Squid Game’s Wi Ha-joon courted for Little Women; Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha’s Shin Min-a to star opposite Lee Byung-hun; big-budget Netflix series eyes Kim Nam-gil – K-drama casting latest
- After Squid Game introduced Korean dramas to a new global audience, several major series are in the pipeline or in production
- Our Blues, a romantic drama set on Jeju Island, promises an A-list cast including Shin Min-a and Lee Byung-hun: Mouse’s Lee Seung-gi is eyeing a new series
In the aftermath of the staggering success of Squid Game, all eyes are on the Korean television production market for more new content, and right on cue, a rash of major new projects has been announced over the past couple of weeks.
From a disaster story to a big-budget period action-romance, and from a prestige drama to a series with one of the most impressive casts ever assembled for the small screen, the horizon remains bright for K-drama fans.
Here are some of the latest casting announcements for upcoming Korean drama series.
Studio Dragon will produce the show, which should go into production later this year before being shown on Korean channel tvN in the first half of 2022.
The upcoming drama Our Blues has assembled an eye-popping cast, which will include Lee Byung-hun, Shin Min-a, Cha Seung-won, Lee Jung-eun, Han Ji-min, Kim Woo-bin and Uhm Jung-hwa.
Set on Jeju Island, the show will follow several different potential romances, including that of a simple island man (Lee Byung-hun) getting to know a new resident (Shin Min-a), a Jeju native (Cha Seung-won) returning to the island after abandoning the city who meets his first love (Lee Jung-eun) and her friend (Uhm Jung-hwa), another native who returned after tiring of city life, and a woman (Han Ji-min) who comes to the island to work as a diver and meets a local ship captain (Kim Woo-bin).
After working together on several prior projects, including It’s Ok, This is Love, writer No Hee-Kyung and director Kim Kyu-Tae will reunite for Our Blues.
Tell Me Your Wish
Inspired by a charity programme that grants wishes to terminally ill patients, the series will star Ji, most recently seen in the thriller Hard Hit, as Yoon Gyeo-rye, a young man who grew up as an orphan and now volunteers at a hospice. His new colleagues include Kang Tae-sik (Sung Dong-il), who leads the volunteers, and nurse Seo Yeon-Joo (Sooyoung). Production on the series is currently under way.
Featuring heroes battling against villains, the series will focus on so-called “supernotes”, high-precision counterfeit money. Taewon Entertainment, the company behind Operation Chromite, will produce the series. However, Lee’s agency did clarify that Supernote is one among several projects the star is considering taking on as his next challenge.
Concrete Market is slated to begin production in November. The 17-year-old Lee has impressed many viewers this year through her roles in the badminton drama Racket Boys and the action-thriller Hard Hit.
Thief: The Sound of the Sword
The Fiery Priest star Kim Nam-gil may be returning in a new epic series – he is currently reviewing an offer to star in Thief: The Sound of the Sword (translated title). An action-romance set in the 1920s, the show is being produced by Netflix and will reportedly cost 30 billion won (US$25.5 million) to make, giving it one of the highest production budgets ever for a Korean series.
Inspired by spaghetti Westerns – much like the earlier Korean film The Good, The Bad, The Weird, with its nods to Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – the series follows a former slave who rises to become an independence fighter in the Japanese colonial period on the Korean peninsula. Lee Yoo-young is also expected to join the big-budget series, which is slated to go into production next year.