K-netizens Have Split Opinions on Song Hye Kyo’s Streak of Dramas with Much Younger Male Leads with Most Recent The Glory

With the conclusion of The Glory this Friday it’s clearly time for dissection beyond the drama itself and of course there is going to be a post about Song Hye Kyo and her male lead Lee Do Hyun. The love line remains of of netizens biggest gripes in The Glory and the 14-age gap between the leads didn’t feel like it got bridged with their chemistry or lack thereof. This has led to netizens noting that her prior two dramas Now We Are Breaking Up had a 11 year age gap with Jang Ki Yong and in Encounter (Boyfriend) there was a 12 year difference with Park Bo Gum. I’ve watched all three dramas through and I say Encounter was nearly perfect for me in chemistry and the relationship so I have zero grips, Breaking Up was okay but tanked by terribly written characters and an awful story narrative but the two leads were sexy enough together. The Glory probably could have either sold the love line with a different male lead OR kept Lee Do Hyun which sold the revenge/partnership aspect but trying to both didn’t work.


K-netizens Have Split Opinions on Song Hye Kyo’s Streak of Dramas with Much Younger Male Leads with Most Recent The Glory — 33 Comments

  1. The role would have been perfect for Jung Hae-in (older lee do hyun feels) – still younger but at least not 14 years. I read that Kim Eun Sook has been pursuing Son Seok Ku for her dramas but he’s declined (Mr. Sunshine). Might be a good match with SHG as well. I hope she picks a proper age appropriate partner for her next dramas. These young uns just dun cut it and its kinda eww when they make out.

  2. Those who say shk and pbg don’t have chemistry must not watch the drama, or just watch the first 2 ep and drop it, or can’t separate reel and real. Because for me, and many other who has actually watched it, think that the chemistry is skyrocketed that we want another project for them. Even the Encounter’s director said he never seen a chemistry like that.

    For ldh and shk, maybe the build up of their relationship is what is missing. Or they could at least have 2 or 3 lovely bgm because playing the same one over and over again in every lovely scene is kinda 😬 and make the scene boring to me. Yes, bgm is very important to me 😅

  3. At least SHK looks decently pretty, compared to Jeon Do Yeon in CCiR that purposely styled as ahjumma, they really look like mother and son.

  4. I don’t like the romance part too, they should have stuck with the revenge narrative and leave the romantic scenes with the young actor/doctor, it ruins the main mood . I really don’t like noona romance especially with song hye kyo. She got elegant vibes with mature men like the husband in the Glory, so pair her up with mature men with acting calibre next. Its time.

  5. I feel like either Song Hye Kyo or her agency believes that she comes off as much younger than she actually looks, possibly because she’s a very good looking woman.

    There’s this societal assumption that if a woman is attractive, she must not look old – these two concepts of ‘ageing’ and ‘beauty’ cannot coexist. “You don’t look old, you’re beautiful!” for example, is a fairly innocuous sounding phrase that actually perpetuates this rather pernicious idea.

    So SHK is an attractive 40 something woman who looks 40 something. But in her past few series she’s portrayed characters notably younger than her real age.

    This in itself doesn’t make the age miscasting obvious. 40 year olds can portray 35 year olds without the incongruity being perceptible whatsoever – it’s just 5 years and there’s huge variance in how people look to begin with.

    It’s when she starts getting paired with younger actors who are conversely, being aged upwards, like Jang Ki Yong, or Lee Do Hyun playing characters 5+ years older than they really are that the age miscasting becomes indelibly apparent.

    28 year olds can play 33 fine. 41 can play 36 no problem. 28 next to 41 and it added up too much.

    I also feel as though the cultural narrative around SHK and her age difference with her ex husband has informed how producers, subconsciously or not, perceive her romantic counter parts. There’s a subliminal assumption going into her shows that she might be at home costarring alongside a younger lead due to that. Perhaps its even a defiant personal choice to vindicate herself of those critics who chastise her for her dating history.

    Anyhow, the chemistry in The Glory wasn’t on point for reasonings related to what I’ve noted on top of the way Yeo Jeong’s character was written. The puppy love doesn’t always land when it isn’t a two way street. A slightly more subdued character may have done the chemistry more justice even with the argument of miscasting.

  6. I don’t get it. I thought they were good together. She seemed older because she had to grow up so quickly, so in a sense I feel she has been “older” longer than him. Stress can really make you older. Yeah there was more tension with the villains husband, but honestly he was having that tension with ALL the girs… Even the neck-hole-girl was excited because she thought she’d be getting some

    • Ha ha, I like your comments, yes the husband had tension/chemistry with all the women in this drama.
      I am in the minority here, but I thought that SHK looked good with LDH in the Glory. Yes, the romance was slow, but what do you expect, it is a revenge drama after all. In real life, there could be the same age differences btw couples, some dudes just prefer noonas. So the age gap wasn’t an issue for me.
      If SHK wants to do more dramas with younger co-stars, I say more power to you girl.

