Drama Casting & News
Han Hye-jin drops political rom-com, Lee Min-jung steps in?
by | February 15, 2013 | 64 Comments

javabeans: All About My Romance is losing its THIRD (potential) leading lady? What is up with this drama? First Im Soo-jung was about to sign on, then rumors surfaced of Gong Hyo-jin replacing her, and then Han Hye-jin stepped in… and now out again.

girlfriday: Or more specifically, what is wrong with the heroine? Shin Ha-kyun has been the hero from the start, and there’s been no change there, but the women keep dropping like flies. Is she written badly?

javabeans: This is based in only my speculation, but that’s the explanation that makes most sense. I keep imagining that they all get sold on the interesting, quirky sounding cross-politics parliament-romance storyline (she’s liberal, he’s conservative), get the script, and then say, “Oh. Never mind.”

girlfriday: Yeah I have this idea in my head that they’re selling the character like a serious whip-smart politician, and then getting to the set and finding out that she’s actually really silly.

javabeans: At least that’s the trajectory the casting is taking, because Im Soo-jung has a pretty solemn film image, and Gong Hyo-jin can swing dramatic or comedic but also has a certain dramatic gravitas. And Han Hye-jin has been racking up the dramatic roles lately.

girlfriday: And now Lee Min-jung is rumored to take over the role, and she’s definitely less… all of that.

javabeans: I like Lee Min-jung, but oh god, please don’t have her tripping around parliament giggling, “Oopsie.”

girlfriday: OH NO.

javabeans: See? One bad project and your image goes to crap. She has the most lightweight aura of the ladies, which (1) may be weird next to Shin Ha-kyun and his weighty presence, or (2) may be exactly the contrast they’re going for.

girlfriday: Perhaps, but it’s still a weirder pairing.

javabeans: It’s a little less weird after considering that she’s dating Lee Byung-heon, which actually did mature up her image a bit. A tiny, tiny bit. She’s actually near the same age as the other ladies, but has a much younger image. Wait, let’s actually check how old they are. Im Soo-jung is a 1979-er… so they went one year younger by courting Gong Hyo-jin next, who’s a 1980-er… and Han Hye-jin is a 1981-er… and Lee Min-jung is 1982. It all makes sense now.

girlfriday: Lol, that’s a pretty funny pattern. But let’s not go any lower, not if Shin Ha-kyun is still going to be the lead.

javabeans: Especially now that they’ve confirmed Park Hee-soon (aka Hot Ajusshi) as a second lead. He’ll play a prosecutor turned aide to the heroine (is that a step up or down?), who’s a rookie parliamentarian. He ought to give Shin Ha-kyun a run for his money, since he also has a really nice emotional heft to his acting. His last drama was years ago in 2007’s Mixed-up Investigative Agency, and he’s been doing movies ever since (like The Client). Basically, he’s really awesome. Actually, the men might really just run away with this one. Not literally.

girlfriday: Plus, he’s hot.

javabeans: Seriously, really really hot. Hottest ajusshi ever.

girlfriday: Hottest ajusshi ever? But! What would Lee Jung-jae say?

javabeans: He would say, “NOT AJUSSHI! OPPA!”

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64 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Ace

    Hope Lee Min-jung drops it too if the heroine is written badly. I just started watching Big, and she seriously ticked me off in episode 1. Go Mi-nyeo/nam didn’t annoy me at all but her character made me go nuts. I loved her since BOF and liked her in all the films I saw her in, but Big made me question how in the world she went from being kickass to whiny. It probably wouldn’t have been so bad if she dropped the cutesy/baby voice she used there.

    Re: the leading man – thanks for the reminder that he was in MIA. I love that drama! And he reminds me of Lee Byung-heon, but he’s definitely hotter in some way as I’ve always thought that LBH is lacking in the looks department and wondered what LMJ saw in him. ;)

    • 1.1 Ace

      Correction: I’m talking about the second lead, Park Hee-soon not Shin Ha-kyun. :)

      • 1.1.1 pabo ceo reom

        I have a ton of residual love for Lee Min-jung ever since I saw her in Smile, You. It was a fluffy family drama but she had a really likable presence. Big did suck but I don’t blame that wholeheartedly on Lee Min-jung. Actually, she reminds me a bit of Lee Da-hae (whom I also love) in the way that I like them as actresses but they pick iffy projects.

