K-drama Producers Lamenting Huge Hole in Late 20’s Leading Men Due to Military Service

Production companies of K-dramas shared with the media its very valid concern with upcoming year leading men casting due to the large exodus of military service bound this year in 2017. Starting with Lee Min Ho, the list of talented and famous K-drama leading men who have left for the military now include Joo Won, Kim Soo Hyun, Ji Chang Wook, Kang Ha Neul, Lee Joon, Taecyeon, and Im Shi Wan. Everyone of these men have been K-drama leads and many delivering big ratings hits. This will be a chance from the younger less famous 20-something actors to step up their game and prove they can succeed as leading men, but with ratings so elusive these days I can see why producers are really sad to not have these famous faces around for the next two years.


K-drama Producers Lamenting Huge Hole in Late 20’s Leading Men Due to Military Service — 56 Comments

  1. well then use them over 30 ones, i don’t mind lol as long as the age gap between two leads is not so big (if the two leads are lover)

  2. Big rating hits? Other than Lee min ho and Kim SOO Hyun, I do not see any big rating hits star. It is a good timing for young rising stars.

    • Almost all of Joo Won’s dramas have been ratings hits. Gaksital? Yong Pal? Even something older like King of Baking, Kim Tak Goo. And Siwan has been in plenty of hits as well.

    • Well, i don’t know if even names like Lee min Ho or Kim Soo Hyun would be able to rise the ratings of dramas like WYWS,HS,…The good ratings recently didn’t have big names but solid actors. It’s time to give the chance to another actors who are in the field since some time and were overshadowed by Big names . Lee Jong Suk, Ha Ji Won, Han Ye Seul, Lee jun Ki, moon Chae Won…to name a few ones..all their dramas were failures.

  3. I am not sad. I always prefer the actors in mid 30s. With the void left behind, perhaps I can dream to have more of the likes of Kim Nam Gil, Lee Joon Gi, Lee Sang Yoon, Joo Ji Hoon. So no, am not complaining.

    • So many actors in the 30s who could do with a career revival! Like Kang Ji Hwan and Jang Geun Seok. HB could also make a drama comeback and LDW could do more lead roles in good dramas. LTYN was great for KMNG and Black for SSH. Its time to focus on the 30s actors who have been trapped in bad roles to get some limelight.

      • JGS? He is not 30 yet… but why is there no enlistment news on him, is he exempted for whatever reasons, does anyone know?

      • Isn’t he an 87 liner like LMH? He’s older than 89 line LJS that much I recall.

        Looks like he’s been exempted because I don’t remember hearing anything about his enlistment.

      • Oh yeah right… he is August 2017… hahaha thot he was younger…. sorry! He is a good actor, just a little weird, or maybe eccentric is a better word? ?

  4. Its only a matter of one year. They just need to get through 2018 by 2019 most of them will be back.

    LSG is already back and JIW will be coming back next year. LJS has still not enlisted and there is always PJH. The 40s actors are also coming back to dramas next year like CSW, SJS and LBH. SJK will also be looking for a new drama next year at some point and Lee Je Hoon might do another drama next year maybe Signal 2!

    Not to mention PHS and JDG are doing Suits next year and CJH is also there. Even without rookie stars who directors never seem to want to bet on, there are plenty of established actors in the early 30s and 40s who can play roles.

  5. Well there’s Lee Seunggi, Park Seojoon, Song Joongki, Yoo Ahin and Lee Jongsuk left from the late 80 liners.
    There’s also an abundance of 90-liners rising fast lately.

    But does it really matter? K-dramas like to reuse the same actors anyway. I swear I’ve been seeing repeated faces this year. Even without enlistment, people like Lee Minho and Kim Soohyun only does films or come back to dramaland when there’s a big project.

  6. I don’t agree with K media on this one. there is still so many eligible and talented actors to replace them but the question is,is the actors left behind being offered better projects with respect to good scripts to enable them make a comeback?

