The Penthouse: War in Life is a South Korean television series directed by Joo Dong-min and written by Kim Soon-ok. The series follows the story of socialites living in the luxurious Hera Palace and their children who go to the prestigious Cheong-ah Arts School. The series revolves around a plot of revenge filled with unexpected twists. In a review published by Los Angeles Times (High School Insider), they wrote, “The constant struggle between the characters is only a small part of what makes this series interesting. What keeps the audience on the edge of their seats is the unbelievable plot twists that occur at least once in every episode.” The majority of the cast members have received several nominations and awards for their performances in the series. Get to know more about the main cast of the Korean drama series as you read on.
Eugene as Oh Yoon-Hee
Kim Yoo-jin, known professionally as Eugene, is a South Korean singer and actress. She plays the role of Oh Yoon-Hee, who comes from a poor background and strives to get her talented daughter to Cheong-ah Arts School and to join the high society of Hera Palace. Eugene started her career as a member of the girl group S.E.S. After the group’s disbandment, Eugene made her debut in 2002 as an actress in the drama Loving You (2002) and appeared as lead roles in several Korean dramas such as Save the Last Dance for Me, Wonderful Life, Bread, Love and Dreams, A Hundred Year Legacy, All About My Mom and King of Baking, Kim Takgu. She took a break from acting for a while to spend more time with her family before returning onscreen through the Penthouse series. Aside from acting, Eugene has authored two books: Eugene’s Beauty Secrets and Eugene’s Get It Beauty and presides over the clothing brand by MOMO.
Lee Ji-Ah as Shim Su-Ryeon
Lee Ji-Ah plays the role of Shim Su-Ryeon in Penthouse: War in Life. She plays the poised and kind-hearted housewife of chairman Joon Dan Tae who lives in the penthouse unit of Hera Palace. But despite her quiet and poised facade, she keeps a secret that slowly unfolds as the series progresses. Lee Ji-Ah is known for her roles in several television dramas such as The Legend (2007), Beethoven Virus (2008), Athena: Goddess of War (2010), Me Too, Flower! (2011), Thrice Married Woman (2013), and My Mister (2018). But her most popular character yet is her role in the Penthouse series.
Uhm Ki-Joon as Joo Dan-Tae
Uhm Ki-joon plays the role of cunning and ambitious chairman Joon Dan-Tae, one of the major villains of the series. Uhm Ki–Joon has established his career as a musical theater actor before starting his acting career on television and film. He has appeared in the Korean dramas Life Special Investigation Team, Worlds Within, Hero, Dream High, Scent of a Woman, and Phantom in supporting roles and had lead roles in Good Job, The Virus, and the medical drama Heart Surgeons. He’s not new to playing villain roles as he appeared as an antagonist in the film Man of Vendetta and in the hit legal thriller Innocent Defendant. He also played a role of a detective investigating serial murders in the horror film Killer Toon.
Kim So-Yeon as Cheon Seo-Jin
Kim So-Yeon plays one of the main antagonists of the series playing the role of highly acclaimed Soprano singer and Art school director Cheon Seo-Jin. Cheon Seo Jin plays the main rival of Oh Yoon-Hee, and will do anything to get what she wants. The actress has played similar roles in the past and is well-known for her role as a manipulative anchorwoman in the drama All About Eve. She also appeared in several dramas such as Reporting for Duty, Soonpoong Clinic, Iris, and the romantic comedy Prosecutor Princess where she played a very different role compared to her previously serious roles. Her performance in Penthouse led to winning the Award for Best Actress – Television at the 57th Baeksang Arts Awards and the Grand Prize (Daesang) at 2021 SBS Drama Awards. In an article by Soompi, the drama’s producers shared about Kim So-Yeon’s performance on the final season of the series.“The villain Cheon Seo Jin was able to be born because of Kim So Yeon. She is an actress who amazed [everyone] at every moment. The final episode will also be a series of twists until the last moment, so please watch until the end.”
Yoon Jong-Hoon as Ha Yoon-Cheol
Yoon Jong-Hoon plays the role of prideful but insecure doctor Ha Yoon-Cheol, the husband of Cheon Seo-Jin. He has appeared in several dramas such as Find Me in Your Memory, Return, Extraordinary You, Rookie Historian, and Emergency Couple. He has received the award for Best Character for his role in the drama Return in the 2018 SBS Drama Awards and the Excellent Actor award for his performance in Penthouse during the 2020 SBS Drama Awards.
Kim Hyun-Soo as Bae Ro-Na
Kim Hyun-soo plays the role of talented singer Bae Ro-na, Oh Yoon-Hee’s daughter who aspires to get into Cheon-ah Arts School. Kim Hyun-soo often played roles as the younger version of lead roles in several Korean dramas including Bridal Mask and My Love from the Star. She played the lead role in the series Solomon’s Perjury and appeared in the films Familyhood, The Swordsman, and Silenced for which she received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the 49th Grand Bell Awards. Her performance in the Penthouse series got her nominated for Best New Actress at the prestigious 57th Baeksang Arts Awards.
Kim Young-Dae as Joo Seok-Hoon
Kim Young-Dae plays the role of reserved Joo Seok-Hoon, the son of Joon Dan-tae. Kim Young-dae made his debut through web dramas such as Secret Crushes: Special Edition, Office Watch 2, and Just Too Bored. In 2018, he made his acting debut on television through the drama The Time Left Between. In 2019 he appeared in several Korean Dramas such as Extraordinary You and a Welcome to Waikiki 2. Aside from his role in the Penthouse series In 2020, he also played roles in When the Weather Is Fine, Cheat on Me If You Can, and made special appearances in the drama True Beauty and Undercover. In the same year, Kim won a Netizen Award, Actor at the KBS Drama Awards and was nominated at the SBS Drama Awards Best New Actor category, as well as in the 57th Baeksang Arts Awards category Best New Actor – Television.
Han Ji-Hyun as Joo Seok-Kyung
Han Ji-hyun is a South Korean actress and model. She plays the role of Seok-Kyung, the feisty and competitive twin sister of Seok-Hoon and her supporting role in the Penhouse series has gained a lot of attention. She made her acting debut in the drama The Wind Blows in a supporting role and played a lead role in the film I Bet Everything.
Choi Ye-Bin as Ha Eun-Byeol
Choi Ye-Bin plays the role of competitive and perfectionist Ha Eun-Byol, the daughter of Cheon Seo-Jin, who like her mother will do anything to be the top student at Cheong-ah Arts School. She has appeared in the dramas The Present Is Beautiful and Love & Wish and appeared in the films Transaction Completed and Voice. For her performance in Penthouse, she received the Best New Actress award during the 2021 SBS Drama Awards.
Jo Soo-Min as Min Seol-A
Jo Soo-Min plays the role of talented and independent tutor Min Seol-A whose mysterious death will be the center of the plot for season 1. She appeared in the drama series Seoul 1945 (2006), Brain (2011) and Melody of Love (2013), and played a lead role in the drama Ending Again in 2020. In 2019, she won Best Actress in a One-Act/Special/Short Drama for her role in Birthday Letter and in 2020 was nominated Best New Actress during the SBS Drama Awards for her role in the Penthouse series.