Park Seo Joon Lead the Industry Insider Casting Number 1 Choice of Male Lead, Followed by Gong Yoo and then Hyun Bin

The competition to be the most sought after K-actor in casting calls is intense and this week K-ent industry insiders shared their view in an article on which actors are currently the most coveted among industry casting agents. Casting agents and production directors were asked which actor in 2021 currently is their #1 choice when it comes time to cast a project. Six votes went to Park Seo Joon in first place, followed by Gong Yoo with 5 votes, and then Hyun Bin got 4 votes. Rounding out the top 5 are Kim Soo Hyun and Kang Ha Neul who each got 3 votes each. So this group of 5 clearly dominates what industry folks with casting decision authority would like to land and that aligns with knowing how popular and/or critically acclaimed each is with not just hit dramas and movies but also winning as well as getting nominations for Best Actor awards in recent years. Other K-actors who got 1 vote including Song Joong Ki, Joo Ji Hoon, Ji Chang Wook, Jung Woo Sung, Jo Seung Woo, Park Jung Min, Jung Kyung Ho, Ryu Jun Yeol, Jang Ki Yong, and Song Kang.


Park Seo Joon Lead the Industry Insider Casting Number 1 Choice of Male Lead, Followed by Gong Yoo and then Hyun Bin — 167 Comments

  1. Pingback: Park Seo Joon Lead the Industry Insider Casting Number 1 Choice of Male Lead, Followed by Gong Yoo and then Hyun Bin - Kpopnchill - All About K-pop News

    • I think because his new real estet controversy.But doesn’t mind as long he kept getting offer script in movie and drama.

      • The poll wasn’t conducted on a short notice, so his estate scandal has nothing to do with it.

    • This is an obvious mediaplay…. Nothing to see here folks I don’t understand why mediaplay is so rampant in SK

      • Ugh.. I realized this much because the article felt like deja-vu and I was oh noo not another mediaplay

  2. Top 5 checks out, though surprised that Park Seo Joon is #1, and very surprised that Song Joong Ki doesn’t rank higher given the one-two movie-drama success punch he’s delivered with Space Sweepers and Vincenzo this year.

    Also…um…how is Ji Chang Wook still so in demand? The guy has not lead a huge drama hit…ever.

    No comment on Jang Ki Yong and Song Kang.

    • I think because JCW is a versatile actor. He is not afraid to try various genre & role no matter what the outcome.

      • Yeah ji chang wok versatile with 1% rating?He also has scandal with burning sun and madam lin.Ofcourse he versatile actor.

      • @Wonderland Yeah. Even with 1% rating as you said, why is he still in demand? You can’t seny that he indeed is a versatile actor. Did you saw him always playing a rich man role?

      • @chie I agree I think jcw is very talented and very charismatic (he killed it in empress ki and Litc) . If he had a knack for picking good projects then he’d be equally awesome as PSJ, KSH etc were in their roles. Tbh I think he’s more talented then the two I mentioned.I find the two actors (unpopular opinion) to be limited in a way but they do make smart choices.

      • @kailey b Regardless of JCW having a hit or none, he is really one of the versatile actors like PSJ as well who are both loved in and out of Korea.
        I love them both, and JCW is indeed different in all of his projects so far. Not the genre but the ACTING.

    • if i have to guess the biggest reason id say is despite all his flops domestically he still has MAJOR pull internationally. also he’s a half decent actor in his early 30s who is also attractive so there is still some market available for him

    • lol, JCW sucks at rom-coms and overall his acting pretty much the same from project to project. PSJ is definitely tops him in acting department and versatility. You don’t need to get “different project”. You need to be different in each project. That’s what is actual “versatility”. JCW basically always works with directors and writers who had previously great track record before him (and after him too). So, is the problem projects or his involvement in them? Who knows.

      • @mhm

        I disagree jcw sucks at romcoms with bad scripts who could do backstreet rookie or melting me softly justice? They are just badly written. I think PSJ is only better than JCW at comedy, I don’t see anyone playing his fight for my character as well as him.

        I like PSJ aswell but in terms of romantic chemistry he’s only had it with Kim ji won. He’s best onscreen chemistry was also with kang ha neul in midnight runners. Fortunately he’s moved on from rom coms which is good.

      • It’s not bad script. His comedic timing sucks, he delivers all his jokes and limes in same manner and tone. Not only his dramas are bland, he is bland in them too. If first “can’t be helped”, the second is something that can be helped, but he didn’t bother to step up his game. I dunno, call it’s an opinion, but I see his acting range as limited mostly by his own choice of line delivery.

        As for chemistry it’s just taste and nothing more. I still lack to see popularity between actors who end up marrying each other or dating. You see “chemistry” based on how much you like progress of the story and actors themselves, rather some mysterious “sparks”. For me PSJ had excellent acting chemistry with all his partners, evidently by how popular his projects are.

    • Sshhh! He still is. Number 1 in the world along side BTS as world tops for Kdrama and Kpop, respectively. That’s why AppleTV got him for the Pachinko role to get AppleTV operating in South Korea. The ranking is all by media play to get PSJ in the marvel universe. PSJ gets the most offer for casting (he gets paid less), but Lee Min Ho, Song Joong Ki, And Kim Son Hyun, get the ratings and the ads more return for the money. These three gets the directors and the producers’ choice to cast them. If any of the three turn down the part, then it’s offered to the current favourite. Get it? 8 know. I used to be in the industry.

