Before the coronavirus pandemic brought the global entertainment industry largely to a standstill, the world watched as the ensemble cast from Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite took the stage at the 92nd Academy Awards to receive the Best Picture award. The dark comedy-thriller made history as the first non-English language film to take home the big prize.
“Even now, when I recall that moment, I’m extremely grateful that I got to be a part of that glorious occasion,” says Park So-dam, who played the cunning and crafty Kim Ki-jung (also known as art therapy teacher “Jessica.”) Her charismatic performance—which yielded viral moments including the “Jessica Jingle” and a GIF capturing that ingenious peach fuzz plot—received international recognition.
Park is now starring in the new Korean drama Record of Youth as another ambitious young woman—though instead of a con-artist, she plays makeup artist An Jeong-ha. The television series, which premiered on Sept. 7 on Netflix in addition to local network tvN, follows three 20-somethings—An Jeong-ha, Sa Hye-jun (Park Bo-gum) and Won Hae-hyo (Byeon Woo-seok)—as they pursue their dreams in the entertainment industry. Romance blossoms, but at a refreshingly relaxed pace, as the story centers on the characters’ career goals being challenged by the realities of the entertainment industry.
This resolve is familiar to Park, who tells TIME that she decided to become an actor at 17. “I began to learn who I was, what exactly I wanted to do, and started running toward this goal from that moment,” Park, now 29, says. She starred in a number of films and television series before Parasite, and first gained critical acclaim in South Korea for her performances in the 2015 thrillers The Silenced and The Priests. Now, as recent shows like Crash Landing on You and Itaewon Class usher in a new wave of K-drama devotees, Park is returning to the small screen for the first time in four years.
Park talked to TIME over email about her life since Parasite, her portrayal of Record of Youth’s An Jeong-ha, and, in a nod to her celebrity-obsessed character, who she is fangirling over in real life.
This translated interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
TIME: Since Parasite’s big win at the Oscars, how has the film’s global recognition impacted your life?
Park So-dam: It was an experience that gave me a lot of pride in Korean culture and art. And because that memory is so unforgettable, it’s become a driving force for me to work even harder as an actor.
One of the most noticeable differences is the number of Instagram followers, messages and comments from overseas fans. I’d occasionally received supportive messages before, but it seems I’m receiving much more love after Parasite. That makes me very happy every day.
What were your main reasons for deciding to take on a television series after a few years of working on movies?
There was no intention of differentiating genres or fields. I was always involved in a variety of projects—depending on timing and circumstance. I’d like to continue challenging myself in various ways, such as movies, dramas and plays.
What role do you hope to play in bringing greater attention to Korean entertainment to the world? Would you also like to book Hollywood roles?
I often think to myself that I don’t want to be satisfied with being one of many Korean actors—that I’d like to work hard to be the best actor I can be. I received a lot of love and interest through Parasite. If opportunity permits, it would be an honor to work in Hollywood. (I will work harder, of course!)
Some have touted you as a contender for the role of Cindy Moon in the forthcoming Marvel series TV Silk. How do you feel about the superhero genre?
It’s an honor to even be mentioned for the role of Cindy Moon in Silk. The superhero genre is among the genres I’d like to try. It’s a thrill just to imagine.
An Jeong-ha, your character in Record of Youth, is all about a stable life. She talks about the importance of routine, and even named her YouTube channel “I Like Stability.” In your life, how important is stability? Or do you like change?
There’s a side of me that seeks a stable life, but I tend to not fear change. And as time passes, rather than settle for one thing, I’m growing more inclined to challenge myself and try new things.
Record of Youth‘s first episodes address the tension between pursuing personal goals and fulfilling family expectations. An Jeong-ha even argues of South Korea that “our country is too family-oriented.” Does that resonate with you?
While it was more family-oriented before, now, I believe times are changing. Of course, it’s important to value family, but I think the most stable life is one that also values personal life and seeks balance.
Each of the main characters in Record of Youth has a different idea of what success is. In your own career as an actor, how do you measure success?
I believe anyone who knows what they want to do, enjoys it, and does it consistently is a successful person.
In the show, Sa Hye-jun and Won Hae-hyo are models working hard to become famous actors. Have you experienced any downsides to fame?
When I go out to eat with my family, I am thankful but sometimes shy at the same time that many people recognize me and say hello. My family also shows signs of embarrassment. Sometimes, as a person who’s part of an ordinary family, getting so much attention from people can feel a little awkward.
