Thursday, March 10, 2011

You’re Beautiful duo reteams for Festival

For those of you who dearly wished You’re Beautiful’s “Shin-woo hyung” would get the girl, here’s the next best thing: Park Shin-hye and Jung Yong-hwa have been cast as the leads in an upcoming drama titled Festival.

The drama hops onto the bandwagon of music-related shows, described as a “youth melodrama” that centers around the “dreams, tears, and loves” of the students at an arts university, where students pursue aspirations in dance, song, acting, and literary arts. So…Dream High meets What’s Up, v.2.0? With a dash of Mary Stayed Out All Night, to boot.

Jung Yong-hwa plays Lee Shin, and was given the hearty yes as the male lead thanks to his background as vocalist and guitar for idol band CN Blue. Shin is the vocalist in a pretty-boy band (what a stretch!) who lives and breathes music, who’s enrolled in the applied music department at school. Contrary to his warm and protective Shin-woo fromYou’re Beautiful, Jung takes on a cold, proud character. You know he’s graduated to the big time when he transitions from the Kind Best Friend to the Darcy. (Sigh. Another one.)

Park Shin-hye once again plays a cute, lively character, Lee Kyu-won, who is enrolled in the classical Korean music department and comes from a long line of classical musicians. Her family is famed for its pansori talents, and she plays the stringed gayageum.

It’s a Pyo Min-su series, which means (in my book) that it’ll be well-paced, with cute moments and some humor; PD Pyo is the director who did Full House, The World They Live In, and last year’s Coffee House. I’ve liked all of his shows (okay, not so much Insoon Is Pretty) but haven’t loved any, so his name isn’t an automatic sell for me.

Festival is scheduled for a June 22 premiere on MBC, making it a Wednesday-Thursday drama.

Um…I’m WAY IFFY on this, for a couple reasons. First is because of the premise; I don’t necessarily think that all these dramas are copycatting each other, since it could be a coincidence/Zeitgeist thing. But while I have enough excitement in me for a What’s Up, I don’t know if I have enough to look forward to both The Musical and Festival as well.

Second is Jung Yong-hwa, whom I never really cottoned to in You’re Beautiful. Oh, I liked his character — who wouldn’t like a sweetie like Shin-woo, even if you were ultimately rooting for Tae-kyung? — but his acting? Eeeeek. To be fair, he had a good episode (the 13th), but really, that was more like a good 5 minutes. To carry a drama on his own? I suppose Playful Kiss is an instance of a second project showing an improvement from the first…but then, that’s not really a drama you want to compare yourself to when you’re hoping for success, is it?

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Kang Ji-hwan doesn’t want to lose Faith

Is it just me, or is everyone in dramaland impersonating a yo-yo these days? At least Kang Ji-hwan is trying to STAY on a drama rather than leave one. Blockbuster 3D fusion sageuk medical drama (rah, that’s a mouthful) Faith has lost its leading man, not once, but twice, and it looks like bachelor number two is back again for another round.

Kang Ji-hwan is reportedly digging his heels in, trying to iron out his ongoing battle with the Korea Entertainment Producers Association, so that he can stick with Faith, which begins principal photography next month. He had originally announced leaving the production due to the contract dispute that’s been hanging over his head for the past year. It’s also been putting a damper on a certain co-blogger’s penchant for dramas starring the man in question.

Kang’s side claims that his contract dispute with his last management company was settled, but the Korea Entertainment Producers Association claims that he starred in Coffee House without clearance, and has since pushed for him to take a hiatus, prompting him to finally bow out of Faith late last year. The hilarious thing is, the Producers Association is claiming that they never forced him to quit Faith. But…are you still boycotting? ‘Cause I’m not good at math, but that doesn’t add up, from where I stand.

Faith‘s PD Kim Jong-hak (Legend) released a noncommittal statement that nothing could be announced officially because Kang Ji-hwan’s dispute hasn’t been cleared yet, though I can see a multitude of reasons why he’d want to hang on to Kang, not least of which is the 10 million won blown on pre-production with Kang as the star, including test shots and promotional materials.

The astronomical budget of 30 billion won is mostly going to be funding the special effects, which makes me think that despite its description as a drama about eastern medicine in the Goryeo era, that it’s going to be much more action-centric, a la PD Kim’s last drama,Legend.

Faith boasts a star-studded cast including Kim Hee-sun, Philip Lee, Kim Seung-soo, and Choi Min-soo, and begins filming in April.

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Micky Yoochun and Lee Da-hae in a new drama?

Whoa. What a…strange pairing? Well that would explain Lee Da-hae‘s recent exit from her film Coffee, that is if reports are true. Rumor has it that an interesting constellation of stars has recently gone overseas to Japan together to be courted by PDs for an upcoming drama (it’s a Korean drama, but they were flown to Japan to meet with producers):

Micky Yoochun, who has been drawing casting attention left and right since his successful debut in last year’s fusion-sageuk-meets-trendy-campus drama, Sungkyunkwan Scandal; perennial pot-stirrer and poster child for foot-in-mouth syndrome Lee Da-hae(Chuno); my ajusshi crush Kim Seung-woo (IRIS, Athena); and Kang Hye-jung (Flowers for My Life, Oldboy).

