Movie-Based Dramas to Fill TV Screens

By Han Sang-hee
Staff Reporter

Amid the ongoing search for catchy, stylish, attractive ideas for local dramas, many drama-makers have turned to themes that have already been seen to be popular. Movie-based dramas are no longer new, but the race for the best-made remake is expected to get more competitive with "IRIS", "Tazza" (working title), "Friends: The Unfinished Tale" (working title) and "Beat".

The 1999 movie "Shiri" was a steppingstone for Korean cinema, being considered the first blockbuster movie that captivated local movie fans with its distinctive plot and action scenes. Now the hit movie that depicted the lives of secret agents is coming back to television screens as "IRIS". In order to bring movie-like elements onto the smaller screen, the drama will be written and produced by Taewon Entertainment and Kang Je-gyu Film, both famous movie agencies here, and will boast a budget of 20 billion won. Korean heartthrob Lee Byung-hun ("All In", 2003) will appear as the mysterious secret agent, his first drama in five years, along with pop group Big Bang's T.O.P (Choi Seung-hyun) as an assassin. It will be directed by director Kang Je-gyu and produced by Lee Hyeong-min ("Sorry, I Love You", 2004). "IRIS" will be aired next year.

Another movie-based drama, "Tazza" is expected to be released this coming August. The movie "Tazza: The High Rollers" ("Tazza: The High Rollers") was a big hit back in 2006, with the attractive Kim Hye-soo as the seductive Madam Jeong and actor Cho Seung-woo as a gambler. Actor Jang Hyuk ("Windstruck", 2004) and Kim Min-joon ("Surgeon Bong Dal-hee", 2007) will play the ambitious gamblers, while actress Han Ye-seul will appear as the heroine Gwang-sook. This will be Han's first show in two years after her hit drama "Fantastic Couple" (2006). The role of Madam Jeong is still vacant with candidates such as Sung Hyun-ah and Kang Sung-yeon on the list. While the movie depicts the thrilling lives of professional gamblers, the drama "Tazza" will portray the competitive gambling race between two talented and ambitious young gamblers.

The sad yet stylish story of four best friends living in Busan is also coming to television audiences next year. During a press conference of his new movie "Eye for an Eye", director Kwak Gyeong-taek mentioned that he is planning to re-create the popular movie into a 16-series drama "Friend, Our Story". According to Zininsa Film, the drama's production company, the drama will be filmed in Busan and will be entirely pre-produced before actual airing, which is slated for early next year. Actors Hyun Bin ("My Lovely Samsoon" - "My Name is Kim Sam-soon", 2005) and Kim Min-joon will star as the main characters, which were played by Jang Dong-gun and Yoo Oh-sung in the movie version.

Fans of Jung Woo-sung ("A Moment to Remember", 2004) and Ko So-young ("A.P.T", 2006) will be thrilled to find that the movie which opened the door to the two actors' stardom will be made into a drama. "Beat" was one of the first Korean movies to deal with the lives of teenagers back in 1997. With stylish scenes, memorable lines and fresh faces, the movie instantly became a hit and even now is considered to be unsurpassed in Korean teenage movies. Film company Kim Jong-hak Production recently announced plans to remake the film, but with a slight twist. The drama will be based on teenagers living during the 90s, with some modern elements added. The drama is expected to greet fans next year.