The television drama The Beauty Inside is not exactly the same story as the 2015 Korean film The Beauty Inside, nor the American web series of the same name. But like the film and the web series, the drama offers insight into the ideal nature of love, while providing multiple options for cameos.
The original six-episode web series starred Topher Grace as a man named Alex. He wakes up every day as a different person.
In the South Korean film, the main character, Woo Jin, also wakes up every day in a different body—old, young, fat, thin, beautiful, grizzled. There’s no explanation for who he becomes next. His new bodies are supplied by actors as diverse as Park Shin Hye, Lee Beom Soo, Seo Kang Joon and Lee Jin Wook.
Woo Jin is always the same person inside, but his constant state of transformation means that his world is in perpetual turmoil. It’s impossible to forge a life and succeed at a relationship. A person can only go so many days without sleep before the transformation happens again—and Woo Jin doesn’t change back. Fortunately, he finds a woman who loves him, no matter what body his personality lands in.
The film, which also starred Han Hyo Joo, tells a story about love, acceptance and looking beyond the superficial. So does the JTBC drama but it uses slightly different devices to make the same point.
The drama stars Seo Hyun Jin, Lee Min Ki, Lee Da Hee and Ahn Jae Hyun. The drama’s main character is a beautiful actress who every now and then changes into another person. It’s a plus that she does not change every morning when she wakes up, but her changes are less predictable and more likely to embarrass her in a public moment. Changing into a sumo wrestler while wearing a form-fitting gown is never a good thing, even though she always eventually changes back into her original form. At first the transformations are manageable because they happen less frequently, but then they begin to happen more often, threatening her career and reputation.
Former M.I.L.K. singer and actress Seo Hyun Jin, who previously won praise for her performances in Another Miss Oh and Temperature of Love, plays the actress Han Se Gye.
When the fantasy drama opens, Han Se Gye has acquired a bad reputation for running away at inopportune times, which she does because she’s about to morph into another person. It’s beyond disorienting to be a different person every day, but changing may be even more difficult if you are a person everyone recognizes.
Lee Min Ki plays Seo Do Jae, an airline company CEO with a traumatic past that has left him unable to recognize faces. So, he might not always notice when Han Se Gye is played by another actor. Her alternate selves are played by a range of actors, including Kim Jun Hyun, Choi Dae Chul, Kim Sung Ryung , Ra Mi Ran and Kim Min Seok. Seo Do Jae hired Han Se Gye as his company’s chief model and he needs her to stick with her contract despite the bad press she’s getting. They form an unlikely alliance and he may become the only person who can really see her for who she is, whether she suddenly acquires wrinkles or bulks up with wrestler muscles.
The actor is best known for his role in the films Very Ordinary Couple and Shoot Me In the Heart and the drama Because This is My First Life.
Fortunately, Han Se Gye also has a support team, which consists of Lee Da Hee, playing her step sister and Ahn Jae Hyun, playing her friend, a man who is also studying for the priesthood.
Lee Da Hee is best known for her 2015 role in Mrs. Cop, while model and actor Ahn Jae Hyun is known for his roles in the dramas Blood and Cinderella and the Four Knights.
In 2017, an American version of the drama, starring Emilia Clarke, was said to be in development. Meanwhile, the Korean drama, which recently began airing in the U.S., offers many fine cameos and some lofty thoughts on love.