Lee Seung Gi and Suzy Share a Reassuring Hug in Gu Family Book

I really don’t mean to nitpick on Gu Family Book but the entire production is like Monet and its hard to merely view from a distance when a thoughtful viewer’s urge would be to look deeper and understand more. The acting and script bumpiness aside, I really want to talk about PD Shin Wool Chul, the man behind the camera for this drama. Every week the network releases very pretty stills of the upcoming two episodes, usually featuring Kang Chi and Yeol Wool, because let’s face it most people want those two nice kids to have a happy ending and Lee Seung Gi and Suzy are currently selling like hot cakes in Korea. Nothing wrong with that, I lub them, too. So when those stills are released, like the ones here in this post showing upcoming scenes with Kang Chi and Yeol Wool embracing in an light-diffused storage shed, it just looks so romantic and pretty. And innocent, the entire mood permeating this OTP is a sense of wholesome innocence, whether that is taking into account Suzy being so young or that is the romantic angle the writer wanted to take. But every time I tune in to watch the actual scene in action, PD Shin just ruins it. He over-directs in the oddest ways, with very distracting cutaways that ruin the flow. He is really one of my favorite PDs, not a auteur like Kwak Jung Hwan (Chuno, Conspiracy in the Court), or Lee Jae Kyu (The King 2 Hearts, Damo), but he directed all of Kim Eun Sook‘s dramas and her City Hall being my favorite not withstanding, I actually liked the directing of all those dramas and the ones I had issues with were with her writing. GFB is PD Shin’s first foray into sageuk territory and perhaps that is the reason for this glaring lapse in directorial touches. I’m not sure he’s directing GFB like it was a modern drama (though the action sequences are spectacularly bad here), but he seems to be unsure of his decisions so the camera does too much at once. I’m close to chalking Suzy’s wooden performance up to his bad directing, because she’s so young she needs a great PD to help her frame a scene and her actions and he’s not doing it. Same goes for Lee Seung Gi not hitting it as nuanced as he did in TK2H, Lee Jae Kyu really is a phenomenal actor-directing PD in addition to his cinematic eye, he was the one who turned a young Ha Ji Won from bug-eyed villainous second female lead to bona fide leading lady with gravitas in Damo a decade ago. GFB would have benefited from a seasoned sageuk veteran PD.


Lee Seung Gi and Suzy Share a Reassuring Hug in Gu Family Book — 38 Comments

  1. Am I first?

    I’m no expert by any means, but I do find the pacing of GFB uneven, some shots/scenes overly long, an overall sense of awkwardness at times. So the directing and editting can be better.

    As for the acting, while I wouldn’t say Suzy is wooden, she can do better.

    LSG, I love him in TK2H, and I’m not comparing Jae Ha and Kang Chi.
    LSG is doing just as brilliantly and nuanced in GFB, but it’s more singularly and in isolated scenes, rather than cohesively/collectively throughout the drama, unlike in TK2H, his acting felt like it was pitch perfect through and through.
    I’m not sure what is lacking, maybe it’s the co-stars? And yes, maybe it’s the directing too.

    • Same goes here my dear, though I love GFB (and particularly love episode 18 last week), I admit the pacing is uneven. My complaint mostly about 1. The Writing, it has great set-up, but lack in reasoning 2. The directing, like you say, pacing, and some oddness. i’ve said this again and again, but i’ll say it again: I don’t know why I can’t emotionally connected with the previous works of PD Shin. I enjoyed it, but never get invested too much) 3. Chemistry, and by this doesn’t mean only Suzy and Seung Gi, the two is cute when they are bickering and staying friend (with kang Chi turn all boyish and innocent), but Suzy can not carry the romance well…. her eyes seem..lacking? And I spot some problem in her stance too, when someone is acting, the other role should keep in their role, but Suzy just there, standing. DPJ-KC’s chemistry, what the heck DPJ? I can’t find his motivation, nor his emotion. And while Seung Gi is all-outing, he keep stiff, and I DONT GET WHAT DO YOU WANT DPJ?!! (scream a fangirl here), it’s inbalance over there. When facing someone able to act, the nuance is well delivered. See the scene when he cried his heart out in front of Lee Soon Shin, his bromance-rivalry with Sung joon, his empathy toward Chung Jo…sigh..sigh..so yes, I agree with the co-stars factor.

