From the Queen’s Vantage Point:
There are no little actors
And there are no little parts
But the entire production goes
To the one with the most heart
In a race with many runners
You may begin in the very back
But you will certainly move up fast
Focus on what you have
And not what you lack-excerpt Key to Happiness
D. M. Cooper
Hello, faithful readers! Today’s focus is on the bit player. This is the actor who brings to the series a bit of flavor. He is not well known and his name is not the one drawing the viewer but he brings the flavor to the story in the same way salt enhances all the other ingredients to a dish. In Kdrama, we manage to find so many really good bit players with faces that will be remembered even if their names are not known. These are people who glue the stories together to help the whole picture develop. They are not second, or even third bananas, but take them out of the picture and something is just not right. Some of these people are hidden in the extras and some are given a line or two. Some may never speak at all, but they are seen and somehow, they are remembered. What is even more interesting is that they sometimes become stars, but mostly, they do not. Yet, the story is bland without them.
The man or woman chosen to be the bit player has to have something that moves them out of the range of the extra, and causes a producer to make them visibly invisible. In other words, they are there and then they are not, but they leave an impression on the audience in a very subtle, but pronounced way. For instance, in Padam Padam
, there are two such actors. One is the nosy, boisterous fish woman who works alongside the mother of Yang Kang. She is a busybody. Maybe she is even jealous of Kang’s mother because Kang has returned from jail and rebuilt his mother’s home and is bringing her money from his job to sustain her life. Or maybe her jealousy has sprung from the years of watching this woman survive in spite of her son’s circumstances.
The other is the side kick of the angry, possessed Detective Jang. He is loyal to his sunbae but he is confused and conflicted by Jang’s attitude and disposition. Yet, he stays by Jang’s side offering unheeded advice and trying to steer him from his anger. Even when they are off duty, he is with Jang and he worries that the detective will do something to harm his career or maybe even kill Kang. He does not want his mentor to end up on the wrong side of the law and yet, he cannot figure out how to stop Jang’s downward spiral.
Another awesome pair of bit players are found in Playful Kiss
. The first one is Baek Seung Jo’s father, the childhood friend of Oh Ha Ni’s father. These two have such a special bond that Oh Ha Ni and her father are invited to move into the home of Baek Seung Jo’s family during a crisis and the fathers weep together when the Ohs almost move out and at the wedding of their son and daughter to each other. Mention should also go to one of the best child actors in this series and that is Choi Won Hong who portrays Baek Seung Jo’s little brother. He will not be a bit player once he grows up. He will definitely turn heads, hearts, and flood the minds of women everywhere.
The next actor to be mentioned is the actress who portrays Lee Shin’s (Jong Young Hwa) little sister in Heartstrings
. She is one of those people you want to spank one minute and hug the next. The flavor that she brings to the picture allows Lee Shin and Lee Kyu Won (Park Shin Hye) to balance their relationship with a little spice. From the Queen’s vantage point, I must remember to do an article on Park Shin Hye. What a wonderful actress! But, I digress. One day soon the young lady that plays Shin’s little sister will have a role as the spoiled rich child of some huge rich family or the antagonist of some other rich family’s spoiled daughter. It does not matter which, she will not remain a bit player as she grows either.
In this same series is a young man in Lee Shin’s band. No, not the cute drummer who is doggedly working to get the attention of Han He Joo (Woo Ri). Instead, focus your attention on the tall guy on Shin’s right as you view the screen in Episode 2. Just his stance is an attention getter. As hard as it is to drag your stare away from Jong Young Hwa, you still cannot help but see this guy. At some point when you see him again, you will remember. This is the same effect that Kim Bum had on me when I saw him in Boys Over Flowers and again in The Woman Who Still Wants to Love. Even though Bum was the leading man in The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry, I remembered his face from Boys Over Flowers
where he was one of the co-stars, and was thrilled to see him as the star in The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry.
So faithful reader, keep looking for the bit players and note who stands out to you because the possibility exists that the director, producers and scouts have noticed them, too. One day you may see them again as the star of their own series. As the McDonald’s commercials always say, “It could happen!”
To read more from the Queen, click here!