Record of Youth’s original soundtrack (OST) features high-profile artists including Baekhyun from EXO, Seungkwan from SEVENTEEN, Wheein from MAMAMOO, Lee Hi, Chungha and more. How do you think a drama’s soundtrack enhances a show?
I was excited to hear the lineup. I believe nowadays many fans listen to OSTs and enjoy them, instead of just watching dramas and movies alone. OSTs play an important role in elevating tension, making scenarios stand out, helping viewers immerse themselves and enriching the plot.
In the first episode of Record of Youth, An Jeong-ha is fangirling over Sa Hye-jun. One of her first lines is, “fangirling over you is what keeps me going.” Who are you fangirling over in real life?!
Kim Hye-soo sunbaenim [a veteran actor with more than three decades of experience in film and television; Park used the honorific term for someone who entered the industry earlier]. I’d love to work with her at least once and talk to her about a lot of things. I’ve only met her at awards ceremonies, but I’ve always been grateful for her support and holding my hands warmly each time. I’ve always been inspired by her energy, so I’d love the opportunity to work with her, see and experience her acting firsthand before anyone else, and learn from her.
One of your most famous moments from Parasite was the “Jessica, only child, Illinois, Chicago” jingle. What will be the scene from Record of Youth that reaches viral status?
It’d be no fun for me to spoil it!
—with reporting by Sangsuk Sylvia Kang
20 of the ultimate fall TV shows available on streaming
Are you looking for a show to put you in that fall mood? Check out our complete list of the 20 best fall TV shows to make you feel cozy inside!
When thinking about the best fall TV shows, most people consider the new fall television season. We missed it this year due to the pandemic, but typically fall is when networks reveal all their original pilots and series, it’s exciting.
Read on to find out our top 20 best fall TV shows!
In this article, we’re highlighting the best fall TV shows to give you that snug autumnal feel. From family dramas to spooky series, this list has it all. And the best part is, they’re all available to stream or on VOD!
20. Best fall TV shows: Pretty Little Liars
Pretty Little Liars was one of Freeform’s biggest hits when it debuted over a decade ago. Following the group of teen girls try to solve mysteries and murders while being harassed by the creepy tech-savvy and omnipresent ‘A’ could be exasperating, but we stuck around to the end because we loved the characters.
I don’t know about you, but teen dramas that focus heavily on school always give me that fall feeling since it was typically when most of us started a new school year. I looked forward to PLL each week while I was in grade school. Plus, PLL always went big with their holiday episodes, even just rewatching their Halloween episodes would be a great way to spend some time. I rewatch “The First Secret” every October!
Pretty Little Liars is available to stream on HBO Max.
19. Best fall TV shows: One Tree Hill
Like PLL, One Tree Hill was also a teen drama that mostly revolved around the core characters and the ups and downs of high school. Also like PLL, OTH later transitioned to adult years in the back half of the series. Actually, OTH was one of the first significant dramas to do so and pull it off successfully as the series continued for five seasons after the time jump. Even though OTH didn’t have a character like A, it still had some of the craziest and most outlandish TV plotlines.
But it also had a lot of heart and got compared favorably to Grey’s Anatomy quite a bit in the early days of both shows. Plus, there’s just something charming about the small town of Tree Hill and its eclectic bunch of characters. And isn’t it time to revisit Brooke Davis and her exceptional character development?
One Tree Hill is available to stream on Hulu.
Eddie Redmayne: Both sides of J.K. Rowling debate behave in “disgusting” ways
As Harry Potter fans puzzle out how (or whether) to continue their fandom in light of J.K. Rowling’s controversial views, Eddie Redmayne both-sides it.
And we’re back talking about J.K. Rowling, the tremendously successful author of the Harry Potter books who has recently found herself embroiled in controversy after she first made a series of transphobic tweets and then doubled down with a lengthy blog post that basically amounts to a manifesto on why she thinks trans people are dangerous, confused and invalid in their identities.
The blowback has been pretty wide-ranging. Fan communities have scrambled to adjust to Rowling’s comments, WB Games felt the need to distance itself from Rowling just as it unveiled a new Harry Potter video game, and prominent LGBTQ have condemned the comments alongside Harry Potter stars like Daniel Radcliffe.
