Many in South Korea will be taking a breather next week for the mid-autumn Chuseok holiday – traditionally a harvest festival – but the K-drama industry knows no rest, and some enticing new series have been announced, many of which will go into production very soon.
Global streaming companies continue to focus on the market for Korean dramas. In addition to new Netflix and Disney+ shows, two series will air worldwide on the Chinese video streaming platform iQiyi as iQiyi Originals.
Two of Korea’s most recognisable faces will share the screen in a tvN drama screening in 2022. Pinocchio star Lee Jong-suk and Im Yoon-ah of K-pop group Girl’s Generation (also known as Yoona) have been cast in the drama series Big Mouse .
Lee will appear as Park Chang-ho, a middling lawyer known in the legal field as "Big Mouth", who is one day framed as a murder suspect when he’s mistaken for the notorious conman "Big Mouse". Im, currently on screens in the Chuseok family drama Miracle: Letters to the President, will play his wife, Go Mi-ho, a nurse who tries to clear his name.
The drama will see Lee re-team with his While You Were Sleeping director Oh Choong-hwan, who is also known for Hotel Del Luna.
Lee Dong-wook, Wi Ha-joon and Han Ji-eun are set to lead tvN drama Bad and Crazy. Live actor Lee will play Soo-yeol, an ambitious cop with questionable ethics. Soo-yeol’s steady upward trajectory in the department is thrown into doubt when the “crazy” K, played by Wi (Squid Game) appears before him.
Han, of My Roommate Is a Gumiho, will feature as Hee-gyeom, a drug squad lieutenant and Soo-yeol’s ex.
Bad and Crazy will be directed by Yoo Sun-dong, who last directed the hit show The Uncanny Counter. The show will be available to international viewers through iQiyi.
Jung Woo, Park Hee-soon, Yoon Jin-seo and Park Ji-yeon have been cast in Model Family, a Korean Netflix Original series. The show follows ordinary man Dong-ha, played by Jung (Reply 1994 ), who is struggling financially when he happens upon a car full of cash.
Park Hee-soon (The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion) plays the second in command of a drug ring with which Dong-ha becomes involved. Yoon Jin-seo (The Royal Gambler ) is on board as Dong-ha’s wife, while Park Ji-yeon (Hospital Playlist 2 ) will play the detective on the case.
The show will be directed by Kim Jin-woo, who recently directed the second season of Love Alarm, also on Netflix.
Following his role in the well-regarded Sell Your Haunted House earlier this year, Jung Yong-hwa, leader of the K-pop boy band CNBlue, is in talks to appear in Out of the Blue, a Disney+ Original drama.
The series will follow Un Tae-bong, played by Jung, a top actor known as the “king of romance” who has it all.
Tae-bong meets a mysterious woman who believes that she is the female lead in a K-drama. As he gets closer to her, his fatal flaw is in danger of being discovered. Two Cops writer Byun Sang-soon is penning the script.
Lee Sung-kyung, whose last leading role was in Dr. Romantic 2 , is pairing up with The Penthouse actor Kim Young-dae in upcoming Studio Dragon-iQiyi co-production Shooting Star.
Set against the backdrop of the Korean entertainment industry, the series will feature Kim as Gong Tae-sung, a top young star with a polite and pristine image who is secretly hot-tempered and ambitious.
Lee stars as Oh Han-byeol, the PR team leader at his management company with whom he slowly falls in love.
Produced by drama powerhouse Studio Dragon, Shooting Star will air on tvN in Korea, while it will be available exclusively on iQiyi in the rest of the world. Production begins this month.
Fresh from his role in the critically acclaimed Netflix Original D.P., Jung Hae-in may be appearing in another high-profile limited series after being offered the leading role in Connect.
The series, which will mark the K-drama directing debut of Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike, tells the story of a man who has some of his organs illegally harvested and then begins to form a connection with the person who receives them.
The six-part drama will air on a streaming platform, though its final home has yet to be revealed.
This article was first published in South China Morning Post.