Monday, June 2, 2008

Cast (and Staff)



KIM SUN AH started her career as a model in the mid 90s. But her debut in showbiz was not until October 1996 through a television commercial for Hanbul Cosmetics. It was soon followed by music video appearances and television stints. She did not emerge as a star yet because audience still failed to notice her. But when she dazzled the film world, she began to establish a forte for herself in comedies. She was able to set challenges and gained respect from comedians her senior and was able to finally surmount the public's attention.
After successfully conquering the movie scene, being dubbed as the “Queen of Comedy”, recognized as a versatile actress, and regarded as one of Korean Cinema’s top actresses, Sun Ah duplicated her feat on the small screen with her return to television through the 2005 phenomenal hit drama series “My Name Is Kim Sam Soon”.
“My Name Is Kim Sam Soon” can be regarded as the biggest moment of Sun Ah’s career. Hitting a record of 50.5% viewer rating all over Korea (53.4% in Seoul) and creating the so-called “Sam Soon Syndrome”, she immediately became a household name.
It can be considered that the show’s strength is the well written script – simple and realistic yet supported by witty, heartwarming dialogues and fully developed characterization. But no one can deny the fact that the way Sun Ah gave life to Sam Soon created a big difference and contributed a lot to the show’s success.
Perhaps her most impressive and memorable portrayal to date, everyone commended Sun Ah on how she magnificently transform Sam Soon to life without any inhibitions. She was able to show the kind of sincerity and feeling that reached the viewer’s hearts. Her sincere portrayal of Sam Soon made the audience empathize and identify themselves with her. She even went an extra mile of agreeing to gain 6-9 kilograms to fulfill the character’s requirement.
Before she knew it, she already captured everyone’s hearts. She became Korea’s brightest star of 2005. Her exceptional performance was cited by various award-giving bodies including Asian Television Awards. She became famous all over Asia and eventually to any part of the world that the series reached. She gained numerous followers that look up to her as a tower of strength and instantaneously considering her as their hero.

REGINE VELASQUEZ, dubbed as Asia's Songbird, she is one of the top and most respected stars in the Philippines.
At a very young age she graced various amateur singing contests and finally at the age of 14 she marked her first television appearance as a contestant for "Bagong Kampeon" ("The New Champion" - a singing competition). She was unbeatable for weeks and ended up winning the grand prize.
It was not until 1986 that her career started. From the time she was offered a managerial contract, no one was able to stop her to super stardom. She recorded numerous music albums, appeared on musical variety shows and held concerts everywhere.
In 1989, she was chosen to represent the Philippines in the "Asia-Pacific Singing Contest" held in Hong Kong and she won the grand prize.
At the age of 25 she was able to conquer Asia when she became an International (Asian) Recording Artist. She became well-known in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Korea and Bangkok with her album, "Listen Without Prejudice" and collaborated with Jacky Cheung for the song, "In Love With You".
Although regarded as an excellent singer and multi-awarded for her musical talents, she graces the movie and television industry by starring in films and television dramas once in a while. And she never fails to surprise the viewers with her in-depth performances. Her romantic-comedy movies were memorable and she even bagged a best actress trophy for a one-episode drama "LOBO".
Now she is ready to take the challenge of portraying a character well-loved by many - the endearing Sam Soon.

From the time I first saw MNIKSS, I know that I will never ever see any other actress as Sam Soon aside from Kim Sun Ah. She did a wonderful portrayal erasing the possibility of another person into the Sam Soon role.
I never thought that we will be doing a remake of MNIKSS after a few years. Although I still (and will always) consider no actress to be Sam Soon aside from Sun Ah, I'm glad that among our local actresses, the role landed in Regine's hand. I may not be a fan of Regine, and she may be regarded by many as a talented singer, but I trust her acting. I grew up watching her romantic comedy films and had my ow favorites as well. At the same time, she'll be portraying the Filipino Kim Samsoon Buot and not the Korean Kim Sam Soon anyway.
And just like how I don't see any other Kim Sam Soon aside from Kim Sun Ah, I don't see any other Filipino actress as the Pinay Kim Samsoon Buot aside from Regine Velasquez.
I hope she will give justice to the role as much as how Sun Ah was able to give justice to Sam Soon. And I wish she will love her character as much as how Sun Ah learned to love Sam Soon.