      PS: I believe girl can do something, hopefully some people will teach her about this.

    • oh god, I totally agree on the long scenes issue. Characters seem to stare for 30 seconds straight at each other without blinking. There is something called emphasizing the scenes but they are always overemphasizing things in GFB. It’s like they are assuming the viewers are dumb and cannot understand things going on on screen without having everything spelled out for them. That really irritates me. I like trying to figure out the motivations behind the characters’ actions on my own. This show just doesn’t press the right buttons for me.

      2012 was full of amazing Kdramas, Queen IH’s Man, K2H, Arang and Magistrate, Reply 1997, School 2013, Shut up: FBB, The Bridal Mask. All these made me glued to the screen. 2013 so far has been a giant dissapointment for me, GFB, JOJ, and now I am dissapointed with Lee Soon Shin is the Best as well. Some of these started out well, but they just cant seem to make the pace right all the way through. I am hoping for better dramas the second half of the year.

  2. Suzy isn’t bad but it’s way too soon for her to carry a drama by herself, luckily here there is Seung Gi and a great supporting cast especially Yoo Bi to take away some of that pressure.
    I think Suzy’s age is another thing, I don’t mind a big age gap because the actors can still have amazing chemistry. But she’s way too inexperienced and in this case the age difference shows.
    Suzy should continue with supporting parts instead and develop as a actress.

  3. Suzy and Sung Joon’s acting is “wooden”. Both of their delivery of lines is very stiff. I don’t need to understand old school Korean to know this.

    Daddy Gumiho and Seo Hwa have the most interesting story line in Gu,like does SH hate Korea so much for what happened to her family, she’s willing to help sell Korea to Japan? Hmm… Or will her love for WR, whatever remnants remain, help WR forgive her for what she did to him and if so, can their little family get a HEA? This is saguek, so probably not..hehe.

  4. Suzys bad acting has nothing to do with PD or her age! She is not leading lady material, as much as Korea tries to sell her as one!

    The other young girl in a drama, Yoo Bi , is doing great job and she is directed by same man as Suzy. So it`s not so much about direction nor lack of experience( she has few roles behind her) , but lack of acting talent.

    Look at Eunji, who is also an idol and has less `experience `than Suzy in terms of acting. She is really solid and can carry a drama easily. The only problem is she is not typical Korean beauty like Suzy so that lowers her chances of a leading role!

    • I agree with your post. Of Suzy is serious about acting she needs acting classes (although I don’t think she will have time because her schedule is extremely busy)and maybe just maybe after some years she will get the Park Si-yeon/Song Hye Kyo/ Kum Tae Hee epiphany that will somehow enable her to connect with her character

    • I agree with everything you said. I’m tired of people excusing Suzy’s acting just because she’s young. Age has nothing to do with talent. There are plenty of young actresses who can put on a brilliant performance.

      As for this drama, I find it really boring and the storyline so simple and predictable. With the exception of Chung Jo, I find every character so two-dimensional. And I must be the only one who prefers Chung Jo over Yeo Wool.

      • You’re not the only one, the writers have gone so overboard to make the point that YW is the bestest that they’ve turned her into a total Mary Sue. Chung-jo may be imperfect, but she’s far more interesting.

  5. Ms Koala Your Highness, I agree with your post with the exception of any acting complaints regarding LSG. His solo scenes or scenes with any other actor(beside Suzy) are done to perfection, his scenes with YW I think he is also awesome, especially when you consider he is carrying the scene for them both. I think he is doing a great job of portraying a young guy in love or falling in love with an actress that I am sure he is not attracted to, has thoughts of her being so young, and the added pressure of acting for two.

