An Overview of Ji Sung and Choi Kang Hee’s Previous Works

Ever since I started recapping Protect the Boss, I noticed that the drama is so brilliant it’s roping in viewers by its excellent storytelling and spot on acting by the two leads Ji Sung and Choi Kang Hee, but almost everyone professes not to be familiar with either actors or their previous works. Let’s start with a fun fact about them – they’ve technically worked on the same drama before in 2006’s Beating Heart, a MBC experimental omnibus drama composed of six chapters with six pairs of directors and screenwriters each team taking one chapter consisting of two episodes. But they were not in the same episodes. Too bad, because PTB shows they have exquisitely fine-tuned chemistry.

Choi Kang Hee has been acting since the mid-90s and her most recent drama was My Sweet Seoul with Lee Seon Kyun. I’m not as familiar with her, having only seen her in one drama, which I will discuss later. But Ji Sung I’m quite familiar with. He got his start in 1999 with KAIST, hit his big break in All In with Lee Byung Hyun, is probably best known in the Hallyu world for Save the Last Dance for Me, but never became an actor I liked until he came back from military service and did New Heart.

I absolutely love New Heart (even if Jo Jae Hyun owned the drama from beginning to end) and is the only Ji Sung drama I would recommend if anyone wants to watch more of his works. Since then I suffered through pretty much all of Kim Soo Ro for him but couldn’t bring myself to watch Royal Family. So right now I’m just pleased as a peach that he followed up three tepid dramas in a row with this most excellent drama to remind me why I like him as an actor.

But if anyone wants to know which drama Ji Sung looks to best in, because who are we kidding, he looks like a broccoli head in PTB, then that would hands down be Swallow the Sun with Sung Yuri. I also watched all of StS, which I personally renamed Swallow My Brain because it was So Damn Stupid. But Ji Sung? Was so hot in it, you can probably cook eggs on him. Have some pictures to drool over. And then decide: shall I watch a stupid action melodrama for hot mopey Ji Sung, or watch an brilliant medical drama for not-hot-but-oh-so-adorable-and-charming Ji Sung. *psst, pick the latter*

I also like Ji Sung a lot because by all accounts he’s a great guy in real life. He has a longtime girlfriend, actress Lee Bo Young, which while neither has officially confirmed it, they’ve been photographed all over the place and it’s just accepted as an open secret.

He was recently on a new variety show called Healing Camp, and Blue so wonderfully wrote up the episode which you can read here. I encourage you all to check it out, because it gives such a heartwarming and funny peek into who Ji Sung really is when he’s not acting.

Lastly, to convince you all to pick the good drama, have a New Heart MV. Ji Sung had amazing chemistry with his leading lady Kim Min Jung in this drama.

New Heart MV:

My only Choi Kang Hee experience prior to PTB was in Thank You (an incredibly moving drama with Jang Hyuk and Gong Hyo Jin), where she had a cameo role in episode 1 as Hyuk’s ex-girlfriend. Watch the video below of her final scene in episode 1, and just marvel at how different she was playing the character of a doctor knowing her time on earth is up, but unable to let go of the guilt she feels for having accidentally transfused HIV-infected blood into the body of a 7 year old girl. Yes, be prepared to cry in Thank You if you elect to watch it.

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An Overview of Ji Sung and Choi Kang Hee’s Previous Works — 46 Comments

  1. Ms. Koala, please, if you ever do get a chance to watch Choi’s movie My Petty Romance with Lee Sun Gyun, I’d LOVE to hear your opinion on it. I thought it was adorable and her playing all sorts of random characters in Lee’s imagination reminds me a little of PTB. I thought it was a good amount of silly and cute, and though it isn’t anything mind-blowing, it is enjoyable.

    • Loved “My Petty Romance”. CKH had me at her “Ethan Gere” (Ethan Hawke + Richard Gere). You just gotta love a gal who can come up with something like that. PTB FTW!

      • well I mean the writer wrote the lines, but the way she delivered it is hilarious 🙂

    • OMG..that movie was hilarious…It took me three hours to watch it because I kept having to pause to finish guffawing or walk around to get rid of the nerve tingling effect that LSK was having on movie…DO watch it Koala unni!!

