Edited by Jeon Gyeong Ju
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
In June, a piece of unexpected news had struck us. Multiple media outlets reported that Park Seo Joon was cast in Captain Marvel‘s sequel, The Marvels, and will fly out to America later this year. As most fans expect him to be, will he play the Korean-American teenage hero, Amadeus Cho? Or will he play another hero or villain role? We won’t get a definitive answer any time soon, but at least for Park, this certainly seems like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Let’s take a look at the works of Park, who will soon meet more overseas fans, and how much he has grown to be recognized by Marvel.
Pots of Gold (2013)
Park appeared in the MBC weekend drama Pots of Gold just one year after his debut and left a deep impression. He played Park Hyun Tae, the youngest son of a conglomerate and the half-brother of the male lead, Park Hyun Soo (Yeon Jung Hoon). In the beginning, he was nothing more than a jerk who brought his mistress to his honeymoon. However, Hyun Tae, who harbors a pain caused by his family, gradually realizes that his compassion for his wife Jung Mong Hyun (Baek Jin Hee) is turning into love. In the end, he becomes a family-loving man. In the drama, Park perfectly portrayed a complicated character with his rebellious yet simpering boyish charm. Park’s early images as an actor were well established, even to the point where Park Seo Joon and Baek Jin Hee are still the most loved couple in Pots of Gold.
Kill Me, Heal Me (2015)
In MBC’s Kill Me, Heal Me, Park had breathed life into the second male lead, Oh Ri On, who could easily have been an invisible character. In the drama, he transformed into a man who has feelings for his twin sister, Oh Ri Jin (not blood-related). But, he hides those feelings and pretends to be a typical brother who loves playing pranks on his sister. They received many favorable reviews for their realistic portrayal of the brother-and-sister relationship. Like the catchphrase of the drama – “Heal the wounds with the vaccine called love” – Oh Ri On clears up his emotional baggage through Oh Ri Jin and Cha Do Hyun’s relationship and grows as a man and a writer. Kill Me, Heal Me is another work that proved Park’s potential as a “considerate yet perky” character.
She Was Pretty (2015)
In MBC’s She Was Pretty, Park reunited with Hwang Jung Eum he met in Kill Me, Heal Me as a couple. Ji Sung Joon, played by Park, seems to be a strict and cold-hearted deputy editor of a magazine. But in reality, he’s a genuine man who wants to meet his first love again. Using familiar yet refreshing chemistry with Hwang, Park flawlessly pulled off the “chic city man” character, a role that clears the path for becoming a top actor. She Was Pretty received great love from Korea and abroad, which led to the Chinese and Japanese reboot. This is proof that Hwang did an excellent job of playing “an unpretty female lead” convincingly, and Park’s noble and pure charm mesmerized everyone.
Fight for My Way (2017)
For Park, KBS’s Fight for My Way was an opportunity to fully express his comedic self for the first time. Park’s character Ko Dang Man is a martial arts player who had hit rock bottom right before becoming a national player of Taekwondo due to his mistake. At the time, the role won the sympathy of struggling young adults. With this drama, Park successfully broke free of the rich boy character and took a great leap forward as an actor by picking up his new acting skills. He smoothly pulled off the character who bickers with his friend Kim Ji Won and turns into a reliable boyfriend later in the drama. By the end of the show, Park had once again solidified his position as “the king of rom-coms.”
tvN’s What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim is an office romance drama adapted from a web novel of the same name. When Park joined the series, many voiced concerns over how “he doesn’t suit the cold images of the original character.” And such a concern was quite reasonable as Park’s previous roles were mainly cute, warm-hearted, puppy-like men. However, as you all know, Park quieted negative opinions by superbly playing Lee Young Joon, who never leaves his secretary Kim Mi So (Park Min Young) alone even after receiving her resignation letters. By working with another “rom-com queen,” Park Min Young, Park proved that he could show the best chemistry with any actress.
Itaewon Class (2020)
JTBC’s Itaewon Class is Park’s best work that makes you forget (for a moment) the romance dramas mentioned above. Of course, this drama also has complicated love stories, but the main theme of Itaewon Class is the life-changing story of Park Sae Royi, who rises from the bottom and avenges evil with good. During the scene where Park confronts his sworn enemy Jang Family, his courage to speak out his beliefs resonated with the viewers
For example, in episode 3, local diner Danbam was forced to shut down. And Jo Yi Seo (Kim Dami) tries to convince him to make a compromise. To her, Park Sae Roy shouts out, “Just this once? Once and for all? But there will be another time. It will make things easy for once. But you know what? That one time can change your whole life. These words were impactful enough to make the viewers reflect on whether they have been lazy even for a moment. Perhaps Park got a ticket to join MCU because there was Park Sae Roy who carried out the value of justice throughout Itaewon Class.
Editor Jeon Gyeong Ju: A natural-born media geek who is physically Korean and mentally multinational. All dramatic stories are my favorite sweets for life. TVs and streaming platforms are not only the playgrounds but also the weapons.
Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.