  7. Lol they are worried that they will have to start exerting more effort, stop slacking and stop relying on visual young-in actors to sell their dramas abroad and actually focus on writing better scripts and being creative.If their primary target is Korea.The demographic of the drama audience ranges from 20s to 40s ahjummas.The majority of the watchers being ahjummas.So the above 30s actors is closer to their ages and more relatable for selling fantasies?.

    Also whats this about big hits?This year, its the above 30 actors and actresses who have delivered big hits..compare the ratings and quality for:

    My Sassy Girl
    Suspicious Partner
    The King Loves
    Kim Soo Hyun’s last drama project was in 2015? and his latest movie(enough said)
    Legend of the Blue Sea
    Kang Ha Neul went off without leading a drama!

    Secret Forest
    Queen of Dignity
    Seven Day Queen
    Avenger’s Club
    Because it is my first life

    There are still plenty to choose.Jo In Sung, Hyun Bin, Gong Yoo, Lee Dong Wook.Jo seung Woo.Younger one:Yoo Seung Ho, Yeo Jin Goo.Is Park Bo Gum really going soon?Jang Geuk Suk and LJS need to get going too.Lets go to boot camp everybody?.

    • lol exactly.

      Kang Haneul went off without leading a drama but as the co-lead of a hit movie starring him+ Park Seo Joon (who is done with military and had a hit drama in Fight My Way… at 30 in Korean age).

      There is no lack of talent, but the producers are just whining because they want famous names. It’s the same reason why they used to say ‘there are no 20something actresses so we only give roles to idols no matrer how shit their acting is’ a few years ago – they don’t want the talent, they only want the fame.

  8. I kind of agree with the producers, it took them some time to propel these men into superstars when Hyun Bin and the likes went to military and now they are left with a similar gap. Of course there is Park Bo Gum and YSH but there isn’t enough young 20s male stars. These stars are flexible in terms of matching 20s and 30s year old actresses. The writers and producers should start writing more about middle aged 30s men to cater for HB, KNG, LJG, and others but they seem more interested in doing films and don’t have the same worldwide popularity as LMH and KSH.

    • The 93 line only has YSH because PBG is apparently heading for military service. The 20s mostly just has idols these days actually because LHW has yet to make a mark and JS hasn’t been able to break out of secondary and supporting roles yet. NJH is there but even he is a model actor and not very good. DO is very good as an idol actor but he has no interest in dramas.

      Be the early 20s or late 20s there isn’t many popular and talented stars so its better to concentrate on the 30s actors who have skill and experience under their belt.

      • I don’t think it’s true that PBG is heading for service now. Apparently that they have to renew their physical exam every 5 years if they are not planning to go yet. The 1st exam was when he’s 19, and now he’s 24. The timeline fits. Though I don’t mind if he’s going soon, just as long as he left us with a great project before.

    • Nah..the late 20s and early 30s and even mid 30s even late 30s actresses would gain more by working with the experienced actors anyway. For example, take early 30s actress like MCW,HHJ,PMY,etc match them with the mid 30s actors e.g JJH,LDW,JJS,LJW etc.Or the late 20s actress like PSH,KJW,KGE,PBY etc and match them with the early 30s actors e.g SJK,YYS,PHJ as for the early 20s actresses, they are not many of them already, so its naught.the teens like the ‘three Kims’..plenty of teen actors they can work with, these are the kinds of tslents that need the spotlight but are not having the opportunity.As for mid-30s, late 30s, early 40s like HJW,LBY,SHK,JJH,GHJ etc..their options are limitless.The producers have no excuse here.

      • The problem is kdrama is obsessed with pretty which is why you get a potential paring of HJH opposite SYJ. How can someone like HJH ever measure up to limitless talent and aura of SYJ! Castings like this are the reason producers are complaining of lack of 20s actors but what they instead should be doing is writing scripts for 30s and 40s actors where they can act opp each other instead of 20 somethings.

      • Hong Jonghyun from The Kings Love and Son Ye Jin have been offered the lead roles in Noona Who Buys Me Food.

