The Secret Lovers Taps Choi Kang Hee for the Leading Lady Opposite Joo Won

The collective shrieking from poor put upon Joo Won fangirls leaves me both amused and sympathetic to their plight. Upon hearing that their beloved Joo Won might be paired up with a much older actress in Choi Kang Hee for the upcoming drama The Secret Lovers, the amount of anger and weeping might lead one to suppose everyone found out they were all Joo Won’s secret half sister hence it must remain a love that could never be consummated. Hee, I kid, I kid. I’ve been there myself when a favorite actor gets paired up with a not-so-ideal co-star. My suggestion is to let it go and not watch if it bothers you that much, rather than watching and then sounding like a harpy with the unending criticism on said innocent not-so-ideal co-star. Look at me and Faith – can’t stand Kim Hee Sun‘s limitedย acting, think she looks like Lee Min Ho‘s aunt, hence I watched a few episodes said my piece and then checked out to let other enjoy the ride without me raining on their parade. From all the news reports released, this one looks like a done deal in everything but signing the contract. Her agency said she is seriously considering the project and is looking into her schedule, but production sources have confirmed that she’s agreed to do it and is just making sure the final details all work out. Apparently 2PM‘s Changsung is also in talks to join the drama. Y’all know Joo Won is one of the few K-actors I actually don’t like hence I stay away from his dramas, but I enjoyed the original 7th Level Civil Servant with Kang Ji Hwan and Kim Ha Neul, plus this drama will be written by the scriptwriter who did both Chuno and Fujitive: Plan B. Both dramas are flawed but quite addicting and hard hitting on the action. I’m not as keen on the PD, who directed Dong Yi in a truly pedestrian and boring way, but if Choi Kang Hee joins then I’m definitely game just to check out how she manages to pull off sexy spy and convince me she’s the same age as Joo Won’s character in the drama. She’s a chameleon, but this might be her greatest challenge yet.

I agree that Choi Kang Hee objectively looks older than Joo Won. Like, much older, because he looks young even for his age. But, unlike my gripe with Kim Hee Sun looking older than Lee Min Ho in Faith, I find Choi Kang Hee a solid quirky actress whereas IMO Kim Hee Sun couldn’t act her way out of a potato sack. In that regard, same age difference concerns, but who knows if Choi Kang Hee can pull it off acting-wise to sell the chemistry and age. I thought she had great chemistry with Jaejoong in Protect the Boss. In this case, I personally doubt it’ll work, since it’s a pretty big visual hurdle to cross that she and Joo Won are supposed to be the same age in the drama. I guess that makes the drama all the more interesting to anticipate. Though I wonder exactly what weed the producers were smoking when they selected this pairing. K-dramas, always good for a laugh.

The Secret Lovers ought to finalize its casting in the next few weeks so it can start filming soon as it premieres January on MBC. On a purely what-if note, I wished the two dramas IRIS 2 and The Secret Lovers can switch the leads up. I loved Jang Hyuk with Lee Da Hae in their last two dramas together, but a third outing seems a bit much even for a fangirl like me. Whereas I thought Choi Kang Hee’s cameo on Thank You was amazing and she had more chemistry with Hyukie in one episode than he had with Gong Hyo Jin in the remainder of the drama. Hence it would please me personally to have Choi Kang Hee in IRIS 2 with Jang Hyuk while Da Hae is much more age-appropriate for Joo Won in The Secret Lovers. Just my 2 cents, but sadly it’s never going to happen. I suggest Joo Won fans start getting used to the idea of Choi Kang Hee romancing their cutie pie, because all signs point to it happening.


The Secret Lovers Taps Choi Kang Hee for the Leading Lady Opposite Joo Won — 57 Comments

  1. Switch leads for IRIS 2 and TSL! I hadn’t thought of that, but it would totally work chemistry-wise. Joowon-Lee Da Hae and Jang Hyuk-Choi Kang Hee is a much more reasonable pairing IMO.

  2. hehehehe theyve been bishing Park Minyoung because she was rumoredto be casted and now they have this?! oh well…haha cracks me up

      • Hahaha agree! They kept bashing her and stuff! I bet they wish they had her instead cause atleast there’s not much age difference

    • I don’t understand whats up with the bashing. Heck, i didn’t even know there was any bashing.
      PMY is fine as an actress.
      Poor girl had to direct herself amidst the chaos that was Dr. Jin.
      Oh, Lee Beom-soo was pretty good too.
      She was fine in City Hunter too. Really, the girls improving.
      *sigh* Haters these days.