It’s been rough, and it’s ongoing. The latest Harry Potter figure to weigh in is Eddie Redmayne, who stars in Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter spinoff series Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is currently two movies into a proposed five-movie run.
Speaking to The Daily Mail, Redmayne decided to take the “both sides are bad” approach, saying that he has “trans friends and colleagues” who are “having their human rights challenged around the world and facing discrimination on a daily basis.” At the same time, he disapproves of the “vitriol” hurled at Rowling on social media, deeming it “absolutely disgusting.” But he qualified that insults against trans people online are “equally disgusting.”
Similarly, there continues to be a hideous torrent of abuse towards trans people online and out in the world that is devastating.
I’m on board with Redmayne that online abuse is unacceptable no matter who the target is, but I think what this approach misses is that Rowling is more or less insulated from the bad affects of online harassment by her hundreds of millions of dollars, whereas trans people, who are part of a marginalized community, don’t have that to fall back on. It also sidesteps the idea that Rowling’s comments, coming as they do from someone with a ton of influence, directly contribute to an atmosphere where people think it’s okay to come after trans people online and off.
That said, everyone is trying to work through how to deal with Rowling’s new direction, and as someone at the head of her new movie franchise, he’s in a tricky position. The same could be said for a lot of Harry Potter fans, who now have to reconcile loving Rowling’s work with her publicly committing to bigotry. “Fan sites and events like LeakyCon have had to distance ourselves from things that J.K. Rowling and the franchise have done,” said Jackson Bird, a trans Harry Potter fan who once served as communications director for the nonprofit Harry Potter Alliance. Instead, fans are trying to focus on fan-created work, “but the more she keeps on going, the harder it gets.”
Bird made his comments to Yahoo Entertainment, who talked to prominent members of the Harry Potter fan community to get their takes on the situation. “There’s no way I’m leaving the community that I’ve been a part of,” Bird continued. “I will probably go to LeakyCon next year and probably still go to wizard rock shows. Anything that is fan-created, I’m still down with … I don’t want to give any money to the official franchise. I want to re-read the books because I like them and I haven’t read them in a very long time, but I don’t know if I could stomach that for a while and I hope that changes someday.”
But not everyone feels that way. Robyn Jordan, co-founder and chief community officer for Black Girls Create, thinks it’s time to reevaluate the original books. “I’ve read those books over and over again, and as I grew up, I’m constantly seeing new issues with them,” she said. “It’s still an extraordinarily important story, though.”
As for Rowling herself, Jordan is happy to let her “fade into obscurity.”
She’s proven that she doesn’t deserve to have any cultural influence because she doesn’t understand — or want to understand — culture, people, humanity. With her showing us this, we reserve the right to ignore her.
The organizers of LeakyCon, the world’s biggest Harry Potter convention, are also trying to thread the needle, moving forward with their fandom while making it clear they don’t endorse Rowling’s viewpoints. “Externally, Leaky released a commitment to make our community more inclusive, take action to ensure all are welcome within the fandom, and to ensure it is made clear that we do not agree with J.K. Rowling’s views, and stand firmly with our transgender friends and colleagues,” said Emma Pocock, senior news editor for The Leaky Cauldron. “This was part of a collective action with other leading fan sites and groups. There are so many other groups who have been putting in the work from day one, so our job now is to uplift those voices, and do more to make sure we aren’t actively harming communities of vulnerable people.”
Melissa Anelli, who helps run LeakyCon, is also on board. “LeakyCon is about being a Harry Potter fan and part of the Harry Potter community, not just about celebration of the books; those who have been inside the community for two decades, as we have, know that the community stands against these transphobic stances. We have an opportunity to make a community that is more accepting and model a more inclusive world for this fandom than J.K. Rowling is trying to present, and we’re going to continue to work hard in that aim.”
However, there are some fans who can’t get past this turn. Take Flourish Klink, who co-founded the Harry Potter fanfiction site Fiction Alley and helped organize HPEF Harry Potter conferences. They even named themselves Flourish after Flourish and Blotts Booksellers from Rowling’s novels, but now they’re rethinking things.
“When J.K. started expressing her opinions about trans folks, it became really clear that she would fundamentally disapprove of me as a nonbinary person, and that she holds beliefs that I think are fundamentally dangerous to people like me,” Klink said. “It hurt because when I was a child, I idolized her so much. It’s one thing to write books that kind of imply a regressive worldview, and it’s another thing entirely to speak out so loudly and stridently, you know? Her words felt extremely personal to me. After reading what [Rowling] said, just being around anything Harry Potter-related kinda hurts. Her blog post about trans issues was the moment I knew I had to completely let Harry Potter go.”