  9. Well young man 20 star male nowadays is not as talent as their previous generation anyway, so i won’t miss them that much. It’s time for an underrated actor in their thirties to fill their place. Please I just need SJK and another new talent actor coming

  10. I won’t miss them. The 30s actors are much more handsome, charismatic and talented. I think this is one of the reason why k dramas lost their touch. The 30s batch that was in their 20s always produced great dramas. So Ji Sub, Gong Yoo, Jo In Sung, and more.They’re incomparable with those list actors. Taecyeon? Nugu? XD

    • Yeah Taecyeon isn’t exactly a charismatic actor lol. First Kim Soo Hyun and now Woo Do Hwan ended up stealing the spotlight in projects that were supposed to be his showcase as leading man, he just doesn’t compare to real actors.

  11. I think most of you forget the fact that these 30+ actors are mostly not the drama type they mostly go for movies but again it’s because they don’t get intriguing scripts.. Writers and PD should step their game up cause sincerely most of the dramas during now are just so bland,repetitive and visually poor…. I also think that why most thirty plus actors don’t do drama is because it kinda diminishes their value,kinda!!! When they ere in movies…

  12. Nahhh, they still have park bogum, yoo seungho, park hyungsik, and senior actors like hyunbin, lee dongwook, so jisub, etc…
    Solid script is the most important thing for the success

  13. Solid writing is needed not popular actor but popular names brings the ratings. Gong yoo, so ji sub, jo in sung, song joong ki, park bogum, yoo ahin, yoo sueng ho, kim nam gil, lee joon ki there are plenty of them who are combinations of talent and popularity.

  14. ….Taeceyeon? Delivering a huge hit? Among all of those names, one of those things is not like the others lol.

    And kdrama producers can suck it up and cast some new talent in leading men roles instead of relying on the same old. There are plenty of talented young actors (including those who already served) to fill those places, look at Park Seo Joon, Yoon Kyun Sang, Yoo Seung Ho and even Woo Do Hwan. Not to mention Park Bo Gum, Park Hyung Shik etc who still have time to go before army service.

  15. I don`t see a problem. They can cast actors in their 30s or 40s. Same with the actresses. They are experienced actors but the leading roles are becoming fewer for them.

  16. well, at least lee seung gi is back. they also still have the following to choose from:

    park seo joon
    song joong ki
    yoon shi yoon
    kim jae wook
    jo jong seok
    park hyungsik

  17. Personaly, I miss Kim Soo Hyun, Kang Ha Neul and Ji Chang Wook. But to be honest, there are a lot of good actors who can play role aged between 25 and 35. I understand they need big name to find money for the production. But lastly, big name didn’t really help in ratings.

    But the problem, it’s a lot of actors who had big success in dramas didn’t act in drama after army, but prefered act in movies.

  18. I can see why K-producers are upset. China’s ban of Korean celebrities is now over but all the popular Hallyu leading stars are off to military or are about to go.

    • Is it over? Then expect more idol castings. If Hallyu stars are gone then only idols can ensure the selling of dramas to China.

      • I don’t think that is necessary true. China viewers can differentiate between good and bad actors and they know when a drama is worth a watch. I will believe the ban is over when the Hallyu stars start having fan meets there. I’ve not seen any yet.

      • The audience can only make a difference between good or bad dramas if the drama airs in the country in the first place. Unless a drama is a big ratings hit like Signal or Reply 1988 it won’t even air in China if it does not have a popular name attached. Under rated dramas like BITFL and Buamdong will never be sold to China unless its at a very cheap price because no famous faces to draw an audience. The Chinese have enough good dramas of their own to watch they watch Korean dramas because of their interest in the stars mostly.

        This is the reason Manhole sold at a high price to Japan before turning out to be a complete dud. Not to mention Uncontrollably Fond did very well in China because of KWB popularity despite not doing well in ratings in Korea.

      • I don’t know what dramas are sold to China and what is broadcast there since I don’t live there. However, I do find it strange how Douban website rate these dramas if it’s not aired there. For example, they gave WYWS 8.5, Baumdong 8.9 and secret forest 9.2.

      • I believe it’s over because a Chinese drama starring Lee Dahae has been permitted to air. And a Korean girl group (Mamamoo) has been featured on TV, albeit on a less viewed channel like Shenzhen TV.

