The National Artist, Yoona!
Im Yoon-ah (Hangul: 임윤아; born May 30th, 1990), better known by the mononym Yoona, is a South Korean singer and actress. After training for five years, she debuted as a member of the girl group Girls’ Generation in August 2007, which went on to become one of the best-selling artists in South Korea and one of South Korea’s most popular girl groups worldwide. Apart from her group’s activities, Yoona has participated in various television dramas, notably You Are My Destiny (2008), which marked her career breakthrough and earned her the Best New Actress award at the 23rd KBS Drama Awards.
As one of the leading idol-actresses in South Korea, Yoona has also achieved further public attention and critical acclaim with her various roles in movies and dramas. Amongst all of her dramas and movies, we have selected the top 5 dramas that you simply cannot miss. Let’s scroll down!
KBS’ Love Rain
Love Rain (Korean: 사랑비; RR: Sarangbi) is a 2012 South Korean television series directed by Yoon Seok-ho. Set in the seventies and the present day, it tells a love story over two generations, with Yoona Jang Keun-suk playing dual roles. It aired on KBS2 from March 26th to May 29th, 2012, on Mondays and Tuesdays at 21:55 for a total of 20 episodes. The cast includes Jang Keun-seuk, YoonA, Kim Shi-hoo, Son Eun-soo, and Seo In-guk.
Despite low viewership ratings in Korea, it was popular overseas and was the most expensive Korean drama presold to Japan in 2012.
Love Rain tells the story of a two-generation love story journey, namely the love story of parents and children. Yoona played the part of Jung Ha-na while Keun-seuk played the part of Seo Joon. They both were students studying at the same campus, Keimyung University in Daegu, South Korea.
This drama takes the setting of two eras, the 70s and 2012. The love between the characters played by Jang Keun-seuk and Yoona is not united in the era of the 70s. The love affair continues into the character of their children in 2012, which is also played by Jang Keun-seuk and Yoona.
- Love Rain began filming on September 24th, 2011. The first day of shooting took place at Keimyung University in Daegu, South Korea.
- Love Rain took over the KBS2 Monday and Tuesday 21:55 time slot previously occupied by Dream High 2 and would be replaced by Big on June 4th, 2012.
- On February 28th, 2012, filming for Love Rain moved to Hokkaido, Japan for 10 days. Scenes filmed in Hokkaido involved main character Seo Joon (Jang Keun-seuk) who works as a popular photographer. He goes to Hokkaido for a photoshoot and there meets Ha-Na (Yoona) for the first time.
- The first kiss between present-day main characters Joon (Jang Keun-seuk) and Ha-Na (Yoona) occurs in episode 9 (April 23rd, 2012).
Movie Confidential Assignment
Did you know that South Korean Actor Hyun Bin and Girls’ Generation member Yoona starred in a movie together? The movie is called Confidential Assignment (Hangul: 공조; Hanja: 共助; RR: Gongjo; lit. Cooperation), aired in 2017 and directed by Kim Sung-hoon. The movie successfully rose as a first-place blockbuster in its second week selling an accumulative 4 million tickets by January 30th and surpassed the 5-million mark two days later. Hyunbin and Yoona both filled important roles and paired together well.
The film is a 10-billion-won (approximately $8.5 million) project that centers around a joint North-South Korean investigation. It opens with the scene of Im Chul-ryung (Hyun Bin), an officer of a special investigation team in North Korea, who responds to a disturbance call at a warehouse that prints counterfeit bills. Im Chul-ryung’s superior Cha Ki-sung (Kim Ju-hyeok) and his own team are there to steal the master plates to print the counterfeit bills. A shootout takes place and, in the process, Im Chul-ryung is shot and others are killed.
North Korean officials later learn that Cha Ki-sung has fled to South Korea. Im Chul-ryung is ordered to capture Cha Ki-sung and retrieve the stolen master plates. He is given only three days to complete his mission. For the first time, South Korea and North Korea decide to cooperate to catch a criminal. South Korean officials though have doubts whether Cha Ki-sung is really a killer. Detective Kang Jin-tae (Yu Hae-jin) from Seoul is ordered to watch over Im Chul-ryung closely while he is in South Korea.
The film was a major success and opened in second place at the box office on January 18th. It rose to first place in its second week selling an accumulative 4 million tickets by January 30th and surpassed the 5-million mark two days later.