  7. It was kinda the plot of Encounter. So I won’t put this one in the list.

    For Now We Are Breaking Up, both actors were meh in this drama and the writing was pretty bad.

    In The Glory, Lee Do-Hyun was looking too young in comparison of the other actors. He wasn’t convincing as a doctor. He looked like a puppy when every other characters were very intense. He was pretty bland too.

    I don’t think the age gap is an issue if the actors have chemistry and are convincing in their role.

    • This tbh. LDH stuck out like a sore thumb among the cast. The way the role of Joo Yeojung was portrayed overall made me think that if it weren’t for the “tool for revenge” purpose of his character and family, I would’ve completely perceived him as someone who’s just there in the show for comic relief and candyfloss scenes.

  8. It’s a bad joke to put young actors to play alongside her, she’s older it’s time for her to accept it and act accordingly, she is indeed beautiful but….. it is not enough!!!!

    • And what happens when older actors are put with younger actress? nobody complain, it’s normal! The problem is when the woman is older, the old-man is acceptable. What a hypocrisy and sexist! ah, and the comment “she’s older it’s time for her to accept it and act accordingly” is sooooo sexist and unfortunate. What is she supposed to do? act like granny? she’s 41, not 80.

      This discussion about ages of woman is eternal when you have to “talk” with teenagers that think people at 30 are old.

      • What is casting?

        “The process involves casting directors, producers, directors, and executives deciding which actors will perform in a production—from lead roles to supporting parts and, occasionally, background talent.”

        Source: What Is Casting? A Guide to the Process for Actors | Backstage https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/inside-look-casting-process-13023/

        How Do Actors Get into Films? (Casting Process Explained)

        “Casting Directors will advertise roles to talent agents, who will submit actors that fit the breakdown. The Casting Directors will then choose actors to audition for the role and pick out the best ones to show the Director and Producers, who will then decide who gets the part.”

        Source: How Do Actors Get Into Films? (Casting Process Explained) | Work On Film

  9. She’s pretty, but does look her age over 40. Without the makeup she probably looks older than her real age. I laugh when they say to someone that “she uses light makeup or nothing” when clearly they do use heavy makeup lol. I don’t care the age gap if I feel the chemistry.

  10. If you have a female actor top billed leading a female centric drama, most likely you’ll have a B-list actor or an up-and-coming actor playing the supporting lead. That’s why there tends to be an age gap. The problem is that there is a void of actors in the suitable age range and a bunch of youngsters who just broke out. However, chemistry is not just dependent on age and visual match anyway, you also need the script writer to actually put in interesting interactions to build sexual tension. If there is any issue with noona romance, it’s because of the script and nothing else. For The Glory, the love line is not important, and they could have done away with it. I don’t get why this is a discussion now, because at least for this drama, the point of contention should be if romance is even necessary.

    • I think you really got the points about well. This is something I saw in the casting of “Marry My Husband”. I was thinking an actor in his mid-to-late thirties would have been preferable, but then again Yoo Ji-hyuk’s character doesn’t really have have any purpose than to support the heroine Kang Ji-won, so the leading actors in her age group would have shied away from the role, and indeed there aren’t many major supporting actors or less established actors who could take on the task.

      Yes, I totally agree that the script needs to support the actors’ chemistry. Definitely think that “Forecasting Love and Weather” could have been enjoyable on the long run if the romance between Si-woo and Ha-kyung was better written while keeping it realistic.

      To me the romance between Dong-eun and Yeo-jung in “The Glory” didn’t bother me, but I was wondering why the kiss had to confirm feelings because I see their relationship more on the spiritual level, like two confidants who love each other, something between Choi Kang-hee and Kim Young-kwang in “Hello, Me!”. It’s simmering but we know they’re in love with each other.

  11. Since I only watched “The Glory,” I can comment on that pairing. The romance was so weak. Even until the end where he says “I love you” left me with he does? There were no chemistry all to the end. The kiss left me with “really?”

    When the drama will work even w/out the romance, that means it was a meaningless story arch. Otherwise, this drama I don’t have much complaint at all. Even with SHK’s acting (which I usually says she has some limits). In this drama, girl finally gave the best performance of her career. She really went beyond her normal range.

  12. ML is not decided by SHK. Casting of ML is decided by director or producer. I don’t think SHK even recommend Lee Do Hyun as her ML to director or producer. Was SHK supposed to reject thus role just because the ML is younger?

    There are a lot of older ML in their late 30s n early 40s being paired with 23 or 25 year old FL. Why aren’t people batching about age gap n that the ML is too old? Definitely the ML don’t look in their 20s.

    • I’m pretty sure Mr. sunshine and Goblin were also criticized for the leads having huge age gaps and in that case, it’s the men who were 10+ years older than the women. Both are KES dramas too, coincidentally.

      So no, this age gap argument of SHK and her leading men, is not an isolated one. No need to get so defensive.

  13. It would be nice to see her costar alongside older actors who probably have the same level of talent. Always pairing up with younger actors feels unbalanced in looks and acting chops. Wish she’d pair up with actors like Gong Yoo or Lee Dong Wook…would just be nice to see and imagine that type of pairing but of course the fees must be high as hell putting two very famous people in one project.