  3. Impressed at how Park Seojoon has come a long way since hwarang lol after that trainwreck he has been in hit dramas, variety show, and movie since

    • Only lydia and adyjunjihyun claim lee min ho most high paid actor in south korea and most popular kdrama actor in the world.Lol.

    • Missing some names LMH, LJK, LSG, JJS, LJS..

      Sorry but I am surprise JCW is in the list, in comparison to many of his peers. Unless the salary scale is different.

      I am surprise how KHN is above SJK and JJH too.

      I wonder if being too expensive or cheaper to cast is taken into consideration because I am sure Eg LMH and JKY/SK rates are totally on a different scale. Also other factors such as how easy/difficult to work with (eg rookies don’t make as many demand or special requests etc). Nobody knows..

      I am more agreeable with the top 4 guys. Thought SJK should get the 5th place.

      Well it seems like the number of PDs being surveyed is very small. Personally I feel that a bigger sample size should be used for it to be more convincing as to who are really in demand. When there are so many with just one vote, it just don’t feel very legit.

  4. No Yoo ahin, Lee dohyun, Lee joonki, Jo insung, Lee seunggi? This list is bogus and media play by the actors agencies. No way Park seojoon ranks above Hyun bin and Gong yoo in anything.

    • The Korean entertainment industry insiders are talking about which Korean actors they want to cast. You, a non-Korean and outsider is dismissing their list as bogus and mediaplay just because some other Korean actors you like aren’t on the list? The entitlement of I-fans is just unbelievable. Tourists acting like you own the country and should have a say in how the natives run their affairs. No wonder K-netz call y’all I-roaches.

    • The production companies they surveyed are in the article linked by Koala lol Kim Taeri topped the actresses list with one drama it is definitely not a mediaplay

      • Kim Tae Ri wasn’t even selected for KOFIC but she topped this list? Somebody paid for sure.

      • @Oval well to be fair a lot of people in her J Wide Agency didn’t appear on the list. Like Jeon Yeo Been, Lee Bo Young, and etc. It seems agencies like Saram, BH, KeyEast were included heavily, meanwhile Soop didn’t participate.

        The Kofic selection is weird lol, there are idols/actors who aren’t even film talents nor have much to say. Kim hye soo, Jo Seung woo,Gong Yoo, and the like weren’t included or prob declined which puts the list in an odd spot if it’s mertis no offense.

    • This is definitely media play and big agencies like Studio Dragon and Drama House didn’t even weigh in. Agree PSJ could never be more in demand than HB and LSG is literally the ‘Nation’s Son’ he’s is always in demand. Imagine never having him, LJS or LMH in a list the biggest Hallyu stars of their generation.

      • Just because your fave is not on the list? Smh. PSJ is even rumored to be casted in a Marvel movie. He deserves that #1 spot.

      • My fav is not high on the list. But, i am not piss like sour grapes here

      • He don’t deserve a no. 1 spot just because he’s cast in a Marvel movie. What logic is that? Ma Dong Seok should be number one them. He’s an actual lead character. How is Park Seo Joon more deserving of his spot than Hyun Bin who has been a top star for almost 20 years? Please this list is lies.

    • PSJ and his agency love to media play. Don’t believe any list that has his name on top. Next you’ll see him media playing his salary and 35 sec Marvel cameo.

      • What’s wrong with PSJ being on top of the list? I still remember his humble begginings before reaching where he is right now. And no problem if he will only have 35 sec. screentime in a marvel movie. At least it’s a new achievement for him getting casted in a hollywood project.

      • Park seo joon project right now.
        -Concrete utopia
        -Gyeongseong creature
        Lee min ho who?who?

      • He is the least known actor to ever mediaplay about himself and his achievement. All that reported by media is actually his achievements. So stay pressed lol

      • Don’t be so salty, it’s bad for your health ?

        Let’s look at PSJ actual work/results in the last few years to see if it’s just “media play” like you say

        Fight My Way(2017): 13 percent ratings, top in buzz of all tv programmes while it was airing

        Midnight Runners (2017) – 5.6 million ticket sales

        Secretary Kim (2018): first cable drama to get higher ratings than the competing terrestrial dramas

        The Divine Fury(2019) – not so successful, only 1.6 million tickets sold

        Parasite (2019) – only had a cameo but movie is a smash hit and Bong Joon Ho mentions him in interviews to single out his part as pivotal

        Itaewon Class (2020) – smash hit, 14 percent ratings on cable

        And you really think, with those stats, PDs won’t want to cast him? Bong Joon Ho isn’t exactly one to just cast a pretty face for popularity…. at least PSJ biggest successes are in the recent past and not like 10+ years ago unlike some.

    • I swear. She’s going to post maniacally with a 1000 different emails and usernames but the same godawful English and delusional arguments.

      • You think me like adyjunjihyun?Make different name and email?Yeah keep delusional sweetheart.

  5. Might be it’s something to do to Song Joong Ki rarely act in critically acclaimed movie since werewolf Boy. His acting in space sweeper is fantastic though. don’t get why he doesn’t get award for that movie. Might be it something to do with his image as trendy actor so the vote is only 1 vote. I don’t care… All I care is I want him go back shining in a good character again.

