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Lee Sung-kyung courted to become Weightlifting Fairy

I honestly have no idea what they’re thinking with this casting. The new youth sports drama Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju is a story inspired by Olympic gold medalist weightlifter Jang Mi-ran, and modeled after her personal stories about being a young girl who was shy and awkward and only knew weightlifting. The drama has been picked up by MBC and casting is now underway, and an offer is out to Lee Sung-kyung (Doctors, Cheese in the Trap) to headline.

I’m actually liking Lee Sung-kyung quite a lot in her current drama Doctors, but I’m befuddled about them casting a model to play a weightlifter. I mean, is she planning to double her weight by the time the drama starts shooting? If she is, I suppose I’ll have newfound respect for her dedication to acting, but otherwise I’m not sure how I’m supposed to suspend my disbelief about her being a character inspired by Jang Mi-ran. I suppose I never really expected them to go out and cast someone whose body image was realistic for the part, but wouldn’t it be nice if they did? Someday, dramaland, someday.

I am excited about the drama though, because Jang Mi-ran is a such a cool role model for female athletes and the story is about a shy heroine discovering love for the first time. Also, writer Yang Hee-seung of the hilarious comedies Oh My Ghostess and High School King of Savvy is penning the script, which definitely gets my expectations up. PD Oh Hyun-jong of A Daughter Just Like You (also second PD on A New Leaf, Level 7 Civil Servant) is directing.

It’ll be a romantic comedy and a coming-of-age story focusing on college athletes and their dreams. The twenty-year-old heroine Kim Bok-ju is a naturally strong young woman, having inherited her strength from her weightlifter father. She can’t stand to see injustice and jumps into the fray whenever she loses her temper, but underneath all that is a fragile glass heart full of empathy. She’s never once been asked on a date or set up by friends, but one day she meets a doctor at a weight clinic and falls for him. The drama is about her awkward first love and how she handles the greatest challenge she’s ever faced as an athlete.

Lee Sung-kyung is reportedly only in consideration for the part alongside other actresses, though early stories did say that she was planning to go straight from Doctors into training so that she could undergo a physical transformation for the role. If that’s really the case, I hope she’s serious about it and at least puts some muscle on so that I can believe she wouldn’t buckle under a barbell.

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju is slated for the Wednesday-Thursday slot following Shopping King Louie (which comes after W—Two Worlds). It premieres in November.

Via Sports Chosun, Star News

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I would have a new profound respect for her if she does gain weight. However i would prefer if they cast a actress nearer to Jang Mi Ran's stature. I do love korean culture but their seriously skewed views on a woman's physique is seriously worrying. Heavier actresses can do more than just play comedic roles or someone's mom/aunt.

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This! I always loved inspirational stories. I just googled jang mi ran and was honestly appalled at the idea behind the casting. Nevermind the techniques behind the sport but how are they going to make it inspirational/motivational when they don't even try to make it realistic,not even to a little extent by casting a lanky model to headline as the main. Even she puts on a little more weight,it wouldn't be believable. It actually deviates the real purpose of the story and become a typecasted korean romance about a shy girl experiencing love. Also if they are going to just put a fat suit and make her lift made of paper, i am just going to laugh.

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Very bad casting. She's a waif...not a weight-lifter. Won't watch it unless it gets rave reviews and outstanding ratings.

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You can weight 120lbs and still be able to deadlift 200lbs (which is my case for example). I am a weighlifter and I won't be surprised to see a model lifting 2 times her weight. That's the magic thing with weighlifting :)

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Weightlifting is not the same as powerlifting...

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Thing is, she doesn't actually need to lift much. They just need to make a bar and plates that are pretty light, but paint them to the appropriate weight color, etc. But of course she needs to learn the technique so she looks at least kinda legit.

The main issue is that Jang is more than 250 lb. If they cast Lee Sung Kyung as is (who is probably 100-120 lb at most) without her gaining weight, it defeats the purpose of using Jang as inspiration. It becomes a drama just about another generic "shy awkward girl" who happens to do Olympic weightlifting in a sports drama. Oh, and please don't get her to wear a fat suit. Please please please don't.

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Yup you've captured my befuddlement at this proposed casting and the hypocrisy of it. I wonder how the real Jang Mi Ran would really feel about casting a cool, pretty, lanky girl to play her in a dramatized version of her life.