  3. CKH looked so old in Protect The Boss as the cute and clumsy. So much that it put me off so badly to even finish watching the drama. So painful to watch her in it. Except Running Man, she was more herself. But this drama with Won puppy, really, they need a new heroine. >< Or I'll be so sad…

  4. Yeah, them producers were high high. As proven by her ass-kicking scenes in PTB, she can do action and comedy. She is attractive but in a spunky/quirky way–but not really sexy. I can see why Joo Woon fangirls are screaming murder; YEH is probably more like someone they have in mind.

    As for the pairing, it might work if they style her similar to the Ceci photo shoot shown above. She had pretty good chemistry with Jaejoong, but perhaps more on the noona-crush level; I might not buy it if they were the OTP.

  5. Joo Won fans in korea were weeping cause they thought Yoon Eun Hye would be in this. She was one of the actresses that Production heavily pursued. Girls offered this role was Yoon Eun Hye, Han Hyo Jo, Kim Tae Hee, Shin Min Ah and Park Shin Hye.
    When reports came out that Yoon Eun Hye took I Miss you instead, they were pretty depressed. Kinda feel bad for them and it’s nothing personal, it’s just that YEH didn’t want to do another romcom for a change.

    Choi Kang Hee, not really fond of her dull acting. I wish they’d pick someone else. I am sure there’s abundant of pretty and talented actress out there that’s available aside from her.

  6. I know I shouldn’t be laughing, when so many people are in distress, but I just have to. xD
    They complained so much about Jin Se Yeon in Bridal Mask and didn’t stop disgustingly hating on the poor girl, who did her best in her second lead role and with her one dimensional character ‘Mok Dan’. (Her acting wasn’t as perfect as Joo Won’s, that’s true, but I thought she was a lot better than for example Han Hyo Joo. Her crying convinced me more. ^^
    Now they get what they deserve, a experienced actress – but one they probably never even imagined to act opposite Babyface-Joo Won. ;D
    I’m so happy! Karma is a bitch. <3

    • actually, i feel Jin Seo Yeon’s acting in Bridal Mask is awsome for a rookie actress… Especially in earlier episode. She never overact and know her character very well. I’m just surprise by her acting. Maybe I’m the only one who felt this way. And Can I say, she acted better than Jo Woon? At least i she seems understand her character. Sorry Jo Woon’s fans

      But she still inconsistent. I don’t know, by each episode her acting not awsome as previously episode. Maybe She seems lack of confidence.

      • Thank you.
        For a rookie, she really could be compared next to someone considered an “a-lister” who is famous more for the looks than the acting. Not gonna name any names. Hollywood has em, k-drama land has em.
        She never overacted and i felt her tears were genuine. I was in awe. I usually set the bar pretty low for rookies so i was pleasantly surprised.

  7. i hope Jin Se yeon would be his leading lady. I want to see them in a rom-com genre. Their characters in Bridal mask were too emotional and they really made meeeeeee cry!!! but i also want uee. <3 ORRRR. Se Yeon – Joo Won – Uee :))))))))))))))))))

  8. I dont wanna sound mean but she looked really rough and beat up even in Protect The Boss. x_x

    I don’t mind the 10 year gap if the actress doesn’t look her age but she looks really old like soccer mom old. As much as I love Joo Won, I think I’m gonna have to pass on this one.

  9. I haven’t actually watched Joo Won in anything, so I’m pretty indifferent to this casting. I have however watched Protect the Boss; Choi Kang Hee had a decent amount of chemistry with Ji Sung and Jaejoong, but I have to agree with everyone here – she does look way older than him. Which would work in terms of her being a more experienced spy and him the rookie, but in terms of romance? Nope. She comes across as more ajumma than noona.

    But hey, from what I heard it worked in I Do, I Do. And it definitely worked in King 2 Hearts (but let’s face it, Ha Ji Won hardly looks her age). I just wish Kdramas cast more age-appropriate co-stars

    • LSG and HJW definitely worked in K2H… but that was only because both LSG and HJW can pass for 30. In I Do, I Do, KSA’s character was supposed to be a lot older than LJW’s, so it made sense in the context of the story. The attraction was supposed to be inexplicable and that part came across pretty well.

