Song Joong Ki’s ‘Queen of Tears’ Cameo: A Look at Celebrity Cameo Payments

song joong ki queen of tears
song joong ki queen of tears
Credit: HighZiumStudio

It’s not just the plot twists and lead actors that grab headlines but also the glittering line-up of guest appearances that precede the show’s premiere. tvN’s weekend drama Queen of Tears has been no exception, especially with the much-talked-about cameo by Song Joong Ki.

Special appearances in dramas are often facilitated through personal connections, be it with the writers, directors, or lead actors. For Song Joong Ki, his cameo in Queen of Tears was made possible through his existing relationship with Kim Hee Won, the co-director of the drama and his director in the previous work Vincenzo, as well as his connection with Kim Ji Won, his co-star in Descendants of the Sun.

Traditionally, compensation for such cameo roles is nominal, largely covering what is colloquially referred to as “carriage fees”—essentially, expenses related to transportation for the actor and their entourage, including stylists accompanying them to the shooting location.

One insider shared, “In the past, these special appearances might have been settled over a drink, but nowadays, agencies actively negotiate with production houses. As a result, a certain fee is agreed upon. Supporting actors typically receive about half their standard fee for their cameo roles.” They also noted that actors might opt for a lower fee or even forgo payment altogether, depending on the appeal of the role or the project, and even out of loyalty.

song joong ki queen of tears
Credit: tvN

There are instances where actors participate without any compensation. For example, Jo Bo Ah made a no-fee appearance in the final episode of Tale of the Nine Tailed 1938, following her role in the series’ first season. Similarly, Yang Se Jong showcased his loyalty by appearing in Dr. Romantic 2 without a fee, having been part of the original season.

Additionally, small-sized projects sometimes see actors participating without a paycheck. Song Joong Ki himself was spotlighted for his leading role in Hopeless, which was officially invited to the Cannes Film Festival, without receiving any payment. An industry insider speculated, “The compensation for special appearances can vary widely, depending on the actor’s disposition. Given Song Joong Ki’s reputation, it’s conceivable he might have contributed purely out of loyalty.”

>> Song Joong Ki Makes an Impactful Surprise Appearance in ‘Queen of Tears’ as Vincenzo

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