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Yep. That was my first thought as well - they cast a skinny model, have her wear a fat suit, and then let her find self-confidence, love and happiness by having her LOSE WEIGHT. She does (alarmingly) meet her love in a weight clinic, after all...

Really, my fear is that her success will not be measured in her success as an athlete, but rather in her success at achieving conventional, skinny beauty and snagging a husband. Maybe with a gold medal on top like a cherry on an ice-cream cone.

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Lee Sung-Kyung is 5'9" and 108 lbs.! Seriously skinny. Jang Mi Ran is 5'7" and 260 lbs. It's beyond absurd to cast Lee Sung Kyung in this role.

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Please tell me they're not going to put her in a fake fat/muscle suit like Oh My Venus.

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SMH...God forbid they cast an actress that weighs over one hundred pounds. Even if she goes straight into training, the kind of body athletes like JMR have aren't made within the span of a few months, that takes years of hard work.

I'm also not sold on the hype for her acting. She so far has shown that she knows how to open up her eyes real wide and pout during her scenes in Doctors thus far.

It's really ironic considering the fact I saw a LSK fan comment before Doctors aired that she wanted LSK to take the role to watch her "chew" PSH.....which is now hilarious seeing how the drama and their performances have been received.

They should cast that actress-turned-boxer-turned actress again whose name alludes me at the moment.

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Lee Shi-young?

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Yes, that's the actress I was talking about. She doesn't have the body type either, but she has the athleticism and years of training.

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seriously I don't think shin hye is chewed by anyone and I think park shin hye will be with CMS in new movie which I anticipate beside shin hye if she has many offers she won't announce about it until she think it is positive .....

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I found the comment more funny than offensive considering the fact that that person felt the need to use the word "chew" which is bizarrely aggressive, especially when talking about LSK who was coming off a universally panned performance in Cheese in the Trap...but I guess they didn't want to miss an opportunity at being gross about another actress.

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LSK's performance as Baek In Ha was only panned in earlier episodes. By the end of the drama both db and knets liked her in the role so it's not 'universally panned' like you say.

People will defend all kinds of female and male idols with no acting talent at all but let anyone breathe praise of an actress and she's judged by crazy standards. PSH as well as LSK.

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I agree with you. I am no "fan" of LSK. But whatever i have seen of her in CITT - she has potential. After the initial flak she got for her over the top performance, she toned down a lot yet maintained the correct balance of loud that her character required. At the end there were a few moments of vulnerability which i personally found heart-wrenching, however crazy her character was. So there, she has the potential to be versatile. she needs to pick the correct role.

I didn't see Doctors for the lack of time, but would definitely want to see it cause it has all my favs plus LSK

Also true that sometimes honest opinion about an actress's performance escalates to what not. They'll be LSK fans riling PSH fan's by chew and nom nom comments and on the other hand if you even say you are excited to see LSK in this show, PSH fans ask you to refrain since the article is about PSH :s
Ah fandoms.

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I followed the Doctors posts pretty closely and literally no PSH fan ever even commented negatively on LSK. There were a bunch of comments how people wanted to see Doctors for LSK or KRW, or whatever, and no one bothered to respond.

The only time there was ever an issue was a comment about LSK being a better actress, and PSH being terrible, which I personally didn't believe is true, but one person's opinion is hardly enough to get into a hissy fit over. But people did respond.

Anyway, that original comment didn't come from a db post, but was very odd nonetheless.

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I take it that you're referring to Lee Si Young? Isn't she signing up for another drama though? Wonder if she'd be able to fit this into her schedule

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I thought Lee Si Young was signed up for a movie?

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that would be good casting. kim min young would make more sense than lee sung kyung, anyway.

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While I was reading this article that is exactly who I thought about, she's an underrated actress. Perfect type of curvy figure and not just for this role.. but in general.

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I would love to see Ra Miran headline this cos she'd rock as a weightlifter and also becos she's so great. But I guess the twenty yr old part doesn't fit. However, I do think that LSK looks too skinny to be able to lift even her weight. It'll be really stretching my imagination if she gets the role and doesn't buff up for it, like I gotta tell myself she has invisible muscles....

