10 K-Dramas Where Actors Played Actors

There is no biz like showbiz. The razzmatazz that accompanies life in the spotlight is nothing less than a double-edged sword. There’s the glamour, fandom, and feeding the flames of fame on one hand, and stiff competition, scandals, and the constant, often overwhelming scrutiny on the other.

The entertainment business is a tough one, and many K-dramas have given us a fly on the wall experience of what it’s like to live life under the lens. Here are 10 such K-dramas where actors played actors and gave us a peek into their world.

“Love to Hate You”

A matinée superstar named Nam Kang Ho (Yoo Tae Oh) is the ultimate romantic fantasy on screens, but in real life he is the opposite. Kang Ho is wary of women ever since he was betrayed by his ex-girlfriend during their drama school days. Romancing his co-stars on screen is such a task that he resorts to taking calming pills before shooting romantic scenes. But things change when he meets a badass man-hating lawyer named Yeo Mi Ran (Kim Ok Bin). Mi Ran has a checkered dating history—she is known to love them and leave them. She enters into a contractual relationship with Kang Ho to squash rumors around his personal life. These two are a volatile combination, drawn to each other like magnets. Their chemistry is scorching, but can they withstand the many scandals exploding around them?

“Love to Hate You” comes laden with all the tropes and cliches associated with the rom-com genre. It’s a breezy watch that scores on many aspects. An unapologetic female lead who owns  her personal choices and decisions, Kim Ok Bin does full justice to her role and is quite the scene stealer. And Yoo Tae Oh is perfect as the brooding superstar boyfriend who is caring, supportive, and charming.

“Record of Youth”

As a young model and a struggling actor, Sa Hye Joon (Park Bo Gum) has the looks and the talent to make it big. From a humble background, the hardworking Hye Joon realizes that he not only lacks a powerful surname but also the necessary connections to make it big. Hye Joon relentlessly works, trying out multiple auditions between his many part time jobs, only to have opportunities bypass him. Not one to get overwhelmed with the constant rejections, he keeps the faith. Though his best friend, the super rich Won Hae Hyo (Byeon Woo Seok), is also an aspiring actor, his pushy and manipulative mother makes sure he gets the gigs over Hye Joon. And on top of that, Hye Joon and Hae Hyo are both attracted to Ahn Jung Ha (Park So Dam), a talented and forthright makeup artist.

“Record of Youth” gives a realistic insight into what it takes to make it on your own in the big, bad world of show business. The drama delves into the dark side of showbiz, and it spares no one. As Hye Joon finds himself in the midst of rivalries, controversies, and scathing rumors, his buoyant spirit and positivity are infectious as he ploughs ahead with tenacity. Park Bo Gum breathes life into his character—he is subtle and gives a go for gold performance as Hye Joon. “Record of Youth” also has one of the most amazing soundtracks.

Touch Your Heart

A vivacious yet naive superstar named Yoon Seo (Yoo In Na) starts working at a law firm to prepare for her next film. She is assigned as a secretary to Kwon Jung Rok (Lee Dong Wook), a workaholic and aloof attorney. Unlike the rest of his colleagues, Jung Rok is not taken in by Yoon Seo’s starry presence. On the contrary, he finds her vain and not very proficient. But Jung Rok realizes that Yoon Seo is a pure-hearted and honest person beyond her frivolous exterior. And as this unlikely couple gets into a serious relationship, they have a few hurdles to cross.

“Touch Your Heart” is a feel-good and simple love story. The drama highlights the fickle nature of fame and societal judgments in a lighthearted way, and Lee Dong Wook and Yoo In Na’s onscreen compatibility is easy on the eyes. If you want a breezy watch, this is the one for you.

Start watching “Touch Your Heart”:

Watch Now

Sh**ting Stars

Oh Han Byul (Lee Sung Kyung), the super efficient PR head of an agency, is at constant loggerheads with a prized celebrity of their company. The man in question is none other than super star Gong Tae Sung (Kim Young Dae), who in his own way makes life tough for her and the PR department. As she keeps juggling between his schedules, there is the anti-fanclub which keeps throwing many curveballs for Tae Sung and his agency to dodge. And it does not take long before Han Byul and Tae Sung finally accept their true feelings and come close. But can the star and his agent keep their relationship under wraps and away from the public lens?

“Sh**ting Stars” gives a fly on the wall experience into the workings of a star management firm, where star wars, fake headlines, and scandals are routine fare. Lee Sung Kyung showcases her flair for comedy, and Kim Young Dae endears as the star dealing with his own issues. The lead couple also give us some toe curling romantic moments. Watch it for the laughs, and of course, for the romance.

Start watching “Sh**ting Stars”:

Watch Now

Beauty Inside

Han Se Gye (Seo Hyun Jin) is a top star. She is regarded as a troublemaker who is notorious for her long absences. Her mysterious disappearances make her personal life subject to constant rumors. But there’s a reason behind the unusual occurrences in Se Gye’s life. At a certain point every month, her appearance undergoes a change, and she transforms into a different person. Seo Do Jae (Lee Min Ki) is an executive director of an airline company. A bright and intelligent man, he sometimes comes across as brusque. The only reason for his aloof personality is his inability to recognize people. Though the two start off on the wrong foot, a tender love story unfolds between them.