  2. Mystisith

    Huh! I hope it’s just a problem of schedule, paycheck or any non-drama related issue. If it’s because the female part is badly written or insignificant, I will be pissed off: I really like that premise and would appreciate a balanced script. Lee Min Jung would not be my first choice… Too young. Yes, I said it. Unless she has an ace in her sleeves when it comes to acting *cringe* and a stylist who can age her convincingly, it’s a bit of a let down.

  3. YT629

    A problem I sometimes have with many kdrama heroines is that they’re written to act like they’re 16 even though they’re either in their late 20s or early 30s. Adults do not go around tripping around in their workplace expecting a cutely delivered “oopsie!” to somehow make up for a distinct lack of professionalism. I mean come on! I know women in their 20s or even 30s do not have it all together (I should know!), but they know to at least APPEAR as though they have it together and are not completely incompetent.

    The lack of very professional and competent women in kdramas make me a bit sad. Or the woman is portrayed as super cold and competent, but a total robot in emotions or relationships. Coffee House was a good example of avoiding that trap. The character of Suh Eun young was a very successful professional who owned her own publishing company. She was educated, well off financially, and good at her job while still being portrayed as a real person. I’m still a little sad that wasn’t very popular. It was a good kdrama. Kinda eccentric at times, but I like quirky humor.

    • 3.1 jomo

      Bingo!
      K Drama heroines: “they’re written to act like they’re 16 even though they’re either in their late 20s or early 30s” makes me wanna throw up.

      So which actress has the gravitas AND pull who can influence the way the part is written?
      Is Ko Hyun Jung -1971) comes to mind but she is 1o years older than these ladies WHICH IS EXACTLY THE AGE THE ROLE SHOULD BE if she is supposed to go toe to toe with SHK but I must stop the ranting.

      Dare I suggest Chae Rim – 1979? I really liked her in Dalja’s Spring.

      Who is the writer here, anyway? Anybody who we love or hate?

      • 3.1.1 gala

        I like LMJ more but I think Chae Rim acting alongside SHK is better. also, did BIG “damage” LMJ’s reputation? when this was announced, some knetizens weren’t exactly happy with her. I guess it could be cause she’s dating LBH as well.

        I think writer-PD combo of Protect the Boss.

        • 3.1.1.1 canxi

          Chae Rim would be cuuute.

          • 3.1.1.1.1 lovin it

            what is she doing these days anyway?

          • 3.1.1.1.2 HijauDaun

            too bad Chae Rim still shooting that CCTV drama (a chinese drama)

      • 3.1.2 Mystisith

        Nothing much on the resume: I liked Protect The Boss tho. http://asianwiki.com/Kwon_Ki-Young

      • 3.1.3 YT629

        Park Jin hee would be someone who’s age appropriate (since she’s in her mid thirties), and whose image is mature enough to fit the role of a competent female politician. But she’s going to be in Gu Nam Huh Joon so she’s not really a viable choice. But I’m curious to see how she handles sageuk so I’m fine with that.

        Ha ji won or Uhm ji won are both age appropriate and image appropriate I think. But if the problem is that the role is written as though the heroine is a ditzy flake, no “serious” actor will want to take on the role, even if this is supposed to be a comedy. Well, I haven’t given up all hope since this is the writer/pd combo of Protect the Boss and Choi kang hee’s character there was tough and badass in her own way. I tend to hold out hope until at least the 2nd episode….

        • 3.1.3.1 jomo

          Ha Ji Won with Shin Ha Kyun would be super cool, although she is one of the actresses who can switch into over cute sometimes. Even Kim Sun-ah does it…

          Could it be they are just smarter than us in their ability to manipulate the men into doing what they want and we are envious?

          Hmmmmm…

      • 3.1.4 YY

        Totally agree with the throwing up. I hate hate hate it when these mature actresses act “cute”, pull their faces into all kinds of exaggerated “cuteness”, squeal or squeak or talk through their noses “cutely”, lurch around like drunken toddlers, freeze-open their mouths in constant surprise or shock, tongues hanging out idiotically, or end their speeches with their tongues caught between their teeth. Sickening. Bleah.

