Alchemy of Souls renewed for second season; Train to Busan, Hellbound director returns to Netflix – K-drama casting latest

Go Yoon-jung in a still from Alchemy of Souls season one. She will return as a leading character for the show’s second season, one of several Korean drama productions that have recently announced their casts.
PHOTO: Studio Dragon

K-drama Alchemy of Souls is proving so popular that work is already under way on a second season before the first has even finished airing.

Meanwhile, Train to Busan and Hellbound director Yeon Sang-ho is reportedly returning for another project with Netflix, and Bae Doona – one of South Korea’s most well-known actresses – is taking on a new challenge.

We round up the latest casting announcements in the Korean drama industry.

Alchemy of Souls 2

The hit period fantasy drama Alchemy of Souls , scarcely halfway through its 20-episode run, has been renewed for a second season. The follow-up season, which is already in production, will be 10 episodes long.

The main difference will be that Jung So-min’s character, Mu-deok, may no longer be the lead. Instead, Go Yoon-jung, who appeared as Nak-su at the very beginning of the show, will return as a leading character. Co-stars Lee Jae-wook and Hwang Min-hyun have also confirmed their participation in the new season.

Jung’s representatives have yet to say whether she will take part, so it remains to be seen how many female leads season two will feature.

The show’s creators explained that the extra episodes were necessary as they were not able to fit all of the story they had in mind into the first season, and found themselves naturally splitting the story into two distinct blocks.

Family Gravesite

Director and screenwriter Yeon Sang-ho is reportedly returning for another Netflix project – the zombie drama Family Gravesite (translated title).

Kim Hyun-joo has been approached to take a lead role in the series about a village whose residents begin to manifest strange symptoms before turning into rabid zombies.

Yeon began the K-zombie trend back in 2016 with Train to Busan , which spawned the sequel Peninsula, and debuted on Netflix last year with Hellbound.

Kim Hyun-joo in a still from Hellbound.
PHOTO: Climax Studio

His first Netflix film, Jung_E, is out later this year and a sequel, The Gray, is already in the works.

Should Kim sign on, it will be her third project with Yeon. She previously drew plaudits for her starring role in Hellbound and expectations are high for her part in the upcoming Jung_E , a sci-fi action movie. Family Gravesite is eyeing a shoot from October this year until March 2023, indicating a potential release late next year.

The Killer Miss Lee

Kingdom and The Silent Sea star Bae Doona is currently filming the new Zack Snyder Netflix movie Rebel Moon in Hollywood, but she may soon be returning to Korean shores after she was offered the lead role in The Killer Miss Lee (working title).

Bae Doona in a still from Broker.
PHOTO: Zip Cinema

Bae would play the part of Lee Je-chun, a woman whose life takes a dangerous turn after an unexpected incident. This event turns her into a killer of criminals and, in her new life as a vigilante, she must evade the detective trying to stop her.

Bae has lots of experience playing a detective on screen, from her stints on both seasons of television series Stranger to recent art house films Broker and Next Sohee , but this would be the first time she takes on the role of a killer.

Lover

Namgoong Min and Ahn Eun-jin have been approached to star in upcoming period romance drama Lover, which is being prepared for broadcast at some point early next year.

The series will be directed by Kim Sung-yong, who directed Namgoong last year in the hit thriller The Veil . It is being penned by The Rebel screenwriter Hwang Jin-yong.

Lover will follow the story of a man living in the Joseon dynasty (1392–1897) era on the Korean peninsula who swears off love for good after failing to keep two previous marriages together.

His resolve is tested when he meets a young woman who dreams of finding her soulmate and is sought after by many suitors.

Ahn Eun-jin (left) and Kim Dae-myung in a still from Hospital Playlist season 2.
PHOTO: CJ ENM

Before The Veil, Namgoong played the lead in the highly acclaimed sports drama Hot Stove League. Ahn’s credits include both seasons of the smash hit medical drama Hospital Playlist and More than Friends.

Oasis

Actress Seol In-ah, whose popularity exploded after her role in Business Proposal , will reportedly join new show Oasis . The KBS2 series will be set during the turbulent 1980s and ’90s in Korea and follows young people chasing after power and wealth.

Seol will appear as Oh Jung-shin, the daughter of the owner of Namhae Theatre. She spends her school years down south in Yeosu, before returning to Seoul following a bad break-up and becoming a media mogul as she attempts to revive her father’s theatre.

Reportedly in talks to star alongside Seol is Jang Dong-yoon, of The Tale of Nokdu , as Jung-shin’s school chum Doo-hak. Oasis will mark the return of writer Jung Hyung-soo, who last scripted the 2015 show The Jingbirok: A Memoir of Imjin War.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.