    You mentioned the PD needing to work with her more, I have followed this drama and the behind the scenes comments etc., it has been noted throughout how many NG’s her scenes have, how many hours her scenes require for filming etc…. I think the over directing comes into play the most with her scenes because they are trying to let the camera do the work because she is unable to.
    and I do agree about the action scenes I have noticed any action scenes with her, Gon, and WR as well the use of a stunt double is so obvious each scene, and the scenes are a bit choppy,I do not even bother with this aspect but it’s so obvious in this area. It is hard to put a great deal of blame on the actors, this drama did not cast based on action abilities. How could we expect that when they did not even see fit to cast a lead female that could act.

    I do wonder how different your perception of LSG would be if this drama been done before TK2H. I am glad you still Luv him, how could we not.

    • I enjoy all lee seung gi dramas…and agree the most is in tk2h…his work is really amazing…where you want to watch it over n over again eventhough his scene part with hajiwon or other cast members…you just connect to it….for gfb…yes. ..it seem like the drama that really make us stick to it is his acting…….the pace of storyline is rather draggy…love the scene with mastergongdol,gon and cj….awesome..and refreshing everytime..love it 2 with yw…but i find the scene is kind of expected almost the same everytime from these character…

    • I actually really love LSG in here, like you said he has a spark with almost everyone except Suzy (even Gon, I love all Gong/Kang-chi scenes – I don’t know how, but he and Sung Joon just play off each other really well). He’s fantastic in scenes that don’t involve YW, the breakdown with Lee Soon-shin was heartbreaking.

  6. Suzy is really very famous right now.. I have nothing against her (I like her on variety), but it’s surprising how many people disagree on her acting (unlike for Song Seung Heon). It’s like another SNSD Yoona battle (not comparing the two girls but comparing the disparity in people’s opinions on them). I feel that she is ok in some scenes where other, she feels stiff.

    • The difference is Yoona gets boring , next girl type of characters all the time and has to work with that! I thought she was cute and charismatic in Love Rain but the character was soooooo one dimensional than not even Han Ji Won would make it interesting! If Yoona was given chance to do something a little more challenging i think she would shine!

      On the other hand Suzy gets great , well written characters(both in Big and GFB) but she makes them boring and bland! She is wooden and has awful line delivery, and i honestly don`t see that great chemistry with her costars! The only advantage is she is beautiful and camera loves her face but that`s about it!

      • To be fair, I don’t think Yoona is capable of carrying a drama either – Jang Geun-seok did all the heavy lifting on the emotional parts of Love Rain – but she’s not blank, and was actually pretty natural and enjoyable in the first half of Love Rain’s modern-day storyline.

        She’s improved greatly since her debut days – Sooyoung is miles ahead of her as an actress in SNSD, but at least in Love Rain Yoona passed the only test I really use on an actor – she came across as her character, not someone mouthing her character’s lines and making facial expressions in response to instructions through a teleprompter.

      • @pogo don`t get me wrong i don`t think Yoona is some great actress , she is mediocre at best, but i feel she could improve if she is given more challenging role! With the type of roles shes been given, she can only hop in one place, and i do think she has potential!

      • @klio, no worries, I get you. She’s improved a LOT from her early days and if she were cast in something I might want to watch, I don’t really fear that she’s going to be as obvious a weak link in the acting as Suzy is.

  7. I enjoyed Lee Seung Gi in “Shining Inheritance, My Girlfriend Is Gumiho 9 Tailed Fox” I like Suzy, Seen her MC a lot, Her music, Dream High, Big. I see nothing wrong with both actors. I wouldn’t say their the Best, Their isn’t a best or at least I have not seen one yet. I only watched Five episodes of “Gu Family Book” Not being a fan of Joseon Era’s, I’ve only Enjoyed 2 dramas,”Slave Hunter’s & Sungkyunkwan Scandal” Most of today’s Actor’s seem out of place in Joseon Era drama’s. That’s how I seen Lee & Suzy. They just didn’t fit in for this type of role. What I really don’t Like about Joseon Era’s is that some actors are so “Glittered Up” Especially actress’s, I’m amazed that they can keep their heads straight with a “Ton” of jewelry.

