K-Drama Land Couples Up… Again: 2014’s Couple Reunions
Have you had an OTP so beloved that one drama wasn’t enough? That’s only more or less 20 episodes of angst and sweetness, of that chemistry and then everything is memory (or video reels).
Fortunately for some of the most beloved pairs, the stars have aligned in drama-land in 2014. This year, more than ever, drama viewers are treated to a reunion of some of the best-loved drama couples. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Lee Dong Wook and Lee Da Hae
Years apart: 9
Then: “My Girl.” Seol Gong Chan (Lee Dong Wook), heir of the L’Avenue Hotel fortune, hires the debt-ridden grifter Joo Yoo Rin (Lee Da Hae) to pass as his long-lost cousin for the sake of his ailing grandfather. Through this charade, Gong Chan and Yoo Rin fall in love.
Now: “Hotel King.” Cha Jae Wan (Lee Dong Wook) is the general manager of Hotel Ciel, owned by Ah Sung Won. As a child, Jae Wan was told that Ah Sung Won is his real father. Before long, Ah Sung Won dies and Hotel Ciel is left in the hands of his only child, Ah Mo Nae (Lee Da Hae). Despite the power struggle and as Mo Nae tries to uncover more about her father’s death, she and Jae Wan fall in love.
Something in common: Hotels and faux-cest.
Lee Dong Wook and Lee Da Hae have probably fully kickstarted the 2014 trend of former co-stars coming together to work on a new project again with this reunion in “Hotel King.” The two actors seem to have built a very good off-screen relationship to match their onscreen chemistry, as evidenced in some behind-the-scenes photos that Lee Da Hae herself shared on Twitter and in guest appearances after the drama.
Would a third time be possible for these two? Lee Da Hae has worked with Jang Hyuk three times (“Robber,” “Chuno,” and “Iris 2.”)
Lee Jun Ki and Nam Sang Mi
Years apart: 7
Then: “Time Between Dog and Wolf.” Lee Soo Hyun (Lee Jun Ki) loses his memories as a child after seeing his mother brutally murdered. Years later, he becomes a National Intelligence Service agent. He meets Seo Ji Woo (Nam Sang Mi) and they fall in love, without him knowing that she is the daughter of the villain he is seeking.
Now: “Joseon Gunman.” In 19th century Joseon, skilled swordsman Park Yoon Kang (Lee Jun Ki) trades his indolent life and his sword for a revenge mission and a gun, after his father is killed and branded as a traitor. The woman he loves, Jung Soo In (Nam Sang Mi) helped him escape arrest three years ago, and upon his return as Hasegawa Hanjo, forms a connection with him again.
Something in common: Assumed identities and guns. And true love despite the different identities.
A little interesting note: Like the reunited Lee Dong Wook and Lee Da Hae, Lee Jun Ki is also a “My Girl” alumn. He played the quintessential second lead, the one who is perfectly fine and would have made a great match with the heroine if only the OTP wasn’t there. It is good to see him rise up to leading man since then and have his own OTP to reunite with years later.
Jang Hyuk and Jang Nara
Years apart: 12
Then: “Successful Story of a Bright Girl.” Cha Yang Soon (Jang Nara) moves to Seoul and works as a housemaid to escape her parents who are always running into trouble. Bright and young, Cha Yang Soon finds an opposite in her employer, cosmetics company CEO Han Ki Tae (Jang Hyuk).
Now: “Fated to Love You.” In the Korean adaptation of the 2008 hit Taiwanese drama of the same name, Kim Mi Young (Jang Nara) spends a drunken night with the heir of a large company, Lee Gun (Jang Hyuk). She finds herself pregnant from the one-night-stand.
Something in common: The bright girl and the chaebol
It has been a long absence in the romantic comedy genre for Jang Hyuk before “Fated to Love You” and a long absence on TV for Jang Nara before last year’s “School 2013.” With a 12-year difference for their pairing, it is interesting to see how both have matured over the years, even taking on a light and very familiar scenario for their reunion. Jang Nara remains baby-faced, while Jang Hyuk certainly ages gracefully.
Kwon Sang Woo and Choi Ji Woo
Years apart: 11
Then: “Stairway to Heaven.” Cha Jong Soo (Kwon Sang Woo) and Han Jung Seo (Choi Ji Woo) are destined to love each other from childhood but have always been kept apart by one misfortune or another.
Now: “Temptation.” Poor man from the province Cha Suk Hoon (Kwon Sang Woo) is riddled with debt. His path crosses with the “woman of steel,” the workaholic hotel heiress Yoo Se Young, who offers him a deal—she pays off his debts; in exchange, he spends three days with her. The only catch is, he is already married.
Something in common: Oh, the drama.
“Stairway to Heaven” was one of the early Hallyu hits, earning for both Kwon Sang Woo and Choi Ji Woo a following in other shores. With the tragic turn of events in “Stairway to Heaven,” the two actors have also become known for angst-ridden material and here’s hoping “Temptation” ends happier for them.
Eric and Jung Yu Mi
Years apart: 7
Then: “Que Sera Sera.” Kang Tae Joo (Eric) plays women very well, but he is taken aback when he meets the strange Han Eun Soo (Jung Yu Mi) asleep on his doorstep. Another woman and another man, both financially more beneficial for them, complicate their relationship, as much as Tae Joo and Eun Soo cannot let go of each other.
