Tag Archives: Korean drama

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USA’s TV Series ‘Suits’ to Get a Korean Remake

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

USA Network’s hit TV series Suits is getting suited up for a South Korean remake, NBC Universal Formats announced last week.

South Korea’s EnterMedia Pictures Co. Ltd. recently bought the rights to adapt the American legal dramedy series and will be handling the show’s first international adaptation, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The Korean adaptation of Suits will be co-executive produced by Sebastian Dong Hun Lee and David Kim of EnterMedia, the same producers behind the U.S. adaptations of Korean dramas My Love from Another Star and Good Doctor.

Although ABC has indefinitely postponed the release of the U.S. remake of My Love from Another Star, CBS is rumored to air the American version of Good Doctor in late 2015 with an order of 26 episodes and Daniel Dae Kim as an executive director.

Suits, which follows a brilliant college dropout working as an associate for a high-profile attorney, debuted in 2011 and is now on its fifth season.

“This deal further cements our interest in broadening our activity in the vibrant Asian market,” said Yvonne Pilkington, senior vice president of formats and production at NBC Universal International. “Having recently acquired Korean non-scripted formats for international distribution [Hidden Singer and Where Are We Going, Dad?], we are excited to announce Suits Korea as our first scripted format deal in Asia.”

While there’s no guarantee that Suits Korea will be as popular as its American counterpart, it has potential as the original series is sprinkled with intense office politics, complicated romantic entanglements and plenty of comical moments—all the right ingredients for a juicy K-drama. Besides, just think of all the dashing Korean male actors dressed in swanky, tailored suits.

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Featured image via USA Network

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Claudia Kim

Q&A with Claudia Kim of ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’

by GRACE KANG

She may not be decked out in a star-spangled suit or robotic armor, but Claudia Kim in Avengers: Age of Ultron enjoys the superhero treatment as the brilliant geneticist Helen Cho.

The South Korean model-turned-actress had been lauded for performances in Korean primetime, such as the 2011 medical drama Brain, but she caused quite a stir last year when she first appeared in a trailer for the Avengers sequel and was dubbed by fans as the “mystery woman at the party.” Since then, the red carpet has been rolling out before Claudia with new Hollywood projects on the horizon of her promising career.

KoreAm recently interviewed Claudia Kim as she revealed her thoughts on the blossoming relationship between Asian and American cinema and her high-profile Hollywood debut.

The following interview has been translated from Korean to English and edited for length and clarity.

Avengers2553edfe338fc2Claudia Kim as Dr. Helen Cho in Avengers: Age of Ultron (Photo courtesy of Disney)

How was the transition from starring in Korean dramas to a major Hollywood blockbuster?

Claudia Kim: I began auditioning for roles in Hollywood films because I’ve always wanted to be in a film, so I’m extremely happy to be in Avengers. The film itself is a huge project, so I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous to work with so many great actors. The biggest challenge for me lied with myself. There was pressure to both represent Korea and adjust to the culture of the American film industry. I was also working simultaneously on Avengers and Marco Polo. What helped a lot was the support I had in Korea as well as from director Joss Whedon. I enjoyed the atmosphere at the shoot, and I thought I had great chemistry with the actors.

We heard there was fierce competition for the role of Helen Cho, and that Joss Whedon had handpicked you for the part. Can you tell us about the audition process?

The audition process was under heavy security. I first auditioned at Disney Korea, and the tape was sent to the casting director in the U.S. Later on, I met with the casting director as well as Joss Whedon and the producer there. I’ll never forget the final audition. I felt no pressure and just enjoyed being able to express myself in front of Joss Whedon, who was really supportive of me.

Did you get the opportunity to show the Age of Ultron cast and crew parts of your home country outside of the scenes filmed in South Korea?

I didn’t have a chance to meet them in Korea, but I was able to meet them at a promotion event where we hung out over some great Korean food. It was a shame that I couldn’t show them more of Korea due to the tight schedule, but I was happy to see them experience how much they were loved and supported in my country.

Casting-08.03.14.Claudia Kim poses beside Marvel merchandise. (Photo via Claudia Kim/Twitter)

You’ve mentioned on Twitter that you’re a fan of Marvel Comics. What is your favorite title? And if you could star as a different character in another Marvel film, what would be your dream role?

I loved X-Men as a child. I was a huge Wolverine fan and loved all the strong female characters like Storm. If the opportunity ever came, I would love to play Storm.

You’re starring in the upcoming season of the Netflix series Marco Polo as Khutulun, as well as another role in Equals, a sci-fi romance starring Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult. How did you prepare for those roles?