*Korean names starts with their last name, followed by their first name (which is usually two syllables). Filipino names are written in the standard way, first name followed by the surname. Thus, the Korean character's given name is Sam Soon and Kim is her surname. On the other hand, the Filipino character's first name is Kim Samsoon and her surname is Buot.

KIM SAM SOON is a 30-year-old patissier obsessed in changing her ugly name, loosing weight, and getting married. On one Christmas Eve, her boyfriend dumped her and, capping the misfortune, she looses her job. As she starts anew and looks for a new job, she meets a rich and arrogant guy, Hyun Jin Hun, in the most unusual and embarrassing situation(s). He hired her, not only to be a pastry chef in his French restaurant, "Bon Appetit", but also to be his pretend girlfriend. Badly needing money to help her family out, despite her averseness, she agreed. Little did she know that it would be the start of a wonderful roller coaster ride in love and life, showered by bittersweet moments of happiness, heartaches, fulfillment and regrets.
But as each day pass, she tries her best to let go of her fears and continue loving and living her life without any worries.

KIM SAMSOON BUOT is an overweight and lovable baker-turned-pastry-chef in her late 30s. She thought she was quite lucky to find the love that she was looking for, but her fiance stood her up in their wedding day. Doubling the misfortune, even before she can recover from her heartbreak, their family's bakery caught fire. It prompts her to look for a job immediately and she landed as a pastry chef for "La Dolce Vita", a five-star restaurant owned by the rich and arrogant Cyrus Ruiz. Each day, as she deals with her boss, her family's financial problem, her insecurities (her unusual name, her weight, being single at her age) and the people around her, she is still desperately in search of love. And she didn't have any idea that she will find it in the most unusual place and situation and with the most unexpected guy.

It's too early to judge the characterization of Kim Samsoon Buot. I think I have to finish watching the entire series before I can say my piece. Based on the description given there are just minimal changes. And I hope the characterization of Kim Samsoon Buot will be as solid and as fully developed as the original Kim Sam Soon - the secret recipe why it became endearing to the hearts of the viewers.


Hyun Jin Hun is a good-looking, rich and arrogant owner of a French Restaurant - "Bon Appetit". He hires Sam Soon as his pastry chef and as a pretend girlfriend so that he can stop his mother from pushing him on blind dates. Sam Soon and him bicker almost every single day, until he started to develop feelings for his lovable pastry chef. He started being comfortable with Sam Soon and it unknowingly helped him heal the wounds of his past. But now that his long-time girlfriend is back in town (and back in his arms), he tries his best not to confuse himself with his feelings, but he ended up hurting himself, his girlfriend and Sam Soon along the way.

Cyrus Ruiz is good-looking, rich, successful and business-savvy. But this momma’s boy is also a little hot-tempered, snobbish and proud! He owns a restaurant - "La Dolce Vita" that lacks a certain x-factor, a key ingredient he finally finds in the woman he wasn’t expecting to enter his life and, maybe, his heart.

The characterization of Jin Hun is not as complicated as the Sam Soon or Hee Jin, thus I know it's easy to produce a counterpart. Just give us someone who is so full of himself, yet good-looking and with an excellent chemistry with Samsoon, we already have a Jin Hun. This will all depend on the ability of Mark Anthony Fernandez to keep the Jin Hun attitude all throughout the series. And of course have the ability to transform the haughty prince to a confused lover to a loving boyfriend. I'm just a little concerned that Cyrus Ruiz is driving here, thus removing his original backstory. I hope they will still be able to present a solid backstory for Jin Hun even with the absence of the car accident incident in the past.

Yoo Hee Jin is your ideal type of girl. Beautiful, rich, sexy, elegant, soft-spoken. She is Jin Hun's long-time girlfriend. She went to the United States to take medical treatments for her Advanced Gastric Cancer. She did not inform Jin Hun about her medical condition and her whereabouts and opted not to contact him during those times. After three years she went back hoping and faithfully believing Jin Hun will forgive her and still accept her.

Hannah is a sweet beautiful girl every man dreams of. She is also sexy, rich and redefined. She is Cyrus first love and set to get married to him. But she called-off their wedding because she feels she is not ready yet. Now she is back wanting to be with Cyrus again, pretending to have cancer to gain Cyrus' pity and forgiveness.