The MBC drama is called Goodbye Miss Ripley, and there’s not much info about it yet other than the title. The four actors were flown in to meet with producers, and their agencies are reporting that they’re considering the roles. It seems that once the media caught wind of all of them being flown overseas for the same drama at the same time, the speculation took an upturn. I do think it’s a curious situation, mostly because it’s kind of a weird grouping. Kim Seung-woo and Kang Hye-jung are serious actors…and well, the other two…

I actually really like Micky Yoochun, who did a good job in his first role as the socially awkward smartypants scholar in Sungkyunkwan, but then if you add Lee Da-hae into the equation, and then the other two…it’s some weird unbalanced frankenstein of a thing. Hm. Trying to imagine scenarios in which this might work…

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Lee Dong Wook receives love calls 3 months before his military discharge

Actor Lee Dong Wook is scheduled to be discharged from the military in June, but he’s already receiving many love calls from various drama production teams, who have been trying to get the star penciled in their scripts. The fervor over the actor is so great, that he was even awarded the nickname “the eye of the storm”.

Lee Dong Wook’s agency, Jump Entertainment, has been reviewing his potential castings, and are trying to find the most interesting and convenient project.

The last project that Lee Dong Wook worked on before he joined the military in August 2009 was a film called, “The Recipe“. The actor is also famous for his roles in the dramas, ”Partner“, “Bittersweet Life“, “My Girl“, and many more.

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Hyun Bin enters marines, splits with Song Hye-gyo

Well, I can’t say I’m surprised. Hyun Bin (Secret Garden) entered the marines , to begin his two-year mandatory military service. He was sent off with lots of fans and the accompanying media frenzy, and shed tears of gratitude as he said goodbye and entered the base. And then about eight hours later, news broke that he had split with girlfriend Song Hye-gyo(Full House, The World They Live In).

The two stars met on the 2008 drama The World They Live In, and have been dating for roughly two years. Speculation about their breakup has been circling the media for almost a year, since both of them have spent the better part of 2010 completely entrenched in a myriad of projects, many of which were filmed overseas (Hyun Bin’s Late Autumn in Seattle, Song Hye-gyo’s The Grandmasters in China). But they’ve stayed quiet about the relationship for some time, and it was announced that Song Hye-gyo would not be accompanying Hyun Bin to the marine base.

It turns out that they purposely waited until after he entered the army to make the announcement public, so as to keep the public’s focus on their respective projects rather than their relationship. Personally, I think it’s a smart move. They’ve been dodging breakup speculation for a while, and if this news had broken even one day earlier, Hyun Bin’s entire army sendoff would’ve been about this, and not a tearful-but-happy goodbye.

Statements released indicate a mutual breakup due to busy conflicting schedules, and outside stress and pressure concerning their relationship status. Yeah, I’m gonna go ahead and say that it’s not unwarranted. But hey, you’re Hyun Bin and Song Hye-gyo. Whadduya gonna do?

This doesn’t come as a shocker since everything about their diverging careers screamedwe are broken up, and mostly what I’m taking away from all this is that Hyun Bin has got some seriously savvy management. He’s basically done every single thing right, just before his army duty. Hit drama? Check. Massive CF lineup? Check. Big sendoff? Check. Amicable split with girlfriend announced the day after so that every woman turns into a puddle of goo imagining how lonely and heartbroken he is, entering the army? Check.

We’ll miss ya, Binnie. See you in two.

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Lee Seung-gi won’t reteam with Hong sisters after all

Hm, so apparently Lee Seung-gi won’t be the new lead of the Hong sisters writing team’s new drama Discovery of Affection, which has also teased a possible Gong Hyo-jin casting.

The synopsis for the project has reportedly been entirely rewritten, and with that goes Lee Seung-gi’s potential return as their leading man; he’d anchored last year’s adorable fantasy comedy, My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho. All that’s been given to describe the project is that it’s about the romance between a top actor and a has-been actress.

I know this news may come as a disappointment to a certain co-blogger, but to be honest I’m perfectly happy with it. One of the things I appreciate about the Hongs is their willingness — preference, even — to go with new lead actors every time, many of them on the lesser side of famous. (They tend to do the opposite with their favorite secondary actors, bringing some back for drama after drama. Choi Ran has appeared in four of six,Ahn Seok-hwan in three.) The exception to this is Jang Geun-seok, but that’s because he moved up from second lead in Hong Gil Dong to main man in You’re Beautiful.

In any case, as much as I enjoy Lee Seung-gi, I’m even more curious about the new direction this drama is taking, because apparently the new contender for the lead is…Cha Seung-won??

With the synopsis revision, the Hongs have aged up the hero a bit, taking him out of his twenties. According to one broadcast rep, Cha Seung-won has taken a solo meeting (without his manager) with producers to discuss the project, which was confirmed by his agency.