During Marco Polo Season 1, I discussed my character with the directors and read a lot of books that were related to Khutulun and Marco Polo. Khutulun was a character that required me to fight male warriors, so I went through intense physical training. I’ve always wanted to be in a historical drama so I was happy to achieve that goal.

With Equals, my interest developed as soon as I read the script. Even though it’s a brief role I was able to work with Director Drake. I always picture myself constantly growing with the opportunities that are coming to me.

Asian American actors have been breaking into Hollywood in recent years, but there’s also an increase in international co-productions, such as Snowpiercer and Stoker, in which South Korean directors and actors have worked with Hollywood studios. What are some of your thoughts on this exchange?

It’s only natural. Asia has been producing a lot of high quality films and actors, and I was able to see firsthand how receptive Hollywood has become to Asian American actors. I also feel like the gap between Hollywood and the Asian film industry has closed quite a bit because Hollywood has been trying to recruit quality content and actors from Asia as well, and those things naturally led to a crossover. I believe the reason I’ve had the opportunity to act in Avengers is because of my predecessors, including actors and directors, who have previously worked in Hollywood. I hope more Asian actors and directors continue to work in Hollywood and connect with the rest of the world.

-Translation by Steve Han

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Q&A with Avengers: Age of Ultron concept artist Andy Park

Avengers: Age of Ultron’ stars assemble for press conference

– “Mark Ruffalo says he wants to move to South Korea after meeting avid Korean fans

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Featured image by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

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NineMyLoveFromTheStars

U.S. Remakes of ‘My Love From Another Star’ and ‘Nine’ Likely to Be Shelved

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

ABC and NBC recently announced their television show lineup for the 2015-16 season, and the U.S. remakes of Korean dramas My Love From Another Star and Nine were not included.

Sony Pictures Television has been developing the remake of My Love From Another Star for ABC since last February, with The Vampire Diaries writers Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft attached to the project. The original drama’s creator Park Ji-eun was also recruited to be the executive producer of the anticipated remake. However, with ABC’s recent announcement, the My Love From Another Star remake seems to have come to a halt. HB Entertainment, the production company behind the original Korean series, said there has been no updated schedule for the remake’s release, according to DramaFever.

Meanwhile, time-travel thriller Nine has been in development since October 2013, when it was first picked up by Fake Empire Productions, the company that produced hit American TV series Gossip Girl and Chuck. Kim Yun-jin of Lost was also attached to the project to help introduce the K-drama to American audiences. Unfotunately, ABC canceled its pilot order for Nine before the pilot episode could be filmed.

CJ E&M, the Korean production company behind Nine, said in a statement, “America’s system of producing dramas is not fast. Currently, there are around 300-500 shows being planned annually. Of those shows only five percent end up getting aired. Securing a pilot for Nine failed. We are not sure what will happen. We still only have a script.”

There are other Korean dramas that are in the works for an American remake. FOX bought the rights for Answer Me 1997 back in July while CBS picked up Good Doctor, which is being executive produced by Daniel Dae Kim. God’s Gift – 14 Days most recently finalized a deal with Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to produce the American remake.

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Featured image via Soompi

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K-drama ‘God’s Gift – 14 Days’ to Get a Hollywood Remake

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

The Hollywood trend of adapting Korean dramas into American TV shows continues, with SBS’s God’s Gift – 14 Days becoming the latest K-drama to join the remake bandwagon.

God’s Gift – 14 Days is a time-travel thriller that stars Lee Bo-young as a mother who loses her daughter to kidnapping and murder. When she suddenly gains the ability to travel 14 days back in time, she struggles to prevent the tragedy from taking place.

According to DramaFever, Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency (CAA) recently finalized a deal with SBS to remake the drama. The original drama’s screenwriter Choi Ran, who also penned the popular period-action drama Iljimae, will serve as the executive producer for the American remake. However, it’s uncertain whether or not the remake will have a limited number of episodes as the original Korean drama did.

God’s Gift is one of several K-dramas to have an adaptation in the works for a major American television network. Last year, My Love from Another Star was picked up in by ABC while coming-of-age drama Answer Me 1997 was picked up by FOX. CBS also bought the remake rights to Good Doctor, which is being executive produced by Daniel Dae Kim.

While Hallyu fans may be skeptical about the outcome of a Hollywood remake, CAA has a great television track record, as it represents A-list actors, writers and directors for big-name shows, including 30 Rock, House, Lost and CSI. With its vast resources, CAA might just do the original series justice.

You can watch the trailer for the original Korean drama below:

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Feaured image via God’s Gift – 14 Days’ Facebook page

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Lesbian Kiss on Korean Drama Causes Stir in South Korea

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

JTBC’s drama Seonam Girls High School Investigators caused a stir when it aired a kiss scene between two lesbian students on Feb. 25, report Agence France-Presse.

