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What you need to know about Jang Dong-yoon, Kim So-hyun and the cast of ‘The Tale of Nokdu’

By: Ruel S. De Vera

Deliberate mistaken identity is the cute but purposeful premise behind “The Tale of Nokdu,” the new KBS2 and Netflix K-drama romantic comedy starring two of Korean’s up-and coming stars, Jang Dong-yoon an Kim So-hyun. The series is based on the immensely popular 2014 webtoon by Hye Jin-yang.

“The Tale of Nokdu” is set in the Joseon era, where Nok-du (Dong-yoon) finds a village where only women live and decides to disguise himself as a woman named Nok-soon to infiltrate the village and find out what us going on. This village, it turns out, is a village populated entirely by widows. While there, he encounters Dong-joo (So-hyun) a kisaeng-to-be (kind of the Korean equivalent of Japan’s geisha) but she is terrible at the performing part because in reality she is preparing to kill the man who caused her family harm. Cha Yool-moo (Tae-oh) is always around Dong-joo and you know what that means, which is both unfortunate and funny. Be careful, though, because danger lurks. Gwanghae (Jung Joon-ho) wants all possible successors to the throne he covets to be killed, and there’s no telling who will be on that list. Amid all this, love blooms in Joseon.

Here are the cast members:

Kim So-hyun as Dong Dong-joo

The gorgeous So-hyun is the headliner of “The Tale of Nokdu,” even if it’s not her name in the title. The young girl who was dubbed “Nation’s Little Sister” is all grown up with the big-time roles to match. Her ridiculously prodigious (she’s 21!) resume includes “The Moon Embracing the Sun,” “Rooftop Prince,” but most notably Kim Hyun-ji in “Bring It On, Ghost,” the Queen in “Goblin, Song Geu-rim in “Radio Romance” and Kim Jo-jo“Love Alarm.” How good is she? She’s won both Best Child Actress and Best Actress at different points in her career. So-hyun. Who considers Son Ye-jn (they worked together in 2016’s “The Last Princess,” with So-hyun playing Ye-jin’s younger self) and Rachel McAdams as her role models, even finds time to do some philanthropic work. With her profile never higher and only just entering her twenties, So-hyun has her pick of roles and cam go as far as she wants as a new darling of K-drama. She will be seen next in the second season on “Love Alarm.”

Jang Dong-yoon as Jeon Nok-du

This 27-year-old actor is still coming into his own, already known for “School 2017” and “A Poem a Day,” but best known for his many hosting stints, everything from “I Miss Korea” to 2019 KBS Entertainment Awards. His acting resume is burnished by his dramatic turn as Joon Young in Kim Eun-sook’s gorgeous period piece from 2018, “Mr. Sunshine” and Kwon Seung-chan from “Just Dance.” He already holds an economics and finance degree from Hanyang University, but “The Tale of Nokdu” is proving to be his graduation to the big time. He won the Excellence Award for Actor in a Miniseries and (together with So-hyun) Best Couple Aqard at the 2019 KBS Drama Awards. He will be seen next in OCN’s “The Search.”

Jung Joon-ho as Gwanghae.

Talk about your consummate actor. Joon-ho has a BA in Theater and Film and an MA in Media Studies from Kyung Hee University. How long has his career gone. He won Best New Actor—in 1996. Aside from 25 films, Joon-ho has appeared in 21 K-dramas, most notably 2000’s “Women Like You,” 2009’s “IRIS” and, of course, Kang Joon-sang, the doctor husband of Jung-ah’s scheming Seo-jin in “Sky Castle.”

Kang Tae-oh as Cha Yool-moo

“The Tale of Nokdu” is a good chance for a greater audience for Tae-oh, who is still a relatively new actor,. But is better known as part of the K-pop boy brand 5urprise. The 25-year-old Tae-oh has appeared in a few shows sich as “My First First Love,” as Choi Hoon. He won Best New Actor for “The Tale of Nokdu” at the 2029 KBS Drama Awards.

Cho Soo-hyang as Kim Ssok

The 29-year-old Soo-hyang is an underrated K-drama actress and dancer. She won Actress of the Year at the 19th Busan International Film Festival as Soo-hyang (the characters in this film are named after themselves) for “Wild Flowers,” Park Seok-yeong’s gritty debut 2014 film about the hardscrabble in the side of Seoul viewers never see. The next year, she played Kang So-young in “Who Are You: School 2015,” and in 2916, performed her most memorable role as the gymnast (and troubled ex-girlfriend of Nam Joo-hyuk’s Joon-hyung) Soo-bin in “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo.”

It’s a strong supporting cast with Song Geon-hee (“Sky Castle”), Kim Tae-woo (“Romance is a Bonus Book”), Yun Yoo-sun (“She Was Pretty”), Lee Seung-joon (“Hotel de Luna”) and Lee Moon-sik (“Love in the Moonlight”) while Park Da-yeon brings the cuteness as Aengdoo.

“The Tale of Nokdu” is now streaming on Netflix.