Thrice Married Woman Can’t Finalize its Cast Because Writer Kim Soo Hyun Keeps Axing the Leads

This story warms my cockles because it proves that someone with talent and clout actually still cares about quality in Korean entertainment. Everyone’s likely heard now about the casting “problems” with the upcoming weekend drama Thrice Married Woman (She Gets Married Three Times). Apparently leading lady candidates are dropping like flies, with the entertainment news reports all claiming that first Han Ga In, then Song Ji Hyo, and finally Kim Sa Rang have all been in discussions for the role and “declined”. I called bullshit when I read that, and finally some news agencies have dared to report that famed screenwriter Kim Soo Hyun with her exacting high standards was responsible for pretty much firing first Han Ga In and then Kim Sa Rang from her drama because they didn’t meet her requirements of acting ability. Apparently the first script readings were actually auditions and looks like some ladies failed. Big time. Song Ji Hyo was in talks but never actually sat down with a script so luckily she avoided getting axed. Or maybe if she accepted she would have passed the test. Who knows, but this is totally awesome that a person in charge will actually call out famous Korean actress wooden flower vases Han Ga In and Kim Sa Rang and fire them for not being able to act. I love it!

Kim Soo Hyun is an equal opportunity authoritarian on set and even as recently as her last drama Childless Comfort it was reported that she chewed out veterans like Kim Hae Sook (most recently Lee Bo Young’s mom in I Hear Your Voice) and Im Ye Jin (Jan Di’s mom in Boys Before Flowers) for not meeting her high standards in scenes. I dont’ blame her because her dramas are very nuanced emotional affairs with a lot of dialogue that can’t be glossed over with lackluster acting. So right now the only confirmed main cast members are former Kim Soo Hyun drama veterans Eom Ji Won (who worked on Childless Comfort) and Song Chang Ui (who did Life is Beautiful). Other leads such as Ha Suk Jin and Jo Han Seon aren’t confirmed either, though the former is likely to join since he’s also a Kim Soo Hyun vet. If an actor has passed her high standards, she always wants them back. Too bad two other Life is Beautiful veterans Lee Sang Woo and Nam Sang Mi aren’t available since they are currently on the weekend drama Goddess of Marriage, which reportedly will now be extended by 4 episodes since Thrice Married Woman won’t be able to air on time since a leading lady cannot be found. Fascinating stuff. I’m happy to wait if it is in search of quality talent.

This isn’t the first time Kim Soo Hyun has laid down her finicky standards, she does this with every one of her drama castings. Apparently PIE was also in talks but he ended up turning it down since its a 50-episode weekend drama commitment. I don’t even think Han Ga In or Kim Sa Rang should feel bad for getting fired from the drama. I’m surprised they even got to read for it in the first place. They are both beautiful ladies but sorely lacking in acting talent. Passable in the right role, but I cannot imagine in any Kim Soo Hyun penned leading lady character. Those are quickly prickly and layered. I’m curious who will finally land the role.


Thrice Married Woman Can’t Finalize its Cast Because Writer Kim Soo Hyun Keeps Axing the Leads — 32 Comments

  1. I love this! I think Han Ga In is just a joke as an actress and that she got called out for it is pure awesome. There are some very good Korean actresses and there are some very good ones who are also beautiful. So why keep shoving HGI down our throats as an actress just because she’s pretty?

  2. The Im Ye-Jin thing is a lot more harrowing. I’ve seen bits of it on some Childless Comfort special, and I’ve heard other anecdotes… but basically she was using a contraction in a script reading and Kim Soo-Hyun went batshit crazy. A FUCKING CONTRACTION.

    She’s like… “You’re saying that…”
    “WHY ARE YOU USING YOU’RE INSTEAD OF YOU ARE… it totally breaks the cadence that the moment needs, YOU MUST DO IT WITHOUT CONTRACTIONS.”

    Just imagine what kind of writer they’re dealing with. This lady basically tells the crew which props to use for a particular scene in the kitchen, often tells the music director what kind of music he should avoid (so she’s choosing indirectly) in a particular scene, and of course she only chooses directors who can happily play second fiddle, like Jung Eul-Young (Doc’s daddy ㅋㅋ).

    Not sure her field general ways are all that positive. I know a lot of people in the industry who greatly respect her, but there’s double that people who downright despise her. She’s a glorified dictator who doesn’t realize her writing style has become obsolete.

