Sung Yuri has announced her next project, a KBS drama called Maids (working title) — or perhaps a prettier title is The Help — that comes from the writer of Pasta. That also means one less potential role for Yoon Eun-hye, who was reportedly in contention for this drama. Not that the super-in-demand Yoon is hurting for projects.
Maids tells the story of the “suspicious” domestic help who wander in and out of chaebol households, working one job after another. Sung Yuri is cast in the lead role of Noh Soon-geum, one such maid who’s described as youthful, bold and fearless, who works hard to support herself.
Sung said about the role, “I’m happy to be able to play this fresh, appealing Noh Soon-geum character, who is different from others I’ve played before. Because I was trying to select my next drama carefully, I ended up taking a longer break than I planned, and I’ll do my best to make up for the long wait.”
It’s no big secret that I’m hardly a fan of Sung Yuri — so pretty, but her acting is so flat and labored — although I’ll say that she has improved a lot over the course of her acting career. She’s weathered a fair amount of harsh criticism over the years (deservedly so, I say), particularly considering how poor she was in the beginning, which added fuel to the whole idol-singers-can’t-act fire. (She’d had a first career as a singer in ’90s pop vehicle FinKL.)
She’s put in a lot of effort to improve her acting, and I thought she was perfectly passable as a plucky heroine in Hong Gil Dong (and had a highlight episode where she was actually pretty good). But I think despite her physical beauty, she’s got that anti-charisma thing going on that is hard to shake, like Cha Ye-ryun and Go Ara, who have the same difficulty connecting with the camera.
On the upside, Maids sounds like an interesting premise, and if it’s anything like Pasta, it’ll be light and fluffy — an area that is friendlier to Sung than, say, more weighty and emotive projects.
As for the male lead? No final decisions yet, but a little birdie tells me Jung Kyeo-woon (Dr. Champ) is taking a look at the project. Prior to Champ — where he was such a cute lunkhead — I wouldn’t have been so eager, but now I say: Yes, please! I don’t care if he’s playing a chaebol, they’re just gonna have to find excuses to keep him unclothed in every episode. It’ll be a trial, but I’m sure they can manage.
Maids is a Wednesday-Thursday drama set to follow Thorn Birds, and will premiere on May 11.