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Never Knew We Are Actually Siblings?

Posted December. 11, 2003 23:24,   


“If anyone of your siblings is too famous in entertainment industry, it can shadow you. Fortunately, I am not that big of a shadow now, and I don’t think I’ll cast too much of a shadow on my brother. But recently, I think I might be called the sister of Lee Wan instead,” Kim Tae-hee says.

The sister and brother TV talents, Kim Tae-hee, 23, and Hyung-soo (stage name, Lee Wan), 19, are both acting in SBS’ “Steps in Paradise” (Written by Park Hye-kyoung, Produced by Lee Jang-su, airing Wednesday and Thursday nights at 9:50 p.m.).

Kim Hyung-soo demonstrates his impressive acting skills as Shin Hyun-jun in his teenage days, and Kim Tae-hee appears as Shin Hyun-jun’s sister, a former role of Kim Hyung-soo’s in episodes from December 11. Kim Hyung-soo does not appear after the third episode when the role is handed over the Shin Hyun-jun character as a grown-up, but there will be many scenes of reminiscence in which the sister and the brother will occasionally appear together.

“Steps in Paradise,” which first aired on December 3, is a 20-episode drama about the love stories of four men and women who break taboos and social customs. Kwon Sang-woo, Choi Ji-woo, Shin Hyun-jun, and Kim Tae-hee are all members of the cast. The staff members have hid the fact that Kim Tae-hee and Kim Hyung-soo are siblings out of concern that it might blur the drama’s focus. Kim Hyung-soo also chose his stage name after general Lee Wan who led the conquering-the-north policy during King Hyojong’s reign in the Josun Dynasty.

This drama is Lee Wan’s debut, and he was selected from 200 candidates for the role while studying at Kookmin University as a physical education major. And while he only appeared in three episodes, there are 300 fan communities dedicated to him on the Internet, and their members number more than 60,000.

One scene that drew people’s attention shows Lee Wan’s character standing outside a window with a cast on his leg and a large sign reading “Han Jung-suh, do you like me or not?” The phrase “do you like me or not?” is already a popular quote with teenagers.

Shin Hyun-jun once wrote on a bulletin board on the Internet about Lee Wan that, “I cried several times because his acting was so realistic.”

Kim Tae-hee from Seoul National University, plays contrasting roles of an angel and an evil girl respectively in two SBS sitcoms, “Gourd-Breaking at Heunbu’s” and “Steps in Paradise”. Yuri, her character in “Steps in Paradise”, is hypocritical and will use any means to achieve her goal but rapidly turns into a lovable girl in front of the person she loves.

“When I said that I would act as an evil girl, everyone around me tried to stop me from doing it. But I did not want to lose this chance to play a leading role along with such top stars as Choi Ji-woo, Shin Hyun-jun, Kwon Sang-woo and producer Lee Jang-soo,” says Kim Tae-hee.

They are careful to discuss each other’s acting the day after coming back from the shoot. However, she says that she is shocked that her brother acts the gloomy and rebellious character so well and that it gives her chills when he is only starting his career in acting.

“I knew that my brother was much more emotional and expressive than I am, but I did not know the difference was this huge. Before starting his career, I taught him how to say the lines, but now I feel overwhelmed by him,” says Kim Tae-hee.

Lee Wan says, “Her crying scene is the best. The role that I acted this time was an introvert one, but my real personality is quite outgoing,” adding, “I want to play a range of characters like Seol Kyung-ku does.”

Seung-Hoon Cheon raphy@donga.com