[CELEB] Kim Hee-seon debuts her most drastic look to date
Kim Hee-seon, a 44-year-old actor who’s been considered a star since her debut, is back in MBC's drama series “Tomorrow” sporting short, pink hair — one of the most drastic changes in her physical appearances in her career.
Kim portrays a 420-year-old grim reaper named Gu Ryeon. Even in the after world there are roles, ranks and missions that one must fulfill, and Gu Ryeon is a team manager at Soul Management Department, whose mission is to save the lives of people who try to commit suicide. She does whatever it takes, which makes her extremely unpopular in her workplace. No one knows why she’s so intent on saving lives, only that she had a difficult past which led her to spend 400 years in hell.
The series is adapted from a Naver Webtoon with the same title which has been published on the platform since 2017. Kim cut off her hair and died it pink to look like her character in the original webtoon.
“I’ve never done a character like this one [Gu Ryeon],” Kim said at an online press event Friday. “I’ve done a lot of roles like Candy [the protagonist from Japanese manga ‘Candy Candy’], someone who remains bright and leads a vigorous life no matter what obstacle comes her way, but it’s my first time to play a role who punishes others.”
The actor also found the irony that the grim reapers attempt to save lives instead of taking them as a fresh perspective.
“The grim reapers that we’re familiar with take the dead to the afterworld, but in ‘Tomorrow,’ they try to prevent people from ending their lives,” she said. “I’m aware that there are more people nowadays who think dark thoughts, and their choices lead them to hell, is what people say. [In ‘Tomorrow’], there is no room left in hell to for all those people, leading the Emperor Jade [the chairman of the underworld monopoly] to come up with the alternative to save people.”
Kim was an icon in the late 90s — everything she wore and used became trendy and sold-out.
“She is definitely a trend setter. Her hairbands, the bags that she carries, even a toy yo-yo that goes through her hands become fashionable,” The Hankook Ilbo wrote after MBC drama series “Goodbye My Love” (1999) ended.
“A street vendor from the Namdaemun market called me to say thank you. A hairband that I bought on the streets because it was cheap and pretty became popular so he’d earned a lot of money off of it,” Kim during the interview with the newspaper.
The actor has been well-received ever since dipping her toe in the entertainment industry. She began modeling in teen magazines before appearing in a commercial for Lotte Samkang’s crab chips in 1993. She had her acting debut through SBS drama series “Dinosaur Teacher” (1993).
She successively starred in a series of hit dramas such as “Men of the Bath House” (1995), “Propose” (1997), “Wedding Dress” (1997) on KBS2, “Forever Yours” (1998) on MBC, “Mister Q” (1998) on SBS, “Sunflower” (1998) on MBC and “Tomato” (1999) on SBS.
Her film career wasn’t as fruitful. She made her silver screen debut in the 1997 film “Repechage.”
However, she gained global spotlight as a Hallyu star in the big-budget 2000 film “Bichunmoo,” which was shot in China. She played the daughter of a Mongolian general.
Her popularity in southeast Asia, especially in China, led her to be cast alongside Jackie Chan in Hong Kong-Chinese martial arts film “The Myth” (2005).
Kim married in 2007 and took a five-year hiatus from acting to devote her time to her family. She returned to acting in 2012 as a modern-day doctor who time travels to the Goryeo period and falls in love with a warrior of the royal guard in SBS drama series “Faith.” The second peak of her career came with JTBC drama series “The Lady in Dignity” (2017), in which she features as an elegant woman named Woo Ah-jin. The series became one of JTBC's highest-rated dramas.
Kim is also set to appear in Netflix Korea's upcoming original series “Remarriage & Desires” in August.
“Tomorrow” airs every Friday and Saturday on MBC at 9:50 p.m. The series is also available on Netflix.
Date of birth: June 11, 1977
Zodiac sign: Gemini
Debut: 1993 through a commercial for Lotte Samkang’s crab chips
Agency: Hinge Entertainment
Kim Hee-seon debuted on screen through a commercial for Lotte Samkang’s crab chips in 1993 and featured in SBS drama series “Dinosaur teacher” the same year. Recognized for her beauty, she has been cast in numerous television and film roles and enjoyed the peak of her popularity in the late 90s. She currently appears as a grim reaper with a scarred past in MBC drama series “Tomorrow.”
This information was confirmed by Hinge Entertainment on April 4.
BY LEE JAE-LIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]