  2. Holy Moly. Ji Sung has a brand new fan! Please tell me he’s a bit older than most. My list of ICOMYM is too large. I’d like (for once) to have an ICOANSMYM (ICO-a-not-so-MYM).

    I’m off to cue up some more dramas…

    • Ji Sung? He’s a ’77er, same year as Kang Ji Hwan. Which makes them 34 in Western age, 35 in Korean age. Just the perfect amount of sexy, manly and experienced. 😀

      • Phew! Mid thirties makes him too old to be my son! bahahaahah. It makes me feel a bit creepy when they are as young as JGS, Lee Min Ho(tness), and Kim Bum – besides the fact that it grosses my daughter out. lol

        Thanks for the info Ms. Koala!

  3. Another Namoo actor doing something great. Everyone at the agency seems to be tweeting about how great this drama is. Now that you said it was good, Ms Koala, I will watch it.

  4. First saw him in All In, followed by Save The Last Dance and have always had a soft spot for him. Watched New Heart did not like it that much, a bit disappointed I must say but fell in love with him with Swallow the Sun, Kim Soo Ro and Royal Family. I must say his best is STS, except for the script ( Sorry, I wont blame JS ) and the same goes for Royal Family, the script again otherwise JS is one fine actor!! For those of you not familiar with him, try All In to see him new & fresh before STS:)

  5. Hello koala’s
    I really liked this note of Ji Sung, I had never seen Act to these two actors and both as a partner in boss to protect, do you wonder, the performances are very good and well integrated the two did not know how it was called the actor, hehehhee, but now with this post is something of the and its work. He is handsome and camaleonico’ looks so different in all the pictures by God!
    thanks and greetings

    • royal family got me waiting for protect the boss. (he looked decent in that one!) Couldn’t really test out swallow the sun, but royal family got me. ^_^

      please keep up the great recaps! i love this show!

  6. I first saw him in Save the Last Dance for me … it was the Korean drama that roped me in completely. Before that I was just mildly interested in them, but after that I was just kinda … obsessed? 😛

    I wasn’t thrilled with New Heart (I thought the docs were just so over-the-top), though I he looked so purty in Swallow the Sun I don’t care how the story went. Tee Hee.

    He’s definitely one of those arresting actors who just oozes intensity, so to see him in a comedy is really refreshing.

    And I really wish they could get rid of his hairstyle in PTB. I know it’s all part of his look and all but … I want my hot Ji Sung back! ;D

    • He is not a good person because he is dating? Are you serious? and stupid? Koala wrote about it already. Go back and read it thoroughly.

  7. i’ve been a fan of Ji-sung since Save the Last Dance. he is not your usual handsome guy but i find him manly.

    also read early this morning on blue’s post about Healing Camp with Ji-sung. great show to show the side of Ji-sung we want to see. he is hilarious and at one point you can see him as a very good child because he is raised to become one by parents who are teachers. the story he had shared about crying in the toilet so as not to ruin his make-up makes me want to hug him.

    no drama encounters yet of Choi Kang Hee but she is wonderful here.

  8. JI Sung is a master at long dialogues and in Royal Family
    he was the glue that held this drama together. I disliked
    his romantic pairing and the ending, but he did the best
    with what was given him. His OCD and anxiety disorder
    in PTB make him endearing and CKH is doing a great
    job at letting him know that all be right with the world.
    Kudos to both actors. I want to hug them. BTW, JS is
    giving Dokko Jin a run for his money.

    • yep, Ji Sung is doing a super nice job here on PTB and i like him ever since Save the Last Dance… but I beg to disagree that he will give my Dokko a run for his money. hehehe each to his own.:)

    • You know, I am going to give JS the edge here over DJ because CSW could rely a lot more of his own reputation to carry off the role. CSW even said that DJ and he were the same person.
      The biggest complaints about CSW as DJ at the beginning was that he was overacting and playing it too broad. (I did not agree; I thought he needed to take us there with him so we could see the vast difference between his angelic image and the real DJ)

      JS has to play crazy, too, but not in contrast to anything. We never get to see his “normal.” The actor and the audience don’t get a break so it is more difficult to sell it. JS has to make the crazy endearing, understandable, vulnerable, pitiful while staying in character. He is blowing me away. Total fangirl for life here.