      • @lala, I’ve heard rumours they are slowly relaxing the ban but of course there is nothing official. If the ban was off, the first person to benefit would be LJS because he is the most popular Hallyu star there and he has a currently airing drama.

      • true. it would take some time for the ban to be completely off. but i don’t see Korean actors getting cast in Chinese productions again. at most they will just allow them to hold fanmeets and concerts, and air the already filmed productions.

    • Korean dramas are not only sold to China but many other Asian countries as well. Yeah, it’s great to give the less famous a chance, but production companies are not going to fetch top dollars for their drama exports with less famous actors. As well, famous faces also translate to more product placements and advertisements during the local run.

      Maybe those ahjussis others have mentioned are better actors, but they don’t necessarily attract funds to the project.

      • @another abc First, lets talk about hallyu:
        From the “Ahjussis”mentioned(not reaĺly ahjusshis?, most of them are still in oppa territory to me). I will pick a few.
        They want to sell their drama or attract investors from there, for example South East Asia(Phillipines, Indonesia, Singapore etc.) Song Joong Ki can cover that one.Park Bo Gum too if he will still be around.Park Hyun Sik seems also to be gaining momentum in SEA.

        Plus SJK marriage to Song Hye Kyo who has a significant presense there(China)(from what we see in the media), added bonus in terms of connections.Add also Park Hae Jin to his connection to China.

        They want to attract investors from North America or sell to Taiwan and Japan.Lee Jun Ki says hi.Maybe, in the case of Lee Jun Ki and Park Hae Jin, the impact would not be exactly same as Kim Soo Hyun and Lee Min Ho in exports, but the difference wouldnt be that huge.There are many hallyu stars but these are the ones that come to my mind immediately.

        Second,Talking about Cfs and product placements especially Korea.Gong Yoo is topping the brand advertisements on the regular, even without a drama this year and he has always been gold with Cfs.Jo In Sung and Hyun Bin are also not exactly nugu “ahjusshi” in this matter. In fact, I think if the records havent changed. As late as last year.Hyun Bin was the top highest earner/ep for drama above aĺl the young hallyu stars. These three combined in Korea can feel that gap.Oh, Lee Seung Gi is back too.

        In addition, just like how the LMH late 80s generation,took over from the early 80 liners line when they went to the army.Its time for fresh blood to start headlining.There is lots of 20s talent. All they need to do is stop being wimps and let them shine.Introduce one by one.

        The problem is not a lack of hallyu stars or whatever.The issue now is as everyone else said, its consistent mediocre scripts, miscastings and productions half-assing their jobs in kdrama.Thats why now everything is just meh..

      • @RubyRed, lol, you sound like a salesperson trying to sell me grapefruit when I want to buy oranges. Grapefruit is nice too and has all the health benefits of oranges but my kids really want oranges for breakfast.

        Your points are valid but if it was that easy to come up refreshing ideas and plots rather than rely on young hallyu stars, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Surely they are aware of all the oppas/ahjussis you listed, but why are they still mourning over the loss of a group of actors for two years. As others have said, the more famous ones done with the military are not always willing to go back to dramas and would prefer movies. Even the ones that do dramas, they only do one per year at the most. With rising production costs, many producers are not readily willing to place bets on less popular stars and hope for the best.

  19. I would like to see LJG again and again. I would like to give gong yoo another chance cause I didnt like him in goblin. I like SSH in black, at last this role suits him. Who else there?? SJS maybe. They are very little whome I like in kdrama. I will try my best to watch more.

  20. Seriously? Shouldn’t they blame the men for waiting until the latest moment? Besides, who always wants males just fresh from cradle? I prefer actors in theirs 30’s.

  21. The only one that I will miss is Kang Ha Neul. It’s such a shame that he has yet to be the lead in a drama. Hopefully once he comes back from military service he will get his chance to truly shine.

  22. Miss Lee Min Ho terribly, been rewatching his dramas over and over again. Hopefully he will come back with drama as soon as he is discharged.

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