It takes quite a leap to go from a good-natured, grinning boy-next-door to a dark, tattooed badass. And I think I’m liking the possibility, if only because I’m dying to see the grizzled, tough Cha putting his funnybone to work as a Hong sisters hero. For one thing, they have a knack for stripping a man of his dignity, in the funniest possible ways. Jae Hee dressed up as Juliet’s nurse. Oh Ji-ho as a plumber. Kang Ji-hwan miming his way out of recognition. Jang Geun-seok in every scene of You’re Beautiful.

I mean, it’s ridiculous and crazy, right? So crazy…it just might work?

Discovery of Affection will be directed by Queen Seon-deok’s Park Hong-kyun, and is MBC’s next Wednesday-Thursday drama, to replace the new series Royal Family.

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Hyun Bin releases a remake from his past OST hit, “Can’t Have You

On March 7th, actor Hyun Bin released a digital remake of “Can’t Have You“, a theme song from his 2009 drama, “Friend, Our Legend“.

The song was originally done by Bank, but received further popularity after Hyun Bin covered it two years ago; viewers felt that it brought out a certain charm in Hyun Bin that they couldn’t see clearly from his drama role. The song even went overseas, as it was briefly featured in a Japanese drama as well.

Representatives of the song’s distributor commented, “The song was remade because of Hyun Bin’s affections for the song.” Considering how he’s leaving for the marines today, it’s more than likely that it’s a parting gift from the actor.

Check it out below!

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ha Ji Won & Psy parody Secret Garden’s ‘foam kiss’ for Cass Light

Earlier, we reported that Ha Ji Won would team up with Psy for a new CF in the form of a “Secret Garden” parody. It’s just been revealed that the company they’re endorsing for, OB Beer, will reinterpret not one, but two of the drama’s iconic scenes for their CFs!

Divided into two parts, (with part one featuring the ’sit-up scene’) part two will feature a comedic version of the ‘foam kiss’. Psy will say the infamous lines, “Why are girls like that? They always act like they don’t know they have foam on their lips when in front of guys.”

Psy will also adopt a twist on Hyun Bin’s classic line for the ’sit-up’ CF, as he’s scripted to lean in and asks Ha Ji Won, “Gil Ra-Im-ssi, since when did you drink ‘Cass Light‘?”

Psy took a great liking to the shiny tracksuit and exclaimed, “For my 2011 concert opening, I am going to wear this!“ He even entertained staff members by breaking out into an on-the-spot performance of his songs while wearing the suit.

Song Hyun Suk of OB Beer’s marketing team stated, “Instead of going with a simple parody, we gave a humorous attempt at trying to insert our brand’s characteristics inside the drama’s most memorable scenes.”

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Ha Ji Won & Psy to parody Secret Garden’s ’sit-up scene’ for a new CF

Actress Ha Ji Won and singer Psy will be re-enacting the famous ’sit-up scene’ from SBS’s “Secret Garden” for their new CF together!

The CF won’t try to emulate the drama’s romantic atmosphere; instead, it’ll be a comedic parody that features ‘hidden lovers’ and Psy’s unique manual on ‘foam kisses’.

A behind-the-scenes look at the CF will be revealed through SBS’s “One Night of TV Entertainment” on March 3rd.

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Hyun Bin at Berlinale for High Cut

Now, granted, EVERY magazine and fashion label, car, liquor, home appliance, transmogrifier, [insert Product of the Day here] is going to claim that they’re the last ones to capture Hyun Bin in a photo shoot before he goes to the army. This is just one of many that we’re bound to see before he heads off to the marine base in less than a week’s time. But hey, it’s High Cut, who followed him to Berlinale where he had two films in competition:Love Me, Love Me Not with Im Soo-jung, and Late Autumn with Tang Wei.

I like Binnie best when he’s a little undone and less Kim-Joo-won-esque, so this shoot is right up my alley. Rock it, boyfriend.

credit : girlfriday@DB

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lee Min Ho aims to show off his swimming skills for ‘City Hunter’

Actor Lee Min Ho is presently training his body and mind with swimming lessons.

As SBS’s ‘City Hunter’ prepares to go into filming, Lee Min Ho has been taking swimming lessons every day since the end of last year at a hotel swimming pool in Kangnam. He’s shown a sophisticated and sensual side through his previous works, KBS’ ‘Boys over Flowers’ and MBC’s ‘Personal Preference’, but for his new drama, Lee Min Ho will strive to exhibit more of his masculine side through the character, ‘Lee Yoon Sung’ – a previous MIT professor and current Cheongwadae national communications agent.

An association of Lee Min Ho passed on, “While tackling brilliant action scenes that emphasize his long limbs, Lee Min Ho will also be showing off his swimming skills. He’s exercising regularly every day so that he could show a more natural appearance, rather than professional techniques.

Because his breakthrough role in ‘Boys over Flowers’ was with a character who couldn’t swim, Lee Min Ho is determined to show off his swimming skills through this opportunity.

An associate of the drama raised anticipation by hinting, “We’re also planning a shot of Lee Min Ho’s muscular body in the swimming scenes as well.”

“City Hunter” will air its first episode on May 25th.

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