Aside from Sam Soon's, I've always praised Hee Jin's characterization. She is actually your usual heroine yet we all have the tendency to hate her. And when you are about to really really hate her, you feel for her and you pity her.
I'm greatly concerned with Hannah's character description. I hate it because it seems she will loose the integrity of this character. It reflects weakness and untruthfulness to her character. I might just end up hating Hannah's character, instead of the confusing sympathy-hatred feeling I've always felt for Hee Jin. I'm still hoping that even though the description seems problematic, they will still be able to present Hannah as substantial as Hee Jin.

Dr. Henry Kim is Korean-American doctor. He's Hee Jin's doctor when she was under medication for her Gastric Cancer in the United States. Through the years, he developed a feeling for Hee Jin. When she went back to Korea, he decided to take a vacation as well to spend more time with the girl of her dreams. Even though he knew right from the start that Hee Jin loves a different man, he never gets tired of caring and loving her.

Henry is Hannah's friend who knows her so well. And he is secretly in-love with her even though he knows that Hannah prefers another man.

Henry is the eye-candy of MNIKSS aside from Jin Hun. His best scenes were his encounters with Sofie* (Sam Soon). I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that they keep the Sofie-Henry scenes for laughter's sake. (*Sam Soon introduced herself to Henry as Sofie during their first meeting and the clueless Henry refers to her as such since then)

Hyun Woo dumped his girlfriend, Sam Soon, right on Christmas Eve when she confronted him about his womanizing. The word playboy is written all over his face. He was engaged to be married when his path crosses Sam Soon's once again. He tries to lure Sam Soon into getting back together with him, not because he still have feelings for her, but mainly because of his pride.

Harvey De Guzman is Samsoon's ex-fiance. He backed-out of their wedding. He is always afraid of commitment. Aside from being playboy and so full of himself, he is a certified coward. Now, he finds himself wishing he could go back in time to change things with Samsoon. Or at least go back to her arms.

Hyun Woo wants to get back together with Sam Soon because of his pride. Based on the description, Harvey seems like a nicer version of Hyun Woo, because it seems he really likes to go back with Samsoon. But I'm not yet sure about this, I have to see more of the series first.

Park Bong Sook is an out-spoken, hot-tempered yet loving mother to Il Young, Yi Young and Sam Soon. She completes the crazy-Kims-trio (Sam Soon-Yi Young-Bong Sook) in the Kim household. Though always raging with fury for her daughters' (Yi Young's and most especially Sam Soon's) decisions and (mis)fortunes, she only wishes the best for them.

Mrs. Sonia Buot is Samsoon's mother, hot-tempered but loving. She is the type of mother every girl wishes she had, and the kind of mother no son-in-law would want on their tails! At the first sign of danger, she goes on full mother-hen mode—and she will do anything, absolutely anything, to ensure the safety of her daughters.

Seems like Tessie Tomas is a good choice as Samsoon's mother. I believe she will be able to bring out the best in Park Bong Sook's character through Sonia Buot.

Na Hyun Sook or frequently referred to as Na Sajang is Jin Hun's mother. She keeps on pushing Cyrus into giving up his restaurant to work for their hotel. And getting married for the sake of his niece Mi Joo. She sets him up on different blind dates much to Jin Hun's annoyance. To get back to her, he presented her his 'girlfriend' Sam Soon, who received nothing but utmost disapproval.

Mrs. Roccio Ruiz is a very domineering mother to a Cyrus who doesn’t want anymore mothering. But she continues to make her presence felt in his life, and she will stay there until her son finds the perfect woman to be his wife—with her approval of course.

Since we have a younger mother to Cyrus than the original, she appears more frightening. I hope that Carmi Martin's young, sexy and glamorous appearance won't hinder the traces of motherly attitude of Na Sa Jang that Na Moon Hee was able to manifest despite her feistiness.

Yi Young is the second daughter of the Kim family - the liberal elder sister of Sam Soon. She lived in the United States with her husband until they got divorced. She always gives unsolicited advice to Sam Soon. And even though it is sometimes confusing which side she is taking, at the end of the day she is only after her little sister's well-being and happiness.