Acceptance is the main theme in this warm and light rom-com. The show strikes the right balance between humor and drama, and Seo Hyun Jin and Lee Min Ki are impressive as they portray two individuals dealing with their own personal matters.

Start watching “Beauty Inside”:

Watch Now

My Love From the Star

Chun Song Yi (Jun Ji Hyun) has lived her life under the lens since she was a child. A popular child artist, she is now a mega star. Song Yi is known for being temperamental and having an occasional meltdown. With her opportunistic mother dictating her life and finances, Song Yi is a lonely, lost girl at heart. But things change when she is literally swept off her feet by a man who has descended from the stars. Do Min Joon (Kim Soo Hyun) is a 400-year-old transient resident on earth. He may be designated as an alien, but he looks human and likes keeping away from earthly beings and their drama. When Song Yi finds herself taking a college class headed by Min Joon, they realize that they are next door neighbors as well. The inevitable happens, and Min Joon in spite of his reservations finds himself drawn toward Song Yi, shielding her like a true knight in shining armor.

“My Love From the Star” has a timeless appeal and remains the go-to K-drama for many fans. A sweet love story with endearing performances by Jun Ji Hyun and Kim Soo Hyun, this drama gives many memorable moments on screen.

Start watching “My Love From the Star”:

Watch Now

Uncontrollably Fond

Can your first love be the last love of your life? Shin Joon Young (Kim Woo Bin) is a debonair superstar. Fate constantly makes him cross paths with No Eul (Suzy). The two have a shared history as they knew each other in high school, but miscommunication and misunderstandings made them go their separate ways. No Eul is a documentary filmmaker and is assigned to document Joon Young’s life as a famous actor. But can they move on from their turbulent past? No Eul is convinced to not start anything with Joon Young, who is determined to not let her go.

Not all love stories have a happily ever after, and “Uncontrollably Fond” is an emotional rollercoaster and a tear-jerker. Kim Woo Bin and Suzy star as the ill-fated lovers who know they cannot fight destiny but can make some beautiful memories together, giving us heart-wrenching performances. A heartbreaking drama with a highly emotional narrative and soul stirring OST, keep the tissues handy as you sit down to watch this one.

Start watching “Uncontrollably Fond”:

Watch Now

Radio Romance

Song Geu Rim (Kim So Hyun) has been smitten by the radio ever since she was a child. Her dream has been to become a radio program writer, but the path to it is way more difficult than she had anticipated. She has had a tough haul at work and even loses her job. Can she salvage her career and fulfill her dreams? Opportunity knocks when she ends up working with PD Lee Gang (Yoon Bak), whose one big condition is that she gets an interview with popular actor Ji Soo Ho (Yoon Do Joon), which is a herculean task in itself. Soo Ho is a recluse, whose perfect life is not what it seems.

“Radio Romance” may be slow, but it keeps you hooked. Its sheer simplicity is what does it for this drama. A straightforward narrative with an uncomplicated love story and subtle performances, this drama is just the kind of viewing to watch when you want to take it easy.

Start watching “Radio Romance”:

Watch Now

My Love Eun Dong

Ji Eun Ho (Joo Jin Mo) is a famous actor, but despite his fame and superstar status, he is empty inside. The sole purpose of his life has been to find his long-lost first love and childhood sweetheart Eun Dong. He hires writer Seo Jung Eun (Kim Sa Rang) to ghostwrite his autobiography, which is his way of finding the woman he has been pining for. But as Jung Eun listens to Eun Ho’s recordings, she is consumed with a feeling of deja vu. Eun Ho’s life scenarios seem oddly similar to her own love story with Hyun Soo, played by Jinyoung and Baek Sung Hyun.

The road to love is never easy, and “My Love Eun Dong” is for die-hard romantics. A moving story of a man’s pursuit to find the only woman he has ever loved, you cannot help but feel his angst. Solid performances by the actors keep this story going, as you wonder whether Eun Ho and Eun Dong will have a happily ever after after all those years.

Start watching “My Love Eun Dong”:

Watch Now

Full House

Ji Eun (Song Hye Kyo) is an aspiring scriptwriter but is wide-eyed and innocent about the ways of the world. So it’s no surprise that she gets tricked into a vacation by her two scamming friends and ends up losing her home to them. The new owner of her house is Young Jae (Rain), a famous and pompous actor. The two enter into a contract marriage as Ji Eun wants her home back and Young Jae wants to make his lady love Hye Won (Han Eun Jung) jealous. None of them, however, have anticipated falling in love with each other.

A favorite blast from the past for fans, “Full House” is one of the OG dramas of the Hallyu wave. Song Hye Kyo as the cheery and gullible Ji Eun and Rain as the incorrigible and rakish superstar will win you over. Their chemistry as the show progresses is relatable and convincing. If you are in the mood for a no-fuss watch, this is the one for you.

Start watching “Full House”:

Watch Now

Hey Soompiers, which one of these shows is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

Puja Talwar is a Soompi writer with a strong Yoo Tae Oh and Lee Junho bias. A long time K-drama fan, she loves devising alternate scenarios to the narratives. She has interviewed Lee Min HoGong YooCha Eun Woo, and Ji Chang Wook to name a few. You can follow her on @puja_talwar7 on Instagram.

How does this article make you feel?


Please login to Soompi to join the conversation!

Similar Articles