Beanie level: Errand boy

There was a recent discussion somewhere here about drama actors who’d got their start in musicals, which reminded me of this video of musical veterans Oh Man-seok, Kim Moo-yeol and Ko Chang-seok (among others) doing a photoshoot for a production of Kinky Boots.

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    That was brilliant I bet the men have a whole new perspective on the stress of walking in heels. They did well to walk let alone dance. I rarely wear heels so always walk like I need the toilet whenever I do.🤣

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      That was exactly how I looked and felt when I first wore them years ago! It has been nothing but sensible shoes for me thereafter.

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    Thanks for sharing this. I had never seen it. I loved it!

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    Simply GORGEOUS!

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    OMG, I love them all, but Oh Man-seok is Amazing and my first love of all the stage actors in Korea.
    I’m missing Cho Seung-woo and Jo Jung-suk.

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Seo In-guk as we’ve never seen him before? (Actually the whole trailer is full of actors being very different from their drama roles.)

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Is it just me, or has it been a while since Han Seok-kyu played an ordinary guy? Anyway, here he is as a husband and father who starts cooking for his terminally ill wife in Watcha’s Recipe for Farewell. Tbh I’d prefer to see Kim Seo-hyung in tougher, livelier mode, not in a weepie like this, but I’ll take what I can get.

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    I love, love him play an ordinary guy and never get tired of re-watching Christmas in August. His understated portrayal in that 1998 movie was what pulled me into him as an actor, rather than the many top dog roles he played after he made it big.

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    I want to watch Kim Seo Hyung again, but this is wayyyy too melo for me. 😐 I rem HSK in Watcher and he was amazing there.

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I find myself feeling rather sorry for South Korean television. Other countries do something new – The Sopranos, The Wire, The Office, The Thick of It, Small Axe, Dark, etc etc – and the dramas are lauded as innovative and game-changing TV. South Korea does something new, and the dramas are not tried-and-true Korean dramas. In spite of that, I hope that K-drama continues to develop and diversify, and that K-drama makers get to make the shows that they really want to make.

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    Actually I think they’re doing great, people are loving their stuff (Squid Game, Attorney Woo…). 🤔

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The weird things I find on Twitter…

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I’m a bit uncomfortable with the sort of reverse snobbery aimed at shows like Squid Game and Narco-Saints, and the suggestion that people who like them might not be “real K-drama fans”. Of course such shows are not to everyone’s taste and could even turn out to be awful. The darker ones, like every gloomy show from any country in the world, will probably be less popular than the jollier ones. I just don’t see why Netflix should be blamed for all of them, as if there were no dark K-dramas in the past, and why we can’t just ignore those that don’t interest us instead of calling attention to how seemingly atypical or unattractive they are.

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    I would argue that Squid Game was very much the kdrama with a very well inserted outlook on capitalism. The last episode was disappointing, sure, but the show itself definitely deserves all the acclaim it got. I am also nearly sure that Squid Game would not have gotten half the hate from kdrama fans if
    1. it was not that popular
    2. if the they didn’t feel somewhat possessive of watching Korean shows, and simply didn’t want to share that interest with general public.

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      I agree with both 1 and 2, but I think the “it isn’t K-drama” thing has spread to any show that deviates from a particular template. I don’t mind viewers criticising Squid Game, Narco-Saints, All of Us Are Dead, Hellbound, Extracurricular etc as individual shows that they have actually watched, or stating that they prefer other genres. What worries me is that people seem to be lumping such shows together as “not K-drama” (or even worse, as “K-drama with western values”, whatever those values are) without actually watching them.

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      I was definitely number 1.
      I got so angry at my friend that preferred SG over Misaeng, I felt insulted.
      But I got over it. I’ve grown. 😂

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      Definitely none of these reasons for me.

      As a drama watcher of 15 years, before the global fame of not only Squid Game, but Train to Busan, Kingdom, and Parasite, there were always a wide and diverse range of genres to choose from. There were always romcoms, slice of life, thrillers, horror, makjang, procedural, every genre for every taste in every new batch of dramas.

      But with the increasing popularity of extreme thrillers and horror more and more networks, writers, and directors are preferring to work on those genres.

      Haven’t you seen people lamenting that slice of life shows, and romcoms with no murder side story are becoming fewer and fewer every year? That is the real reason many people don’t like SG. It has nothing to do with being jealous, or possessive.

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        I dunno. I get the impression that romcoms and slice of life dramas have always been a bit thin on the ground in K-dramaland. Even 10 years ago, the romances were more on the melo rather than the purely comedic end of the spectrum. For example, of all Kim Eun-sook’s dramas, perhaps the only one that can truly be called a romcom is Secret Garden. (Though the Hong Sisters do have several in their filmography.)