With that, the film became the most viewed Korean movie during the first half of 2017 by attracting 7.8 million viewers locally. Aside from the national success, the film was also sold to 42 territories, including the U.S. and several countries in Asia.
Yoona played the role of Park Min-young, the younger sister-in-law of Kang Jin-tae, who has a big crush on Hyun Bin. Yoona got a lot of praise from her peers and netizens regarding her performance in the movie.
During an interview on January 13th, actor Hyun Bin talked about his Confidential Assignment co-star and praised her hardworking mindset.
Hyun Bin said, “YoonA did really well on set. It’s not up to me to judge her acting skills. It was great to see her be so dedicated.”
He also complimented YoonA’s comical transformation in the film, saying, “She has played the main character in dramas and I think it was a good choice to pick this film to be her first. I loved seeing her work so hard and I’m looking forward to her future activities.”
- Filming began March 10th, 2016, and finished July 15th, 2016, in Seoul, South Korea.
- Yoona won the Most Popular Actress Award for her role in this movie at the 2017 (53rd) BaekSang Arts Awards – May 3rd, 2017.
Hunan TV God Of War, Zhao Yun
God of War, Zhao Yun, also known as Chinese Hero Zhao Zilong, released under the title Dynasty Warriors in Indonesia, is a 2016 Chinese television series directed by Cheng Lidong and produced by Zhejiang Yongle Entertainment Co., Ltd. The series featured cast members from mainland China, South Korea, and Taiwan: Yoona, Lin Gengxin, and Kim Jeong-hoon. The story is loosely adapted from the 14th-century Chinese classical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, with Zhao Yun (Zhao Zilong) as the main character. It was first aired on Hunan TV from April 3rd to May 7th, 2016.
God of War, Zhao Yun has been on air since April 3rd, and Yoona plays the female lead named Xiaohou Qing Yi. Her character is caught up in a love triangle between the titular character, Zhao Yun (Lin Geng Xin), and another character (Kim Jeong Hoon).
The series started filming in 2014 and wrapped up in 2015. Some footage from the 2008–2009 film Red Cliff was reused for the Battle of Red Cliff’s scenes. The series premiered in mainland China on April 3rd, 2016 on Hunan TV and ran for 60 episodes.
The series was produced at a cost of nearly 250 million yuan ($40 million). The drama was featured at the Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (FILMART), which was held from the 23rd to the 26th of March 2015; it is reported that the overseas copyright prices offered for the drama had soared to US$100,000 per episode, setting a record for Chinese costume dramas exported to overseas markets. The series was sold to Japan at a cost of $50,000 per episode and has become the most expensive Chinese television series exported to Japan.
The series’s broadcasting rights were sold to streaming site Viki with English subtitles as well as various other television networks, such as Chunghwa TV, Sichuan TV, and Guangxi TV, and other countries such as Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, Cambodia, and Thailand. The reaction to the series was overwhelmingly positive. On Chinese video streaming websites, it recorded 2.35 billion hits in a mere 13 days after its official release. Hunan TV also reported that the drama was being viewed 260 million times daily on average. In total, the series garnered more than 10 billion views. The drama’s first episode had a 1.73% viewership rating, which in Chinese standards, is considered a tremendous success. The drama peaked at more than 2% in its later episodes.
Yoona also has been praised regarding her fluent Chinese and incredible acting in the role. She shared some of her memorable moments behind the scene during her interview with Sina, Chinese media outlet.
“[The most thrilling scene] was the horseback riding scene,” she said. “It was a little frightening.” But when the interviewer pointed out that in stills, the horse she was riding was fake, she blushed and said, “Let’s keep that a secret.”
Yoona even tried out some dialects during the interview, making the staff laugh. “There were times where she was confused over a word, but her pronunciation was pretty much perfect and she prepared for the interview very well,” the staff said.
“I’ve been studying Chinese since I was in middle school and throughout my trainee days,” Yoona said. “I also learned a lot during the long time I spent during this production.”
- The filming started on January 3rd, 2015.
- The production investment for this drama was nearly 250 million yuan (~$40 million).
- The drama was featured at Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (FILMART), which was held from the 23rd to the 26th of March 2015. It’s reported that the overseas copyright prices offered for the drama had soared to $100,000 per episode, setting the record for Chinese costume dramas exported to overseas markets.
- The drama was sold to Japan at $50,000 per episode and became the best-selling Chinese drama ever imported to Japan.