  9. Choi Kang-hee’s wonderful in the dark comedy, My Scary Girl, alongside awesomesauce Park Yong-woo. 😀

    By the way, I thought she had far more chemistry with Jang Hyuk in Thank You than he had with Gong Hyo-jin.

    I’ll always remember All In for two things: the reel-to-real romances of Lee Byung-hun and Song Hye-gyo, and Ji-Sung and Park Sol-mi. Too bad both romances didn’t last!

    • I forgot about Choi Kang Hee in My Scary Girl! She’s also in that cute/sweet movie My Love with Gam Woo Sung, Uhm Tae Woong, Jung Il Woo and lots of other people that I cannot remember the names of.

    • HAHAHAHA, thundie dearest, way to remind us all that All In really was THE drama where everyone was hooking up with everyone else. I don’t think we’ve ever gotten any drama ever where all four main leads ended up splitting into couplings.

      I thought Ji Sung and Park Sol Mi had mad chemistry, and was wondering why the stupid drama kept making him like Song Hye Kyo’s character. That pissed me off.

      You know, I didn’t *want* to like Hyuk with CKH in Thank you. I wanted to love Hyuk and Hyo Jin. No? And yet…..it is undeniable that Hyuk had better chemistry with CHK and GHJ had better chemistry with Shin Sung Rok.

      I know, blasphemy……but a part of me wanted her to give that asshole repentent douchebag another chance, so that they could have a family. And he did love her. He was just too cowardly.

      Sigh, Thank you……I miss it.

  10. I think he is such a cute boyfriend, from his cute stories and from what he did to his girlfriend.. awww… cute cute!!!

    New heart is a drama I have been wanting to watch but people told me is the worse medical drama ever… is that bad? o0

  11. I’ve loved Ji Sung since I saw Save the Last Dance for Me in 2004. 🙂 I then went back and saw All In (wasn’t loving it). STLDFM was one of my favorite Hallyu dramas back then. New Heart was great too… but I did skip SOS cause I heard it was terrible. I haven’t had time to watch Royal Family yet – too much melodrama. So I’m super glad that he picked up this quirky drama – mushroom head and all!

    I haven’t seen CKH in anything. If I have time, maybe I’ll check out something else. But right now I’m content with PTB 🙂

  12. Royal Family was a great dark revenge drama (not quite a thriller though). The plot moved along fine, but the battle of wits and the twisted internal psychology of that family were brilliant. (You really felt like K, our heroine, was saving her own life by fighting her way out of that bejeweled prison called JK Group). Ji sung’s character reminded me of Kang Sang woo’s character in Daemul, another drama I really enjoyed.

    I’ve only seen Choi Kang hee in My Sweet Seoul which I never finished because I lost interest half way through even though it wasn’t a bad drama. Her acting was amazing though- so emotive, but not exaggerated.

  13. First of all WOW! for the pictures.

    You actually read my mind, which is nice, and did the research I was planning. So RF is simply not bearable? OK Skip.

    You can tell JS and CKS are gonna bring it when it comes to the steamy stuff. Is this, hockshee, a family show, or can we expect to see some adult kisses?

  14. Ji-Sung started my affair with Korean dramas.

    I think it was summer of 2005 (or maybe 2004) when I started watching K-dramas in LA.

    The exposure to a different culture was fascinating.

    That summer was The Phoenix–which I thought was bad/boring because of the passive female lead, but the second female lead was over the top crazy. Couldn’t take my eyes off her, especially in the breaking the aquarium and walking of glass scene.

    Then there was TERMS OF ENDEARMENT. I thought Ha Ga-In was ridiculously beautiful, Son Hyeon-Ju was hysterically funny, and fell in love with Ji-Sung, who I called Sir Cry-A-Lot because that’s what he did in that drama. He cried and look good. I didn’t understand about Korean military service at that time so when he disappeared from the drama and the story went silly I didn’t get it.

    I’ve been looking out for him since then. I really enjoying PTB. He is hysterical. I didn’t realize he could be so funny.