In the scene, two female high school students share a passionate kiss in the library before they end their relationship, afraid that they will be judged for their sexual orientation. It was reportedly the first kiss between two female characters to be broadcasted on South Korean television.

The Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC) said on Friday that it had received complaints about the scene from conservative viewers and were investigating the matter.

“We will decide whether this is an issue after we look into it, and whether there is any violation of broadcast policy,” the commission said in a statement.

Although homosexuality is not illegal in South Korea, it still remains a highly controversial subject due to the country’s deep roots in Confucian and Protestant ethics. As a result, there are only a few openly gay public figures Korea, such as actor Hong Seok-chan, who was immediately fired from his prime-time network shows after publicly coming out in 2000.

However, the landscape of South Korea’s television industry is slowly changing as its dramas and variety shows continue to gain popularity worldwide. According to AFP, a few drama productions have already begun tackling culturally sensitive issues, such as teen pregnancy and homosexuality. Earlier this month, MBC’s Kill Me, Heal Me included a kiss scene between Ji Sung and Park Seo-joon, though, the kiss was mostly for comedic effect.

An unidentified representative of Seonam Girls High School Investigators explained that homosexuality was the first topic the producer Yeo Woon-hyuk wanted to broach. He said, “[Yeo] of course worried about the reaction to the scene, but ultimately decided that it was a topic that needed to be discussed.”

The representative also added that the production team included the kiss scene because they wanted to address the unfair treatment gay students face in their classrooms.

“We do not believe it is our prerogative to judge whether these students are right or wrong. We therefore went ahead with the scene in the hopes that diversity can be accepted and embraced,” the representative said.

The scene has triggered a mixed response from Korean netizens. While there were some conservative viewers who expressed their distaste for the kiss scene, many commenters supported it, arguing that there have been more controversial scenes in the history of Korean television.

“I like how the KCSC will let cancer, affairs, pre-marital pregnancies, and divorce dramas all pass but gay love makes them shake in their boots,” one commenter wrote, according to Gay Star News.

Another commenter wrote, “It’s not even a bed scene, it’s just a kiss scene. Are they saying that it’s more erotic because it’s done by two females? The public, major broadcast station was even airing a bed scene between high school students and them having a baby, why doesn’t the Commission review that instead?”

Others pointed out that if two men could kiss on dramas without repercussion, then women should be able to do so as well.

“If male actors had done a kiss scene, would the Commission be looking into this? Why is it that men can kiss each other but when women kiss one another it becomes an issue?” one netizen wrote.

The Seonam Girls High School Investigators controversy comes after South Korea’s Constitutional Court abolished an adultery ban, which had been criminalizing extramarital affairs for 62 years.

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Featured image via AFP/JTBC

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Winners of the 3rd Annual DramaFever Awards

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

The Third Annual DramaFever Awards took place at the Hudson Theater in New York City on Feb. 6. It was a star-studded night with actors, musicians and entertainers from Asia and the U.S., including Kim Jong-kook, 5urprise, Yuki Furukawa, Seo Kang-joon, Arden Cho and George Hu.

The winners of all 13 categories were voted by fans on DramFever’s website, with more than 1.5 million votes casted. Here are the winners of this year’s DramaFever Awards.


Best Actor: Jo In-sung of It’s Okay, That’s Love

Best Actress: Song Ji-hyo of Emergency Couple

Best Korean Drama: Emergency Couple

Best Japanese Drama: Mischievous Kiss 2: Love in Tokyo

Best Chinese-language Drama: Fall in Love with Me

Best Movie: Secretly Greatly

Best Variety Show: Running Man

Rising Star: Lee Jong-shin of Temptation

Best Couple: Furukawa Yuki and Miki Honoka in Mischievous Kiss 2: Love in Tokyo

Best Kiss: Gong Hyo-jin and Jo In-sung in It’s Okay, That’s Love

Best Bromance: Joo Sang-wook and Seo Kang-joon in Sly and Single Again

Toyota Camry Boldest Moment: Emergency Couple

Fan Favorite: It’s Okay, That’s Love

Founded in 2009, DramaFever is a video streaming website that provides subtitled Asian dramas, films, television shows and documentaries. In 2013, the company reported that over 80 percent of its estimated 3.5 million unique visitors are non-Asian. The website is currently aiming to include Spanish and Latin American programming.

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Featured photo via DramaFever.

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Dara of 2NE1 and Kim Young-kwang to Star in Web Drama

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

Kim Young-kwang and 2NE1’s Sandara Park will be starring in the upcoming Chinese-Korean web drama Dr. Mo Clinic, according to Star News.