    • KSH is a very good writer but sucks totally at social skills. There is a limit to egomania even if you’re the best writer in the world (someone send her a copy of On Air).
      And yes, as Mrs K said, why calling people to “auditions” when you already know you won’t keep them? Humiliating people (even if they suck at acting) is lame, period. SBS should tell KSH to hold her horses, in the interest of everyone. Now I’m just waiting for a last minute casting announcement with people even worst than the first auditioned. Who will accept to enter such a nightmare? I wouldn’t, unless to pay the bills.

      • True enough. and I think who ever leaked out this article regarding axing these ladies due to lackluster acting is also pretty lame. I mean that’s just asking for a lot of hate directed to KSH. (additionally i don’t think its good publicity for the drama and I’m just wondering if they aren’t kinda wary of going up against HGI’s family, she has quite the k-ent family.)
        I get that superb acting for HGI is such a stretch but I personally think she delivers her line okay during light hearted scenes. She is not a great actress, she is okay for me. As for Kim Sarang, I love her even with her face seeming like its stone cold, hahaha.
        Kim Soo Hyun is such a scary person to work with. Wonder if the director/cast get to say something regarding the story. Additionally her works tends to go too-makjang for me that it’s a stretch for me to watch. Only good thing that came out of her last drama is I get to watch Ha SukJin, so I might watch this drama again for him.

        But for actresses, I VOTE JeoN Do Yeon, I super love her. I think Actng wise she is IMPECCABLE and INCOMPARABLE. and i so miss her in dramas. I know that she is a little older than what the character is but come on its Jeon Do Yeon, she can make it WORK. I wish she will be offered the role since i want her lured to the small screen. hahahahah

      • @reina – ah, that explains why HGI has an acting career when she can’t act and isn’t an idol. I was wondering.

  3. Hm. I don’t know so much about Ha Suk Jin — i like him, but i don’t think he’s that great that Kim Soo Hyun should deem him worthy.. Then again, I did only see him in Shark and thought his character was sorely underused. I enjoyed his crying/breaking down scenes but other than that he didn’t add much dimension to his boring hubby role. I’ll give ha suk jin the benefit of the doubt and say he’s better in other roles, as is the case for many actors/actresses.

    • I also thought he was also boring at first, especially after watching im first in the drama Hello Miss with Lee Da Hae. but after watching him in the 2008 drama I Am Happy. I’m sold.
      personally, I think the his character in Shark was poorly made, well the plot and characters was poorly made for that matter. Couldn’t move to watch after the children version was over.

      anyway, if you wanna see some acting chops form him I think you should watch Childless comfort for serious stuff while Standy for his comedic timing.

    • Despite his char is underused, I still think he was quite good in Shark. It’s just me? lol .. Or Maybe My acting standard is not high…
      Still thinking he is more into his char than Kim Nam Gil who was too self aware for my liking

  4. I dont know whats the big thing about kim soo hyun. I watched Life is beautiful, i was bored to death. They always cast good actors and actresses for her drama, but I still couldnt bring myself to watch any of her drama since LIB.

    • hahahaha.
      I agree, life is beautiful is boring, it was such a yawn feast for me.
      But I like her Childless comfort enough.
      Hated her My husbands woman, could not understand why anyone would write something like that.

    • Her dramas in the 80s? Regular 50% with peaks of 65 to 70% (through rather empirical surveys, admittedly). 40% to 50% in the 90s. Steady 30%s in the 2000s. Still doing easily over the 15% on network. First time a cable dramas ever scored in the two digits.

      She’s the biggest draw in Korean drama history. That’s what’s the big thing about her. ㅋㅋ

    • Horses for courses hehe – LIB remains my favourite family drama I’ve seen – I love the whole cast hands down plus it has the NICEST ever parents in the whole of k-drama land.

      Plus LSW is actually a really lovely character – rather than the douchebag he plays in Pottery Goddess Crap Drama. Also we do have Older Uncle who is an awesome character and has a great love storylike with one of the quirkiest CEO’s Ive seen.

      Not to mention the love that shocked the nations. Oh my – let’s grab my pearl necklace in horror and why won’t anyone think of the children!