Now: “Discovery of Love.” Han Yeo Reum (Jung Yu Mi) is in a loving relationship with her boyfriend. But a stubborn ex, Kang Tae Ha (Eric), is back in her life.
Something in common: A romantically entangled, “it’s complicated” Mr. Kang and Ms. Han
“Discovery of Love” is still currently warming up and it will be a while yet for audiences to find out whether exes can work through their issues and come back together again for a different, happy-ever-after outcome. It is a more mature subject matter for romantic dramas, one that, if “Que Sera Sera” is anything to go by, Eric and Jung Yu Mi will be able to tackle to the satisfaction of drama fans.
Kim Nam Gil and Son Ye Jin
Years apart: 1
Then: “Shark.” Jo Hae Woo (Son Ye Jin) of the Gaya Hotel Group is Han Yi Soo’s (Kim Nam Gil) first love, despite that her family causes him to lose his father and almost die. Twelve years later, Yi Soo returns with a different identity and Hae Woo becomes a prosecutor who is looking for the truth of what she believes is Yi Soo’s death.
Now: “The Pirates” (Film). On the eve of the establishment of the Joseon Dynasty, Jang Sa Jung (Kim Nam Gil) and Yeo Wol (Son Ye Jin) battle it out as they chase the Emperor’s Seal of State that was swallowed by a whale.
Something in common: Titles that have to do with the sea.
“Shark” and “The Pirates” are back-to-back projects for Kim Nam Gil and Son Ye Jin, from TV to film, indicating a good working relationship. It’s not a far-fetched claim to observe a close relationship between them, probably a fuel for the rumors of them dating.
The year is not over and more reunion projects have been announced of former co-stars, though the finished products may yet be enjoyed in 2015.
Lee Seung Ki and Moon Chae Won
Then: “Brilliant Legacy.” Sun Woo Hwan (Lee Seung Ki) and Yoo Seung Mi (Moon Chae Won) are long-time best friends, with Seung Mi hoping it will be become something more.
Now: “Today’s Love” (Film). Junsu (Lee Seung Ki) is a man who always fails in relationships. Hyun Woo (Moon Chae Won) is a witty meteorologist.
No more unrequited love: Moon Chae Won is another supporting actress who has come into her own and has her fair share of leading characters since her turn in “Brilliant Legacy.” Though it is not directly an OTP reunion—their characters were merely friends in the drama, it would be fun to see how the two former co-stars will fare in their chemistry given roles that fall in love with each other.
Jun Ji Hyun and Lee Jung Jae; Jun Ji Hyun and Ha Jung Woo
Then, with Lee Jung Jae: “The Thieves” (Film). Thieves with each their own agenda come together to steal “The Tears of the Sun” from a casino in Macau. And “Il Mare” (Film). Two people from two years apart converse through a magical mailbox.
Then, with Ha Jung Woo: “The Berlin File” (Film). A husband and wife working for the North Korean government are on the run after an arms deal falls through.
Now: “The Assassination” (Film). Set in the 1930s, an assassination plot takes place to take out a pro-Japanese group.
A little something of note: More than Jun Ji Hyun’s reunion with two co-stars from different projects, the film is also her reunion with her “Thieves” director Choi Dong Hoon. Other actors in the cast are also “Thieves” alumni, namely Choi Duk Mun and Oh Dal Soo.
Jun Ji Hyun has proved successful with repeat team-ups. She has both “Windstruck” and “My Sassy Girl” with director Kwak Jae Yong.
But perhaps the biggest evidence of her successful re-teaming is “My Love from the Star” with “Thieves” co-star Kim Soo Hyun. The drama premiered towards the end of 2013 and by the time it has finished airing in 2014 has turned the drama, and both Jun Ji Hyun and Kim Soo Hyun into Hallyu phenomenon.
More reunions to come?
These couples have been reported to have been offered to star in the same project, but have not yet finalized casting.
Daniel Henney and Jung Ryeo Won
Then: “My Name Is Kim Sam Soon.” Henry Kim (Daniel Henney) is Yoo Hee Jin’s (Jung Ryeo Won) doctor in the United States. When she returns to claim her ex-boyfriend, Henry becomes her friend and confidante.
Now, possibly: “Mr. Beautiful” (Film). Shin Yeo Jin falls in love at first sight with a man, Cha Soo Min, while in Paris. They both return to Korea and by a twist of fate, meet again and come to live together.
Why this should happen: Secondary OTP fans are no doubt rooting for Daniel Henney and Jung Ryeo Won to take on this project. It’s not every day secondary OTPs find themselves getting a chance to take center stage, right? Even if it already almost a decade of waiting.
Uhm Tae Woong and Han Ji Min
Then: “Resurrection.” Police Officer Seo Ha Eun (Uhm Tae Woong) discovers he is actually Yoon Shi Hyuk and has a twin brother who is the vice president of a large company. He takes on his twin brother’s identity and uncovers the truth about his tragic past.
Now, possibly: “Reasonable Love.” A woman who gets married to her high school teacher later meets another man.
Why this should happen: As recovery for the canceled “Wolf,” which was supposed to be their reunion project in 2006, a year after “Resurrection,” had filming accidents not caused the production to halt. It’s already been nine years since “Resurrection.”
Soompiers, any favorite reunited couples so far? Any couples you want to see reunited?