KakaoTV has announced the official lead cast for its upcoming digital series Daughter-in-Law: actors Park Ha-sun, Kwon Yul, and Moon Hee-kyung.
Daughter-in-Law is a brave depiction of Korea’s long-followed patriarchal tradition where women have to constantly meet the expectations of their husband’s family as well as the people around them.
Park Ha-sun (Love Affairs in the Afternoon) has signed up to play the lead female character Min Sa-rin, a businesswoman who is married to Mu Gu-young. As tradition, Sa-rin moved in with Gu-young’s family after their wedding. Sa-rin is a hardworking and passionate woman, so it’s natural for her to aim to do well in both her marriage and work. And although she tries her best to be recognized as a good daughter-in-law, there are times when she has to deal with her unreasonable in-laws who have set upon her their traditional and patriarchal beliefs. Sa-rin is gentle and tender, but having a modern upbringing and a strong sense of individuality has drawn out the stubbornness inside her to defy her new family.
Kwon Yul (Voice 3, The King: Eternal Monarch) is set to take on the role of Mu Gu-young, Min Sa-rin’s husband. Gu-young has grown up watching his mother give in to the patriarchal culture—attending to her husband’s and children’s needs, getting along with her in-laws and their whims, and meeting society’s expectations of her as a married woman. With his selfish and unconventional personality, his character represents the image of a young husband in this era who is stuck between the roles of being a son and a husband, as set by the patriarchal system of his household. Kwon Yul, who has shown a wide spectrum of acting skills with the many roles he did in the past, is expected to transform as he portrays Mu Gu-young in the new series.
Joining them is veteran actress Moon Hee-kyung (Hospital Playlist), who will be playing Park Ki-dong, Min Sa-rin’s mother-in-law and Mu Gu-young’s mother. Having married at the young age of 22, Ki-dong has spent her life being a full-time housewife and daughter-in-law. Being the latter, she has also struggled as she is disliked by her in-laws. Ironically, she projects the same harsh treatment she has experienced towards Min Sa-rin. Moon has played many versions of a mother-in-law in her past projects, from a large company owner’s wife to a simple but scary mother-in-law.
The source material of the drama is a webtoon by the same name and is serialized by illustrator Soo Shin-ji on her Instagram and Facebook accounts, achieving 400,000 followers. It is available in both Korean and English and has a comic book version. The webtoon won Soo the Today’s Our Manhwa Award in 2017 for its underlying themes of gender inequality and the struggles of females in society.
When asked by Korean JoongAng Daily about the inspiration that gave her the idea to start the webtoon, Soo said it was based on her own experiences and other women’s, too. She shared, “‘Myeoneuragi’ is my third cartoon and it deals with the things that I have heard and felt during my whole life [as a Korean woman], especially regarding the things women go through after they get married. I did a lot of research to make the story as realistic as possible, but, to be honest, I really didn’t need to because I had already lived all those things myself. It is a story of all our experiences.”
Upon the release of her work, Soo said she has received mixed reactions from her female audience, and some are based on debatable points. “While a lot of single women commented that they wanted to see Sa-rin get divorced, married women tend to say that getting divorced is a lot easier said than done because there are so many other things to take into consideration. I think young unwed women thought that Sa-rin’s situation was reflecting themselves, and they didn’t want to surrender to such inequality,” she said.
The production crew of the drama said, “Daughter-in-Law is going to realistically capture the various lives that ordinary daughters-in-law of this era have to constantly deal with, without the drama being an exaggeration of the societal issues it is set to portray. We also plan to provide fun and excitement.”
PD Lee Kwang-young, who was in charge of the dramas Judge vs. Judge (2017–2018) and The Secret Life of My Secretary (2019), is helming the production. Daughter-in-Law will have 12 episodes, with each episode running for 20 minutes. The filming will begin by the end of August and is expected to be released on KakaoTV within this year.
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