[Actor Spotlight] Park Shin-hye
The next actor in our spotlight series is none other than Park Shin-hye. She’s starring in the highly anticipated Memories of the Alhambra, which is about to premiere on tvN, and it’s poised to be another huge hit for her. Park Shin-hye has been acting since 2003, when she won accolades for her early performances, especially when playing the younger version of a leading lady (a common and effective start for young actors). Her career has been climbing ever since.
Born in 1990 in Gwangju, South Korea, Park Shin-hye is a starlet so famous she’s a household name, but part of her appeal is her “girl next door” vibe. Park’s open, honest style on screen make her quite likeable, and in her best roles, these qualities are used to her advantage. As an actor with such a long-running career, it’s easy to forget she’s still in her 20s! Park may be in her late 20s but she could easily pass as a high schooler, and she is walking the line between starlet and serious actor. Park Shin-hye is sure to meet with continued success as she transitions to more mature roles, and starring as the leading lady opposite Hyun Bin might be the role that cements her status as a mature actor.
Here are some of Park Shin-hye’s drama highlights, followed by her full filmography.
You’re Beautiful (2009)
This drama was the Hong Sisters at their height, and not only did it perform well ratings-wise, but it became a cult favorite. It’s easy to see why. Even though it feels like a decade ago since I watched You’re Beautiful (ummm), there are still elements from the drama that I will never forget: the giggles from Jang Geun-seok’s hilarious performance and ridiculous hairdos, the pain of the second lead syndrome, and the wonders of cohabitation dramas. It’s no secret the Hong Sisters love gender-bending romantic comedies if for nothing other than the hijinks they create. In You’re Beautiful, Park Shin-hye plays both a twin brother and sister. The sister masquerades as her brother and joins the popular band A.N.JELL, which is comprised of Jang Geun-seok, Jung Yong-hwa, and Lee Hong-ki. Her presence (in their house and band) complicated their relationships, dug into past secrets, and was a pretty entertaining ride. There were a lot of silly moments, cheekiness, and meta – my favorite of these being the scene where Jang Geun-seok was in a field having a moment of solitary pop stardom glory, only to be antagonized by a wild pig.
Flower Boy Next Door (2013)
This delightful drama and webtoon adaptation is my favorite Park Shin-hye role to date. Her character, a scarred and skittish shut-in editor, made use of all the things Park Shin-hye does best as an actor. She fumbled around her tiny apartment, wrapped in a million coats, and stared at the world beyond her window, too afraid to engage. Once she’s spotted boy-watching with her pair of giant yellow binoculars, things started to change. Her neighbors, played by Yoon Shi-yoon, Kim Ji-hoon, and Go Kyung-pyo, soon dragged her out of her comfort zone. Though Yoon Shi-yoon was fantastic as the cheerful “happy virus” character who helped her grow and deal with her emotional baggage, I will always harbor a pretty sore case of second lead syndrome for Kim Ji-hoon’s character, the smitten and starving artist. Though Flower Boy Next Door dulled a bit after a strong first half (like so many dramas before it), this drama will always be special to me. Park Shin-hye’s character once explained how she felt at peace in her tiny apartment littered with books and post-it notes — it’s strangely similar to the feel of the drama overall. It was cozy and comforting. You found yourself wanting to disappear for a little while into the fictional world it captured so well.
In another great drama from the team that brought us the wonderful I Can Hear Your Voice, Pinocchio featured Park Shin-hye as the heroine that couldn’t lie (well, without hiccuping), and Lee Jong-seok as her “uncle” (in name only). Along with Kim Young-kwang and Lee Yubi, they played a team of rookie news reporters with Lee Pil-mo as their sunbae. For some reason I find every drama with Lee Jong-seok imbued with a certain quality that I can only trace back to him. Consequently, this felt more like a Lee Jong-seok drama than a Park Shin-hye drama to me. That being said, they totally worked as a couple, with a slightly bizarre backstory, who supported and complemented each other perfectly. The drama also did a nice job digging into themes around integrity (in journalism, and as an individual character quality), and that made for a well-rounded story. Like Flower Boy Next Door, this was another winter drama, and since the leads were both spokespersons for outerwear companies, the drama was like a giant walking ad for Marmot or Kolon parkas. I’m not complaining. K-drama parka PPL is probably my favorite PPL out there.