        Conversely, I don’t think the number of thrillers or horror shows have increased in recent years. Netflix and of course OCN have loads, and I think tvN too (though tvN also had Navillera, You Are My Spring, Birthcare Centre, Black Dog, Work Later Drink Now, Hospital Playlist, etc). But from the start of 2020 till now, there haven’t been that many shows with “murder side stories” (not counting the sageuk) on the other networks:

        KBS: Daebak Realty; Youth of May (more a massacre, unfortunately)
        MBC: The Game: Towards Zero; From Now Showtime; Big Mouth(?)
        SBS: Through the Darkness, Again My Life, Taxi Driver
        jTBC: Inspector Koo, The Good Detective, Beyond Evil, Law School

        This is just a rough count, but to me it looks like business as usual, i.e. each channel or network including a few of such shows in their usual range of genres. So I think it’s quite possible to avoid OCN and the Netflix originals, yet still have a variety of genres to choose from. In fact Netflix has given us new ones, like DP and Move to Heaven.

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          “I get the impression that romcoms and slice of life dramas have always been a bit thin on the ground in K-dramaland.”
          There has definitely been a decrease.

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            You’ll need to give me some numbers or examples, cos I really don’t see any decrease. I do see more thrillers and horror dramas from Netflix in particular, but Netflix’s output forms only a small percentage of all the K-dramas that are produced. And OCN has always been all about thrillers.

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            Btw here’s a comparison of KBS’s drama output in 2010 (6 years before Train to Busan) and 2021 (2 years into the pandemic-fuelled ascendancy of Netflix):

            2010
            Master of Study
            Marry Me Mary
            Sungkyungkwan Scandal
            Becoming a Billionaire
            Secret Agent Miss Oh
            Grudge: The Revolt of Gumiho
            Chuno
            Cinderella’s Stepsister
            Bread Love and Dreams
            The Fugitive Plan B

            2021
            Cheat on Me If You Can
            Hello, Me!
            Sell Your Haunted House / Daebak Realty
            Dali and the Cocky Prince
            School 2021
            River Where the Moon Rises
            Youth of May
            At a Distance, Spring Is Green
            Police University
            The King’s Affection

            The two lists look pretty similar to me in terms of genre distribution. Also, the only 2010 shows that might be classified as romcom or slice of life are Marry Me Mary and Bread Love and Dreams (though the latter seems to be more focused on the hero’s journey as a baker).

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          I have seen nearly all of the 2010 dramas you have mentioned, of these 10, 7 can easily be classified as romcoms or on the very light and cute side.
          The dramas of 2021 are more diverse, but much less on the light side.
          I’m not saying this is bad in itself. What I’m saying is that people who are used to and have grown with the type of dramas in the 2010 list are sure to find the recent years offerings much darker.

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            Comment was deleted

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            In addition to Chuno, Fugitive and Grudge, I’d say Cinderella’s Stepsister and Bread Love and Dreams also belong to the not so light and cute side. Also, just as Hello Me, Spring is Green, Police University and School 2021 have many lighter moments, so Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Call of the Country and Master of Study have their heavier moments too.

            In any case, I’m glad you agree that 2021’s KBS offerings are diverse and not dominated by thrillers and horror, and can therefore make up for Squid Game’s ubiquity.

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        But what exactly does any of that have to do with disliking SG? The only thing it changed was that Netflix found out it could make a lot of money off Korean thrillers and that this is the genre it should invest in.

        Currently, romance/slice of life is still the main bread winner when it comes to Korean market – the recent highest rated shows being Attorney Young Woo, Hometown Cha Cha Cha and Our Blues.

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    Squid Game and those other dramas drawing this kind of criticism are actually more an extension of K-movies – which are very different from k-drama standard romcom / melo fares. Outside the TV regulatory confine, they could be much darker and touch on new boundaries – but I would never say they are not the real K-things at all.

    The world of K-movies is much wider in terms of genres and content, and we know some are shining brightly in the world stage. Please try out and you may enjoy that new world. Having watched both K-dramas and K-movies for well over two decades, I enjoy both and quite often, they are different types of entertainment and experience. With the two mixing more through the internationalisation of K-culture, we as fans benefit more from it.

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      Totally agree that the diversification of K-drama is a good thing. I know Narco-Saints doesn’t look terribly appealing, but as a fan of Yoon Jong-bin I’ve been looking forward to his drama debut.