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Dwarf ~

Ra Miran would be an excellent choice for this role.

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I can't say I'm surprised, but it's still super disappointing. I honestly am not too optimistic about her building her physique to fit the role, and if she does, it doesn't mitigate the problem that actresses that fall outside of the "ideal" body type can't even get casted for a character who supposedly doesn't fit the ideal body type.

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What in the world...

Or, do they plan to have an athlete having a Cinderella make-over things somewhere down the plot?

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She's beautiful and her acting is decent, but a weightlifter?!

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Dammit. It's like they're not even trying...

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Forget about the body, she literally has no talent whatsoever. She is so cringeworthy I want to pull my eyelashes one by one just so I don't have to look at her.

And they're not thinking about this casting, they're just accepting YG's bribe or whatever they're offering so she could get this.

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Eye... lashes?? That's an interesting one.

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You could say the same thing about Seolhyun or Suzy or all those other no-talent idols. The thought of Taecyeon's wooden too-old face acting opposite minor and much more talented Kim So Hyun makes me want to say some really bad things.

Cheese in the Trap was bad but at least Lee Sung Kyung proved she isn't only an actress to look pretty, she freely let herself look weird. That alone shows more talent than so many people who have been acting 2x as long as she had.

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I've always been inclined to give LSK the benefit of the doubt for CITT, considering a) the rumours that the director encouraged the overacting and b) the seriously creepy turnaround by Baek Inha in the last few episodes which made no sense narratively but impressed me nevertheless (would actually love to see her in a legitimate villain role). And I do think she's improved in Doctors; she's showing dedication to acting and a determination to not solely rely on looks or agency power, and I can always support that.

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Exactly - with her looks, it would be SO easy to coast (seriously, she's distractingly gorgeous) but I have a lot of respect for her for refusing to do that. And also for her disregard for 'lead' status and refusal to cling to that, she's been working her way up from smaller roles even though her agency could probably swing some bigger ones for her.

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I just looked her up -- she's really tall 5' 9" -- seems too tall for a weightlifter. I'd prefer someone short with thick legs and wrists -- that's what a weightlifter usually looks like.

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Oh dear..the misconceptions you have about weightlifting my friend....

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Don't tell me you're going to claim that weightlifters have skinny legs and are tall and willowy? Ra Miran is doing the clean and jerk, very hard to break olympic records with a tall willowy build. There's no misconception there. If you look at Ra miran she has a relatively low center of gravity -- most of her weight is in her legs and abdomen. I have no misconceptions about weightlifting in general. You can be any body shape. But if you're going to break olympic records in the heavyweight division you'd best have a certain body type.

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Yes, this actress's build is all wrong for this role. Even if they cast a skinny actress for the role (which they probably will), they need to find someone with a lower center of gravity to make it somewhat believable. Lee Sung Kyung seems to have long legs for her torso length, which is great for a model, but not right for this sport.

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There may be tall skinny weightlifters but to be olympic standards it would take way more work to get to that level with that body type. i am 5 ft and i do weightlifting and my body proportions make it easier for me than other people. my bf is a trainer and has been doing oly lifting and powerlifting for over 10 years and he teaches me new stuff all the time. If you actually knew anything about oly weightlifting than you would notice the body proportions of actual countries teams. South Korea and North Korean teams have similar proportions for a reason. So the reason Brian said what they usually look like is because real weightlifters aren't models. Crossfit people are a different breed and don't have to do as precise movements. It's all about speed not form. So there are misconceptions about weight lifting but it seems that you're the one who has them.

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Thank you Sara. Actually when you look at Olympic level athletes, no matter which country, they tend to have similar body types. Swimmers have broad shoulders, big feet, but not necessarily large muscles. Long distance runners tend to be much slimmer than sprinters, as they use different muscles in their events.

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Lee si young (valid love) will be perfect for this role tho. Seriously don't korean PDs think before casting actresses or do they cast based on popularity coz lee sung kyung is definitely the wrong actress for this role.

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Kwang Soo's Girlfriend

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Why they don't choose Mermaid's Prince to air? They already forget. This drama will fight against Legend of the Blue Sea, so they want lose easily?
MBC don't have any big project in the late 2016 or 2017. They even don't try to hard like KBS.

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Just went from can't wait to see it, to big fat NOPE.

