Who is Park Eun-bin, the charming, relatable K-drama actress and star of Castaway Diva and Extraordinary Attorney Woo?

Her first lead role, alongside Yoo Seung-ho in the romantic comedy Operation Proposal (a remake of the Japanese drama of the same name), was also her first role as an adult.

Castaway Diva: Park Eun-bin returns for another K-drama treat

Why we love her

Park may not have the striking looks of some screen sirens, but what she does have makes her equally compelling as a screen presence – grit and relatability.

The world at large wouldn’t find out about her until the eve of her 30th birthday, but the roles leading up to Extraordinary Attorney Woo show us an actress who excels at playing hard-working young women, like her operations manager in Hot Stove League, who stand tall in the face of adversity.

Park as Woo Young-woo in a still from “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” (2022).

Park has the pluck and vivacity we expect from a K-drama lead, but she also seems remarkably down to earth. When she appears on screen viewers can see their friend, sister or daughter, or themselves, in her.

It’s not just her endurance as a performer or her roles playing tenacious young women that draw us to her; it’s also the care and preparation that Park puts into those performances.

For her role as a musician in Do You Like Brahms?, Park practised playing the violin for three months.

Park as musician Chae Song-ah in a still from “Do You Like Brahms?” (2020).

She also trained extensively ahead of Castaway Diva, which paid off with her stunning rendition of the track “Someday” in episode two.

The star-making role

Although it was far from being her first leading role in a drama, her part in Hot Stove League is the one that set Park on the path to stardom.

Beginning with low ratings, the baseball team management drama quickly became a hit, not just with viewers, but also with critics. It received an unusual amount of acclaim for a K-drama at a time when we were only starting to get used to high-quality, prestige dramas.

Park as baseball team manager Lee Se-young in a still from “Hot Stove League” (2019).

In this office drama with a twist, Park has been toiling away at a baseball team for 10 years, where she works as the only female operations manager in the league. Despite the many challenges that come her way, nothing can subdue her indomitable spirit.

Sticking with broadcaster SBS, she then headlined the music-themed romantic drama Do You Like Brahms?, as a woman who gives up a business career to pursue a classical music education, only for love to distract her from her studies.

The role earned her a top excellence award in the SBS Drama Awards. A year later, she would win the same prize in the KBS Drama Awards, for her role in the period drama The King’s Affection.

Park plays a crown prince and his female twin in “The King’s Affection” (2021).

In the series she plays both the banished female twin of a crown prince of the Joseon Kingdom and the prince himself, who she begins to secretly substitute for.

The iconic parts

After years of steady roles, Park’s hard work paid off in the role that she seemed destined to play: Woo Young-woo, the singularly charming protagonist of Extraordinary Attorney Woo. The show was so successful that it single-handedly launched an entire cable channel (ENA).

Woo is an autistic woman who is hired as a lawyer at a firm against the odds and uses her extraordinary photographic memory and analytical skills to win cases.

Park as Woo Young-woo and Kang Tae-oh as Lee Jun-ho in a still from “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”. Photo: ENA

Her love of palindromes and whales, and eventually her love for her colleague, played by Kang Tae-oh, soon had us all falling in love with her as well.

Although her new show, Castaway Diva, is only halfway through its run, Park’s dynamic turn as Seo Mok-ha is already melting hearts around the world.

Mok-ha is a country girl with a gift for singing who is stranded on an island as a teenager before eventually being rescued as an adult and returned to society.

Park (left) as former castaway Seo Mok-ha and Kim Hyo-jin as Yoon Ran-joo in a still from “Castaway Diva”.

Capturing some of the same magic of her earlier roles, Park imbues her new character with pluck and sincerity.

The unheralded performance

Although far from being a classic, the grisly K-horror Death Bell 2: Bloody Camp has the distinction of featuring a pre-fame Park in a very different kind of role.

In the 2010 film, she plays one of the students being tormented by a deranged and vengeful killer in a school; Ji Chang-wook also appears in an early role.

Meet Ji Chang-wook, Korean superstar fronting The Worst of Evil

Tomorrow’s turns

Park currently isn’t officially signed on to any other project, which may be due to her dedication to her craft; her current run of dramas has seen her commit deeply to roles.

When she does decide on her next project after Castaway Diva it will surely be worth the wait.



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