What happens when Korean actors play characters based on real-life people?
1. Choi Taek – Reply 1988
The genius Go player Choi Taek (Park Bo Gum) of Reply 1988 is based on Lee Chang Ho, a Korean professional Go player of 9-dan rank, who is considered one of the strongest Go players in the world. Staying quiet most of the time, barely expressing their inner thoughts, having a father who owns a watch shop,… are all things that Choi Taek and his original version have in common. The only difference is that compared to the real life inspiration, Park Bo Gum stands out for his handsome looks.
2. Kim Bok Joo (Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo)
The female lead Kim Bok Joo (Lee Sung Kyung) is inspired by weightlifter Jang Mi Ran, a Korean Olympic athlete. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Jang Mi Ran became a gold medalist in the 75 kg category. She broke the world records in the snatch with 140 kg, the jerk with 186 kg and combined with 326 kg. Compared to her real-life counterpart, Lee Sung Kyung doesn’t look like an athlete because of her slim figure, despite trying to gain weight to match the character.
3. Deokhye – The Last Princess
In The Last Princess, Son Ye Jin plays Deokhye – the last princess of Korea. The film recreates the ascetic life of this little-known princess. Compared to Deokhye’s beauty in real life, Son Ye Jin’s visual is absolutely outstanding, even in the scenes where she has to endure hardship.
4. Lee Hyung – Because I Love You
Because I Love You’s Lee Hyung (Cha Tae Hyun) is inspired by the life of talented musician Yoo Jae Ha, who died at the age of 25 in a traffic accident. In comparison to the other three cases, Cha Tae Hyun’s appearance is said to be the closest to the prototype image. His story in the film, however, is lighter and more humorous than the late musician Yoo’s.