    That summer was also the summer of My Lovely Kim Sam Soon.

    Ji-Sung sparked my interest. Kim Sam Soon made me an addict.

  15. I was rewatching the 1998 movie ‘Whispering Corridors’ not too long ago which is sooo not a good movie but hey I was bored and could stream it for free from netflix. ANYWAYS, Choi Kang Hee was actually in it! Took me a minute to recognize her but it was definitely her. Park Jin Hee also has a small role in it. So if you want to see either of these chicks back when they were still young’ins and are ok watching a mediocre horror film check it out!

  16. Oh my goodness. Second video. Way to go making me cry at 11:49 am, Koala. Yes, I must watch the rest of this tearjerker. And wow Ji Sung looked so different! Yes, amazing what a different hairdo/persona will do (Kinda like Lee Min Ho’s days in BBF…)

  17. I’ve never seen a Ji Sung drama before, but I have heard of Choi Kang Hee before and I have to say Ji Sung is wonderful in PTB. It seems like all his previous work have been melo-dramas so it’s good to see him doing rom-com for a change; which he should do more because he is so good at it. Can’t wait for your recap of ep. 4 later. Oh and I can’t wait to see him smile more because the boy has a cute smile and good looking teeth.

  18. I have not seen one show of any of the characters before except the Grandmother – whom we saw in BOF and CP.

    Wonder if the father was in any other shows.

  19. i hate it when i love the OTP and when one of them is not available :(((

    but after i checked lee bo young, i realized that she is the one from the birth of a rich man:D actually she is quite beautiful and i like her so 😀 i cannot hate the fact that jisung dating her:D but come on, then i want choi kang hee to also have a real-life boyfriend!!!! 😀

  20. I started liking Choi Kang Hee when I saw the drama “Rules of Love” with Kim Min Jong. I am a fan of Kim Min Jong just because I think he’s a wonderful actor and a great singer, so I watched it and discovered Choi Kang Hee and have been a fan since.

  21. OMG – Ji Sung in Swallow the Sun. I thought the world of that drama because he was just so fierce and brooding, loved Jun Kwang Ryul and Jin Goo, and all else – including the red rocks of Nevada – existed to showcase those three men.

  22. I absolutely love Ji Sung from Save The Last Dance For Me.
    His voice is to-die-for.
    And,
    Choi Kang Hee, didn’t know her name back then, but watched her drama Ad Madness, starring alongside Won Bin and Lee Dong Gun.
    I am definitely looking forward to watching Protect The Boss, though Ji Sung’s hair is a little …

  23. How can that 10min clip still make me tear up when I’ve watched Thank You so many times already?? Damn that humming background music. God how I loved every character in that drama.

    It took me a while to warm up to Choi Kang-Hee as an actress, and I only really started liking her after My Scary Girl. My Sweet Seoul was beautifully made, with very human characters. I fell in love with the direction most of all (well, next to Lee Seon-Gyun, man he was so dreamy in that drama~ before *spoiler* his character turned kinda weird near the end). Watch Petty Romance! It’s so cute! One of the better K-romcom films I’ve seen in YEARS.

    The Ji Sung arc were my favorite episodes in Beating Heart. Haven’t really liked him in anything else. Maybe Protect the Boss will change my mind.

  24. I love JS starting from Save Your Last Dance too.. it’s one of the few k-dramas that i actually watch from start to end and watch again and again.. But i find it so strange that although his dramas all consistently produces very decent (even above average most of the time) ratings, he is still not very famous. And not to mention he’s darn good looking with fine acting chops 🙂

  25. Koala heheh, had the same prolem with Ji Sungs hair in PTB as you. I was like wtf? But you have o admit, it does conrtibute to his character well. In the silly-fun-paranoid way that is Ji Heon. Though its a stretch to say he is paranoid because really, he has groud for that as we see. Moo Won plays dirty. BUT Im starting to lah his hair. hehe he’s so cute. He does funny so well, but he also makes you fall in love with him.

  26. Just wanted to add that I have been a big fan of Choi Kang Hee since the days of ‘Sweet Buns’….try and watch that if you can get the disc or you might have to hunt online for it.

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