  8. Its kinda predictable ms koalas’ post re GFB. I can definetely guess the contents b4 reading it…constant comparison with TK2H, so what else is new? So i just skip it and just post my comment.

  9. lol at people saying age doesn’t mean anything and that if the actor has talent that is it.

    Some actors you love to brag about their acting skills sucked when they first debuted, they were so bad. But of course you never checked their old dramas/movies/small parts to say so.

    Or even if you did, you were blinded already to see they sucked at first and improved over the years.

    • Did you even read the comments? People are in fact talking about the debut dramas of actors they feel are good.

      I do agree that some actors get a LOT better with time, one great example is Moon Chae-won, who was so meh as a second lead and so brilliant as a lead in The Princess’ Man and Nice Guy. But there has to be a certain basic aptitude for acting, and when that appears to be patently lacking, one cannot help but say so.

    • LOL even the child actress who played young YW has more acting ability than Suzy. She actually gave YW a personality.

      there are dozens of child actors who put her to shame.

  10. Suzy’s acting is wooden and stiff no question about that. She isn’t an actor but a singer. I highly doubt that in her purest of intentions, she wanted to be the main lead but since her agency chose to exploit her in all means possible, so she must deal. I agree she has to exert some effort and try, but the PD equally must be responsible too.
    The PD has a big responsibility in getting the most out of his actors. If he doesn’t have this capability then that means he’s not very credible. City Hall and Secret Garden-the main cast were veterans so in this respect, it shouldn’t be made an example. I guess this PD isn’t as good as he really is.
    GFB is getting all the love primarily because Korea loves Seunggi and Suzy

    • I don’t know about how much of Suzy’s stiffness the PD is to blame for – the second lead, Lee Yoo Bi, is even more of a rookie than Suzy since she debuted only last year, but she seems to be doing great as Chung-jo.

      I think the PD is getting everything he can out of his actors even if I agree with koala about the hammy writing and the combination of overdirection – but in her case, I really don’t think there was ever much to get out of her.

      • Yes lets blame her lack on of talent on everyone else…..I am not drinking that kool-aid. Total Mis cast period.

        @pogo you mentioned Sooyoung, This is one girl I am liking more the more of her I see. I have been wishing she had been cast as YW from the beginning. She has a natural talent and really is likable and silly as it is, I cannot stop thinking about about how much I could have loved GFB with her casting. her and LSG would be so good together. lol I know from strongheart she likes him too and she is age appropriate for him as well.

      • @onevoice – I’m really enjoying Sooyoung in Cyrano so far, and I will definitely follow her acting career after this – it’s her first leading role, and she’s holding up great. But I do wonder if her ‘look’ is a bit too modern for a sageuk, facially I mean. She can definitely emote and inhabit a character, and thanks to you I’d love to see her with LSG some day too, I think they could play off each other really well.

  11. I dare people to say Seunggi’s acting isn’t amazing in this after watching the episode 19 and 20 especially. If they still say that I question if we are watching the same show. I love TK2H, but it had massive issues as well.

    • I know right, he has been amazing the whole drama, They just tried to shove too much cute down our throats it caused the plot to drag. SG has had the most amazing and gripping scenes one after another throughout the drama when with every other character but YW. He does in love great but I do not get a romantic vibe with this love line its more big brother love/affection to me, and its not too enjoyable to have so much thrown at you when you cannot buy into it, the lack of sexual tension just ruins for me. I really wish that they would keep the the love story scenes at a bare minimum for this last stretch and show us a compelling and well acted show. KC and his mom and his father choi were front and center this week, and it was gut wrenching to watch these three together, and left you feeling good.

      • Yeah…i also think that they should minimise kc.yw love line by now. ..its already at ep 21…show us more of the parents…cj..or lss and .even the bad guy…storyline…that make the story more interesting….

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