    • @missjb

      Meh SJK is having an awesome year though. He was incredible in vincenzo, and that was rightfully a hit.

      He’s also soo underrated in arthdal chronicles, that right there showed his verstality. With these kinds of lists its all hype..

    • Kailey_b: Soong Joong Ki is so underappreciated in terms of acting. for werewolf boy and the innocent man, he deserved a daesang worthy award. fortunately, he got that with DOTS. I just pretended it’s for his drama Innocent Man. lol and his performances in arthdal is not getting credit enough. with no nomination. why? does it because of middling rating and audience general bad opinion with the drama?

      he got nominated in for vincenzo instead, does it makes sense? … he got nominated in drama Which I think it’s not his best performances IMO. it’s to the point anyone will get the impression he get those nomination just because his drama is trending.

      @lai pei yi: but he only got one vote.

      • I think SJK did great in Vincenzo but the role required more versatility than depth, so I never expected he would win at Baeksang. IMO though, that doesn’t mean he was not as good as other actors, just his role was not the kind of role Baeksang prefers.
        I agree about his being snubbed for AC and Innocent man. He at least got nominated for the Werewolf boy, but not being nominated for AC and Innocent man is a crime!

      • @msjb – we can disagree but SJK was a revelation to me and others in Vincenzo. The rannnnnge of acting his displayed was incredible. It was like an audition tape for every genre out there. He was on fire.

      • @missjb

        Agreed he seems to be more appreciated nowadays though. Even for me, it was his role in arthdal chronicles that made me a fan. Haha, I’ll also pretend his nomination for vincenzo is for arthdal chronicles. TBF he was amazing in vincenzo too especially the last few episodes when the show took a darker turn.

      • You are so right. That’s why I understand why Song Joong Ki is being thought of overrated by some, despite being a really great actor in my opinion. His best roles for me actually are the ones not getting any awards. For me, his best roles in TV are Arthdal Chronicles and Tree with Deep Roots. But he got his baeksang nominations in Vincenzo and DOTS. He’s good in those shows, but he’s much better in the first two dramas I mentioned. For me, Arthdal is his best performance, should have had some acting nominations back in 2020. Alas, the people I had talked to who are fans of other actors (in facebook) know him only for DOTS, Vincenzo, and for his divorce.

      • It does not need to make sense for versatility, but to be able to made it in the list, it means he is good for the korean judges in charge baeksang.That means more than some song kang or whatever idols these days.

    • It’s all media play. LMH is so frickin expensive, Korea can’t afford him anymore or ever since he’s never on these lists.

      • Korean writer and director can’t afford him since the king eternal monarch only get 5%-7% with expensive budget 30 billion won.

      • Dun pose as me please. I’m flattered this site produced another lydia so I HAD TO change my handle to Lydia1 and now there’s a Lydia2 too? I never said Lee Min Ho is the most in demand actor by directors but No.1 for investors especially the institutional ones due to global distribution hence leading to him being the highest PAID. Let’s see how Apple plays the marketing when Pachinko drops. This order is correct. PSJ is the most value for money actor in Korea. His rates are not stupid and he always brings the ratings. The problem is casting him. He is super picky on scripts and unless its a well known writer and directing team or those he has worked with and trust, its almost impossible to entice him using big name costars or shameless money. That he can get easily with his CF deals alone which require minimal effort and the number of contracts keep piling on. Hyun Bin and Gong Yoo are the original hallyu superstars and since they also do minimal projects, its always a casting coup when they accept projects.

      • For LMH the ratings don’t matter. Watch Traveler 2 and you’ll know. RJY and LJH were so embarrassed because the woman who watched Kdrama only knows LMH. Never even heard of them or their dramas but she’s watched Kdramas for years. Both them felt embarrassed and vowed to work harder.

      • Paging KOALA – what’s going on with the comments section and submissions not going through? If Lydia1 is gracing us with her pearls of insight, we want to be able to read them!

    • @LH – Reply is up finally. For those curious why Kim Taeri took top spot. Same reasoning. Her crossover to drama from movies was a huge success (Mr. sunshine) and she was super in demand after by drama producers but her extreme picky led to a long lead time in between. There is a huge demand for actresses in mid 20s to early 30s (mostly due to the character bible) but if you look at actual star power in that bracket, less than a handful.

  6. Other actor fans are so bitter… it doesn’t diminish others’ status just because Park Seojoon topped it lmao he is a good actor who can bring in ratings and international buzz and probably has lower pay per episode than Hyun Bin and Gong Yoo if I were a casting agent I would cast him too lmao

  7. Is Park Seo Joon considered a Hallyu star now? Is Itaewon Class considered a Hallyu hit?

    I have nothing against PSJ – more so confused what defines a Hallyu star / Hallyu hit nowadays. I didn’t know he’s THAT big of a star.

    • There was an instance in Youn’s Stay where Choi Wooshik’s mom was teasing him when will he be a top star because his BFF Park Seojoon is already one, or something like that so yes I guess he is but still not at the level of others obviously

    • He’s popular but not a hallyu star. Never makes it only any legitimate lists that measure hallyu fame or popularity. CWS is being humble but he is 100X more popular than PSJ.

