By Han Sang-hee
Supporting actors appearing in local dramas have begun unleashing their charms, and more viewers are starting to recognize their presence.
MBC's hit drama ``The Great Queen Seondeok'' boasts a lineup of interesting characters surrounding the main character, Deok-man, played by Lee Yo-won, who later becomes the first queen in Korea's history.
Lee is not the only actress enjoying the spotlight, as many viewers have taken notice of the villain, Mi-shil, played by Ko Hyun-joung.
Mi-shil dreams of becoming queen, but fails when Seondoek makes a splash in political circles. Ko, who is well known for her sweet and tender roles, has successfully transformed herself into the ambitious Mi-shil, who tries to scheme and threaten her way to the throne.
MBC explained before the drama's airing that Ko was originally offered the role of Seondeok, but she actually chose to take the part of the femme fatale after reading the script.
``I thought acting a very clear character would be better for me. I'm breaking out of my original roles, which were balanced and had a certain rhythm. I will do my best not to lose the viewers' attention,'' Ko said at a press conference before the drama's airing.
When the news of Ko's decision broke, many questioned whether both Ko and Lee would be able to portray their respective characters. But worries soon dissipated with the drama's airing.
Numerous viewers posted their thoughts on the drama's Web site, supporting Ko and her fellow actors.
Mi-shil is Ko's first attempt as a villainous role and also represents the first appearance in a historical drama in her 20-year acting career.
Meanwhile, SBS' drama ``Style'' also has viewers fixed on its various supporting characters, most notably Kim Hye-soo, who appears as Park Gi-ja, a perfectionist deputy editor at a fashion magazine.
``I read on the drama's Web site that Lee Ji-ah is the main character, but I can't help but follow every move of Park. Probably because she's portrayed by Kim, who is one of the most fashionable actresses in Korea,'' Kim Min-jung, a 28-year-old viewer of ``Style,'' told The Korea Times.
Lee plays the assistant whose singular goal is to please her boss, Park, and move up the ladder to become a magazine editor, but she gets tangled up in messy relationships with Park and her fellow male characters.
Working at a fashion magazine firm aided Kim in her full transformation into a fashionista.
At the press conference last month to publicize the show, the actress donned two different outfits, first a sparkly green mini dress, and then a purple dress with a huge bow attached on her shoulder.
``Park is very edgy, both in life and style,'' Kim said at the press conference.
Although "Style" began airing just last week, it hit 18 percent in television ratings, according to research firm AGB Neilson Media Research, and topped other dramas in the same time block.
Other dramas and movies have their fair share of attractive supporting roles, including Lee Honey from the KBS drama ``The Partner,'' Moon Chae-won from the drama ``Brilliant Legacy,'' and movie star Lee Byung-hun in the upcoming Hollywood action film, ``G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.''
Lee, a former Miss Korea, returned to the spotlight as an actor in the drama about lawyers, and despite the low ratings, she has positioned herself as an aspiring actor alongside the main characters played by Kim Hyun-joo and Lee Dong-wook.
Moon first garnered the role of a pretty gisaeng in the drama ``The Painter of Wind,'' which starred Moon Geun-young, but failed to attract much attention. The 22-year-old resurfaced in the hit drama ``Brilliant Legacy,'' and finally made a lasting impression among viewers, which has led her to appear in another drama, airing this month, called ``My Fair Lady'' on KBS.
Movie star Lee Byung-hun is also gearing up to attract moviegoers with his role as the ruthless Storm Shadow. Lee may play a supporting role in the Hollywood flick, but his star power still translates well in Asia, proving to be a big plus in promoting the film in Korea and Japan.