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Park So-dam (박소담)

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

Having watched her for almost a decade, viewers of k-dramas and k-movies are familiar with this talented actress' face. But did you know that Park So-dam got her start in independent projects and short films? Her stint as a supporting actress in the 2013 indie film Steel Cold Winter opened the door for her to star in more mainstream movies, leading up to the phenomenon that was 2019's Parasite.

park so dam, parasite, netflix

When Parasite bagged the Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and Best Motion Picture at the Academy Awards in 2019, Park So-dam had new fans backtracking through her filmography to watch more of their new favorite South Korean actress. And they were not disappointed. Park has taken on a multitude of diverse roles over the years, from a girl possessed by a demon in the 2015 movie The Priests, to a reluctant chaebol babysitter in the 2016 drama Cinderella and the Four Knights, to a struggling make-up artist with big dreams in 2020’s Record of Youth.

Four years after finding international fame, the actress who played the pivotal role of Kim Ki-jung is still excelling at her chosen craft. She starred in the crime action flick Special Delivery last year, and the period action-espionage film Phantom alongside Sol Kyung-gu, Honey Lee, and Kim Dong-hee.

Fans were shocked to learn that the young actress was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer in December 2021, followed by COVID-19 just as she was recovering from thyroid surgery. Thankfully, she has recovered from both and is back on her feet!

Some of her more notable roles include:

The Priests (film, 2015)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Park So-dam in "The Priests"

Park So-dam plays Young-shin, a high school girl who is possessed by a powerful demon. She is the target of an exorcism performed by two priests, Father Kim (Kim Yoon-seok) and Deacon Choi (Gang Dong-won). She displays supernatural abilities and resistance to the ritual and reveals the identity of the demon as Malphas, an ancient enemy of the church.

This is Park's breakthrough movie, as it was her first leading role in a mainstream film. She won multiple Best New Actress and Best Supporting Actress awards for her role, including the Blue Dragon Film Award and the Chunsa Film Art Award.

The Silenced (film, 2015)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Park So-dam in "The Silenced"

Park's first movie that made a strong impression on the critics and the audience is The Silenced. She played Yeon-deok, a student at a mysterious boarding school for sick girls during the Japanese occupation. She befriends Ju-ran (Park Bo-young), a new transfer student who suffers from strange symptoms and visions. Together, they uncover the dark secrets of the school and the experiments that are being conducted on them.

Park won the Best Supporting Actress award from the Busan Film Critics Association for her performance.

A Beautiful Mind (2016)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Park So-dam in "A Beautiful Mind" (photo of Jang Hyuk and Park So-dam)

This is Park's first medical K-drama, where she played Gye Jin-sung, a traffic policewoman who teams up with a genius neurosurgeon (Jang Hyuk) who suffers from antisocial personality disorder. The drama was well-received, despite its low ratings and early cancellation. Park won the Excellence Award for Actress at the KBS Drama Awards for her role.

Parasite (film, 2019)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Park So-dam in "Parasite" (photo of Park So-dam and Choi Woo-shik)

Park So-dam portrayed Ki-jung, the daughter of a poor family who schemes to infiltrate a wealthy family's household. She poses as an art tutor for the rich family's son, Da-song, and uses her skills in forgery and manipulation to secure her position. She also participates in a violent and bloody confrontation between her family and the former housekeeper of the rich family.

She received several awards and nominations for her performance, including the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Undoubtedly Park's most internationally acclaimed movie, the film won the Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Picture. 

Special Delivery (film, 2022)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Park So-dam in "Special Delivery"

Park So-dam played Jang Eun-ha, a former North Korean defector who works as a special delivery driver and gets involved in a crime. She is assigned to pick up a former baseball player, Kim Doo-sik (Yeon Woo-jin), who is involved in an illegal gambling trade.

For her role, she received a nomination for Best Actress at the Baeksang Arts Awards.

Death's Game (2023)

GwenchaNoona | K-rush of the Week: Park So-dam in "Death's Game"

In her latest k-drama, Park So-dam plays Death, a supernatural being who punishes a suicidal man, Choi Yi-jae (Seo In-guk), by making him experience death over and over again through 13 other lives. She is cold, sarcastic, and ruthless, but also curious and amused by Choi Yi-jae's attempts to survive. She gradually develops a bond with him and helps him find a reason to live.

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