Also on Aug. 13 she signed with the United Talent Agency (UTA) to represent her interests in the United States film. UTA is one of the largest agencies in the U.S. and is home to stars such as Johnny Depp, Anthony Hopkins, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

The heroine of “Lovers in Paris” Kim Jung-eun, 37, has partnered with star producer Lee Hyung-min in her return to the small screen. Lee is known for his 2004 hit drama “I’m sorry, I love you,” which enjoyed great popularity among Asian K-drama lovers.

Currently, the names of several male actors are being discussed, but not much else has been revealed except that the new drama has been tentatively titled “The Condition of Love.”

All three of the actresses have over 15 years experience each, and have firmly established their places as leading actresses in the film industry.

“At a time when trendy dramas, starring young actresses and idols, spring up like mushrooms after rain, it is welcoming that these heavy weight actresses are coming back to the screen,” said an industry watcher. “When good actresses in their 20s are scarce, their return will play a role of boosting the industry as well as showcasing the power of ladies in their 30s,” he added.

Source: The Korea Times

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