Lee Se Young Unexpectedly Shines as the Supporting Adorable Zombie in tvN’s Hwayugi

I had two opinion changes last December with two young K-actresses that I never connected with but changed my mind after their most recent roles. The first was Chae Soo Bin in I am Not a Robot as she won me over with a very warm performance. The second and even more impressive is Lee Se Young with a supporting role in currently airing fantasy drama Hwayugi. It’s really hard to scene-steal a drama in a small supporting role, even harder when the main cast is stacked with very charismatic leads Lee Seung Gi and Cha Seung Won. This reminds me of Yoon Kyun Sang‘s memorable breakout role as the older brother hyung in Pinocchio, a plot driver that humanizes the leads in how each reacts to how this character emotionally impacts their lives.

Everyone loves Zombie Bok Ja in Hwayugi, openly or reluctantly, and her plight may seen smaller compared to the other issues the leads are grappling with but their concern for her makes the drama less grandiose and more touching on the basic feelings of caring for someone who tries hard and wants so little other than to know who she is and why she died. Lee Se Young may have lucked into this nicely written role but she’s doing great performance, her emotions coming across so strong despite her limited physical movements and speaking cadences as a Zombie. She actually had her first leading lady role last year with The Best Hit and it wasn’t memorable to me at all so nice to see that she does have what it takes to keep up her carrier growth.


Lee Se Young Unexpectedly Shines as the Supporting Adorable Zombie in tvN’s Hwayugi — 20 Comments

  1. I am loving her. Nothing unexpected about it for me becoz once heard i heard Oh Yeon Seo will be the lead, i expected second leads to shine.

  2. I liked her already a lot in The best hit, she did well there. She has this “girl next door” vibe that makes easy to sympathize with her.
    I was glad to see her again in Hwayugi and she is delivering again. Hopefully Bu Ja will find her mother!!

  3. How funny the coincidence… Both actresses you’re giving a second chance to…. have gotten their break because of acting inhuman…

  4. I didn’t particularly like the drama The Best Hit either – very underwhelming- but I thought her acting was okay, just that the script sucked. But I find her very endearing in Hwayugi especially compared to the over-the-top and hard to connect with leads, second leads and supporting characters. She’s one of the few characters that ground the series for me and makes it more realistic and watchable. I think Lee Hong gi’s and Lee Se Young’s performances are the most outstanding ones to me in Hwayugi.

    • The drama was good the first few epis then it keeps running circle. I even forget that it was on. The actors are all good, but the stories doesnt go anywhere. Now its half way, i dont remember what has happened. With all the hypes and leads, its becoming a forgettable one.

  5. And I agree, I didn’t like Chae Soo Bin in any of the dramas I had seen her in prior to I Am Not A Robot, but her performance there endeared me to her and made me warm up to her as an actress. Now I’m eager to see what her next project would be.

    I feel the same way about Seo Ye Ji, I casually liked her before Save Me but that drama gave me a new appreciation for her acting skills.

  6. LSY has a lot of potential and I like the character she’s playing. The main lead couple’s story was interesting at first, but not they’re dragging the ‘Is your love genuine or not’ and ‘are you gonna kill me or not’ stories. LSG’s acting and charisma is what is great, not his character. With OYS, I don’t like either her character nor her acting, I don’t know why, I always though she was a great actress.

  7. Lead actors really have it hard. When the writing is bad, supporting actors get to shine and even overshadow them, sometimes to the point where their acting is called into question. Worst case is The Heirs. Now it seems like its happening in Hwayugi to Oh Yeonseo.

  8. I love Lee Se Young, she was great in Laurel Tree Tailors, I liked her in The Greatest Hit and she once again stands out Hwayugi. I agree that she does have a way of shining in every drama no matter how big or small the part.

    • Was waiting for someone to mention Laurel Tree. She was a scene stealer there as well. Her character annoyed me (just not that type of girl) but her performance was endearing and sincere and made a regularly grating personality lovable.
      Haven’t seen anything else. And may not. Hwajugi and haven’t quite jived yet.
      But with actors it only takes one character, one project, one team, one partner to garner some appreciation. The issue is never to think it’s anything beyond a fluke unless it happens more than twice (consecutively;).

  9. She’s really Great!!! I am afraid to admit it but I cried a lot on her last scene in the final episode. The story of a trainee, who was killed in a car accident and become a zombie, was so amazing. Every episode I await for her scenes. Lee Se Young has “this something” in her acting which shows great emotions to portray more of her character in the drama. Not just one character but three. Lee Se Young is great!!!
    Wishing you more projects to come.

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