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So not only does an accomplished sports career get tossed out for a "my first oppar" love story (we all know it will), they want to cast a model for the role? Not to mention this is by a writer whose idea of girl power and romance is two women trying to deceive a man into one messed up threesome. I would be so offended if I were the lady this is "based on".

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Yeah, imagine if America made a show about Serena Williams, except it was about her first crush, and her athleticism was played up as unladylike and unattractive, a beastly attribute that scares boys away, until her oppar sees the beauty in her...and they picked a skinny white girl to play her. That's how bizarre this project and potential casting is. I agree, it has so little to do with Jang Mi-ran or her career that it's offensive.

And thanks for saying that about Oh My Ghostess--I lost track of how many times consent was trampled in that drama. The ghost raped PBY's character's body, then tried to rape JJS's character, and then she colluded with the ghost to rape JJS, and then JJS decided this was all hunky dory because it was a drama.

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They should cast Kim Min Young, she would be so perfect and she deserves a leading role!

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HAHA they cast a model for "a young girl who was shy and awkward and only knew weightlifting"???

lee sung kyung is gorgeous! how can she portray an awkward, shy weightlifter???

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There were articles that also said she will gain weight for the role, so they definitely won't have a size 2 actress playing weightlifter, don't worry.

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She'll probably need to gain about 100 lbs just to barely look the part. Wonder how that will turn out.

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Her going from a size two to a size four I'm sure will make all the difference.

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lololol because kdrama. They'll be like ~it's about the spirit of Jang Mi-ran.

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why cast LSK or anyone else in her weight range when an actress like Go Su Hee exist? She'd be perfect if not for her being nearly 40 now but tbh I'd rather that than LSK by far. GSH's very talented, can do funny and serious roles. She can be a villain or the down to earth supportive friend. or damn so many diff characters i've seen her play! I've seen her in so many things, so she's immediately recognizable and best of all she's the right weight/build. I really don't get the point of making a drama inspired by a heavy strong female athlete like JMR and then just casting a model turned rookie actress? I mean I get that its prob gonna be a rom com...but tbh idk why they'd bother with this set up then? why not just come up with a diff drama about a hot female athlete or smth. there are cute pixie like female weight lifters or gymnasts or boxers or skaters like just anything would have been less offensive (then again gymnasts are also very muscular, at least if they compete at the top of their profession). lbr, they obv think a woman who is fat or very muscular is gross, so they'd never consider someone who actually looks the role. regardless of her talent or experience. LSK couldnt put on that amnt of weight in a healthy way in the short amnt of time given and tbh she shouldnt and wouldnt be asked ne way cuz then they'd have actually cast the role appropriately. sry i just...i cannot with this. it hurts esp cuz I keep thinking how great someone like Go Soo Hee, Lee Gook Ju or Ha Jae Sook coulda been in these. I know some of them are prob "old" for the role but tbh its not like dramaland always casts age appropriately. and I'm sure there are young actresses like the ones above who would be ideal.

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Go Su Hee is exactly who I was thinking of that would be perfect for this role!! Wow I didn't even know she was 40, she looks so young! I just re-watched Angry Mom recently and fell in love with her all over again<3 She's a great actress who would be believable to watch and I definitely feel she would play the character with justice and express the hardships of being a college athlete training to become Olympic level. But..seeing the plot the drama has already become one about first love and it's hard to say they don't want Lee Sung Kyung because of her rising popularity :/

I'll hold off judgments though because she has yet to be casted and if she is, then maybe she will do all she can to gain weight and make the character believable. Also this drama has reminded me of a Bollywood movie lol, idk if I'm allowed to talk about shows/movies outside of kdramas but I needa share XD

Mary Kom is the name of the movie and it's based off of Mary Kom, an Olympic boxer. I'm...not gonna praise the movie lol I only really liked the first half of it, but this post reminded me of how the actress for Mary Kom did a lot of training before the film and really conveyed her character to the max. She gave a really great performance and I hope something like that happens with this drama because when you're basing dramas/movies off of someone's real life you should definitely be respectful and sensitive to who they are and what they've been through.