      • Haha, so unless they make her character legitimately older than Joo Won’s, this may turn out to be an epic fail. But even in that scenario, I just can’t buy this OTP. I think I’ll just go watch Gaksital ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. It is possible for the writer and production team to change the original concept and the lead characters won’t be the same age.

    • That’s what I was thinking… but I really hope this doesn’t devolve into a noona-dongsaeng story. Too many contrived conflicts for me to handle and I have just never liked those dramas.

  11. Oh, this is funny…

    I forgot that JJ and she were interestingly attached in PtB…makes me think maybe…until you said “same age.”
    Noona/dongsang with a meet cute that explains the attraction – yes.
    SAME AGE college buddies? No.

    Btw, remember the outcry for M2F with now perfectly coupled YSY and LJA?
    I was wrong about them, and I admit it.

    Btw2, I just noticed both boys are Baker King boys.

    • I wanted to like LJA and YSY together; it didn’t end up saving the drama for me but I admit that the drama did a pretty good job of insisting their characters were the same age, lol.

  12. I really, really like Joo Won, but I don’t seem to mind this pairing. I’m a big fan of Choi Kang Hee too, and I know that she’ll be able to rock just about any challenge given to her, including a gaping age-difference between her co-star. If she did it with JaeJoong, then she can do it again with Joo Won.

    Plus, this is going to be a comedy, and she has the chops for that type of genre. I’m more nervous about Joo Won taking this type of role. He’ll be good in the action sequences, because that seems to be his “safe role”. I’m intrigued to see how he does in this drama. He works hard and is improving well, and that’s what I like about him.

    • You mean in the drama or IRL? I can see the producers making her his boss/mentor and then having a more age-appropriate second lead to compete with.

  13. I didn’t like this when it was announced and I still don’t like it now. I mean, she looked too old for freaking Ji Sung…. *sigh* Don’t even get me started on Jaejoong. Mommy issues, anyone?

  14. I don’t like CKH much to start with (her acting is not my thing and I think she looks oder than her age) and with this pairing, I am out. I think it’s my payback for not getting how anyone could not love the pairing of Faith. So basically I won’t even check out the first episode. I will just pretend it doesn’t exist.

  15. I love your idea about switching up the leads lol I like Choi Kang Hee, but Joo Won and her are going to be visually hard to believe as being the same age. Maybe the writer will make them older woman-younger man couple instead? I don’t think I’m particularly excited for any upcoming dramas…Iris just didn’t sit well with me. Rom-coms always make me wary because more often than not they end up disappointing. Anyways, I’m too engrossed with Nice Guy to care lol

  16. aigoo what again pairing with such big age gap…..1 or 2 yrs is acceptable but this one is about 9 yrs? CHK’s acting so boring and stiff. Yes pretend that this drama doesnt exist.

  17. Ya know? I’ve never been a stickler for similar-age pairings, as long as I like both actors. I adore Choi Kang Hee ever since seeing her in Protect the Boss. I thought she was funny, grounded, and adorable. I know a lot of people are upset about this, but I’d much rather have a super talented lead actress who looks older than the lead actor, than a middling lead actress who looks the same age. Not that age-appropriateness & talent are mutually exclusive by any means, but that I’m not as down on this choice as everyone else. I like Joo Won, but to be honest, I’m actually more excited to see Kang Hee onscreen than him (given how much work he’s been doing recently). I guess I’m in the extreme minority, though.

    • Me too. I liked her in PtB. JJ is soo good-looking and they were fine together so yeah I don’t really get the hue and cry. oh wells…

  18. as a fan of CKH, I just couldn’t stay away and decided to leave a comment after so many weeks of just enjoy reading posts and comments…

    Once upon a time (late 1990s and early 2000s) CKH was considered to have a “baby face”. She was playing a high school student in her 20s and she looked like a high school student. Back then everyone thought that she looked really young for her age…. Then somehow in late 2000s, all that changed. She lost a lot of weight and suddenly she looked much older than before.
    But I think many PDs and writers, have not woken up from the old image of her yet and still think she has a “baby face” ^^;

    • Maybe PDs and writers haven’t checked her wrinkles, they see she has small face and think those with small face will always look like babyface.

