Double Takes - Guys Edition
Occasionally in my drama travels I'll come across actors and actresses I'm just not impressed by. Maybe I didn't’t like the role, maybe I didn't find them attractive, maybe I thought their acting was bad, maybe they didn't get my attention. Sometimes people just creep me out. (cough Willam Dafoe cough) I've even avoided certain dramas or movies because it had one of these unfortunates in it. But sometimes they star in something I can't pass up and I am shown a whole new side of them and I end up doing a double take and asking myself "Is that the same guy???"
Wu Vanness: Meteor Garden/Autumn's Concerto
Poor Wu Vanness. Sometimes I think the only reason they put him in Meteor Garden was so he could drop random English. If it weren't for his perfect English I wouldn't have noticed him enough to initially dislike him. He was attractive, one of the better dressed of the group, and nobody watches any version of Hana Yori Dango expecting great acting. Even on that front he was not as bad as he could have been (cough Kim Joon cough Boys Before Flowers). Still there was something about him that made me say "Ummm NO." I gave Material Queen a few episodes and couldn't shake the dislike. When I started Autumn's Concerto it took me a few episodes to connect Vanness to the previous role I had seen him in. His acting was much improved and he had charisma to spare. Now I'm thinking "Ummm YES."
Lee Jun Ki: My Girl/Arang and the Magistrate
My Girl was my introduction Lee Jun Ki and I was not impressed. From bad styling to a poorly written and conceived character that was excruciatingly unnecessary, I thought he got dealt a crappy hand so I gave Hero a whirl mostly b/c he's so darn pretty I kinda hoped he would redeem himself. He did not. He was still pretty, but I was still underwhelmed by his acting. When I dropped Hero I figured Lee Jun Ki would never be an actor I drama-stalked. Oh how very wrong I was. He returned from the army and came out swinging with Arang and the Magistrate, now one of my favorite dramas. He is just about perfect in it. The difference was drastic. He had gone from awkward to confident, pretty to handsome. Watching his character's develop was a delight. I've since watched him in a couple of movies and dramas and I've come to realize his role in My Girl is a nasty trick played on drama fans by Lee Jun Ki's enemies to keep you from basking in his awesomeness.
Yoo Yeon Suk: Gu Family Book/Reply 1994
!!!!!BEHOLD THE POWER OF STYLING!!!!! He wowed me in A Werewolf Boy. In Gu Family Book, his character suffered greatly from the confusion in the writers room so Tae Seo never really went much of anywhere but where he did go he rocked it. Despite being impressed by his acting I thought he didn’t have that K-drama leading man look. Despite his chops I figured he'd probably pull supporting roles his whole career. While watching Reply 1994 I was so charmed by the kid that played Chil Bong. He's sweet and cute and manly handsome all rolled into one, plus the kid can act! I just had to know what else he'd done. Imagine my shock. I was so surprised when I found out that adorable Chil bong from Reply 1994 was the same guy who played Tae Seo in Gu Family Book and the d-bag in A Werewolf Boy that it's actually what inspired this article. I think it speaks to his skills as an actor that it never even crossed my mind that this could be the same guy. Reminds me of Gary Oldman.
Seo In Guk: Love Rain/Reply 1997
In Love Rain (a drama I wasn’t wild about) Seo in Guk played Jo Won Suk, a fairly minor character that annoyed the bejeezus out of me. He had moments when he didn’t actively make me want to turn it off, but he was stupid and pretty rude if I recall correctly and sometimes outright embarrassing to watch. The stylists did him no favors either. When I was done with Love Rain I all but forgot about the spiky haired little twit. When I started watching Reply 1997, I didn’t even realize it was the same guy until someone pointed it out to me, and then I argued. It COULD NOT be the same guy. The dude from Love Rain was more built, and he had this 'duh' look on his face all the time like Kristen Stewart. The guy from 1997 was waaaaaay hotter and his acting was sooooo much better and I was in drama lurve with him. Yeah, same guy.
Lee Soo Hyuk: Vampire Idol/Shark
I don’t think I've watched all of any drama with LSH in it, but I've seen bits and pieces and movies and in all of it he had pretty much the same look and the same type of character. Aside from being pretty he never left an impression. But boy oh boy does he leave an impression in Shark. Like Lee Jun Ki he moved from flower boy to handsome man. He's funny and charming and mysterious. Overall I liked him as a character more than I did Kim Nam Gil. I will certainly never think of him as nothing but a pretty boy again.
Kim Jae Joong: Protect the Boss/Heaven's Postman
It might surprise some of you that know me to hear that Jae Joong did not immediately catch my attention and that it was not his music but rather his acting (or maybe it was just looking at him) that eventually did. While watching Protect the Boss the fan girls were fangirling all over the comments about someone they called "JJ". A quick google search revealed they were spazzing over that pasty flower boy kid who, frankly, wasn’t turning in the performance of his life. The character itself wasn’t that great either and I have to admit I giggled a little inside every time someone said "Moo Won." I stumbled across Heaven's Postman not long after and could not resist the premise, even though it had that pasty kid in it. I was blown away. What he lacked in melanin he made up for with his quiet, damn near ethereal performance. For me it's been a downward spiral into unhealthy idol worship ever since.
Some of my double takes are probably pretty surprising. I'm curious about your double takes too, so let me know in the comments below!