Lee Min Ho Practices Surfing for Heirs and Character Description for Park Shin Hye’s Female Lead

The leaked script pages for the first two episodes of Heirs clearly reveals the overarching Hana Yori Dango influence, but the recently scrounged up character descriptions shed color on the details and its there I see the Gossip Girl bent. Lee Min Ho’s Kim Tan and Kim Woo Bin’s Choi Young Do is clearly modeled off of Serena and Blair, respectively. Both rich, best friends but also rivals, with Tan doing Serena’s I-could-care-less thang while Young Do has Blair’s plot-and-conquer written all over him. Of course this makes Park Shin Hye’s female lead Cha Eun Sang the gender-reversed Lonely Boy Dan, and the detailed character description for Eun Sang that I read and translated below confirms this for me. She’s the outsider looking in, the perpetually poor girl with dreams that can’t come true, trying to keep her head above the water when thrown in with the sharks at Empire High. My one worry about Eun Sang is the one I always have with Kim Eun Sook dramas – I mostly detest the way she writes her female characters. Most start off on the surface with a strong and capable profession – a female stunt woman, a doctor, a successful screenwriter, a top actress, a diplomatic attaché – but when you scratch below the surface all the stereotypical female insecurities come out in their personalities and Kim Eun Sook then writes it so that her quirky and super hot male leads ultimate complete the woman and make her life better.

City Hall was the exception for me, but female lead Shin Mi Rae also bucked the Kim Eun Sook trend and started off as a lowly civil servant and the drama was her trajectory towards becoming a powerful and successful mayor. Yes, she needed ALL the help from super hot and perfect male lead Jo Gook, but I did buy their slow and well-developed relationship so CH is good in my book. But so many of Kim Eun Sook’s leading ladies have deep down wet napkin personalities, needing lessons in self-esteem and not letting love cloud their minds and muddle with their careers. And some need to stop crying so much, especially towards the end of the drama. So with that said, I really like what I’m reading about Park Shin Hye’s Cha Eun Sang. She reads like a normal (*gasp*) teenage girl with a temper, insecurity, but a good head about her shoulders carrying the burden of taking care of the household for her deaf mute mother. Lee Min Ho posted the above picture yesterday which shows him surfing (look at his biceps!), clearly preparing for the start of Heirs filming. A few of the main leads are headed to Australia in early August for the first location shoot, which used to be a Kim Eun Sook specialty that she hasn’t used in a few dramas now (Lovers in Paris – Paris and Nice, Lovers in Prague – Prague, Lovers – Hainan Island, China; On Air – Taipei and Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan).

Cha Eun Sang (18 years old):

Her motto is “Be a rich while still young, or at least someone with a goal in mind.”

“Cinderella’s glass slipper fell off and in the end she got to marry the prince.” 7 year old Eun Sang read this and thought that Cinderella must be someone who was quite calculating. Eun Sang firmly believed this, and faced with a deaf mute mother, she had to grow up quickly.

Since she was small she took care of everything for her mother – taxes, loan papers, insurance, there is nothing Eun Sang doesn’t know how to do as the de facto head of the house. But at the same time, she is embarrassed to be seen in public using sign language with her mom, so she instead uses Kakao talk even when they are face-to-face. She is just an 18 year old girl with the same insecurities.

She dislikes having a mom who can’t talk, she hates that her mom is the housekeeper for a wealthy family. But what Eun Sang hates the most is that her responsibilities and duties in life make it impossible for her to travel abroad. She seems like a strong and sunny person, but in the deep recesses of her heart there is a small corner that is resentful.

Every weekend she sees her friends on Facebook post about going to a steak house or a club, but all she does is head to ceremonial halls and convenience stores, of course those being the places where she works part time. When the same-age folks are dreaming of becoming doctors, teachers, and celebrities, Eun Sang dreams about “a stable office work job that pays 2 million won a month.” Only by becoming a rich young person can she have ambition.

Eun Sang gets an international call from her older sister, who is in the US with the help of Eun Sang’s financial assistance. She claims to have met a rich guy and is getting married. Eun Sang sees her older sister as her pride and joy, a role model. Eun Sang seizes this rare chance and uses the excuse that she’s personally delivering the money her mother prepared to give her older sister. But Eun Sang boards that plane to the US with a thought that she’s never going back to Korea.

But the older sister she sees in the US is just a bar maid living with a perpetually drunk white guy. Forget about getting married, it’s all just a lie. Eun Sang’s dream illusion is shattered and she feels betrayed. She has a huge fight with her older sister and takes off. Eun Sang, who has nowhere to go, gets embroiled in a really preposterous incident and encounters Kim Tan. She ends up staying at his place.

