Why Netflix’s New K-Drama “Mask Girl” Director Cast A Rookie Actress For Its Lead Role

Hopefully, it’s the first of many roles!

Content Warning

This article includes descriptions of sexual assault and violence that may disturb some readers.

Spoiler Alert

This article reveals plot details of a current movie or series.

Netflix‘s new K-Drama Mask Girl was recently released, and it’s impressed viewers with its phenomenal cast.

Kim Mo-mi (Lee Han-byeol/Go Hyun-jung/Nana), an office worker who is insecure about her looks, becomes a masked internet personality by night — until a chain of unexpected, ill-fated events overtakes her life.

— Wikipedia

“Mask Girl” poster | Netflix

Since casting was announced, readers of the original Naver Webtoon that the K-Drama is adapted from were impressed. They were especially in awe of the casting of rookie actress Lee Han Byeol as pre-surgery Kim Mo Mi.

Kim Mo Mi | Naver Webtoon
Lee Han Byeol

Now that the K-Drama has premiered, viewers were even more impressed by Lee Han Byeol. Some can’t believe it’s only her debut role.

Three talented actresses, Lee Han Byeol, After School‘s Nana, and Go Hyun Jung, portray three stages of Kim Mo Mi’s life: pre-plastic surgery, post-plastic surgery, and middle-aged in prison, respectively. Yet, Han Byeol portrays some of the most traumatic moments, from Mask Girl herself to murder and sexual assault. That’s a lot to take on for a debut role.

| Netflix

So, Mask Girl Director Kim Yong Hoon revealed why he cast the rookie actress for the lead role. He stated he did not want to rely on special makeup to create the character because it could affect one’s acting. So, instead, he chose an actress that was perfect for Kim Mo Mi in all aspects, from appearance to personality.

I was confident about choosing multiple actors for one role because of the three actors. Looking back, I think it was the best decision among the many decisions I made while working on this series. While writing the script, the story was so intense, so I kept writing, but after I finished, I was at a loss as to how to cast actors for it. I auditioned close to 1,000 people, but the moment I saw Lee Han Byeol’s profile picture, I had a strong feeling. When I met her at the audition, she was very calm and intelligent, and I felt she was a very charming person, so I suggested casting her for the role.

— Director Kim Yong Hoon

Lee Han Byeol also empathized with her character due to personal experiences. Yet, unlike Kim Mo Mi, these hurtful moments did not lead her to hate her appearance.

Actually, the story begins with Mo Mi’s childhood, and the experiences and scars she received from her parents were similar to my experiences. Such experiences did not cause me to be pessimistic about my appearance, and when this kind of work was offered to me, there was no burden of playing the role of an actor who looked ugly. I had a fun time filming. I don’t think receiving rave reviews and praise will make you more beautiful. I think that even with this look, there will be a type of acting that will need someone like me.

— Lee Han Byeol

Read more below.

K-Drama “Mask Girl” Viewers Cannot Believe It’s Actress Lee Han Byeol’s Debut Role

Mask Girl