      • First, don’t put CWS in the same sentence as PSJ name. Second, ask CWS attend acting classes, before he gets anywhere near any of the name in this list. Third, PSJ has CFs in three Asian countries, excluding Korea and he is one of the most mentioned star in Japan. Not Hallyu star lol

  8. Bit surprising how Kim Tae Ri topped in the actress category with 6 votes even when she has only one drama whose success wasn’t even solely carried by her….
    I guess production houses are looking for bankable plus young actors..Maybe that’s why Psj and KTR ranked first.

    But i agree.. it’s quite surprising how Lee Min Ho didn’t get a single vote even when the likes of song kang and jang ki young managed to get one each.Like okay TKEM flopped domestically but so did the dramas from song kang and jang ki young…and lee minho is far more popular than them..Btw i am not his fan but just curious.

    • maybe because Lee mIn ho is expensive I mean TKEM had a huge budget so i guess song kang and jang ki young are cheaper and recently their international hype is also a contributing factor I mean nevertheless and my roommate is a gumiho is hella famous among international audience and song kang latest projects displayed his versatility and he is hella famous internationally maybe due to most of his projects being Netflix originals (easy access for international fans)

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  10. I stopped reading immediately I saw psJ as number one.

    LMH the biggest star actor ever outside Korea voted many times by fans all over the world back to back even while doing nothing is not in the list and you want me to take this clowns seriously.

    Even if LMH is number 2 on the list, I will still reject t it bcos he is always number one… No one comes close.

  11. He is quite stiff in itaewon class. The female lead stole the show for sure. In term of acting.. he’s good but not great. So i guess the rank is because he is popular now

  12. Gong yoo and hyun bin doing media play?I don’t think so.Only kim soo hyun is king media play forever at least he get best actor nomination in baeksang wlaward.

  13. Both actor and actress lists are rubbish to promote the actors starring in their upcoming dramas. All the production houses just voted for whatever actor or actress appear in their dramas to use the list for promotions. Lee Byunghun would have been the first name on this list otherwise. Kim TaeRi getting more votes than Son Yejin? What a joke and if she was that popular what is she doing in a drama with Nam Joohyuk and Bona? Neither of them can act and the writer only has one good drama to her name. And who in their right minds would give more votes to Park Shinhye over Jun Jihyun and none for Kim Taehee? Rubbish lists both of them.

  14. Oh yeah, because industry insiders who actually has all facts and results in their hands care so much about what bitter fans of other actors has to say about Park Seo Joon, who has a talent, popularity both in SK and Hallyu, CFs and social media following on his side. He was also first in Forbes out of all actors in 2021. The guy is also can play different type of roles and can take different age ranges (most popular to write for as male lead). PSJ is overall win for all production companies out there. Known to be a humble, hardworking and someone with whom all enjoys working with. While you all sleeping in the past, he is steadily moving forward. Deal with it lol

    • Yes industry insiders who can be bought with money and have their own self interest can easily manipulate any list they want. Awesome Ent is a no name agency media playing the hell out of a few PSJ dramas that did well. KHA hit 28% for her drama and won Baeksang but you don’t see YG media playing her fame and success.

      • Oh yes. Here we come “no name agency, but can manipulate media outlet and production companies”. Of course lol Keep telling yourself that, if it makes you feel better, whatever makes your bitter life happy, I guess. Facts will remain facts))
        What one simple list made by insiders can turn fans into lol

      • Are there any evidence abt the media play? Or you are saying it because your bias is not in the list.

    • @laughingevenharder Hahaha… You’re right. This is just a list that can be changed every year. And many got pressed. And yeah, I didn’t know that a “No name agency” has the power to manipulate media and pay so much for media play. LOL… Let’s see after Koala post their female counterpart. Hahaha…

  15. Only 14 prods took part in this poll of course you wouldn’t see evryone here.this year,your oppars aren’t included,does that make the list not legit?i’d say no

      • If they only read up on the production houses who voted and which actors and actresses have current and past projects with them, the list (both male and female) would make so much sense. Will the production house with

  16. Speaking from the perspective of occasional K drama viewers (which most of my friends and family are), they would only know 3 names here:
    1. Lee Min Ho (BoF)
    2. Kim So Hyun (MLFTS)
    3. Song Joong Ki(DoTS)
    That’s because they had super hits that made them instantly recognizable.
    The rest would simply be some Korean oppas for them.

    • Not sure about your friends
      but even casual kdrama fans would know Hyun Bin for having 3 huge hits. His recent being probably the biggest hallyu hit around the world (thanks to Netflix).

      • The ranking of the top 20 most-watched TV series last year only have IOTNBO though. I thought Cloy was way bigger but I dont know why it was not seen on the list.

      • May i know your source..?? Please don’t bring flixpatrol..Last year cloy ranked lower because flixpatrol started tracking since April and cloy was already over by feb..If you want to know abt longevity .
        In 2021 first half analysis, Cloy ranks as the 9th most watch kdrama despite being from 2019..meanwhile the other rankholders were recent releases like vincenzo or recently added to nf. IOTNBO was not found anywhere.

      • This is the list for 2021 first half and they used flixpatrol again which uses the daily ranking system and then gives the dramas certain points based on the rank in a particular country which is then added up and compared…(but in 2020 they left out the first few months and hence cloy ranked low).

        IOTNBO was indeed popular but there is a reason why Hyun bin is bagging those international brands …all courtesy to cloy.

      • @icchi my comment disappeared anyways..It was mentioned in the article provided that Netflix started giving out daily ranks starting from late Feb 2020.
        However cloy already ended by the 2nd week of feb.. That’s why i said the comparison wasn’t fair.