    • 3.2 haha

      I love Coffee House too. Too bad it was so underrated. PSY was owning SEY character and I became her fan ever since

  4. Danna

    Forget Lee Min Jung….PARK HEE SOON WILL BE BACK IN DRAMALAND?????
    That is huge for me……I dont even know if I should start screaming or start jumping up and down…..also he is superrrrr hot in suits as evidenced by my milliin caps of him in The Client

    • 4.1 Danna

      Ahem….and on the topic of Lee Min Jung, I’m actually really glad its her and not Han Hye Jin…I’ve been interested in this show ever since Im Soo Jung was casted but my interest dropped a little when HHJ joined instead….she just doesnt have that rom-com appeal for me….but I adore LMJ plus she really needs a good project to get rid of Big’s stink

      • 4.1.1 Gala

        I’m the opposite. My interest went sky high with HHJ. She hasn’t done RomCom for a long time, if we can consider Be Strong Geum Soon as one. So I’d really like to see her in one. She can do light characters, evident in Syndrome (although that’s just based on a few eps I’ve seen.)

        • 4.1.1.1 scout

          Same here. HHJ would have been great. ㅠㅠ

    • 4.2 Betty

      I know right?!!!!! He is the only thing interesting me in this drama *huge grin*

      • 4.2.1 Betty

        I am talking about PARK HEE SOON *still grinning*

  5. ck1Oz

    The actors all have such charisma and presence.The previous female lead candidates rejecting it worries me.LMJ is not going to smile her way through difficulties is she?Unless it’s her break out seriousrole.Hopefully.
    In case you think I am bahing her I am not.Smile,You was my first project and I just bought the DVD for the series. But the male leads wouldn’t have chosen badly written roles and this is a political drama.
    Oh boy,still worried.

  6. canxi

    Lee Min Jung???? Oh no. No, no, no. I like her but no. And omg Park Hee Soon. Hot ahjusshi for real. I watched him The Scent and that was literally all I needed to know I love him.

    I hope it’s not that the character is written badly, because I can name a few other badly written heroines who had solidified actresses. I hope it’s some kind of scheduling problem or something.

    I would like to see Park Ye Jin in this but that would be SUPER awkward since I believe she is dating Park Hee Soon, LOL.

  7. Kortey

    Im soo Jung, Gong hyo Jin, Han hye Jin all of them decided to leave this project and reason is their schedule!! who believe this? they are both responsible flawless actresses, if they chose this drama that means they have a time for this drama!(especially korea’s movie queen ISJ is deciding to turn back to tv screen after 9 year with spending few moths to find a good scenario and after that she choose this project but give up quickly! why?) why all of them are leaving this project without giving any real reason!? I think there is problem with director or “changing” scenario, I adore his acting but maybe with Shin ha Kyun! or press always take wrong info’s and these actresses never agreed to be in this project in first place! I actually think LMJ is not talented enough for series dramas. She is always over-acting maybe her attendance is also false info! it wont be surprise for me if I hear new actress name in near future!

    • 7.1 yoonah

      Well, not all of them “left” the project. Only Han Hye-jin did; Im Soo-jung or Gong Hyo-jin’s casting was never confirmed. It’s a usual tactic by producers to float names in the press to drum up publicity for a project even if the actor hasn’t said yes yet (or at all).

      I’m guessing their first choice was ISJ, but it doesn’t mean she ever actually signed on. Then they cast HHJ, who probably got handed a synopsis and just wanted to work with Shin Ha-kyun.

      Of course that excuse is baloney; you don’t sign a contract without knowing your sked. So yeah, I agree with the DB girls — the script is likely problematic.

  8. rearwindow

    I really really hope that the heroine is written well, and all the ladies had to drop because of freak scheduling issues. Because this show has so much potential for a smart, sassy female lead and I could really go for a smart, cracktastic romcom.

  9. Trina

    Regardless, who is the heroine. I want her to be strong and mature woman not woman who go go ooh ggagagagaga and be a wimpy crying woman in love with guy.

  10. 10 Annie

    Park Hee Soon is love. Park Ye Jin is one lucky lady :)

  11. 11 Serendipity

    Park Hee Soon — SQUEE!

    That is all.

    And…

    http://streamingserendipity.wordpress.com/2012/11/22/park-hee-soon-squee/

    ;-)

  12. 12 mskololia

    oh, nooos. I’ve only seen this actress in Midas and consider her such a light weight who appeared in the drama only to look/cry pretty…..Drops.

  13. 13 haha

    talking about CH earlier, if it’s not a bad written heroin, I hope Park Shi Yeon will take the role.
    She has been doing so good lately… in all her recent dramas

    • 13.1 canxi

      I was thinking this, too! I would like to see her out of that femme fatale image she has. I have seen her in a bunch of things, I think I’m starting to like her after Nice Guy. I think she can be layered and she could be cute with Shin Ha Kyun + she seems mature. She’s already worked with Park Hee Soon, too, it would be a good thing.

