“Ocean Likes Me”: Dutch gay K-pop idol’s first casting with Han Gi-chan in BL K-drama

K-pop and K-drama fans in the LGBT+ community can rejoice as we get more positive portrayal in South Korean pop culture. In the past, gay or sissy characters were used as a punchline in K-dramas, but now even Korean productions have started paying attention to the BL (Boys’ Love) genre popularized by Thailand and Taiwan. And now we have the BL K-drama “Ocean Likes Me” which casts idols like Holland and actor Han Gi-chan.

With the subject of LGBT+ issues becoming less taboo in a conservative country like South Korea, we have more and more idol actors taking on various roles. We had characters like SHINee’s Minho, SF9’s Rowoon, ACE’s Jun, VIXX’s Hyuk, and others playing LGBT+ characters while NCT Jaehyun’s first acting project was almost a BL movie remake. And now, “Ocean Likes Me” is turning heads for the casting of K-pop Holland’s first openly gay idol.

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Holland and Han Gi-chan in “Ocean Likes Me”

On January 27, it was reported that “Ocean Likes Me,” an upcoming BL K drama, had found its main leads. It’s a romantic comedy about an aspiring chef who wants to open his own restaurant on a beach and a blossoming relationship with a failed musician. Han Gi-chan plays Han Bada, the stone-faced entrepreneur whose biggest obstacle is attracting customers to his udon restaurant. He meets the charming Tommy played by Holland who returns home after his failed career. The drama follows the two helping each other achieve their dreams and will air in the first half of 2022.

Han Gi-chan’s first major role was in the popular 2020 BL K drama “Where Your Eyes Linger” when he played the confident and charismatic Tae-joo. His last role was in the thriller “Find Me If You Can” which also starred Astro’s Rocky and MJ. And while international fans love Holland, he has been ostracized by many in the K-pop industry for coming out as gay. However, he has since bounced back, having collaborated with the likes of Gucci, been invited by Burberry and has now ventured to perform with ‘Ocean Likes Me’.

“The Best Thing in the World”

Fans are happy for Holland as they tweeted like, “Holland in a BL is amazing because 1. He deserves recognition and 2. Gay representation by real gay people is the best thing in the world.” A K-drama fan shared, “Eyo Han Gi Chan will deliver once again.” Another posted, “Can’t believe I’m going to see han gi chan again 😭😭😭😭 I’ve been waiting for this.” A Dutch fan added, “Holland is finally filming the upcoming Korean bl drama “Ocean Like Me” very happy for him.”

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