TOKYO ? A fashion design graduate with a reputation for perfection, Korean actress Kim Tae Hee has won plaudits for her roles in several high profile TV dramas, including “Stairway to Heaven”, “Iris” and “My Princess.”
2011 saw her crossover to debut as a lead in a Japanese TV drama, playing a role she knew only too well - as a star Korean actress visiting Japan in “99 Days with a Star.” Tae Hee is next set to star as a royal concubine in Korean period drama ‘Jang Ok-jeong, Live for Love’, set during the Joseon Dynasty and on SBS from this April.
"In a feature film I can study and analyze my character within the story based on the finished script, whereas in a TV drama I have to constantly adapt which makes preparation and training more difficult," says Tae Hee.
"I can honestly say therefore that I like doing TV dramas more because I can happily immerse myself in a character for 3~4 months and monitor how the audience is reacting to the story to adjust and adapt my acting."
Kim began her career full of confidence in the 2001 feature film “Last Present”, in which she played a younger version of lead actress Lee Young-ae's character Jung-yun, wife of down and out comedian Yong-ki.
"The director saw me in a fashion magazine and gave me my big break. My dialogue was short and simple so I wasn't nervous, but when I was in front of the camera, my mind went blank. I look back to that day now and realize I knew nothing about acting and I get embarrassed watching my scene from that movie even to this day."
The turning point in her career came when Kim was cast as Choi Seung-hee, team leader in Korea's National Security Service in espionage drama “Iris” that set the record for the most expensive Korean drama ever made (20 billion won).
"I love all the characters I've played so far, but if I were to pick out one, it would have to be Choi Seung Hee," said Kim. "Her character is an intellectual, philosophical and seemingly cold agent, but underneath she has the passionate heart of a woman who falls in love. Her mysterious character held the key to the main story and her action sequences mixed well with her romantic qualities to make her irresistible to the audience."
Kim Tae Hee gave us a rundown of her five personal favorite TV dramas from around the world. (Click ‘next’)
1. "Friends" (1994-2004)
This icon of 1990s television followed the trials and tribulations of six New Yorker's relationships through the lens of the burgeoning coffee shop culture of the era. "Even though it was made a long time ago, it still brings me so much laughter to this day," said Kim. "Every character is so unique yet they are somehow harmonized and synced together."
2. "Sex and the City" (1998-2004)
An older all-female cast of New Yorkers put sex explicitly at the forefront of a primetime show to both acclaim and criticism, taking on sensitive issues like promiscuity and safe sex while representing an emboldened generation of city women. "The narration by Carrie in the story reveals the true heart of a woman in her 20~30s" said Kim. "The lifestyle of the women, the society of New York city and especially the fashion made me fall in love with the story."
3. "24" (2001-2010)
With each one-hour episode using real time to tell the story of one day of Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer's life over a season, 24's original concept remained fresh for nine years and is set for the big screen in 2013. "The dynamic storyline and fast paced progression of the story kept me up throughout the night. I remember finishing the entire season 1 in one sitting."
4. "My Lovely Sam Soon" (2005)
A Korean rom-com that had over half the nation watching its finale, this story of a single woman with a passion for baking but out of luck in love won numerous awards for the cast, especially lead actress Kim Suna. "The 4 main characters weren't stereotypical so its realistic and heartfelt dialogues kept me interested until the end. Also its stylish visual effects and background music made it the "Bridget Jones Diary" of Korea. Its perfect balance between the comedic elements and romantic elements played out very well."
5. "Glee" (2009-)
Bringing musicals to the small screen, Glee is a comedy drama set in a high-school glee club that has impacted the music industry with its song selections as well confounding early critics of its seemingly unlikely concept. "First of all its music is absolutely unforgettable and very catchy, the cast's impressive singing and dancing ability were a major factor for me to watch the show" said Kim. "Its story is heartwarming and very positive, and the characters were also very unique and original. And how can I not mention all the unforgettable cameos!"