Eliza Buot is Samsoon's younger sister. She dreams of getting rich, the easiest possible way. Thus her ultimate goal is to get married to a rich guy that can bring her and her family out of poverty. So she pretends to be rich to belong to the "in" crowd in the hopes of landing herself a man with a fat bank account.

Giving Samsoon a younger sister might not impact the storyline that much, but it would definitely impact the mood of the dongsaeng-unnie* scenes. Eliza, being younger, won't be able to do and say the things that Yi Young did and said. (*dongsaeng is a Korean word for a younger sibling; unnie is a Korean word for a young girl's elder sister)

Lee Hyun Moo is Bon Appetit's head chef. He went backpacking in Europe when he was 20 and he learned to cook there. Jin Hun scouted him when he moved back to Korea and hired him in his restaurant. He develops a feeling towards Sam Soon's elder sister Yi Young.

Oh Jibaein is Bon Appetit's manager. She is a widow and she used to be a grade school teacher. When Jin Hun and her son caught an accident three years ago resulting to her son's death, Jin Hun took her in as the restaurant's manager as soon as he opened Bon Appetit as a way of asking for forgiveness and making sure that she won't get sad over the untimely death of her son. From then on, she became a reliable mother-figure to Jin Hun.

Chef Dina is La Dolce Vita's head chef that is a mother-figure to Cyrus. She is overprotective, and a little possessive and only wants what’s best for Cyrus. She is single and nearing the status of an old maid.

Oh my! I am so happy with the addition of Eugene Domingo, am I not? She was one of the top comedianne in our industry.
Though when I first heard that she will join the cast, I was hesitant because I can't see any character from MNIKSS that she can portray. I didn't know that they will combine Hyun Moo and Oh Jibaein's character into one. It's fine with me, however in this case, we will really have to say goodbye now to the Yi Young-Hyun Moo's liberated love affair. And it seems like they totally removed the car-accident thing since Chef Dina is an old maid.

Mi Joo is Jin Hun niece. Her parents (Jin Hun's brother and his wife) died in a car accident three years ago. It was Jin Hun's who's driving when the accident happened. She stopped talking since then. She is well-loved by her uncle and grandmother, and later on by Sam Soon as well.

Amber is Cyrus' little niece who stopped talking when she was orphaned. She is loved by her uncle — and she will be the way for her uncle to discover that true love does exist, but it’s never as easy as love at first sight.

Shu Ji Hee was my first favorite Korean child star (I now have so many favorite Korean child stars). She is so cute and at the same time she was really good in being Mi Joo, expressing herself well on screen without the help of any dialogues. As long as the new child star Cheska Eugenio can express herself well using her eyes and facial expressions we won't have any problems with this character. And of course, she must be able to cry well for her moment in the latter part of the series.

Chae Ri is Sam Soon's schoolmate. Her grandmother loved Sam Soon's father's rice cakes so much. On the contrary, she always look down on Sam Soon because she feels that a third daughter of a miller is not at par with her - the second daughter of a banker. She became frantic when she found out that she was dating Jin Hun (during their dating contract) and became more furious when she found out that her fiance, Hyun Moo, is Sam Soon's ex-boyfriend.

Cherry is Harvey's fiance. She knows what she wants and gets it—no matter who pays the price. She always has to be on top and never likes to be second in anything. And it becomes an insult to her when she learns that her boyfriend wants to get back with his ex, the ex who is a hundred pounds bigger than her!

I hate Chae Ri of course, but it seems like our Cherry is more evil. I just hope she wouldn't be patterned after the stereotypical villainess.

Jang Young Ja despise her name and prefers to be called Captain Jang in Bon Appetit. She hates female newbies in the restaurant because she sees them as competition, because has a hidden desire for their boss Jin Hun. Sam Soon falls into this category. However when she found out that Sam Soon is dating Jin Hun (during their contract dating) she becomes more enraged, exerting every effort to embarrass Sam Soon - but with Sam Soon's wit, she was never successful.

Cynthia works in La Dolce Vita. She is in love with her boss Cyrus! Though she’s only a receptionist, she aspires to be something more — and she thinks that getting her boss to love her is the best way to get it. And her feelings for him definitely don't help her in any way.

Sheena looks good as Cynthia. I bet she can pull this one off, just like how she was able to pull off her role in Marimar.