  5. There’s nothing wrong with having high standards – I can respect that, but it makes me scratch my head a little that Kim Soo-hyun would consider someone like Han Ga-in to begin with when everyone and their mother knows she can’t act. If she wanted to be that exacting why not go for someone who actually has skills? It seems a bit mean-spirited to audition someone like that and then reject them after the press has already all gone out.

    Also, I’ve heard rumours she was difficult to work with but what X said above sounds more insane than anything else. I’m amazed people are still willing to do her dramas. I guess the cachet of being in a KSH drama is just that huge.

    • It’s not that she’s got particularly high standards. She looks for the kind of actor who can do “well” (from her perspective) when presented with her particular kind of verbiage — the radio-drama like kind that depicts characterization through exposition and essentially is all tell and no show. Namely either:

      1) people with strong fundamentals who tend to bank everything on them, often to a detrimental extent (as technique is really all she cares about) – Song Chang-Eui, Lee Min-Woo type
      2) people of meager fundamentals but the kind of looks she appreciates, plus not enough star power to dictate how their image can be manipulated — reason why she cast the Son Na-Eun or Nam Gyu-Ri type. Basically eye candy who can listen and not make a fuss.

      Surprised she hasn’t cast Kim Gang-Woo or Ji Chang-Wook yet. They suit option No. 1 to a T.

  6. The casting i would expect is not solely on KSH direction. The producers or director may also has a say on it. So who are we to guess why in the first place HGI & KSR was offered the role n then turn down by KSH. it may be bocoz the producers insisted it n KSH just relent n give it a try. But it aint working.

    Personally i like that she’s the ones whos calling the cards coz it is her baby after all. Not some producers who only want star power but no quality

  7. Eh, I think its good to some extent that Kim Soo Hyun prefers actors with the fundamentals, but how does it help the drama to be live shooting from the start? If it wasn’t already on the schedule, this wouldn’t be a problem, but now?

    • I was thinking the same and even if she has acted like a girl who marries two hot guys at the same time. MGY looks soo young to portrait a woman that has married 3TIMES!

  8. Ahahah! I’m really looking forward to see who will get the role!

    I’m glad that the writer is so tough. I mean, most writers pander to their stars, change the scripts to suit their lack of talent and accept whatever half-assed acting they deliver. Of course there had to be SOMEONE out there who would actually have standards and chew them out.

    Even good actors become lazy after dealing with writers/directors that are too soft and are always OK with anything.

  9. Wow.
    Her dictatorial style isn’t a secret, and actors keep working with her. Even though she yells at people, they must trust her enough to go back, right? Or is it considered a bad career move NOT to?

    I wonder how she deals with newbies and less talented actors like Nam Gyu Ri. There is no way she spent a lot of energy making her deliver likes the way she wants. Too much to say.
    But, the newbies learn a lot, and are prolly considered survivors and therefore a good hire. NGR did all right with 49 Days and most recently Cruel City.

    • The way I’ve heard it is she tends to be lenient with the kids (Son Na-Eun got off pretty easy, for instance) and the older and more experienced you are, the nastier she can get.

      But don’t expect her to go crazy ajumma on people. Most of the time she’s sneaky, sarcastic about it. You’ll rarely see her get incensed in a script rehearsal. So you get the gentle smile and the calm, pragmatic line or two but the context is “I’mma kill you.”

      • Which makes sense. The veteran actors have prolly learned which battles to pick with her. While she can tell them what to do at a script reading, when it comes to filming, if they are smart, will deliver the lines they way THEY feel sounds best, and let the director agree or disagree. The writer cannot be everywhere all the time, poor controlling thing. It must drive her nuts, too.

    • She calls the set if they screw up the lines. ㅋㅋㅋ

      Field general all the way, trust me. Personally saw a scanned script of hers with “DON’T PUT ANY OF THAT ROCK N’ ROLL IN HERE” penciled in. Surely a reaction to a similar scene in a previous episode.

      She even meticulously describes to actors how to use home appliances in the show, and gets mad at the props people if they use all new models all the time (but PD Jung does that too). Notice how the camera seems to linger on housewives working in the kitchen in her shows…

  10. I am really surprised that a writer has so much power rather than producers, who actually pay the bills. Don’t think writers have that much clout in Hollywood.

  11. I don’t know who’d want to work with her or even read a script for her. She sounds too picky and old fashioned. People like her are hard to work with.

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