Rain's top 10 leading ladies over the last 13 years
International entertainer Rain (비, a.k.a. Jung Ji Hoon) celebrated his 13th anniversary in show business recently. Seems like only yesterday he was being introduced as a JYPE dancer on Korean TV (2001), and debuting as a singer with his first album n001 (2002) and song "Bad Guy." His acting career started almost immediately with TV sitcoms and Banjun dramas, and it has been tightly entwined with his other talents every step of the way since. He wasn't a singer who acted or an actor who sang, but a bona fide singer, actor, and dancer in equal measure.
I got to thinking the other day, Man, that's a lot of leading ladies! How many more would there be if not for his albums, concert tours, and the military? Let's take a look at these talented actresses and what they're doing now. Please point out your favorites!
Hyo Jin played Chae Eun Hwan to Rain's Cha Sang Doo, and the two lovers had it rough in this unfortunate but engrossing melodrama. I thought it was going to emotionally kill me! This fictional pairing won Best Couple at the 2003 KBS Drama Awards. Presently, Hyo Jin is the face of Clio Professional and has a new May pictorial in Marie Claire Taiwan.
This fan favorite played Han Ji Eun to Rain's Lee Young Jae, and from the second she barfed all over his shirt on that airplane, all was fair in love and war during this hilarious romantic comedy. This fictional pairing won Best Couple at the 2004 KBS Drama Awards. As one of the most in-demand product endorsers in South Korea, Hye Gyo stays busy keeping her sponsors and magazine photographers happy.
Min Ah also did fashion modeling with Rain around that time, so maybe it's because they were comfortable with each other that her Cha Eun Suk had such strong chemistry with his Kang Bok Gu. This Korean melodrama is the epitome of TRAGIC, and it almost physically killed me! They were a train wreck that I couldn't stop watching until the end, and they shared one of the BEST kisses in the K-drama universe.
Soo Jung's Cha Young Goon spends nearly the entire movie in a mental institution, truly believing she's a cyborg, hallucinating and trying to recharge herself instead of eat. Rain's Park Il Soon spends the entire movie being anti-social, stealing his institution mates' belongings (klepto!), and trying desperately to save Young Goon from starving herself, out of love. The film won the Alfred Bauer Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival, and, IMHO, has one of the BEST onscreen kisses ever. Ever.
Soo Jung has a couple of K-dramas under her belt, and a whole slew of movies spanning her career. Perfect Proposal (a.k.a. Secret Temptation), her newest film, hits theaters this June. You can watch her here on DramaFever in Hallyu sensation/melodrama I'm Sorry, I Love You.
Once Naomie's Mika Coretti got involved with Rain's Raizo, it was either a life on the run or be skewered by ninjas. There wasn't enough movie time for the characters to act on their developing feelings, but many of us saw it, felt it, and liked it. Why do you think she went after killing machine Ozunu with only a handgun? Why do you think Raizo suddenly developed invisible speed after Ozunu turned on her? Uh-huh.
This talented English Bond Girl has a movie rap sheet that is nothing to sneeze at, from Pirates of the Caribbean to playing Winnie Mandela! I loved her in 28 Days Later. She's got a second Bond movie coming out this year, and she just did a photo spread for The Untitled Magazine that will be out in July.
What do you get when an orphan on the run and hellbent on revenge (Na Young's Jin Yi) gets tangled up with Asia's best, cockiest, skirt-chasing P.I. (Rain's Ji Woo)? Trouble, and lots of it, especially when lost gold and being framed for a murder come with the territory. Action! Romance! Comedy! And then some.
Na Young has a slew of K-dramas and movies under her belt. Her most recent films were Howling (2012) in Korea and SPEC: Close (2013) in Japan.
Rain's Tae Hun was a daredevil military jet fighter pilot, the best of his time but in constant trouble and waaaay out of control. Se Kyung's Se Young was the standoffish Air Force mechanic with the power to tame him as threats to national security filtered down out of North Korea. Before it was all over, they would be in each other's arms. (Oh, my feels!)
(FYI: This kiss was cut out of the movie — wrongly, in my opinion — but CJ Entertainment released this still photo anyway and a second one, to make the fans happy. Love them for that!)
Boy (or rather, man) meets girl. Boy likes girl, but doesn't tell girl. Girl likes boy, but doesn't tell boy. Boy and girl love dog and use dog as an excuse to see each other. Girl finds out boy's secret (he's her dead sister's ex). Boy and girl fight. Everyone else finds out secret and shenanigans commence. Krystal's Se Na and Rain's Hyun Wook had more interference in their relationship than Monday Night Football. Sheesh!
At present, Krystal — of girl group f(x) — endorses Etude House, models for Keds shoes, and is covering Ceci Campus Magazine for May. Watch her in DramaFever exclusive Heirs or 2 other dramas, it's up to you!
A girl from a declining aristocratic family with a big secret meets a poor but talented painter with a bigger secret. Add in another man, a meddling mother, danger, betrayal, and a mesmerizing, passionate love. All of that adds up to Crystal's Xing Lu and Rain's Xu Chengxun being so star-crossed they can barely function. Love is hell, folks!
Crystal (a.k.a. Liu Yi Fei) did a striking photo shoot for Madame Figaro earlier in 2015 and covered Harper's Bazaar China for April. Her new Chinese film with Korean actor Song Seung Hun, Third Love, should be out later this year.
In this romantic comedy, a disfigured young woman (Tiffany's Mi Duo) will undergo a life-changing metamorphosis and meet the cold, manipulative, solitary CEO of the world's largest diamond company (Rain's Xiao Liang). She teaches him what it means to be alive and happy. Will the intense pressure of their lives crush them or transform them into diamonds? The broadcast dates for the 40-episode drama still haven't been released as of this posting, but the show has finished filming and is slated for the second half of 2015.
Tiffany (a.k.a. Tang Yan) has done so many movies and TV series that it makes me dog-tired just looking at the list! She is one hard-working actress. (FYI: She was also in Chinese movie For Love or Money with Rain and Crystal Liu, as Crystal's best friend! How's that for a small world?) Want to check out her work? You can, by watching her historical Chinese romantic comedy Perfect Couple.
Well, there you have it, folks. Ten leading ladies in 13 years. Pretty impressive, especially when these talented women and Rain have won plenty of acting awards between them in these roles. If the past and the present are any indication, they've all got a lot of good years left in them and we'll be happily reaping those benefits for a good while yet.
If I could magically have any one of these roles myself... who would I play? Hm. There are several, but I'll have to go with Mika Coretti. I know she almost got shish-kabobbed several times and that she and Raizo didn't get to act on their feelings, but come on. You know that at some point in Fantasy Land, they did. She was strong, and she was smart. And there's just something about a fictional ninja gone good that makes you want to sop him up with a biscuit, as we say in the South. Yummy.
Do you have a favorite actress in this group? Which role would you play if you could just snap your fingers?
Images: credited as tagged
Watch Rain and Producer star Gong Hyo Jin in Sang Doo, Let's Go to School:
Stephe is a fantasy and paranormal writer who lives for Anime, Doctor Who, telenovelas, and Asian dramas. She co-founded Cloud USA, a Rain (비) fan site for English speakers, with her best friend Terri and enjoys sharing interesting tidbits on DramaFever in her spare time.