  17. I dont really care about the other four but seeing Kang Ha Neul slowly climbing his way up from being side character and second male lead to top most sought after in casting is really a proud moment for a fan like me. All da best to your future projects Kang Ha Neul.

  18. I don’t really care as an actor should be cast only because he fits the role . Minari, Parasite, … great casts and no Park Seo Joon, Hyun Bin,… or Song Hye Kyo, Son Ye Jin are in theses master pieces . The same goes for other countries .

      • Technically PSJ is in Parasite (briefly) but I get your point. This list is just production companies giving their top names. It doesn’t mean they will get their top picks, it doesn’t mean that every one of them will turn out quality projects either. So many other factors play a role. This is just a list of who is currently in demand. And it mostly checks out.

  19. Why are K-celebs still mediaplaying in 2021 and we took a fresh breathe of air from the exessive mediaplay taking place back in 2010-2015 where mediaplay slowed down after that period and it continued to slow down but I see blantant mediaplay still is happening all tho not frequent as before but can’t believe some celebrities still utilize it.. It gets kinda of lazy as time passes by and we are over here like DUDE this is so obvious please

  20. This has come up before. The tracking began well after CLOY started airing so its not reflective of its global audience while it aired. CLOY was not only a huge ratings hit in SK (highest TVN drama ever and 3rd highest cable ever), but it did well across Asian markets including a massive hit in Japan (ranked #1st place on Netflix for like 5 months and over a year in top 10) and Philippines has gone HB crazy, but most importantly it did well in North America where it landed in the top 10 in the US during its run and has every major outlet (Forbes, Variety, Time Magazine, etc…) write about it and recommend it. Daniel Henney just co-starred with HB in Confidential Assignment 2 and gave an interview where he said every back home in LA asked him about working with HB because CLOY is so well known there. And its huge in India because it got dubbed. There is a whole subreddit about CLOY on reddit with people discovering it every day.

  21. Wow so many pressed fans because their oppa isn’t #1 and PSJ is. I don’t even like the guy. Personally I feel he is overhyped and quite limited. but if we’re going by track record in the past 3-4 years, he’s had the best one. The moderate hit FFMW and then 2 consecutive hit dramas. He’s also nominated twice for Best Actor in Baeksang in that time period and has the most CFs for actor category, I’m talking in recent years. The others ranked lower than him either had flops, underperform, had no drama, or were in military. Of course production companies look at a stable ratings guarantee, and he offers that because starting 2017, his drama results have not decreased but rather steadily increased.

  22. People who can’t deal and cry “mediaplay” are the first in line to also cry “legit” if they favorite hit “1st place”. Because that’s the only that matter lol “Being in top team/winning teams. The things is all those production companies care about first and foremost about success in their own country. All that “Hallyu” still going to watch whenever is popular in SK. Simple facts is it’s not a mediaplay. No one just asked your “very important” opinion, because you’re not important.

  23. PSJ (11 votes) was second to KSH (12 votes) in last year’s list but now some of you are crying mediaplay because your faves aren’t at the top. Quite pathetic actually.

  24. Why do people always think it’s mediaplay when their favourite actor isn’t first? I honestly don’t think it’s surprising that PSJ is first. His salary demands are probably less and his dramas have been doing really well. It would be more surprising if people weren’t casting him.

  25. Lmao, global distribution and PPL king is such a cash cow, yet doesn’t even get a single vote from production companies.

      • According to our resident “insider”, he’s so picky and expensive that directors and producers don’t consider him unless they have connection with him or something special on the plate to move him. So yeah, you look at the dude’s filmography and you’ll see how special his dramas are, lol.

      • @bbc – Lydia1 has been right about many things and I appreciate her insightful takes. Just take everything on internet with a dash of salt. Shrug.

      • @Ophelia, She is quite the fan girl, isn’t she? Her desperate attempts to salvage LMH’s reputation for being largely ignored by k-ent. Lol. Watch her add her 2 cents to this thread too to defend him.

    • @BBC – Lydia1 was talking about PSJ being picky, not LMH.

      I don’t think LMH is too bothered he isn’t on this list. Dude is probably using his $$$ paycheck to wipe away his tears.

      • @bbc – I see what you mean.

        Well..what can I say…LMH’s pickiness doesn’t stack up against his actual filmography. He really is going to ride off that BoF hype for the rest of his career/life.

      • @Ophelia. Her claims are contradictory and biased on so many levels, if he’s such a cash cow, he will be casting directors top choice no matter how bad his acting is. Directors and producers need investors money to get their projects moving. So why can’t he even get one vote if he’s such an investors magnet???

      • @bbc because there are a lot of companies and directors that don’t bother. They know chances are slim, he is not the best actor. They still have a passion for the business that is not about money but for producing a memorable production (still need ppls and broadcaster + global distribution support to get that 5-8mil USD to make a decent production). But if you are KES and everything is midas and wants LMH + fund houses that only ask for him, you get the 30 mil dollar financing even before any pen is lifted. The way you take my comments is very narrow minded but I don’t fault you because you are not in the industry and don’t deal with the day ins and outs and don’t deal with the weariness and reality of it. It is what it is.

