Golden age for child actors
Yoo Seung Ho, Shim Eun Kyung (both from “Legend”)
Longtime kdrama lovers have noted for a while now that Korea’s got some serious talent in the child-acting department. Ever since young Moon Geun Young stole the show in Autumn Love Story, perhaps even eclipsing her adult counterpart Song Hye Gyo (one of Korea’s most famous natural beauties, but never noted for her acting skills), lots of child actors have gained notice not just as props in a series but as legitimate, moving characters.
There’s been a boom lately, too, one of the reasons being the recent crowd of sageuk dramas, which tend to span more of a character’s life, often including his/her childhood.
According to Star News:
Child actors’ contributions to dramas are growing larger, to the extent that some say they influence one’s success or failure. The actors portraying the childhood roles of the adult actors in dramas like MBC’s Legend, SBS’s King and I, MBC’s Yi San etc. are garnering attention with their roles. …
Take, for instance, the actor portraying the young king Damdeok in Legend, Yoo Seung Ho:
Appearing in the 2002 film Going Home [집으로], he’d portrayed a reckless child, but is now maturing brilliantly. Undertaking the role of Bae Yong Joon’s childhood character in Legend, he’s becoming known for his pretty-boy looks as well. Using the term “child actor” to describe Yoo Seung Ho no longer seems appropriate.
Also in Legend, we have the exuberant character of Sujini, whose youthful counterpart to Bae Yong Joon’s adult love is played by Shin Eun Kyung, who also gained notice as young Hwang Jini in that KBS drama. In a previous interview, Shin Eun Kyung explained: “Normally, I’m pretty quiet, but strangely when I start filming, I feel confident I can do a good job.”
In the child role to Lee Seo Jin’s character in Yi San, Park Ji Bin‘s tearful acting moved audiences in the first few episodes of the drama.
Furthermore, child actors aren’t just relegated to minor characters anymore, either — take Seo Shin Ae, who won over the nation with her cute, bubbly personality in Thank You.
While the drama aired, viewers called Seo Shin Ae a “smiling angel,” her round face full of bright smiles. Although her character contracted AIDS in a blood transfusion, it didn’t matter what illness it was. She lived every day always blooming with laughter. And that laughter doubled the audience’s sadness.
Park Ji Bin (“Yi San”), Seo Shin Ae (“Thank You”)