In Hye is Sam Soon's young assistant patissier in Bon Appetit. She came from a province that's why she carries a strange accent/dialect. She looks up to Sam Soon as her mentor and as an older sister.

James is an assistant chef in La Dolce Vita, who’s got more personality than most of the things he makes. But when it comes to friendship, he’s easily trusted — and he keeps the trust granted him.

We may miss the naiveness of In Hye and the way she look up to Sam Soon as her elder sister, but I think it doesn't matter much anyway. I'm just confused why James is wearing a black neckerchief. Is he a tenured chef already? I was trying to google the meaning of the colors of the neckerchiefs but I failed to see the answer. I hope someone can correct me here if I'm wrong.

Hyun Sook is Na Sajang's loyal secretary. Why is that? Because Na Sajang took her in when her parents died. She lived comfortably under Na Sajang's care, thus she never knew what life really is all about. You are lucky if you can get any reaction from her. But despite being a literal ice-queen, she also has her dreams and is brave enough to try and reach them while she still have time.

Marcus is Mrs. Ruiz' gay secretary. He always reports Cyrus whereabouts to Mrs. Ruiz. He is deathly afraid of his boss, so he does what he thinks will please her the most: delivering the freshest and juiciest gossip. He doesn’t care how he goes about dishing the gossip, just as long as he does—and just as long as he keeps his boss happy.

Hyun Sook Pisonim's brief appearances is enough for me to roll on the floor laughing. Not talking much and not reacting much to her environment was a funny thing to watch. And I'm sure that Jonh Lapuz won't fail me in that department as well. However at the later part of MNIKSS Hyun Sook Bisonim went out of her shell and flourish with a strong sense of independence and strong-will, thus creating a deeper meaning to her character. Hopefully, Marcus won't just be your laughing stock in ASKSS. Hopefully there will be a deeper meaning in his character later on.

Ahbuji* (*ahbuji is the Korean word for father) is a very loving father especially to his youngest, Sam Soon. He owned a millery and he was a famous rice cake maker in town when he was still alive. He taught her youngest daughter many things about life, from drinking soju to loving wholeheartedly and living life without any worries.

Samuel is renowned as one of the best bakers in town—until he died. Now he makes a habit of popping in and out of his daughter’s life to give advice, whether or not it’s wanted.

If I were to chose another character that I found very endearing in MNIKSS aside from Sam Soon (and Sam Sook), I would definitely pick Ahbuji. I love all of Ahbuji's scenes. Every single frame he is in is very heartwarming. I hope they will be able to retain that in ASKSS. Dido Dela Paz is one of those excellent bit players that we have, so as long as we have a good script, I am sure that Samuel and Samsoon's moments will be terjerkingly heartwarming as well.

Sam Sook can be regarded as the third lead in MNIKSS. She/He* plays a big part in Jin Hun and Sam Soon's life. She represents Sam Soon in Jin Hun's life - that no matter how many times he tried to get rid of, he simply cannot.
(*Sam Soon sees Sam Sook as a male because she called him ahjussi* in Episode 16 -*ahjussi is used by females to address older males; Jin Hun sees her as a female because when he talked to her in Episode 14 he referred to himself as oppa - *oppa is also used by younger females to address older males)

Piggy was a price Samsoon won when she tried to have fun after her disastrous blind date.

I feel bad for Sam Sook because his/her local counterpart looks bad. But I hope that even if Piggy is not as cute as Sam Sook, he/she can be able to manifest Sam Sook's role in the lives of Sam Soon and Jin Hun.

EXTENDED CAST (not present in the original)

Maureen is Samsoon's bestfriend. She is the type of best friend that can also become one’s worst enemy. After marrying rich, she pretends that life is just dandy, but the truth is she’s hiding her fears from everyone around her—by pretending to be always happy. And to prove how ‘happy’ she is, she wants to push her best friend to be ‘happy’ too!

I don't like the idea of Samsoon having a bestfriend, but I think she will take the role of Yi Young in Samsoon's life. Just like what I've mentioned earlier, Eliza, being young may not be able to do and say things that Yi Young did.

Chris is Cryus' bestfriend. He is the epitome of cool; as the go-to guy for his friends, Chris always knows what to say and when not to say anything at all. But for how long will Chris keep his quiet?