Eun Sang walks into Kim Tan’s apartment and thinks that this is what Cinderella must be thinking when she stepped foot in the Palace. The huge square footage and the luxurious decorations make her feel unable to breathe. Suddenly a girl arrives unannounced. She is his fiancée, how crazy that two 18 year olds could be engaged at this age?

Who knows if its good fate or ill omen, when Eun Sang returns to Korea and on the first day she transfers schools, Eun Sang runs into Kim Tan again. With all the heirs running around Empire High School, Eun Sang can only claim to be the heir to the poor. And with that, her uneasy school life begins……


Lee Min Ho Practices Surfing for Heirs and Character Description for Park Shin Hye’s Female Lead — 55 Comments

  1. How is he going to look a high schooler with that bod and biceps? 🙂
    Kim Woo Bin will be awesome as Blair. I’m already getting excited for their interactions and face-off.

  2. Biceps!!!! Indeed, that’s all I saw. The female description does not sound bad at all. It all sounds reasonable considering the responsibilities she has and what she has seen in life. I’m not expecting any groundbreaking with this drama just a breezy, fun watch (I hope). Ms. Koala, thanks for all the updates. Is it too early to ask if you will recap? I know it is. You will probably want to see how this comes together in the first episodes.

  3. Australia?!! hyperventilates*

    If Kim Woo Bin is one of thoes coming to Australia I will shamelessly skip uni to stalk him.

    • Actually, you can argue that City Hall started with a location shoot, as well; the first episode featured these gorgeous shots of “Inju City,” and in fact all during that drama they used the setting to great effect; this seems uncommon for kdramas, which is a shame because there are so many beautiful and/or dynamic/interesting backdrops to film against, just in Korea.

  4. Hate might be a strong word, can i just say how much i dislike the heroine description here. Promptly because how she reminds me of that girl in BOF, and that cliche poor girl meets rich guy in an accident background story. The only thing that interests me now is the hero and his frenemy Young Do.. But if the later somehow turns out to be another Ji-hoo, then I’d just strangle myself while watching.

    • I agree… I don’t feel I’m seeing anything fresh or new here.

      But then again, I don’t think this drama is for me, it’s a little too far-fetched and I’d take slice of life over that any day. The whole Australia bit seems like a bizarre detour (you are dirt poor but go off to Australia to deliver money in hand rather than doing a bank transfer???). That said, I’m sure the actors are enjoying that detour (I would too!).

      • Totally agree with you. The whole bit with Aus just sounds odd. But oh well, I’m not the scriptwriter so who am I to complain? 😛

  5. Er does anyone here know when or where they would be?
    I am all prepared to stalk them 🙂

    Also one thing about the mess that was BoF was the mess that was BoF. If this drama can clean that up, I would be forever grateful.

    Also thank goodness for the biceps. Maybe now he can actually carry that girl. Remember how skinny he was back then? I remember he couldn’t even carry GHS out from the swimming pool after the almost drowning scene with the necklace? Or after she was covered in flour?

    But more importantly, where is he? I have free time in Aug. Seriously would be prepared to fly up and basically stalk the film crew.

  6. At least The character will Shin hye portray has some dark side not pure girl she embarrassed from her poor status and from her Mother not innocent I mean I like it I want shin hye to be evil 😀

    • I’m not sure how that’s dark side… more so a little pathetic.

      I don’t like being embarrassed about her mother and being poor much at all, it’s the typical ‘poor inferior girl/rich superior guy’ thing (because for sure all the rich kids are going to see themselves as SO superior to her).

      • May be pathetic but the character not honest to herself to escape from her world to another world to live as rich I think this challenging I prefer it
        Bcz nobody satisfied for what God give , The human always need more so it shows the negatives in his or her character .

      • alua – more like it’s a character flaw, which makes her more interesting than if she was your stereotypical surface kick-butt heroine who actually turns out to be Mary Sue **coughgufamilybookcough**

      • I personally like that aspect of her character (of her being embarrassed by her mom) because it makes her seem more realistic. She is, after all, an 18 year old girl, and something like that could be understandably embarrassing to a teenager. I don’t think that means she hates her mother, but that she has some resentment she can’t let go of. I find it by no means pathetic.