      • @Lydia, thank goodness the industry reps polled every year all have a passion for the business and not just make their picks based on making money, even if it’s just a wish list. It’s a pity KES has to compromise her midas touch just to get funding because she shouldn’t have any trouble casting male leads with both talent and investor appeal. But alas, they only want LMH.

      • @bbc. Nay – KES likes him. They work well together. Thats why she always want to work with certain actors. Shes probably the only writer and maybe Park Ji Eun that the hallyu stars will move for. Even Park Ji Eun paired him with Jeon Ji Hyun. Star writer fees are not far from the actors. Who can attempt those numbers unless its institution funds.

      • @Lydia1 ya, you’re right, they work really well together. No one does cringe better than LMH. I don’t know why some people say she gives him all her duds.

      • @Lydia1 – very curious, who are these institutional funds, are they international or based in Korea? Do they also have a preferred actress? I used to work in a brokerage firm as an analyst so I get you saying that, they have deep pockets

      • @Q. Mostly korean vc and fund houses which picks up entertainment projects in their portfolios. Some have chinese money as well bankrolling their investments. Some are… I cannot say it aloud. Erm… funds derived here and there but managed through a fund house for these projects. ?

      • Knew it there is Chinese money mixed in of course haha I think i picked up what you’re not aloud to say ? interesting, these are more of “private” funds. Can’t imagine pension funds and banks actually investing in drama productions haha thanks @Lydia1

      • He might be PPL materia or popular globally. But, he is definitely not major daesang, cannes or etc award materials.

      • @Lai Pei Yee – That’s true. The reason Lee Min Ho is consistently absent on these lists is because it’s embarrassing for industry professionals to want cast an actor that is known for poor acting, not because he is out of reach like his fan Lydia1 said. I trust media reporting with legit sources and reporting history rather than an anonymous fan on the internet.

  26. Are you kidding me
    My hyunbin is always and will be number one all the time. So forget about your survey .

    • Binnie is #1 in my heart (but I do like PSJ and GY) but seems his focus is on movies lately. And after filming 2 back to back it seems he will take a break the rest of the year. Maybe he’ll do a drama again in 2022?

  27. Interesting, some omissions which surprised me. For starters, I thought for the 1 Vote category, someone like Ji Sung would gotten in. I guess they looked at actors who have had Hallyu success and/or actors who are more known in film, but PDs want to give a chance to see them hone a drama. Or even Yoo Ah In too. Jung Hae In seems like a flash in the pan, b/c 2 yrs ago he would’ve been on the list.

    Not to sound like a broken record, but if I were Lee Je Hoon, I would feel dejected. Dude had 2 solid dramas this year, & even then he’s not that popular enough to be even given 1 vote. I guess his high fees (similar to Song Joong Ki/Hyun Bin) don’t add up when its a genre outside crime/thriller? But then Park Jung Min, Jung Kyung Ho, and Ryu Jun Yeol are on the list, so what’s the criteria then? I guess their talents/average fee compared to the rest make them hot to PDs/Writers b/c they aren’t super well known the obvious picks, but have potential to hit it big. Altho Jung Kyung Ho (talent aside) being included is a bit random ngl.

    • Jung Hae-in was on top a few years ago but he will be back with Snowdrop soon. He is super talented and held his own against Son YeJin in Pretty Noona and Han JiMin in One Spring Night. Don’t count him out yet!

      • Jung hae in get famouse by han ji min and son ye jin lol.Last time his drama only hit 2%!He can’t carried drama alone with his name.

    • @pam – Actually lee je hoon salary at 100k is getting common and nowhere anything near what hyun bin and gong yoo bank. Yes – valuable actor but sadly per what we discussed in other articles stuck in same bracket as Yoo Yeon Seok etc. Btw I realise alot of arguments don’t take in consideration the marriage/single angle of the actors. Once they are married, esp the actors, they do lack attractiveness as leading man casting as its hard to sell a love story/romcom once their other half is known. Thats why they usually tackle other genres after marriage never the single man meets a single woman kinda roles.

      • @Lydia1 Oh hey! I’m glad you responded to my reply! Yes, we had this convo about actors like LJH and the like not getting the big offers despite their status/credentials. Interesting, if he’s getting 100K (Despite Signal being his big hit show), then Ryu Jun Yeol is prob. getting a similar amount (Ryu was like #27 or so on the Forbes Celeb List a few yrs back).

        Damn, even male actors have ageism?! Its just a bit huh, b/c LJH had 2 hit shows/acclaimed actor w/ some hit films to him. Had no clue until our convo, that actors like him aren’t seen as viable/’hot’ in the eyes of PDs. Surprising tbh. I guess the people on this list (both male/female) are the ones they see/want to make out to lead the next Korean wave. Unfortunate that some really talented/successful men/women are omitted for whatever reason.

        Good point! I actually noticed for both male/female lists of Top Stars PDs want, minus 1 name or so, they’re all publicly single/not married down. Which of course is sad, Park Ha Sun lamented that these so called people were married/w kids saying that married woman are no longer viable :/ Shin Min Ah/Lee Bo Young still being cast in romance is a rare case. I wish/hope Korea goes the way of H-wood in terms of relationship not affecting their status in the future.

      • @pam – How the heck are some of these people going to lead the “next Korean wave”? Half the people on both lists are part of the old guard. You need younger Millenials / Gen Z actors to spearhead the next wave.