Nieves is Kokoy's mother and Sonia's bestfriend. But instead of lessening her friend’s burden, she adds a bit more spice into her life—by delivering the rumors that circulate around right to her friend’s doorstep.

Kokoy is Eliza's bestfriend. A simple guy who wants simple things in life. But how will he able to share his feelings with a girl who’s got stars in her eyes? How will he be able to prove that love is more than just the clink of coins in one’s pocket?

Aaron is rich and good-looking, two things he already knows about himself. Now he wants everyone else to know about them too. And he becomes interested in a girl who’s got one of the things he does, and pretends to be the other thing.

Marcus Madrigal as Dodong
A young, good-looking, macho market porter who always flirts with Mrs. Sonia Buot.

Stef Prescott as Ivy
The leader of "popular group" at Eliza's school.

Princess Violago as Gigi
The very geeky, but rich, best girl-friend of Eliza.

Macy Garcia as Jane
Cherry's equally bitchy bestfriend.

Vangie Labalan as Mrs. Brenda
Maureen's hateful mother-in-law who owns a pawnshop.

Toby Abuel as Enrico
Nicole's Dad.


Cheska Garcia as Nicole
Cyrus' date, as arranged by their parents.

Victor Aliwalas as Vincent
Samsoon's blind date from a blind-dating hotline.

I am happy that ASKSS have a great cast. It seems that they really considered the choices they made because most of the actors casted, if not all, are above average when it comes to their acting skills.

One of MNIKSS' strengths is its strong cast. I think GMA-7 was able to notice that, thus they made the right decision with their choices of actors.

However one thing I am not so fond about are the extended cast. MNIKSS doesn't have too many extended cast, thus the story is kept focused. And there was never a dull moment. I'm afraid GMA-7 won't be able to achieve that element because of the oh-so-many extended cast.

Also I don't like the idea of Samsoon and Cyrus having bestfriends. It's another thing that I love most in MNIKSS - the absence of friends in both Sam Soon and Jin Hun's side. It frees MNIKSS from boring scenes with non-stop rantings and ramblings to their friends. It gives way, instead for the characters to take their time to absorb their problems and confusion on their own, thus giving more heartfelt emotional moments for the characters, letting audiences inside their hearts and minds (instead of using another character to explain their feelings).

But still, overall I'm satisfied with the actors they chose.


Respected director, Kim Yoon Chul PD directed "My Name Is Kim Sam Soon".
As for the Philippine adaptation, "Ako Si Kim Sam Soon", just like any other Philippine Drama Series, it is being handled by two directors: Dominic Zapata and Khryss Adalia (because normally there are two groups or what we call 'sets' filming simultaneously).

As I've mentioned before, "My Name Is Kim Sam Soon" was originally a novel. It was written by Ji Su Hyoon.
When MNIKSS reached the television, it was developed and written by the great Kim Do Wo.
And for the Philippine adaptation, it was developed by Denoy Navarro-Punio - Ako Si Kim Sam Soon's headwriter.


Dode Cruz
Kit Villanueva-Langit
Suzette Doctolero
Rj Nuevas

Production Designer
Gerry Santos

Creative Consultants
Atty. Annette Guzom-Abrugar
Jun Lana

Lighting Directors
Roman Theodosiss
Pao Orendain

Associate Producer
Nieva Sabit

Executive Producer
Edlyn Tallada-Abuel

Program Manager
Ramel L. David

Supervising Producer
Lilybeth C. Rasonable

Executive in-charge of Production
Wilma Galvante

- Kim Sun Ah's biography is an edited version of the biography entry in My Lovely Kim Sun Ah.
- Regine Velasquez' biography is a shortened version from RVMM's biography section.
- Information about MNIKSS cast, characters and production staff is a collaboration of my stock knowledge about MNIKSS with a little help from Soompi Forums, Dramawiki, SunBin Forever and Wikipedia.
- Character description from ASKSS were based on data presented in RVMM, iGMAtv, Wikipedia, Wikipedia Character List, Pinoy Exchange and Ako Si Kim Samsoon Cast Profile teaser.


... said...

Booohooohooo... I hate this post. I'm really no good in describing characters - ever! Sorry if this post is boring, I have no choice but to include this in my blog for reference.

Maica said...

I think you substantially described them. :P