  7. Omgaaaaaaaaad I cant wait to october just the thought of min ho gives mr the chill how abt surfing and romance with park sjin hye !!!! Ahhhhhhhhhghh

  8. So, all she’s thinking of is to become rich? What kind of goal of life is that? Meh …
    I need to see some decent character substance to love a heroine.
    Just because she’s Park Shin Hye’s heroine is not enough. 🙁

    • Actually, I’ll take a girl with realistic aspiration over pure Candy who just feels happy being alive everyday. If done right, we can get someone who’s actually smart about dating, hopefully.

      • Yeah, so smart about dating that she’ll be panting after what will most likely be an abusive, damaged cad in the drama…

  9. Looks like a flawed character with some obviously unlikeable traits. But considering she is only 18, I see a huge possibility for her character’s growth as a person when placed in an environment with people living the lifestyle that she had always wanted for herself. She maybe in for a choppy journey full of reassessments as regards to what she really wants in life ……..through interactions with people living the life she craves? Envies? Wants? Idealize?
    It all depends on the writer what path she intends to follow. Too early to start worrying but I am hoping for Eun Sang at the end not turn out to be just a weak, superficial and shallow doormat of a female but someone with a backbone, spirit and self esteem.
    The character from what little we know…….seems to have enough highs and lows for an actress to be able to show her skills under the hands of a good director. Shinhye certainly has the ability but can KES give us a strong female lead that we can get behind?

    • Great comment 😀 I hope KES not worse the female lead bcz I am Female and I want the female win the game 😀

    • I sincerely hope being an optimist pays off else this drama is going to be a huge disappointment for me ……………as much as it can be with this cast.
      Yes, somehow its always uplifting to see a female showing strength of character while battling with their own weaknesses and insecurities specially when life hands them lemons. If that is done within the bounds of dignity and grace, nothing could be better.

  10. I completely agree with the female leads for KES dramas…..though I have seen only Secret Garden…..and there she started all strong and all…but later turned irritatingly into a cry baby..doing the noble idiocy….meh…and also somewhat passive….

    Hopefully here the case will be different….i enjoyed BBF despite its flaws….but I don’t want to see BBF part 2..

  11. “Empire high school” !! How aweSome is that for a school name for RICH kids. 🙂

    Sounds really good so far.^o^

  12. I’ve always thought Blair >>>>>>>>>> whiny victim-y ‘poor me’ Serena, so the news that Woobie My Wuv is playing the boy version of her basically sounds like it’s designed to give me Second Lead Syndrome.

    And now the more detailed description of Park Shin-hye’s character makes her sound far more interesting than the Jan-di mk. II we were all expecting, give me characters with flaws – I will take them over standard Candy heroines, any day.

    • Blair totally rules.
      I started off prefering serena but by the end of the show I was BLAIR ALL THE WAY. So flawed and complex, which is how i liked it.
      Kind of embarassing to admit i watched it(mostly as a guilty pleasure), but Blair and Chuck were the only reasons to tune in.

      • Omg. Thanks koala for pointing out the gossip girl reference! I was wondering where it was.. The reversal of gender seems great, but still seem cliche with the standard Korean gender stereotype. Hopefully the writing have a few twists .

        Hahaha totally agree ! I only finish gossip girl so Blair and Chuck can get their happy ever after. With that being said, I prefer Blair too. Saddd that Minho has to play the Serena part. But lets see if he can change that into a great character.

  13. “Most start off with a strong and capable profession, but when you scratch below the surface all the stereotypical female insecurities come out in their personalities…”
    Yes, KES has always created female leads with potential from the start but somewhere down the road these heroines lose the qualities that made them so great to begin with and start relying on the heros to sweep them up and away.

    • Also, I hope park shin hye’s lonely boy dan won’t get on my nerves as much as penn badgleys’ dan did for gossip girl. I should like him for being the odd one out, the outsider, but his character just couldn’t do it for me. In the end he remained the outsider and just looked outright desperate, esp with the big reveal that he was….

      • Y’know, I think that actually had a lot to do with the actor (and also the writing, but mostly the problem was that the actor just made Dan seem really annoying and self-righteously hypocritical. Which was, in a way, the opposite of Blair – Blair was deliberately written to have flaws, which made her a more interesting character than Dan, whose flaws are not actually acknowledged by the story).

        Though of course, I pretty much stopped watching after the first half fo Gossip Girl so I could be completely wrong.