Ultimately I'm gonna be a fool as usual and hold out hope that they do this drama and Jang Mi Ran justice *fingers crossed*

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re: Mary Kom, Priyanka Chopra may have trained for the role but I do NOT appreciate that she was basically put in yellowface for the role (a cursory google images search for her and for Priyanka Chopra will clarify exactly what I mean).

It's along the lines of the Scarlett Johansson casting controversy for Ghost in the Shell but only instead of being white, she's Indian. And it's actually worse because the subject of erasure is a real-life person.

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@pogo Hmmm that's true :/ surprisingly when the movie came out I didn't see anyone saying anything about that, so I myself at the time thought that it was ok. I think because Mary Kom is Indian too people thought it was ok, but I completely understand what you mean. It all comes back to having diversity and representation in the entertainment industry which is still lacking :/

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I may end up watching this just because I like disaster shows - and this sure sounds like a total disaster.

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WHAT

That's my first reaction after reading the headline. I super like Sungkyung but... She might hurt herself trying to lift since she's super tall.

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No.. just no.

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I so very much appreciate the sustained social commentary in this thread. Thank you all for your insightful comments and righteous apprehension. You teach me a lot.

It is sad when due to unattainable homogeneous-creating beauty standards, Jang Mi Ran as she looks would not even be cast in a drama inspired by her own life (assuming her life had such a focus on romance as this drama wants us to believe). How terrible is that?
Which is all very ironic because her life and youth were probably keenly shaped by these toxic standards and what we view the roles of women (man-chasing) and bodies (slim) to have to be.

This reminds me of the new Nina Simone movie that was released this year where the more light-skinned Zoe Saldana with more European-adored beauty standards was cast to play a legendary woman whose life was in every instance shaped by the fact that she was "too dark" and too "African-looking." The producers ended up darkening Zoe's skin and making her wear a prosthetic nose...except there is someone out there they could have cast who embodies more of who and what Nina is (skin shade, flat nose, etc) and who probably also understands more of the stigma of looking like Nina in this society that could have been cast. And yet again, a Nina Simone did not deserve to be cast in a movie about her own life because someone like her does not meet current beauty standards.

I find the similarities interesting and sad - the way women are boxed in like this across all cultures, and how movies and dramas serve to reinforce and concentrate the contents of these boxes...even as they play terrible mental games on women. Would other Jang Mi-Rans out there watch this drama and feel safe, inspired, affirmed as they should be? Or would they come out wondering why they aren't slimmer, why they do not have men dragging them by the wrists? If this casting says the same (and let's say she bulks up...she will most likely lose weight as soon as the drama is over), then is this drama made for the Jang Mi Rans out there (choice A) or for those women the Jang Mi Rans actually wish they were (choice B) but should not be because they are beautiful just the way they are? And if the answer is choice B, then the drama has failed.

Big /sigh.

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Actually I would love this idea to become a movie instead. Lee Mi-do will suit this. At least she has the athletic figure.

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I will have newfound respect for her as a human being, if she declines this offer siting reasons that taking on the offer is a moral irresponsibility and would be an insult of scores of women who are typecasted and ridiculed merely because of their body structure.

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Hi aqua. I wonder where you are now LOL. Lee Sung Kyung elevated her status because she is perfect as Bok Joo. I guess she deserve your respect now. LOL

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Sorry for the late reply. Hopefully you will see this someday. Yes, I agree she did a very good job. But I still will hold with what I said. I was not opposing her acting skills, but the fact that a tall well proportioned actor was made to become fat to portray the role, instead of casting an already plumb girl. Because at the end of the day, lee sung kyung will go back to the slim 'beautiful' girl. I was just talking about our beauty standards, and a drama which had the potential to redefine it failed to do so, simply by casting somebody who is in real life not the right fit (in terms of body type).

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Going back here to prove every commenter wrong, turns out Lee Sung Kyung is PERFECT for the role!!!

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Omg me too! I wanna see all who doubted her take back all the words that they said to her before even seeing the show. LSK is KIM BOK JOO, and WFKBJ, despite low ratings in SoKor, definitely snatched hearts all over the world. ✌?

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I don't know whether those who commented on this article and doubted LSK or NJH for their roles in the drama had watched the drama dan had changed of heart, and would absolutely praise both the actors for their acting that won many hearts of the fans.. I am speaking as fans who watched the drama for the 4th time..

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