Memories of the Alhambra (2018)
The anticipation for this upcoming tvN drama with Park Shin-hye and Hyun Bin is sky-high. From the cast, to the on-location shoot in Spain, to the high caliber production, Memories of the Alhambra has everything going for it. Not to mention the fact that it’s written by Song Jae-jung, the writer responsible for W – Two Worlds, Nine, and Queen In-hyun’s Man (AKA, some of my favorite dramas ever). While much of the plot is under wraps, we do know that Hyun Bin’s character is a CEO who finds himself in a Spanish city with Park Shin-hye under mysterious circumstances. I love the idea of a drama with a carefully crafted and suspenseful tone (like Hundred Million Stars From the Sky), so between the cast and the writer, I am on board. While I’m not completely sold on the thought of Park Shin-hye with Hyun Bin (her pairing with Kim Rae-won in Doctors was painful), I’m hoping for magic anyway. Come swiftly, oh premiere!
Park Shin-hye’s full filmography:
- Stairway to Heaven (2003) [Drama]
- Nonstop 4 (2004) [Drama]
- If I Wait For the Next Train Again (2004) [Drama]
- Very Merry Christmas (2004) [Drama]
- Not Alone (2004) [Drama]
- My Stepdad is Twenty-Nine (2004) [Drama]
- Cute or Crazy (2005) [Drama]
- Daddy Long Legs (2005) [Drama]
- One Fine Day (2005) [Drama]
- Tree of Heaven (2006) [Drama]
- Love Phobia (2006) [Film]
- Seoul 1945 (2006) [Drama/Guest Appearance]
- Goong S (2007) [Drama]
- The Evil Twin (2007) [Film]
- Several Questions That Make Us Happy (2007) [Drama]
- Kimcheed Radish Cubes (2007) [Drama]
- Bicheonmu (2008) [Drama]
- You’re Beautiful (2009) [Drama]
- My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (2010) [Drama/Cameo]
- High Kick! 2 (2010) [Drama/Cameo]
- Cyrano Agency (2010) [Film]
- Heartstrings (2011) [Drama]
- Hayate the Combat Butler (2011) [Drama]
- Green Days: Dinosaur and I (2010) [Film]
- King of Dramas (2012) [Drama/Cameo]
- Don’t Worry, Because I’m A Ghost (2012) [Drama]
- Flower Boy Next Door (2013) [Drama]
- One Perfect Day (2013) [Film]
- Fabulous Boys (2013) [Drama]
- The Heirs (2013) [Drama]
- Miracle in Cell No. 7 (2013) [Film]
- Pinocchio (2014) [Drama]
- The Royal Tailor (2014) [Film]
- The Beauty Inside (2015) [Film/Cameo]
- Entertainer (2016) [Drama/Cameo]
- My Annoying Brother (2016) [Film]
- Doctors (2016) [Drama]
- Gogh, The Starry Night (2016) [Web Drama/Cameo]
- Blackened Heart (2017) [Film]
- Temperature of Love (2017) [Drama/Cameo]
- Memories of the Alhambra (2018) [Drama]
- [Actor Spotlight] Seo Hyun-jin
- Memories of the Alhambra: Episode 1
- Park Shin-hye up to join Hyun Bin in Memories of the Alhambra
- Choi Min-shik and Park Shin-hye navigate courtroom twists and turns in Blackened Heart
- Jo Jung-seok and D.O. have headbutt contest for sibling comedy Hyung
- Oh Snap! Park Shin-hye makes summer significantly cooler
- Doctors: Episode 1
- Pinocchio: Episode 1
Park Shin-hye made her acting debut as the younger version of Choi Ji-woo’s character in this classic mega-hit drama with Kwon Sang-woo and Kim Tae-hee.
