Sunday, June 13, 2010

Drama in dramaland: Actress hit with backlash over casting comments

Oh Yeon-soo, Park Joo-mi

Let this be a lesson to actors everywhere: Don’t shoot off your mouth, especially in public. Oh, and the Korean public hates when their celebrities boast, even if they didn’t intend to be arrogant. Also, Korean celebrities have really thin skin. (But we knew that.)

Actress Park Joo-mi got herself into a bit of hot water earlier this week when she made what seemed to be a careless (but not malicious) statement at a press conference on Monday. Park was promoting her new movie, The Demolished Man, which stars Kim Myung-min as a father out to recover his daughter from her psycho kidnapper, and said that she had to choose between taking this movie or the role of Tae-ra in SBS’s Bad Guy, and picked The Demolished Man.

She hadn’t taken a particular dig at actress Oh Yeon-soo, who now plays that role, but when you make a statement like that the unspoken implication is that she was chosen first, and that the other woman was brought in as her substitute. Producers were unhappy with her unexpected comments and spoke up the following day, Tuesday, correcting Park’s misleading statement by stating that Oh Yeon-soo had always been their first choice. When it was unclear whether her schedule would work out, they contacted a few actresses, including Park Joo-mi, to see if their schedules would be open, as a backup measure.

Then on Wednesday, Oh Yeon-soo expressed her discontent with the way the story wouldn’t die, and posted on her Twitter, “I’m feeling pretty upset this morning. Because of actor Park ** going around talking about the Tae-ra role, it’s ruined the mood to film. I’m feeling like crap because of her utter rudeness.” Fans agreed, calling Park’s statements ill-mannered, though some also called Oh out for criticizing Park on Twitter.

With fans and now industry professionals upset with her, Park issued an official apology on Friday through her management, Sidus HQ, apologizing for the misunderstanding that arose out of her press conference statements, “And I’m most sorry toward Oh Yeon-soo sunbae. I hope that there will be no more misunderstandings about me, and I’ll remain a devoted fan of Bad Guy through the end.”

The same day, Oh Yeon-soo posted again to her Twitter, “I have a simple personality so I forgot it quickly, but the issue keeps growing. I just want to work hard on filming.”

So, what does this whole incident say? First, celebrities on Twitter have (1) a lot of power with a single statement, (2) but a lot of power to hurt themselves just as easily. (Seriously, people, Twitter is public. Very, very public. So is Facebook.) Also, despite a lack of intent to harm, you’ll still be criticized and sometimes attacked for making a silly statement. And Park should really have thought twice; she exaggerated the truth slightly (or misled through omission), but the issue doesn’t end with what she said explicitly, but rather what she implied. It’s the difference between saying, “I was almost in SNSD” and “I was almost in SNSD in place of __ member.” (I’m just imagining the sorts of fandom hell THAT would induce.)


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