Sunday, April 26, 2015

2015: The Return of A-List Actresses to Kdrama

2015 may be the best year to witness and watch A-list actresses in dramaland as some of them have dramas line-ups ready to greet the audience. Some A-list actresses who work in Korean dramas and movies industry long enough have decided to comeback and give viewers something to wait for. Ha Ji Won, Song Hye Kyo, Gong Hyo Jin, Kim Sun Ah, Soo Ae, and Lee Young Ae are cast for several different dramas on the upcoming months. While the others, like Shin Min Ah also likely to be cast in new dramas. While the likes of Ha Ji Won and Gong Hyo Jin still acted in dramas last year, the rest are on long hiatus from dramaland and prefer movies or even completely going on hiatus from acting like Kim Sun Ah and Lee Young Ae. That’s why this year, their comebacks are anticipated by fans and kdrama aficionados in and outside Korea.

Here are the previews of their upcoming dramas.
1. Gong Hyo Jin – “Producers”
Gong Hyo Jin never disappoints her fans regarding her projects, so her fans told us. Her last drama is critically-acclaimed “It’s Okay It’s Love” where she reprised the role of a psychiatry (though I’m not a fan of the drama). That’s why when she’s cast in “Producers” alongside top actors Cha Tae Hyun, Kim Soo Hyun and idol actor IU, no one complained and even revealed their joy. It’s hard to beat the drama on the cast and star power alone, the drama also had a good team with great track record to backing it. The screenwriter Park Ji Eun of You From Another Star while the main PD is Pyo Min Soo who had directed Full House, Heartstrings and IRIS 2. The production team also consists several KBS’ variety producers as the drama will reveal the everyday life of variety producers on a TV station. Gong Hyo Jin herself will play a role as producer, a Music Bank PD with cool and quirky persona. She will have loveline with Kim Soo Hyun and looks like having good relationship with Cha Tae Hyun. Either way, she wins, having Cha Tae Hyun and Kim Soo Hyun on your sides are too good to be true right? “Producers” will premiere on 15th May, every Friday and Saturday 9.15 pm KST on KBS2 with 12 episodes, 80 minutes each.

2. Ha Ji Won – “The Time I Loved You 7000 Days”

Last time I saw her in dramaland was in last year’s hit sageuk “Empress Ki”. Since then she went on to do a movie and now ready for drama’s comeback. The title itself is self-explanatory, the lead supposed to love the other lead for 7000 Days or almost 20 years! That’s exhausting, especially if you’re having one-sided love. But on the upside, you’re having one-sided love on Ha Ji Won, who can’t resist? Ha Ji Won will star in Korean remake of Taiwanese drama “In Time With You”. The leads will be transported to modern Korea and instead just around 30 years old, in Korean version the leads will be around 35 years old. Lee Jin Wook will be the man who love Ha Ji Won for 7000 Days, while she will play a role of Lee Jin Wook’s bestfriend who (for some reasons) can’t see or doesn’t see his undying love. Based on the original drama, the leads will fall in love and date other people before finally realize that they’re in love with each other actually. Sounds boring on paper? Maybe. But the original drama is hugely popular in Taiwan and the male lead character (Li Da Ren) became everyone’s ideal type with his sweet looks and yearning for the woman he loves. Maybe this drama can follow the original’s success? For me, as long as the remake is on par with Fated To Love You Korean version and is not another remake disaster, then it’s good. The leads also worthwhile to check, as both Ha Ji Won and Lee Jin Wook are known for their good chemistry with everyone and deemed fit to play the roles. “The Time I Loved You 7000 Days” will hit the airwave in June, after “Divorce Lawyer In Love” every Saturday and Sunday 10.00 pm KST on SBS.

3. Kim Sun Ah – “Masked Prosecutor”
I still hear her fans screaming on the top of their lungs after Kim Sun Ah confirmed a drama named “Masked Prosecutor”. She plays a chief detective who’s overflowing and passionate for her job. She’ll be at odds with the hero, played by Joo Sang Wook, who is a prosecutor by day and a masked vigilante to punish the baddies by night. The ideas of putting Kim Sun Ah and Joo Sang Wook in a drama together never crosses my mind, but then the two have good track record and great acting. I love Kim Sun Ah as Kim Sam Soon and Joo Sang Wook either as cold jerk Kim Do Han (Good Doctor) or dorky CEO Cha Jung Woo (Cunning Single Lady). This week their first script-reading pictures are released and I like the good vibe from them and the production team. Seems the drama could be really dark and gritty with a side of humor since the team behind it also produced “Big Man” last year. “Masked Prosecutor” follows currently-airing “Unkind Women” every Wednesday and Thursday 10pm KST on KBS2.

4. Song Hye Kyo – “Descendants of The Sun”

I love Song Hye Kyo, she’s one of the first Korean actresses I know from her acting gigs in “Autumn In My Heart” and “Full House”. Her last drama was “That Winter The Wind Blows” which I also love, but since then she preferred movie than drama and took projects in China. This year, she takes role in Kim Eun Sook’s drama “Descendants Of The Sun,” starring opposite Song Joong Ki. She plays a resident doctor in army unit within Peacekeeping operation. While Song Joong Ki is a commander of UN Peacekeeping troops. The two will meet and work together amidst of war and struggles, and eventually love will blossom between them. The drama is pre-produced entirely and the majority of the scenes will be shot abroad. I just hope the drama allows the cast to just speak in Korean, instead of butchering English or hiring some random “actors” like KES’s last drama “Heirs”. While I still shudder everytime I hear of “Heirs” I’m willing to give this drama a chance since I love both leads and am curious how Kim Eun Sook write a pre-produced drama with a backdrop of peacekeeping and humanitarian action. “Descendants of The Sun” is slated to follow