      The funny thing is that while some viewers think Squid Game is “not K-drama”, there are some aspects of it that are perhaps too K-drama-ish for people new to K-drama. For example, I’ve read comments that the acting is too exaggerated, to which others have responded that OTT acting is typical of K-drama. What these viewers have failed to notice is:

      (1) there’s lots of subtle and quieter acting in K-drama in general and Squid Game in particular (e.g. Park Hae-soo); and
      (2) the performances in Squid Game that are OTT are OTT for an obvious reason: the characters happen to be loud, boisterous people. I mean, it’s not as if Heo Sung-tae isn’t capable of subtlety – look at how inscrutably tortured he is in Watcher.

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        Interesting that you mention Heo Sung-tae who’s no doubt the loudest in Squid Game.

        Watcher is where my first time seeing him. He left a very big impression on me – the ambiguity between good and bad he displays keeps us guessing until the end. I consider him almost an equal lead as Han Seok-kyu and Kim Hyun-joo.

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          Yes Heo Sung-tae was amazing in Watcher. The way the cracks gradually crept over the cold, menacing figure of the first few episodes was a feat of control on the actor’s part. It’s almost the complete opposite of the swaggering gangster in Squid Game, and proof of HST’s range.

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    At the beginning, for me it was a little sad since I totally hate Squid Game 😂 and that was the only kdrama people knew and they wanted to talked about it like it was the best show of the year and for me it wasn’t (I was like “did you forgot the finale that totally destroyed the statement they tried to make the whole show? You prefer this over Misaeng? WTH?”).

    But now that I open Netflix and I see Woo, Oh My Venus or AoSouls in the top 10 I feel greatful Squid Game exists. I hope people starts watching more dramas.

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      I like Squid Game very much, but I didn’t expect it to become either a hit or a gateway K-drama for so many people. I suspect the pandemic played quite a big role in its success. Also, the drama that got many of my non-Kdrama-watching friends into K-drama wasn’t Squid Game but Crash Landing On You.

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        I understand why it became a hit in my country. We love that kind of concept (I also was having fun until the last episode) and it was only 8 episodes. I think we would’ve watch it in any situation, “people getting killed” is a nice click bait here. 😂

        Squid Game got a lot of people in my country into kdramas but my friends aren’t part of them. 🥺 I’m just happy people are watching kdramas.

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Apparently the Korean term for ‘earthquake’ is “ji jin”, which explains why Ji Jin-hee is appearing in this PSA announcement. (The other guy is quite properly annoyed by the pun.)

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Fans of Joo Won are raving over this action-packed trailer for the Netflix film Carter (directed by Jung Byung-gil of Villainess and Confession of Murder fame).

Fans of Jung Jae-young are wondering why the TV news in the first few seconds features a mugshot of Choi Ban-seok. And don’t try to tell me that’s not our favourite engineer from On The Verge Of Insanity. That’s a CHECKED SHIRT he’s wearing.

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    Wow, that’s action-packed.

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    So that’s what Joo Won’s been doing! I was wondering where he was.

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      After Alice inthiught he took a hiatus due to how awful the show turned out. 😅 Glad to know he’s been doing something!

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Youn Yuh-jung being patient and gracious at the Oscars, while the guy wandering around behind her flexes his dimples madly.

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Sad that Drive My Car didn’t get Best Picture (just the usual Best International Film), but at least this lot can say “We were there!” when people talk about the 2022 “slapping” Oscars years from now.

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    I’m yet to see Drive My Car but it’s now available in cinemas here.

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Dang Ja-young and Choi Ban-seok are so done, but each in their own special way.

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    On the verge of Insanity is so great! Dang Jayoung is so flawed but I love her 💚 Such a great character!

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    Moon So-ri is seriously the eye-rolling Queen. She can certainly conduct a masterclass on this.

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    Sorry for the late entry here but just discovered your fan wall loving the on the verge of insanity picture for you page. Great hidden gem shame more people have not heard of or watched this slice of life drama.

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The Best Dramas of 2021, according to the Korean movie magazine Cine 21:
1. Going to the Blue House Like This
2. Inspector Koo
3. D.P.
4. On the Verge of Insanity
5. Hellbound
6. Beyond Evil
7. Human Disqualification
8. Youth of May
9. Mine
10. Squid Game

The most interesting thing about this list is that the drama at number 1 (and apparently it’s by far the most critically acclaimed drama of 2021) is a show that most of us haven’t watched. Obviously because there are no subtitles at the moment, but probably also because, being in the same category as shows like BBC’s The Thick of It, it is neither easy to sub nor easy to watch.

The other interesting thing about this list is that a lot of the PDs and writers involved are far from established figures in the industry. Inspector Koo and Blue House appear to have been written by teams of relative newbies. And Verge of Insanity’s PD was a last-minute replacement for a far more experienced PD accused of sexual harassment.