    • THIS. The only KES drama I have really enjoyed is City Hall, where she did not follow her usual pattern and actually created a heroine who grew, in strength and conviction to reach her ultimate success. In City Hall, sure she got a huge leg up from the hero, but she also did a lot to help him and reform his character; she told him when he was wrong, when he was being a jerk (how refreshing!) and held him to his promises.
      Contract that with AGD, where the heroine is a dithering twelve-year-old in a woman’s body, dumbstruck by the very sight of the hero’s former gf, unable to be honest with herself or with anyone else. And the hero was a jerk of the first water, with a totally unbelievable redemption arc and a cheesy manufactured ending right out of a fast food commercial. There aren’t enough words for how I hated that show.
      So I worry that this heroine is going to be more like AGD, where the female lead was a weak, dishonest ditherer, than City Hall where once the heroine got motivated, she showed her strength of character, street smarts, and went for her goal.

  14. Empire high school!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lee Min ho is a serious actor. I dont think the surfing scene will get much screen time but he is darn serious with it. Park Shinhye’s character is more interesting than I thought. Good job! KES! We are counting on you to deliver compelling characters!

  15. I just could not understand why people are saying Heirs has a huge cast. Most of the cast are young rookie actors. Although I am a Lee minho fan, I do not understand all those buzz about this drama. I just hope safe filming for Lee minho.

    • I have yet to see Park Shin Hye “sizzle.” Ever. I am not yet convinced she has it in her to even smolder, although the makeup commercial she did way back when with JGS came closest. Isn’t a little sad, though, that we have to go back to a commercial? (And no, the ending kiss in FBND did not convince me, even if she did – egads – lift her arms and open her mouth.

      • oh, I don’t know, skelly – she did a recent-ish post-FBND photoshoot with Lee Jong-seok where she pretty much blew a hole in the wall with her smolder, but granted that was in still photographs.

        I don’t know if she can or will ever choose to bring that quality to her film and tv work, but actors can surprise me sometimes (like Yoon Eun-hye, for instance. Terrible at playing a bitter, angry mess of a girl in My Fair Lady, and great at it in I Miss You.).

      • ^ meant to qualify that above with ‘as long as they have a base level of talent’, which PSH most def. does. I’m never surprised in any good way by the wooden idol-actors of the world, no matter what their fans say.

      • skelly,

        Do you always bash on Park Shin Hye? Whenever I see a post on here about The Heirs, I see that every time you post a comment its about Park Shin Hye and her acting and kisses. She is a great actress and her kisses may not be WOW but I agree with pogo give Shin Hye a chance, she can suprise you. Her lastest photoshoot for Jambangee wowed me, it showed her sexy side.

      • i agree skelly — park shin hye is cuter than she is sexy.

        Lately though, i’ve noticed the girl is starting to look alot more mature (vibe-wise), so i still have hope that she has good chemistry with lee min ho. She played the ditzy gal in You’re beautiful, but she still had nice chemistry with JGS.
        I think PSH needs to start taking up more mature projects with the right kind of director to push her in that direction, along with a good co-star.

  16. Omgggggg so hot!!! Did his body get even better.

    I totally agree with your comment about the female characters in Kim Eun Sook’s writing. I always start the show loving the female character and it takes a dip right after a couple of episodes. I want a female character I can cheer on, not just a male character to drool over (okay that’s a lie ahemterryahem)

  17. Ah it is so interesting. Can’t wait to watch it! Hope it won’t fail me like Boys Before/Over Flowers! (I hate character of both male & female leads in that drama!)

  18. Having been burned too many times by KES’s writing, despite my immense love for City Hall [feeling so whimsical now *shedding one tear*], I am not the least bit interested in this drama. Even these stills of LMH showing his abs/insert-any-muscle/biceps [darn da boy has buffed up!] won’t change my un-ICOMYM-oriented mind.

    *Waving to Inju inhabitants*

  19. That’s very awfully interesting & I will look forward to this drama!! 😀 I wish that I already know about Korean sign languages and talk with any deaf people, ofc! Every time I hear the word “mute”, it makes me twitch and goosebumps. Honestly, I think it’s much better for you to use the words “deaf” and “hearing impaired” than use “mute” because it’s not suitable for deaf people. Please don’t use that word “mute” that you don’t know what it’s like – because you’ve never experience having a deaf friend before. Additionally, I’ve been around deaf people since my childhood & it is really DAEBAK!! That’s okay, your country is different than my country (in USA) & I am just letting you know about this, that’s all. Thanks

    FIGHTING, Heirs!!

  20. I can already see ratings dropping for this drama lol, the storyline is so damn cliche and nothing interesting from the character description either. UGH.

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