    • 13.2 Annie

      Haven’t you heard about her propofol controversy? She’s been called in for questioning. If there’s any truth to it – well, her career is basically over.

      • 13.2.1 canxi

        Aw, damn. I actually haven’t ):

      • 13.2.2 haha

        I have but her agency denied it.
        Their reasons are very legit as we know she always have back problems after the accident for her movies in the past… She quit FO1 and rejected Equator Man because of it. If you remember she can’t ever walk properly in Coffee House…
        I hope it’d clear up soon though

        • 13.2.2.1 bluebell

          Her agency of course will deny it but that doesn’t mean she is clear from the investigation. So, at the moment.. I think she will take some break to deal with this.

        • 13.2.2.2 Annie

          She cited the same excuse as the others who were investigated and I frankly found it rather suspicious that she was getting a surgical grade anesthetic at dermatology clinics. I know about her severe back pain so I’m hoping that this ends up being a big mistake but, who really knows?

          • 13.2.2.2.1 Starlinh

            Propofol isn’t just a simple painkillers and we don’t know about the timeline. The injured happened years ago and for the prosecutors, they must have some sort of evidences. So, who knows?

          • 13.2.2.2.2 haha

            Equator man was in 2012 and she rejected the role because of the back pain. And you can see she still not walking normally in NG… I mean she could have been addicted to it because of the long time use… It’s just that her reasons have always been there, not just poping out of no where.
            Whatever it is, I wish her the best of luck since she is one smart and talented actress who challenge a lot to get where she is at right now

      • 13.2.3 pogo

        noooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        I really hope it isn’t true, she’s too good an actress to have her career cut short like this :(

  14. 14 Lisa-Loo-Loo

    Yup…agreed. Hottest Ajusshi EVER! Is it wrong though that I am kinda praying that there is a different leading lady up for grabs? ‘Cause BIG made me cry, and I don’t want to cry anymore. So, please, please drama gods. Give us a less weird pairing. Amen.

  15. 15 crazedlu

    No. Done with Lee Minjung. Done done done. Liked her in BOF, everyone said she was fine in that one smile(?) drama, started to think, hmm do I really even like her in Cyrano, then, Big came along. NO. And I am very well convinced it was not just the writing. Hong Sisters. :”(

  16. 16 shiloh

    How about Sung Yuri for lead actress role? I think she would fit the role well.

    • 16.1 scout

      No.

    • 16.2 Kiara

      Oh pls NO.

    • 16.3 jomo

      No. I think she is too lightweight, and while she played tough in FotG, she seems to lack a certain true edge. It felt put on rather than natural. Like the whole time she was sorry inside for her not nice behavior.

  17. 17 lemondoodle

    Park Hee-soon does things to me… I’ll watch it for him. Though I don’t think losing potential leads means it’s necessarily badly written. I remember TK2H went through like… half a dozen male leads of all different types before they settled on one. Though there could be something about the project that makes someone not want to take it.

    • 17.1 scout

      For dramas involving political issues, like K2H and Gaksital, actors usually hesitate out of fear of the potential ramifications . Kudos to actors who aren’t afraid to take on controversial projects.

  18. 18 lovepark

    Park Hee-soon! My interest was set in stone when I knew Shin Ha-kyun was the lead, but now that Park Hee-soon has been cast, this drama could be a sinking ship from miles away, but I’ll stay aboard until the very end.
    Gah, if I’m already this crazy just thinking about them acting in the same drama, when I actually see it, I don’t know how I’ll react. I’ll probably need to watch it twice since the first time I’ll simply be squeeing and not paying any attention.

  19. 19 Gabby

    “Actually, the men might really just run away with this one.”

    But doesn’t this always seem to be the case? Whether it’s a trendy drama or a thriller/action show, we usually seem to be fawning over and more engaged with the emotional arc of the male characters. In drama after drama they continue to steal the spotlight (and this is reflected in what characters we spend the most time raving about in the recaps/comments sections) – and it’s not just hormonal squealing, it’s a consequence of the meatier roles and material they’ve been given.

    The actress is more likely to be chosen for her looks/image than the male actor (although there are notable male exceptions, of course); on top of that, the men frequently get the better, more complex characters/storyline in the first place, while the female is written in a very derivative, limiting way and is rarely allowed to be witty, capable, charismatic, interestingly flawed or genuinely quirky/weird (in a way that isn’t cutesy).