  19. I beg to differ here. I think FAITH is awesome and KHS is a great actress. Perhaps it is not wise to judge something to quickly but rather allow it to make the necessary changes and adjustment as it goes along. Giving somebody a chance to correct themselves is an act of kindness that goes both ways.

    I’m sure everybody has their own opinion as to who is a better actress and a good drama but recognition has to be given where it is due and I think KHS is doing a fantastic job in FAITH. As to her looking old next to LMH, NO WAY. Their chemistry sizzles. You tend to forget that she is married actually…

    ‘One man’s meat is another man’s poison’…for me FAITH is a definite ‘meat’. I have enjoyed all of PD Kim Jong Hak and writer Song Ji Na dramas and I’m sure they will continue to do so in the future.

    As for CKH, I enjoyed her acting in PTB, but in the end the drama fizzle out a bit..the ending was a bit lackluster. She is beautiful but maybe next to baby face JW she will look older unless some camera technique can be used to make JW look older than CKH…hahahaha

    Peace..just an Ahjumma’s 2 cents!

  20. Huh I love Joo-won to bits (especially in 1N2D) but I’m not the type of fangirl who hates and shrieks over bad castings haha. I just hope it turns out to be a good drama. Besides, I’ve learned from other dramas to not judge before the actual drama airs…

  21. I’m loving the reactions of the Joo Won fangirls over this news…LOL…it’s just way too entertaining. They need to chill though.

  22. I was hoping for a Joo Won/Park Shin Hye pairing or possibly a JW/Park Min Young pairing; I thought both these actresses had the chops to pull off the cute girlfriend and a butt-kicking super spy agent.

  23. Does 2PMโ€˜s Changsung would create the love triangle, is she that beauty two young men fight for her. Korean dramas lately became more and more like indian film.

  24. I love park min young & park shin hye but they can’t do comedy or at least have the ability to for me. CHK has that ability and she’s a chameleon so I don’t care if people think she looks old. I rather watch an actress that’s good @ acting then one that’s bad but the same age as the hero. Idk what other people are smoking but she does not look old at all, n JW can look older too w/ make up ex Bridal Mask.

    • I think the problem lies in that he has such a babyface. So in comparison to him, her soon-to-be costar, she would look significantly older. But that’s not what bothers me anyway; I actually think Park Shin Hye is already quite a capable actress with a lot of potential. It’s fine if drama casting prefer an older actress to a young newbie who can barely act, but when there are actresses like PSH or Im Joo Eun who could potentially be great in such a role… Heck, if an older actress is a must, than Ha Ji Won would have been a better choice (but typecasted again). CHK is fine but not mindblowing; in my opinion, there’s nothing about her that makes her immediately better than certain younger actresses. If JW can convince me as a spy, why not them? And he or she shouldn’t have to wear makeup to appear younger/older, as it kinda defeats the purpose of casting them ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • I totally agree with your comment! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m like, it does not have to be an A-list actress, why not a new face. I’m tired of seeing old faces.

  25. Looking at this from anothe angle, the drama is called “secret lovers”, the premise will probably be something unconventional like wong fei hong and 13th auntie (reveals my age) ,possibly a May-December pairing.

    BUT kill me now if its gonna be a tired teacher-student relationship

  26. 2 bloggers now and I’ve avoided commenting till now.
    My final take- individually like them. However at this point, any other younger actress will do and I won’t be complaining.If they are not going for A lister actresses anymore, I am sure SOMEWHERE out there is a YOUNGER actress who can act as well as look his same age partner.

  27. Tsk tsk tsk. He looks younger than his age and she looks older than her age. and she is so much older than him. What are they to do to make viewers believe that they are of the same age? Aigoo…

  28. Well, all this hoo ha just makes me want to check out protect the boss! Wanna see for myself how ‘old’ and ‘unpretty’ the potential lead actress is. I can’t believe she has to put up with so much flak even before signing on.

  29. I still don’t like this pairing! ๐Ÿ™ Still gonna pout. As much as I like Joo won, I’m totally skipping this if she is in. Even though Kang hee is a great actress, it’s totally the age gap that is not working for me.

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