The two anomalies of the Korean acting industry: never taking on new works yet being paid super highly
These two Korean actors are still super influential despite their lack of K-dramas and films.
The Korean entertainment industry moves at a rapid pace with new faces constantly appearing. Therefore, to maintain popularity and prestige, Korean celebrities have to do a lot of things, from accepting new projects, and updating their SNS, to attending public events. However, there are a few exceptions who never do anything but still manage to be influential with high pay – and they are none other than actress Lee Young Ae and actor Won Bin.
Lee Young Ae
Lee Young Ae became a top star across Asia with her iconic role in the massive hit “Dae Jang Geum”. However, right after getting popular, the actress took a 2-year break before returning with the thriller film “Lady Vengeance”. And as if 2 wasn’t long enough, the actress then disappeared for another 12 years, and finally came back in 2017 with the TV series “Saimdang, Memoir of Colors”. And of course, following this is another 2 years of absence, which ended with the release of the award-winning movie “Bring Me Home”. So far, Lee Young Ae’s latest comeback was in the 2021 investigation series “Inspector Koo”, which unfortunately did not gain much attention.
Even with her long absences and a low number of works, Lee Young Ae was still among the top actresses in Korea. According to Korean media, the actress received a payment as high as Jeon Ji Hyun, and was among the most expensive to invite. Lee Young Ae’s popularity and influence are simply undeniable, and the actress never fails to become a hot topic whenever there’s news about her.
But Lee Young Ae isn’t the most extraordinary case, as Won Bin took it even further with only 13 projects, including both films and TV series, throughout his 25-year career. His last movie was actually from 2010, and this was also his last public appearance aside from commercial films, seeing that the actor hasn’t got an SNS either.
Compared to other celebrities who struggle to remain relevant after only 1 or 2 years, Won Bin is still an A-list celebrity and even lands new advertisements from time to time. And adding to all of that, brands have to cash out large sums of money to get the mysterious actor to appear.
In a rare interview with the media, Won Bin confessed the true reason for his decade-long absence, saying: “Whenever I get offered a new project, I need to feel them with my heart before letting my head take over. Rationally, I know there are roles necessary to my career. My head keeps telling me to accept the offer. But my heart refuses to tingle no matter how many times I read the script, so I decline.”