    • Too be honest, if she got paired with these two, probably her lack of acting skill will be more clear. These two have the expressive eyes and acting chops.

      Her face expression looks the same from time to time. I follow the posts about her dramas but I can’t bring myself to watch any since the drama between her and PBG 🥲

  14. It’s not just age gap, but I honestly thought the character was too goofy and didn’t vibe with the tone of the series. It doesn’t help that LDH tend to chew the scenery at the point of I cringed every time he opened his mouth. Moreover he got a surprise competition from Jung Sung Il as Ha Doyeong whose diction, vibe, and charm were pitch perfect. It’s no brainer that seasoned viewers or those who are not biased for certain actor would find themselves gravitate towards the husband character more. It’s such a shame cause I actually can get behind the revenge/salvation couple romance but due to the ML miscast I found it hard to enjoy it. The role might’ve worked had it was played by a younger actor with refined charisma and acting skill like Jung Hae In.

  15. My 2cents. LDH has amazing chemistry with older actresses. We’ve seen this. Except with SHK. I think it’s SHK, when she acts she doesn’t let her gaurd down. Unlike for instance Kim Ha Neul. She allows herself to go there and viewers heart flutter. But wth HyeKo there seem to be a wall she built.

    • I think so too, and I kinda understand why shk like that… she keeps her guard most of the time that she appeared less natural with her male co-stars…

  16. Also a minority opinion, but as a trained social scientist, to me these complaints obviously stem from sexist norms and from expectations based on previous drama series. People complain much less when they pair up male leads with much younger female leads; this has historically been the practice in Hollywood and around the world.

    For some reason we have come to accept that it’s totally ok for very old men in their 40s-50s to act with women in their 20s but not the other way around. Why is that? People used to think being queer was gross/perverted until it became socially normal and acceptable. These are socially constructed norms, some of which are obviously double standards. We are ok with pairing up men who could be fathers to their costars but not ok when there’s a 14 year age difference between SHK and her costar?

    SHK is a fcking badass. Yes she’s gorgeous but she’s also super accomplished. Let’s give women the respect and credit they deserve.

    LDH and her chemistry was believable to me. This is a woman who has been severely traumatized and battered in life. Of course her chemistry with her male lead isn’t going to be the “smoking red hot” type of chemistry. What do viewers expect? Their chemistry is one that’s understated because it’s based in mutual understanding, empathy, friendship, and partnership. I loved their story line, and I think it’s more true to life in contrast to most kdrama romance story lines. The one part that was less believable was when she deserted him suddenly in the last episode, which I rolled my eyes a bit at, but it’s fine, the drama isn’t completely perfect, though still one that will rank among the highest in my book.

    • I agree. And koala always picks on women only. Damned if you do and dammed if you don’t. She writes stuff about how frumpy the actress was in crash course and so how much older SHK looks. But she never writes how So Ji Sub acts with actresses decades younger than him. Or Nam Goo Min. Also I am sure if in crash course the actress glammed up Koala would have picked on her too. Only super beautiful young actresses like Zhao Lusi get her approval. Very very very gender biased Koala is and so are some of the viewers of this page

    • I agree. And koala always picks on women only. Damned if you do and dammed if you don’t. She writes stuff about how frumpy the actress was in crash course and so how much older SHK looks. But she never writes how So Ji Sub acts with actresses decades younger than him. Or Nam Goo Min. Also I am sure if in crash course the actress glammed up Koala would have picked on her too. Only super beautiful young actresses like Zhao Lusi get her approval. Very very very gender biased

    • I agree. And this website owner always picks on women only. Damned if you do and dammed if you don’t. She writes stuff about how frumpy the actress was in crash course and so how much older SHK looks. But she never writes how So Ji Sub acts with actresses decades younger than him. Or Nam Goo Min. Also I am sure if in crash course the actress glammed up this website owner would have picked on her too. Only super beautiful young actresses like Zhao Lusi get her approval. Very very very gender biased viewers of this page

    • Thank you. I agree with all of this. At least SHK isn’t pairing up with underage guys like some male actors who are literally making out with teenagers (looking at you, actors who have agreed to have kissing scenes with Kim So Hyun and Kim You Jung when they were teenagers). Kudos to Do Kyungsoo who refused to have a kissing scene with KSH in their movie Unforgettable because she’s too young, which resulted in that iconic umbrella “kiss” scene instead.

      Overall, I have no idea why people are up in arms when it’s the woman who’s older. It’s like incels who are taking Madonna dating an almost 30-year old man as some sort of “Gotcha!” that women can be predators too, whenever Leonardo Dicaprio is being called out for dating very young women. No, it’s not the same, and all these people know it. In the same vein, SHK isn’t acting with underage guys, they’re all grown-ass men, so who cares? These people need to focus that energy on criticizing male actors agreeing to pair with underage girls

  17. Literally who cares. As long as the younger party isn’t underage, there’s nothing wrong with it. And this goes for both genders

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