    Once again, it seems with LMJ they’re picking a young, pretty, blandly “likable” actress who’s good at wide-eyed, naive expressions instead of worrying about having a female character with real gravitas and personality who can go toe-to-toe with the male leads – it’s always, apparently, more important to be winning/likable/smiley than interesting when writing for girls. And it’s too bad, because it’s these professional/workplace rom-coms that especially thrive on the sparring-of-intellectual-equals dynamic (a la His Girl Friday, etc.).

    I know this ranting is a whole lot of no-duh! to most, but it just struck me when I was reviewing the k-dramas I’ve seen over the past few years how rarely any female characters stood out to me. Even the ones who were initially somewhat spunky seemed to become stereotypically “weaker” as the series progressed, oftentimes reduced to a passive prize/doormat for the male characters to fight over and an innocent victim for the inevitably one-dimensionally scheming, bitchy and completely unsympathetic second female to abuse.

    ::Sigh::

    • 19.1 sososo

      Miss Ripley is totally different type of heroin.

  20. 20 kkim

    ‘He would say, “NOT AJUSSHI! OPPA!”’

    Word.

  21. 21 kz

    For some reasons, I think Lee Yo Won would fit perfectly as the female lead. She’s very good at acting, endearing, flattering and most importantly seems strong. If this drama about politics then I would support her since she will be good at portraying female politician who should be smart, confident and strong. Also i think about Song Ji Hyo. She has charisma and just perfect for rom-com

  22. 22 Suzi Q

    Liked this drama since I’m a fan of Shin Ha Kyun after watching him star in BRAIN. Sorry to hear Han Hye Jin whom I really like too dropped out of this project.

    OMO… OMO…I’m disappointed in Lee Min Jung’s last two projects, MIDAS and BIG, which were awful. Her acting is cute and pretty, but she’s not a very strong lead especially when the second lead is HOT AJUSSHI, Park Hee Soon!

    I didn’t realized that I’ve seen him in several films, GABI, THE CLIENT, HANSEL AND GRETEL, and SEVEN DAYS . He’s a terrific actor, and he’s won several Best Supporting Acting awards. Both Shin and Park are really strong versatile dynamic actors, and I don’t think Lee Min Jung who is pleasant but not a great actress has the acting chops… She’s too young for the part too.

    I hope they get a stronger female lead actress because the two male leads will act circles around her and steal the scenes away from her.

  23. 23 hhj fan

    Such disappointing news! Was so looking forward to seeing Han Hye Jin in a new drama!

  24. 24 John

    Han Hye-jin is so pretty. Hope to see her in something soon.

  25. 25 Kiara

    The main draw for me is Shin Ha-kyun and 2nd Park Hee-soon. I think at this point it doesn’t matter who is playing the female lead. She will be outshined and forgotten. Shin and Park are going to own it.

  26. 26 Tina

    Lee Min Jung ? I don’t think so. Try another to find one. I think Lee Yo Won or Bae Doo Na might made it.

  27. 27 jomo

    You know who I like here?
    Lee Chung Ah recently of FBRS.
    I think she can play anything the director wants.

    But she is a 1984 – too young?

  28. 28 goldeng

    if the girls are running away from the heroine role, i dont blame them… ive always had a.problem with how female.leads are portrayed and i always wondered what the actresses themselves thought so im glad some of them doubt about taking those roles too…

  29. 29 hanie

    First we got Shin Ha Kyun and I already excited. And now, Park Hee Soon back in dramaland? Good god, I’ll watch it even if he just sit there breathing and do nothing. Ajusshi!!!!! Please don’t be suck. Please don’t be suck. Please don’t be suck. Please don’t be suck.

    Back on the heroine business, I hope they cast someone who have her own presence and dare I say, acting ability? Someone who will not be outshine (too much) by the two actors. That is why I hope they didn’t cast Lee Min Jung. I think she only suitable for lightweight rom-com. Unless of course, they write the heroine as someone with doe eyes, innocent, naive, bubbly character who work so hard but never lose her innocent smile, then by all means, cast LMJ. *roll eyes*

  30. 30 xarden

    This has been the constant reason why I visit Dramabeans on a regular basis. This has been the drama I’ve been waiting for soooooo long. Especially when I heard that it’s going to be Shin Hakyun and Han Hyejin! Awww!!!

  31. 31 Izzy

    Yay I love Lee Min-jung. BIG wasnt the best drama, but she’s a great actress. But I got to ask, how close to the airdate do they shoot the drama, and cast the starts. A lot of the time it feels like they cast a actor or actress and start shooting the next day…

  32. 32 hosin

    I for you & you for me love me

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