Dr. Mo Clinic follows the story of a psychiatrist and hypnotherapist named Mo Ian, who specializes in helping his patients heal from painful memories of love. Throughout the web drama, Dr. Mo treats a woman named Lee So-dam, who seeks his counsel to help cope with her devastating breakup. In the process of treating her, the therapist finds himself healing from his own traumatic experiences.

Kim Young-kwang will play the titular role of Dr. Mo while Dara will portray the eccentric Lee So-dam. This is the first drama Dara has been cast as the female lead, according to YG Entertainment.

“I’m taking this as my first challenge in acting, so I want to steadily learn and grow as an actress, taking things one step at a time,” Dara said through an agency representative. “I think web dramas are a new genre with great merit because we can share our work online and meet fans overseas.”

She added, “I was intrigued by the character because she seemed so similar to me. Although I feel nervous and pressured, I want to work hard, focus and do my best.”

Dr. Mo Clinic is also generating buzz for being directed by Kwon Hyuk-chan, the director of the wildly popular series Secret Garden, A Gentleman’s Dignity, and The Master’s Sun.

Filming will commence in February. As a Chinese-Korean joint project, the web drama will be air simultaneously on Korea’s Naver TVCast and on China’s drama website Youku in March.

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Image courtesy of KDramaStars.com

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LINK ATTACK: Steven Yeun, Marvel’s Silk, the Kim Sisters

Steven Yeun of The Walking Dead Thinks You’re Watching the Show Wrong
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Steven Yeun says the body count of characters is not the point of the post-apocalyptic show The Walking Dead.

steven yeun(Photo credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC)

An Island Marred by a Ferry Disaster and Sustained by Dogs
“Before a deadly ferry sinking in April, the South Korean island of Jindo was known largely for one thing: its dogs, famous for their loyalty and homing instinct.”

Mr. Sulu Wants to be Batman: The Rise of the Asian American Superhero
Paula Lee discusses possibilities of mainstream Asian American actors being casted as superheroes in blockbuster films.

K-pop Pioneers: Rare Photos of The Kim Sisters
Fifty years ago, before K-pop became a global sensation, three young Korean women formed an ensemble that shook America’s music scene.

kim sisters(Photo credit: Robert W. Kelley via The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

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22 Asian Actors Who Deserve to be the Romantic Lead

Buzzfeed compiled a list of Asian American actors who have the acting chops and charm to be a romantic leading man in film/TV.

Korean Drama Tackles Taboo Subject of Mental Illness
South Korea has one of the world’s highest suicide rates and very few Koreans talk openly about mental heath. However, a recent TV drama titled “It’s Ok, That’s Love” may open a dialogue on the taboo subject. Taking place in a mental health ward of a hospital, the drama follows the story of a psychiatrist who bonds with a successful novelist with schizophrenia and OCD.


Tong Yang Chief Gets 12-year Jail Term for Fraudulent Debt Sale

Hyun Jae-hyun, Tong Yang Group’s chairman, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for fraudulently selling debt products and inflicting huge losses on thousands of investors.

Michelle Wie Says Long Injury Layoff Was a Blessing in Disguise
Despite missing most of the LGPA season, Michelle Wie states that her time off has helped her regain focus for her upcoming tournaments.

DramaFever Bought by Japan’s SoftBank Corp.
DramaFever, an online distributor of Korean dramas and other international shows, was recently bought by SoftBank, a Japanese telecommunications and Internet corporation, for an undisclosed amount.

Lisa Ling: What I Learned as an Average Student
In the latest episode of Lisa Ling’s series This is Life, she explores the results of Robert Graham’s controversial project from the 80s, in which he tried to improve the intellectual capacity of the human gene pool by creating a sperm bank that recruited from some of the most intelligent men in the world. After meeting a couple of the offsprings from Graham’s experiment, Ling reflects on her own childhood as an average student.

president and pope(Photo credit: Yonhap)

Park Meets Pope, Wraps Up Visit to Italy
South Korean president Park Geun-hye met Pope Francis in Vatican City on Friday, reciprocating his memorable visit to South Korea (he arrived in a Kia Soul) in August.

U.S. Army Generals and South Korean Army Representatives Lay Wreath at Memorial
“U.S. Army generals and representatives of the Republic of Korea and its Army, laid wreaths at the Korean War Memorial here, today, to commemorate those who fought in the three-year-long conflict in that country.”

Marvel Reveals Asian American Female Superhero Silk
At New York Comic Con, Marvel introduced a female Asian American superhero with spider powers named Silk, aka Cindy Moon.

silk03(Photo credit: Marvel)