Kim Tae Hee is taking lessons in Chinese and learning calligraphy. It"s part of her preparation to play a leading role in a 40-episode Chinese drama about the famous calligrapher Wang Xizhi.
According to her agency Lua Entertainment she is also reading about the drama"s main character Wang Xizhi so she can play her role flawlessly.
In the drama "Wang Xizhi," she will play the supportive wife and assistant of the great calligrapher. It was his wife"s support that helped Wang Xizhi become the most famous calligrapher of his time. Chinese actor Wang Renjun will play Wang Xizhi.
According to the film"s producers, the script will require her to dress up as a man at some point in the plot.
It"s not the first time Kim Tae Hee has played a historical character. Last year she starred as the famous concubine Jang Ok Jung in a drama of the same name. Although the drama did not get high ratings, her portrayal of the much-maligned concubine disproved notions that she was just a pretty face and not capable of acting in a historical drama.
"Wang Xizhi" has a production budget of $97 million and begins filming in Hangzhou in mid-June. Shooting is expected to continue through August. While she is in China for the drama, Kim will also appear in Chinese TV commercials.
It"s still unusual for Korean actors to appear in a Chinese drama but given the popularity of the Hallyu, it will probably not be the last time. Other actors who have already taken roles in China include Kim Bum Jang Nara, and Kim Tae Hee"s boyfriend, Rain, who appears in the Chinese film, "Beauty"s Dew."
Korean stars also seem to be eager to work in the Chinese market. Actress Song Hye Kyo also appears in director John Woo"s upcoming movie, "The Crossing," where she is paired with Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming.
At a recent press conference she said, "I was really eager to work with John Woo and with Chinese stars."
Chinese producers are becoming more open toward the idea of casting popular Korean actors in their dramas. Many Korean actors are attracting a larger following because their dramas are being shown on Yuku, the Chinese Youtube.
Kim Tae Hee became more popular in China after she appeared in a Chinese reality program titled "Bringing The Stars To You."
At a press conference for the drama, she said, "I hope I can learn more about Chinese culture with this opportunity. I feel honored to be in a drama that tells the story of a great man like Wang Xizhi."