A small role in the second season of an old school sitcom series that was famous for giving idols their start.
Young version of the heroine in this KBS drama special.
Another role in a drama special, this time on MBC.
A minor role in this Gong Hyung-jin drama. As a cool bit of trivia, this was Lee Ki-woo‘s first role in a drama series.
Supporting role in this KBS drama special. Yep, she plays the step-daughter.
Supporting role in this drama about two women who are exactly the same age but couldn’t be more different.
Park Shin-hye stars in this one-episode MBC drama special with Jung Woong-in. She looks so young!
Another role in an MBC drama special.
This Japanese/Korean melodrama starring Park Shin-hye and Lee Wan was the final in a trilogy that started with Staircase to Heaven, where Park got her start. I like the drama trilogies and quartets from the drama days of yore. Somebody, bring them back!
Supporting role in this melodrama led by Kang Hye-jung and Jo Seung-woo.
Drama about a tumultuous time in Korean history. Park Shin-hye has a guest appearance early in the drama.
Often known as Prince Hours this drama features a Korea run by a monarch played by Seven (not sure how I feel about that), and was a spin-off from the 2006 hit drama Goong (or Princess Hours).
Park Shin-hye does horror, and plays an evil twin. I can see her being pretty scary, actually, now that I think about it.
Supporting role in this two-episode drama short that put Park next to some big names, like Kim Nam-gil and Yoon So-yi.
Supporting role in this weekend family drama.
Not to be confused with the blockbuster of the same name from 2000, this Chinese/Korean drama was filmed in 2004 but released in 2008. Park Shin-hye appears in several episodes.
Gender-bender rock band comedy from the Hong Sisters (see above).
Cameo as her You’re Beautiful character in this Lee Seung-gi and Shin Mina drama from the Hong Sisters.
Cameo as the future version of the character played by Jin Ji-hee.
The film that came before the 2013 drama, and starred Park Shin-hye, Choi Daniel, Lee Min-jung and more.
Fan service for the wounded, SLS-ridden hearts from You’re Beautiful? Park Shin-hye stars with Jung Yong-hwa in this youth drama.
Taiwanese drama based on a Japanese manga, sometimes promoted as Sensation World. Park Shin-hye plays opposite George Hu, and it looks like they dubbed in the Mandarin for her character.
Park Shin-hye lends her voice to this animated film that flopped in the box office but did well at film festivals.
Cameo in this satire about the drama industry.
One-episode drama special as a ghost, opposite Bong Tae-kyu.
If there is a drama that can make me love winter, it’s gotta be a good drama (see above).
Short 30-minute film with Yoon Kye-sang for Kolon Sport. It’s actually gorgeously shot and worth the watch.
Cameo in the Taiwanese version of her hit You’re Beautiful.
All hype, no heart. She should have been more magical with Lee Min-ho; that chemistry flop still doesn’t compute.
This heartwarming comedy starred Ryu Seung-ryong and was a record-breaking smash hit.
Park Shin-hye and Lee Jong-seok star in this drama, made more adorable by their general adorability (see above).
Rivalries among tailors in Joseon-era Korea with Go Soo, Yoo Yeon-seok, with award-winning costumes and art direction.
Park Shin-hye (briefly) plays one of the many versions of Park Seo-joon’s ever-morphing character.
Cameo in this Hyeri and Ji Sung drama.
Another hit film for Park Shin-hye — she turned in a strong performance as a judo coach in this drama/comedy with D.O. and Jo Jung-seok.
I wanted to like this but couldn’t. Park Shin-hye + Kim Rae-won didn’t work for me as a couple and SLS = Yoon Kyun-sang (but the drama was sub-par for me for other reasons too).
Cameo as a convenience store part-timer in this Chinese/Korean web drama that starred Yuri.
Serious crime drama with Choi Min-shik where Park Shin-hye tackled the role of a defense attorney in a murder case.
Cameo as a young starlet who admired the work of Seo Hyun-jin’s character.
Upcoming drama with Hyun Bin that’s sure to go down in history, hopefully for the best of reasons (see above).