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    “Going to the blue house like this”
    Not only many haven’t watched it, personally I haven’t even heard of it?! Or maybe I did but then forgot 😅

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      https://mydramalist.com/693457-going-to-the-blue-house

      It’s a Wavve production, doesn’t have any big stars and wasn’t on any global streaming platform. I wouldn’t have known it existed if I hadn’t stumbled on it on Korean Twitter, where there was some excitement over it. I guess our experience of K-drama is pretty different from that of Koreans themselves!

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        Actually after I replied I went to look up the drama and realized that technically I’ve heard of it because I follow actress Kim Sung-ryoung on Ig and she posted about it a bunch of times, I just never knew what it was! XD

        She even posted a pic of that same list only a few hours ago ahah (I had not seen it yet when commenting here, though)!
        https://www.instagram.com/p/CX3K_H6B3iT/?utm_medium=copy_link

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          I haven’t seen her in a lot of stuff, but damn she was unforgettable in The Chaser (the drama with Son Hyun-joo and Kim Sang-joong).

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    So happy to see Human Disqualification here!

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    So happy to see human disqualification and Youth of may on the list.

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    Wow, what a collection of happy viewing 😟

    I also have never heard of the No 1 show, very interesting!

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    I saw promotional material for Going to the Blue House Like This and thought it looked like my kind of humor. Too bad it was not picked up by any of the streamers. I wonder how it is doing in Korea? I haven’t seen buzz for it like there was for Work Later, Drink Now.

    I’m happy to see Inspector Koo and On the Verge of Insanity on the list, two wonderful but underrated dramas.

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    Going to the Blue House Like This has been on my radar since the trailers were releases because it seemed totally up my alley. I knew there wouldn’t be any subs because of the subject and the lack of young hot stars in the cast, but I’m still disappointed. Glad my spidey sense was right and that it ended up being great!!

    Inspector Koo’s writing was shaky but the directing and overall production was just *chef’s kiss*

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    Wow. I’ve never even heard of the #1 drama and now I’m so curious. Any idea where to watch it? I’ve done a quick search but nothing came up. 🙁

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      It’s on the Korean streamer Wavve but not on any legit global streaming platform (and hence it isn’t subtitled). As far as I can see, it isn’t even on the illegal streaming sites!

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        Aw thanks for checking! I was hoping to at least find it raw. I might have to try the wavve website but it might require korean phone number or an iPin. Hopefully not!

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#2021 Roundup
Day 23: Best Bromance

Choi Ban-seok and Shin Han-soo in On the Verge of Insanity, aka the Terrorist and the Pork Belly Strangler.

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#2021 Drama Round-up. Day 12: Best quote/one-liner

Am I the only one around here who thinks LUCA is stuffed to the gills with great lines? This is just a tiny selection, but it includes the pithy, the cynical and the downright surreal.

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A poster for Lee Seo-jin’s new drama Internist Park Won-jang (내과 박원장) on TVING. Took me quite a while to recognise him…

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I guess the actors are tired of reacting realistically to the Hellbound monsters, cos the only one here who has put in a bit of effort is director Yeon Sang-ho (extreme right).

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Some genius has made Park Hee-soon the star of a Coca-Cola ad. (Actually that’s a clip of him dancing in the film Sun-kissed Family.)

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    have you seen that OTT ad of him, gong hyojin, gong yoo, yoo jitea etc?

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      I saw a bit of it but I’m still not sure what it’s selling…

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        Me too! But i see gong yoo and i watch.

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        I have no idea actually 🤣🤣
        seems like an online shopping mall…?

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    Omo omo 😍 😆 ahjuicy got some moves 🤣

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    I see Park Hee-soon. I stop to watch.

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Be still my heart.

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To commemorate Park Hee-soon and Jung Jae-young’s recent K-drama appearances, I present: Some Celebs Who Look A Bit Like Jung Jae-young:

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    Wow the uncanny similarity between Chun Woo-Hee and Jung Jae-young! They can be dubbed as male/female version of each other.

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      The funny thing is that the resemblance between them is so strong yet not obvious at all. I didn’t notice it myself till I came across a tweet about it. I guess it’s because he’s a man and much older than her. Someone should cast them as father and daughter haha.

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    Pikachu though 😂

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    What a chameleon.

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@epyc2010 After scouring their respective filmographies on Asianwiki, I’ve discovered that Park Hee-soon and Jung Jae-young have appeared in only one film together, the decidedly peculiar So Cute from 2004 (which also stars Ye Ji-won and the legendary film director Jang Sun-woo). I think the tweet below states that they played half-brothers (!!).

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