      • Very valuable insight, Lydia1. I appreciate your thoughts -succinct, precise & accurate with minimal fuss. The marital status factor is quite obvious to Asian movie/drama fans since the 80s like Jackie Chan, Andy Lau, Alan Tam, etc concealing their marriages. Maybe newer I-fans from western countries don’t realize this as much. It’ll be interesting to see how Hyun Bin fares once he gets married. Ji Sung & Rain definitely dropped off in popularity after marriage & pursue non-romance dramas. Most k-actors wait till they’re 40 to get married for this reason or eschew the rom-com genres after a while like Nam Goong Min & Choi Min Hyuk although Lee Byung Hyun, So Ji Sub, Shin Sung Rok & Joo Chang Wook can still do love-line dramas after getting married.

      • @Ophelia Good point. I thought similar, ngl, some of these people on both lists are on the older side 40s+. So its confusing lol, when certain actors aren’t included b/c of their age yet these older fellows are. I do think the older Hallyu stars still do have some name brand, that’s why we have Big Hallyu FL+ Rising Star ML does well, it brings eyeballs to the ML. Meh, every yr, there’s someone newer/hotter. What I look at is, in 5 yrs time, who stands the test of time.

      • @Nova – once hyun bin marries, I think he will probably take on different genre of dramas after. Gong Yoo will be last guard standing from the original hallyu kings line together with Lee Minho I guess. For the new guards, its definitely Park Bo Gum, Park Seo Joon and I do think 2022 will see the rise of Park Hyung Sik. On personal front, my personal wish is for Seo Kang Joon to get his “life drama” after the army. Looks, talent, he has no lack just that bit of luck missing.

      • @Lydia1 Seo Kang Joon after Cheese in the Trap should’ve capitalized on his fame, meanwhile Nam Joo Hyuk who is less talented is getting mains in big projects left and right. Many K-netizens lambasted his then agency (who chose misses/hits for him) after his rise to go do Law of the Jungle. His looks def. pigeonhole him/doesn’t get enough credit as a result.

        That, and his personality doesn’t seem like from his interviews he wants to be a big star. He’s known to be quite shy/introverted. A shame, but he is filming Zero (Secret Forest writer), so not his life work, but quality drama. Perhaps, after he enlists? Then again, newer talents take over, so I hope he doesn’t get lost/forgotten about b/c it does happen so hopefully his new agency/him making the picks bodes better.

      • @Lydia1

        Wait, are Kim Soo Hyun and Song Joong Ki part of the old guard of Hallyu “kings” or somewhere in between the old and new guard?

      • @LH – I dun wanna comment on SJK too much. Hes in a weird position as his divorce has taken a toll on his public image for sure. But Vincenzo did well enough to pull him back up but not to the levels of post DOTS. Kim Soo Hyun has lost a lot of lustre since his movie, military and while the psycho drama did well, rather than bolster his career, it was SYJ who took the bulk of the limelight. And now with that whole scandal, its also become like Mr Queen in many ways – the drama thats best not mentioned if possible. But yes. There’s still Kim Soo Hyun in the old guards up there.
        @Pam – I don’t even wanna go into that CITT mess. I already wrote alot about it in this forum when it happened and gave away alot of insider information as well but it fell on deaf ears. There was no way he could have benefitted from that drama. In fact I and Knetizens framed him with lies and spreaded tons of horrible untruths about him. They are just fortunate at that time that his mgnt did nothing as they were fighting other issues within if not the courts will have a field day collecting penalties from sheer amt of lies

      • @Lydia 1 thanks for replying! I have a soft spot for Park Hyung Sik so I’m very happy that you mentioned him as part of the new guard. I guess it’s the Park boys domain in 2022 & beyond. Seo Kang Joon has all the elements going for him but the killer instinct in wanting to succeed at the top is missing from him. Knowing his family background ( could be a bit well off compared to others as his dad sent him to Malaysia for overseas studies but he hated it), he may not have that extra push unlike others who are hungry enough to push themselves forward. The other Seo for me is In Guk who is also without luck or a life drama for him. Do you think his career is over post army controversy? Many has written him off.

      • @Lydia1

        Interesting. This might be one of the rare instances the male gets more/equal flack for a divorce than the female. I thought domestic opinion took SJK’s side and was against SHK? Anyways, crossing fingers for him to get back to pre-DOTS levels. His acting blew me away in Vincenzo.

        Didn’t know IONTBO has become the drama-that-must-not-be-named. It was and continues to garner so much love internationally.

        Thank you for taking the time to provide your input! Your insights are single-handedly elevating the quality of Koala’s comments section.

      • @Lydia1 Your prob. not going to link the forum lol. I guess you said it in a CITT post? Or a SKJ post? I do think Park Hyung Shik is def. liked in the industry, but man Park Sung Hoon, what a lost for him!! Happiness looks promising too! I hope PSH’s next drama does him well, b/c he’s another talent that has the chops/charm to be a bigger name! Oh damn, CITT debacle is such a headache, yikes! Anyways, SKJ was pushed up in the mid 2010s but has sorta lost his shine. Dunno if he’ll recover or get his due. If so, what a waste of potential too. We shall see, but him enlisting soon too, his status is unclear tbh.