5. Soo Ae – “Mask”
As someone who is in movie industry for more than 10 years and have many hit dramas and movies, Soo Ae can be safely said as one of the A-list actresses. Though I’m not a fan of her and never watch her drama as far as I can remember, her comeback is anticipated by her fans because she’s last seen in drama “Yawang” (2013). She’s melodrama specialist and now she will be paired up with Joo Ji Hoon, yes, the freaking Joo Ji Hoon (or Prince Shin as some of you still remember vividly “Goong). Joo Ji Hoon is also absent from drama quite long after “Medical Top Team” (2013). In this drama Soo Ae will play a heroine who happens to enter a chaebol world then meets our chaebol hero. Though it’s not clear whether she will marry him or she works with him. The drama will depicts people who live in this world with “mask” to hide their true identity/motive. “Mask” is written by writer of “Secret” and “Heirs” PD, the opposite of Descendants of The Sun that have “Heirs” writer and “Secret” PD. The drama will air following “The Girl Who Sees Smells”, every Wednesday and Thursday 10 pm KST on SBS.

6. Jang Na Ra – “I Remember You”

Can’t say I miss Jang Na Ra much, because we can watch her in “Fated To Love You” and “Mr.Back” last year. She’s confirmed for KBS’ drama “I Remember You” (previously “Hello Monster”), opposite Seo In Guk. But this time, her role may vastly different than her previous roles because she will be a cop who also stalk the male lead, a criminal profiler who previously worked in US. Why and how she stalk, there’s no explanation yet. But knowing it’s Jang Na Ra I may sympathize and side with her, even if she stalks the hero till the ends of the earth. That’s how this woman easily makes me sympathize or even cry with her character. Personally I like the title “Hello Monster” better, because at least it sounds unique and even cute. “I Remember You” is just too generic and bland. And no, “I Remember You” won’t make me associate the drama with a group of police officers and criminal profiler, unless the leads are actually childhood bestfriends and one of them can’t forget their first love even after several years (it could be the plot for real!). “I Remember You” previously slated after “Blood” but then KBS decided to air “School 2015” first, so “I Remember You” will air after “School 2015”, every Monday-Tuesday 10 pm KST.

7. Lee Young Ae – “Saimdang, the Herstory”
To top all A-list actresses above, we have long-awaited comeback of Lee Young Ae, the actress from the phenomenal “Dae Jang Geum/Jewel In The Palace”. Since “Dae Jang Geum” she hadn’t done any drama in a decade, only filming a movie “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” that released in 2005. I’m a big fan of Dae Jang Geum and her, so her comeback is on the top of my list too. There’s talk last year that MBC would produce Dae Jang Geum 2 but ultimately it fizzled out and instead Lee Young Ae picked brand new drama “Saimdang, Her Story”. Another female-centric drama, it will be focused on the life and love of Shin Saimdang that nicknamed “The Wise Mother”. Shin Saimdang is most famous for her poetry, calligraphy, and paintings, something that a woman in that time can only dream on. She’s also praised for her intelligent and wise character, as well as known for taking good care of her husband and son (Yi I, a Joseon scholar). The role seems pitch perfect for Lee Young Ae and she will take two roles here, first as Shin Saimdang and the second as a modern-day university professor who is her descendant and back to the past time to solve the mystery. It’s basically Shin Saimdang’s time-travelling story. Still, I belive in her judgement and hopefully the drama is worth-watching for Lee Young Ae. The drama is planned to broadcast at the end of the year or early next year.

Possible comebacks:
Actresses below also possibly have drama comeback this year because they’re already offered roles.

1. Shin Min Ah

She’s offered the role in a drama “Let’s Have Dinner With Me”, a title I immediately associated with “Let’s Eat” because come on, the title is self-explanatory too right? “Let’s Have Dinner With Me” is described as realistic story of single working-class people and their shared love towards food. It’s also an adaptation from a webtoon and the leads are connected through eating and developing a relationship. I know Shin Min Ah in real life also loves eating and her role in Gumiho where she required to eat so much just too adorable beyond words. I’ll be happy if she takes the role of a foodie here, she’s been too long out of dramaland and only takes movie projects. If she accepts, hopefully with someone we can root for (some people suggest Ji Chang Wook and I’m not against it), I definitely watch this drama. The drama is slated to follow “Mask”, premieres sometime in August on SBS.

2. Moon Geun Young

Is Moonie considered A-list actress? Well, at least that’s how I feel. I got too excited when news broke earlier this month saying Moon Geun Young will comeback through “Chaebol’s Daughter”. Turned out, she rejected the role, the drama is still searching their titular chaebol’s daughter and Moon Geun Young is nowhere to be seen these days. She still has a movie to premiere this year, but her last drama was super boring “Goddess Of Fire” that I want to erase completely from my mind. Rumors on her DC Gallery, her Korean fansite, saying that she’s receiving offer for upcoming drama “I’m Sorry”. The drama is written by So Hyun Kyung, of dramas “49 Days,” “Two Weeks,” and “My Daughter Seo Young”. Personally I really love her dramas, especially 49 Days so no problem with me regarding the scriptwriter and the drama also will be pre-produced completely. So far I don’t want to get my hope high up because there’s no news regarding this, only rumor on her fansite. And even if there’s a news, Moonie could still possibly pull a Chaebol’s Daughter to us again.

Seems this year is a good year to see established and A-list actresses come back to dramaland. Even Go Ah Sung (considered movie star) is also doing a drama now! The only way to make it better this year is if Jeon Ji Hyun/Yoon Eun Hye/Son Ye Jin/Lee Yo Won also comes back to dramaland. Or Won Bin does a drama.

Picture credits: as tagged, KBS

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