10 dramas and movies you won't believe are based on real life
They say art mirrors reality. And, in the case of historical dramas, that’s made pretty obvious (although a lot of it is usually fictionalized) But, if you follow the news long enough, you realize there dramas and movies that are made on real events that are far more recent. Here are 10 times real news became awesome dramas and movies.
1) Miss Ripley (2011)
With a name no doubt inspired by the 1955 Patricia Highsmith novel, this drama starring Lee Da Hae (Chuno, East of Eden) and Park Yoo Chun (Rooftop Prince) centers around Jang Mi Ri, an orphan who escapes her pimp in Japan and essentially fabricates everything about her life, including being a well-educated Tokyo University graduate, to score a job at a luxury hotel and leave behind her tortured past. The story itself is inspired by a real-life professor at Dongguk University and chief art curator at Sungkok Art Museum who, it was later found out, had forged her credentials; she never held a BA from the University of Kansas or a Ph.D. from Yale University, as she claimed. After getting fired from her various positions of prestige, the woman in question served 18 months in jail for fraud. Interestingly, she was also romantically involved with an aide of the president, responsible for getting her the job.
2) My Wife’s Having an Affair This Week (2016)
Lee Sun Gyun (Miss Korea, Coffee Prince) and Song Ji Hyo (Running Man, Emergency Couple) star in this romantic comedy that is actually a remake of a 2007 Japanese television series, which in turn is based on a bizarre news story. Supposedly, there was a real man who, like Lee Sung Gyun’s character, posted a very interesting question on some forums, “My wife is having an affair this week; what should I do?” The post evidently went viral and inspired an entire drama; here’s to hoping the poor guy’s situation was just as hilarious as the story, and not as depressing as it can potentially be.
3) Go Away Mr. Tumor (2015)
Hundred Flowers Award (a Chinese award recognizing excellence in film similar to the Golden Globes) winner Bai Baihe and Daniel Wu (Triple Tap) star in a comedy about a real-life woman who has cancer. Yes, you read that right: it’s a comedy. About cancer. And this odd combination of subject and tone works only because it is based on the life of webcomic author Xiang Yao (pen name Xiong Dun), who wrote about her battle with cancer in a remarkably optimistic and unbelievably funny way. Xiang Yao passed away at the age of 30 in 2012, but this film does well to remind us what she achieved: by writing a genuinely heartwarming tale and living her life to the fullest, Xiong Dun became a household name and brought hope and joy to millions around the world. And drama fans: there is actually a scene where she pretends to be in a romantic medical K-drama with her doctor. You know you’ve done it.
4) The Chaser (2008)
This dark thriller stars Ha Jung Woo (H.I.T., The Berlin File) as a serial killer chased by an officer (Punch andThe Thieves alum Kim Yoon Suk), a corrupt former officer who is working to protect Mi Jin (Seo Young Hee from The Woman Who Married Three Times), one of many prostitutes who works for him. Ha Jung Woo’s character is actually based on a real-life, hammer-wielding serial killer, who targeted many women before he was finally captured by the police. Interestingly enough, officers had actually captured the real-life killer once before and let him go because they, having failed to do a proper background check, thought he was simply a thief.
5) Silenced (2011)
Originally titled “The Crucible,” this movie starring the ever-lovable Gong Yoo (Goblin, Coffee Prince) actually tells the story of a real-life school for the hearing-impaired, where students were allegedly abused for years before things were finally brought to light by a newly-appointed teacher. Surprisingly, when the case first came to the courts, it actually didn’t lead to particularly harsh convictions for anyone involved. But when Gong Yoo, having read a novel on the events during his military service, decided to make it into a film, the media finally listened. The school was shut down and there were prompt changes in the law to prevent future repetition of the multiple loopholes and technicalities that allowed most of the people involved to walk away with their freedom. We hear a lot about actors doing nice things and things like “manner legs”; let’s all also celebrate Gong Yoo, who did something meaningful with his popularity.
6) Bachelor’s Vegetable Store (2012)
This drama starring Ji Chang Wook (The K2, Healer) and Wang Ji Hye (Birth of a Beauty, How to Meet a Perfect Neighbor) is based on the very inspirational real-life story of Lee Young Suk, a man who began with a small 350-square-feet vegetable store in 1998 and turned it into a nationwide franchise with 33 branches. For all those dramas that begin with ridiculously rich cool-looking dudes (looking at you, Heirs, Boys Over Flowers ), it’s nice to see someone making it on their own without the help of a billionaire dying and leaving them all his inheritance.
7) Cart (2014) and Awl (2015)
This is an interesting scenario: two stories that talk about different perspectives of the same incident. In July 2007, a large discount store, owned by a giant conglomerate, fired its contract employees (mostly women), only to replace them with outsourced workers; this was done to bypass a new law that required employees be given regular-worker status after a certain period of time. What it resulted in, however, was the dismissed employees and labor unions staging a sit-in strike outside the supermarket for 512 days. Again, that is 512 days. Cart concerns itself with Sun Hee (Mirror of the Witch actress Yum Jung Ah), Hye Mi (Moon Jung Hee from A Thousand Days’ Promise), and Soon Rye (Doctor Crush alum Kim Young Ae), three contract workers who find out they are about to be dismissed, and the movie chronicles their struggle against management. On the other hand, Awl is a drama and concerns itself with the struggle of Lee Soo In (Queen In Hyun’s Man and Invincible Lee Pyung Kang actor Ji Hyun Woo), an employee at the same retail store who is ordered to discharge those same contract workers. Instead of listening to his boss, the former military man unites with the labor union to fight against the unfair dismissals. This particular edition of the story is based on a 2013 webcomic by Choi Gyu Suk, but both Awl and Cart are inspired by the same real-life incident.
8) As One (2012)
Perhaps not as recent as the other incidents on this list, but certainly not old enough to qualify as history, As One is based on the real-life story of South Korean table tennis player Hyun Jung Hwa (Secret Garden actress Ha Ji Won) and North Korean Lee Boon Hee (Gloria and God of Study alum Bae Doo Na), who form a united team to play in the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships in Chiba, Japan. The drama chronicles their struggle to come together as a team and, in the process, learn more about the oft-depressing divide between the North and South Korean people. Interestingly, the drama was written after several lengthy interviews with Hyun Jung Hwa, who also served as Ha Ji Won’s trainer for the role.
9) Way Back Home (2013)
A movie that sheds some important light on the effect of loan sharks and smuggling on the common person, Way Back Home revolves around Jeong Yeon (Lovers in Prague alum Jun Do Yeon), an ordinary housewife imprisoned in Martinique, France for two years after being wrongly accused of drug smuggling at a Paris airport. The movie, based on a real-life incident that occurred in late 2004, chronicles the story of the woman’s struggle in jail and her eventual return to South Korea. The movie brought about much discussion on the perceived negligence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their supposed inability to defend their citizens abroad.
10) Where the Truth Lies (2009)
With the early working title of “Burger King Murder,” you might be inclined to think of this as something comedic. Unfortunately, Where the Truth Lies (also known as “The Case of Itaewon Homicide”) is inspired by a very real and tragic incident where one college student was stabbed to death in the restroom of a Burger King in Itaewon, Seoul in 1997. Some unclear evidence and prosecutor mistakes meant that both suspects were eventually freed. The drama stars Jung Jin Young (Angel Eyes, Brain) as the prosecutor, and is still a fresh memory for not just the people involved but for the Itaewon neighborhood, because that area is known for being a popular tourist attraction and was directly impacted by what was a high-profile crime.