Best Writer-Actor Matchups In K-Dramas

The compatibility between writer and actor is very important, especially since many actors have made breakthrough performances under the right writer. News outlet TV Report recently compiled a ranking of the best writer-actors pairs, as voted by 30 of its staff.

1. Park Ji Eun and Jun Ji Hyun

park ji eun jun ji hyun

The pair first worked together on SBS’s “My Love From the Star.” Chun Song Yi was written with Jun Ji Hyun in mind, so she was a character that could not have been portrayed by anyone else. The pair recently reunited again for SBS’s “The Legend of the Blue Sea.”

As a voter described, it is an ideal match between an actress who can pull off the common “top star” character as superbly as the more difficult mermaid character, and a writer who breathes life into these characters. Other comments included “They compliment each other’s strengths,” and “Jun Ji Hyun’s fantasy image and [hilarious] silliness in her acting have a synergy when they meet Park Ji Eun.”

2. Park Ji Eun and Kim Soo Hyun, Noh Hee Kyung and Song Hye Kyo

The contenders for second place received three votes each.

For the first pair, Kim Soo Hyun catapulted to fame as Do Min Joon in “My Love From the Star,” after which he readily wrecked his suave image in Park Ji Eun’s next project “Producer,” showing that he can adapt to the writer’s diverse styles.

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A voter commented, “Kim Soo Hyun saved Park Ji Eun from a crisis. The reception for ‘Producer’ was not very good, but Kim Soo Hyun’s acting made [the drama] a hot topic. Even in ‘My Love from the Star,’ he took on the alien role brilliantly, stirring up a craze [over the drama].”

Another voter also said, “The productions were both hits. But there’s a 180-degree difference between the characters. It means the two of them have explosive chemistry.”

song hye kyo noh hee kyung

The second pair Noh Hee Kyung and Song Hye Kyo worked together on KBS’s “Worlds Within” and SBS’s “That Winter, The Wind Blows.” Song Hye Kyo’s acting style shines best when paired with Noh Hee Kyung’s writing.

Comments include “[Song Hye Kyo] seems to digest Noh Hee Kyung’s unique tone best,” and “[Song Hye Kyo is] an actress who is able to bring the audience into deeper empathy with Noh Hee Kyung’s famous dialogues. In particular, she showed exquisite emotional acting in ‘That Winter, The Wind Blows’ after studying her character under Noh Hee Kyung’s guidance.”

3. Park Ji Eun and Kim Nam Joo, Noh Hee Kyung and Jo In Sung, and others

There were six contending pairs for third place, each with two votes.

kim nam joo 4

Park Ji Eun and Kim Nam Joo worked together in several hits, including “Queen of Housewives,” “Queen of Reversals,” and “My Husband Got A Family.” A voter said, “I think Park Ji Eun, who is able to draw out characters we can sympathize with, and Kim Nam Joo, who seamlessly transforms into her character each time, have the best compatibility.”

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Noh Hee Kyung and Jo In Sung collaborated on the dramas “That Winter, The Wind Blows,” “It’s Okay, That’s Love,” and “Dear My Friends.” One of the voters said, “[Noh Hee Kyung] knows how to make Jo In Sung look cool. [Initially I thought] he wasn’t that attractive, but the dramas kept me up all night.”

kim eun sook gong yoo

The third pair is Kim Eun Sook and Gong Yoo. A voter commented, “It’s a [great] combination of Kim Eun Sook, who created Gong Yoo’s Goblin over a long time, and Goblin Gong Yoo, who made us understand why he waited for five years [to return to dramas]. Because they wrote and gave life to ‘Goblin‘ far better than anyone else could, I think they’re the best couple.”

kim eun hee jo jin woong

The fourth is Kim Eun Hee and Jo Jin Woong from tvN’s “Signal.” They were praised at length by a voter, who said, “I felt that the two of them had huge power on ‘Signal.’ Jo Jin Woong gave charm to a character that could have come across as tacky. Because of his acting, the romance and righteous image that Kim Eun Hee wanted to show was further brought to life. It wasn’t overdone, and one could immerse oneself into the drama. Jo Jin Woong could convey Kim Eun Hee’s message better than anyone else. I look forward to their next production, and whatever it is, I believe it [will do well].”

lee jong suk

It could be said that Park Hye Ryun raised Lee Jong Suk. The two worked together on “I Hear Your Voice” and “Pinocchio,” and will be reuniting again in the upcoming “While You Were Asleep” (unofficial title). A voter commented, “These two people built rapport through ‘I Hear Your Voice’ and ‘Pinocchio,’ so as expected, the production changes gradually as the actor matures. More than anything, Lee Jong Suk is able to portray Park Hye Ryun’s unique male characters well. It feels like they have grown together. I look forward to seeing what kind of story will unfold in ‘While You Were Asleep.'”

lee sang yoon 4

And finally, So Hyun Kyung and Lee Sang Yoon also had undeniable chemistry in “My Daughter Seo Young” and “Twenty Again.” A voter said, “Lee Sang Yoon could not shine properly in other productions, but he met a good role in So Hyun Kyung’s ‘Twenty Again,’ and the character also came to life because of him. Both times, the character and actor matched really well. So Hyun Kyung writes well with Lee Sang Yoon, and Lee Sang Yoon also meets his needs.”

Honorable Mentions

There were some who voted for other pairings instead. They are, in no particular order:

-Kim Eun Sook and Yoo In Na

-Kim Eun Sook and Jang Dong Gun

-Kim Eun Sook and Hyun Bin

-Park Kyung Soo and Son Hyun Joo

-Noh Hee Kyung and Yoon Yeo Jung

-Seo Sook Hyang and Gong Hyo Jin

-Hong Sisters and Cha Seung Won

Who is your favorite writer-actor pairing?

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