By Han Sang-hee
Dramas have always been the center of attention among Koreans with their cheerful characters played by young, hip and stylish celebrities. This year, the fever will go on, but this time it will be led by none other than "ajumma".
"Ajumma" is a Korean term that refers to middle-aged women who are married and usually represented as strong, fearless and dependable.
Two television networks have already aired dramas depicting the lives of these women: MBC's "Park Jung-geum, Heavenly Beauty
", and SBS's "First Wives' Club
Now, Korean fans will welcome another drama full of romance, humor and humanity, all conjoined into the life of a normal, but courageous "ajumma".
and Jung Joon-ho
, from "Marrying the Mafia" (2002), have teamed up with director Lee Tae-gon
for the new drama, "Last Scandal"
(working title) a Cinderella story of a 39-year-old "ajumma".
At the press conference, Korea's famed actress Choi Jin-sil
, from "My Rosy Life
" (2005), explained why she chose to portray this particular character.
"As an actress, it may be natural to want a role that is glamorous and pretty, but I'm more comfortable with acting as an ordinary person. Reality is an important factor in dramas, and so I wanted to portray the life of a real person", she said.
Hong Seon-hee, played by Choi, lived with her husband, 13-year-old daughter and her parents-in-laws. One day, her husband disappears and it is up to Hong to take care of the household.
While she struggles to make a living, she meets Song Jae-bin, played by handsome movie star Jeoung. Hong and Song were once high school sweethearts but now lead drastically different lives. Hong is a stubborn "ajumma", while Song has become a popular celebrity. The two coincidently meet, and their feelings for each other start to blossom, as if they were in high school again.
Jeong seemed excited about the drama as it is his first television drama appearance in two years.
"I feel awkward because it has been a long time since I starred in a drama, and especially because Song is an arrogant character", he said.
Lee, the director, defined "Scandal" as a "trendy housewife drama".
"The drama is about `ajumma' who feel helpless or even hopeless when it comes to romance. I wanted to portray the romance of people who believe their good days are over", Lee said.
Distinctive actor Jung Woong-in
from the movie "My Boss, My Hero
" (2002) and model-turned-actress Byun Jung-soo
will also perform as prominent characters. Jeong will play Jeong's brother and the CEO of his agency, while Byeon will play Jeong's former lover.
When asked about what she thought about Korean "ajumma", Choi smiled.
`I am an `ajumma' myself. I think Korean `ajumma' are fearless. They are not afraid of anything, and this is what I will be portraying. Although Song goes through emotional downfalls, she doesn't give up. I think it is courage that defines `ajumma'", Choi said.
The drama will air for the first time at 9:40 p.m., Saturday, March 8 on MBC.