It’s extremely hard to leave Harry Potter behind. It’s hard to express how much it’s shaped my life — I’m 33 now and it’s been with me for two-thirds of my existence. There’s so much of my life that’s intertwined with Harry Potter that it’s difficult to comprehend that I won’t be taking part in any of it anymore. But when I do try to think about it or interact with it, it just makes me sad.
So the fan community is split, but one thing they seem to agree on is that whatever their feelings about J.K. Rowling, none of this is actually going to affect her livelihood, which makes sense: she’s way too rich and powerful to really feel the consequences of her actions unless she wants to. “She can’t destroy her career — she’s J.K. Rowling,” said Bird. “She’s gonna die a billionaire but … she’s digging herself in so deep. It’s kind of wild to watch.”
Jordan agrees. “She makes corporations too much money,” she said. “She is a corporation.”
I don’t think she will be canceled, and I’m not surprised by it, because I don’t think the people that she’s harming have any power, and that’s just being reinforced. One of the things that I’ve noticed, just as being Black in the fandom, is that people are able to rationalize and accept a lot of things when they don’t affect them … If you’re not a marginalized person, there doesn’t seem to be much of an outrage.
As for the prospect of J.K. Rowling coming around on trans issues, it’s possible…but I dunno how likely it is. Rowling has dug in her heels on the topic, something Strategic Vision PR Group CEO David E. Johnson could serve her well. “Normally not doing a mea culpa in this era would be a death knell for a celebrity like J.K. Rowling with the comments she made,” he said. “But in her case, I think not doing the mea culpa is consistent with her brand identity. If you look at Rowling’s career, she has never been afraid to speak her mind and not back down. At this point, if she were to apologize for her remarks, it would be perceived by many as being insincere or just caving into pressure and going against her brand of telling like it is.”
Also Rowling seems passionate about what she said and determined to make a stand on it. In many ways, it has helped her because we are constantly talking about her far more than we would have without her remarks.
Johnson opined that standing her ground could help Rowling become a “pop favorite among those who oppose political correctness,” which is probably true, although if that happens I think Rowling will soon find herself cheered by the sort of people she never thought she’d be in league with.
Meanwhile, many of her former fans are drifting away, which Jordan sees as a natural consequence of taking the message of the books to heart. “The funniest thing is that those books … gave a whole generation of people a language of love and acceptance,” she said, “so the people who grew up internalizing those things are the same people who will turn their backs on her because she doesn’t live up to the lessons we read in those books.”
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The 100 Series Finale: EP Promises Closure, ‘Surprise Guests’ and More
After seven seasons of interplanetary shenanigans (and occasional genocide), The 100‘s fight comes to an end this Wednesday (The CW, 8/7c). So, what can fans expect from the sci-fi drama’s final hour?
“We’re going to try and wrap up as many things as we can,” showrunner Jason Rothenberg tells TVLine. “It’s a finale — and it’s a series finale on top of that — so there will be some surprise guests. Fans can have expectations of a certain scope and scale that I feel we’ve always been able to achieve in these finales.”
Wednesday’s finale also marks Rothenberg’s directorial debut, an opportunity he simply couldn’t pass up. “This was a difficult season, because we also made a pilot within the season in the middle of everything,” he says. “And because we shot the pilot so late in the season, I went right from being on the set of the prequel to prepping the finale. … It was definitely a challenge, but I’m glad I did it. I kind of wish I’d done it earlier, so I could have four or five [episodes] under my belt now, but it would have been a regret had I not.”
And here’s a fun fact (about a not-so-fun moment): The final scene from last week’s episode, during which Clarke decided to relieve Madi of her pain, was originally intended to open the series finale. “I actually wrote and directed that scene,” Rothenberg admits. “But the finale was too long, so I had to put it at the end of the previous episode. That episode originally ended prior to Clarke making the decision to euthanize her child, so there was going to be a little more time — at least in the audience’s mind — before she got to that decision.”
So, which “surprise guests” are you hoping to see? And what are your hopes for Clarke and the gang in their final hour? Drop ’em all in a comment below.
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