        @Nova Oh! Moon Chae Won is also rumored to be from a rich family, which is why she seldom works. Seo Kang Joon lacks the ambition. His interviews show me he doesn’t bask in the spotlight, and thus, he’s not pushing to be in that group. Esp. now that he has more freedom but he was on the Kofic 200 List which is their Hollywood push. So maybe he wants to succeed, but as you said lacks the drive. Which puts him in an awkward position, as he hasn’t established himself as a leading man yet, and the more he waits, he might get written off/forgotten for newer/hotter stars. Remember Jae Hee or Jo Hyun-jae? Their careers after their hit dramas are lackluster.

      • Lydia1. I think if song joong ki has talent and luck,he will survive like lee byung hun did although he’s now in small agency. He just 2 or 3 hit rating drama to cemented his status again.Yeah maybe his popularity not same as in Dots.
        And i don’t song hye kyo will hitting big with KES because her ghost writer and lee eung book not work with her.

      • Aside from CLOY, HB hasn’t taken on any romantic projects in many years so I don’t think he will have much trouble post marriage. He changed his focus to action roles long ago with CLOY being a slight detour.

      • @stranger – I think SJK’s acting skills are good enough to overcome his flowerboy looks. People are unconvinced about him portraying a mafia Consiligere, but he sure shut everyone up.

        I think SJK will be fine. He’s prob not too concerned about being a Hallyu star (been there, done that), and as far as acting goes, he can lead huge hits and still is being pursued by good scripts. Both Vincenzo and Chaebol’s son had him as their only first choice.

      • @Pam, appreciate that you graciously allowed me to comment under your section and asking Lydia questions without fuss. Each time you and Lydia appear, the quality of comments go way up as someone mentioned. Fun to banter with mature adults without name-calling if differences in opinions do occur. Btw I really like Moon Chae Won in FOE. Thanks for the little nuggets of info. Lol.

      • @Nova What a lovely comment! In this age of keyboard warriors, it can be hard to find a mature/sensible conversation. Its also fun for me too, learning and knowing some of the BTS stuff and other reasons beyond just the surface! It’s all in good fun!

    • @wonderwoman : Well, Song Joong Ki’s age is also a factor. He is lucky he is such have a baby face so he is still has a fans from younger generation. So as long as he is smart picking project, he will be fine IMO.

      He Might be will no longer a hallyu star, he is 36 years old reaching 37. eventually, he has to change strategy. SInce he is talent, acting wise, he will have no problem switch from mainstream to critically acclaimed actor like Ha Jung Woo. It’s just his image as pretty boy might be make him has a hard time adjusting his statue in public eyes.

      • Personally I dont think SJK cares that much about being a top hallyu star. I mean, he got married at the peak of his carreer, and at that time he had only acted in two dramas as the main lead. No one did it like him. I’m still angry at him for that till this day LOL.

        He’ll be fine as long as he pick good projects. But yeah, his flower boy image is one of his weakness. Also, he’s a bit on the shorter side compared to others, and his features is too pretty and delicate for certain roles so that may also limit his choices.

      • @stranger – I think SJK’s looks are good enough to overcome his flowerboy looks. People are unconvinced about him portraying a mafia Consiligere but he sure shut everyone up.

        I think SJK will be fine. He’s prob not too concerned about being a Hallyu star (been there, done that), and as far as acting goes, he can lead huge hits and is still being pursued by good scripts. Both Vincenzo and Chaebol’s son had him as their only first choice.

      • @Ophelia: I mean… I know he can overcome it with his acting, and make up artist can do so much.

        but public opinion matters imo. they are a bunch of naysayer who think he is just another actor who is lucky got famous due to dots, and his baby face make him in doubt to get a role with required masculinity, though he is easily can do it. I read it in many doubters comment.

        and kofic promotion about him is just confirmed it.

      • @missjb – I mean…by that line of reasoning you could make the same argument for LMH and KSH too. Got lucky due to one project.

        I feel like he shut up a lot of doubters with Vincenzo. Glad he did that drama. Couldn’t have picked a better comeback vehicle. Even the Western media was raving about it.

  28. I think casting is based on talent and luck (which includes connections, good timing, etc.). I definitely will watch anything that PSJ is on, I think he is immensely talented as an actor.

  29. Probably PSJ is in the very good and yet relatively cheap category.

    GY & HB in the very good but very expensive category.

    LMH maybe in the good only but very expensive category.

    So who is more value for money? Just like any stock, you have your pick.

  30. Yoo Yeon Seok is my number 1 and I thought he would do it in the list. He has talent and is popular too. Man can do anything. From dramas, variety shows, hosting awards, play in musicals, play drums…lol

  31. i dont get why people hate PSJ for being 1#
    the guy has literally worked hard to get the success and fame he has today
    all his other contemporaries became big stars after becoming insanely famous through only one project and are still famous because of that one project
    while PSJ slowly gained fame through all his projects steadily

  32. Psj have every right to be at the top and soooo deserving.he is by far the most hardworking and humble actor which obvoiusly shows in all the ratings and applause his dramas have recieved and i am sure he will go very far and achieve so mch that a day will come when he is incomparable to all these other actor♥️

  33. JKY and SK making the list out of the goodlooking and trendy rising actors (despite their recent acting controversies). This isn’t about company push but interest of casting so both really do have some appealing factor. SK especially makes sense. International popularity among the younger crowd aside, people just love talking about him. He definitely brings publicity to any project he picks up, doesn’t matter whether it does well or not. That’s some status for an actor newer to the game.

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