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Return of Iljimae meets the press

MBC’s Return of Iljimae held its production press conference on January 7, featuring its lead actor, Jung Il-woo, who will attempt to make his hero as much a success as Lee Junki did in SBS’s drama last year.

When asked about the burden of following such a successful take on the character, Jung replied that he’s preparing himself for the response. Although he didn’t watch all of SBS’s drama, he praised his predecessor, saying, “Lee Junki sunbae acted extremely well in it. It was very entertaining‚Ķ However, our Return of Iljimae will be a different drama altogether.”


One big difference: the source material.

PD Hwang In-roi said that hearing that SBS would tackle the same subject and broadcast theirs first “troubled me a bit.” However, his drama is backed by the strength of the original storytelling, which SBS had to do without; lacking adaptation rights to the well-known manhwa series, SBS made do with their own story. MBC, on the other hand, has the license to adapt the original manhwa, which appeared in serialized form in the 1970s, authored by manhwa-ka Go Woo-young. (Following the manhwa’s success, it’s even said to have kicked off the “golden era” of the newspaper serial manhwa.)

Furthermore, PD Hwang is differentiating this drama further from other hero sageuks like Hong Gil Dong — there will be no gangs of thieves or mountain fortresses. Iljimae is a hero for the oppressed and weak, but Hwang “tried very hard to find probability in the story, and spent a lot of attention on properly depicting the details of the mid-Joseon era.”


Lead actor Jung Il-woo

Hwang continued, “We had lots of ups and downs, but as the premiere approaches, I’m full of emotion.”

Hwang has had some success adapting manhwas before; his profile rose with his extremely successful Goong, and was praised for its beautiful look and gorgeous sets. The launching of Yoon Eun-hye‘s and Joo Ji-hoon‘s careers didn’t hurt, either. Perhaps that track record is why he was fine casting a young actor who hadn’t worked on a proper television drama series yet — Jung Il-woo shot to teen stardom after starring in MBC’s family sitcom Unstoppable High Kick.

Speaking of which, Jung was asked about his High Kick days at the press conference, such as his fellow castmates who have also gone on to successful budding careers. Kim Hye-sung followed a queer indie film role with the sageuk series Kingdom of the Wind; meanwhile, Kim Bum earned praise for his performance in East of Eden and now plays a youthful playboy on the new Boys Before Flowers.

Jung said of Kim Bum, “When on set, he seems like he’s having fun, but he really studies to immerse himself in his character.”

(Jung is looking better after his recent bouts of illness, and his slimmed down features really bring a nice sharpness to the Iljimae character. I am, however, doing my best to ignore that ridiculous poofball he has attached to the back of his head. Who do you think you are, Bae Yong-joon?)


Jung Hye-young with Kim Min-jong; Yoon Jin-seo

At the press conference, actress Jung Hye-young (in the cream dress) also announced the pregnancy of her third child. Devoted husband Sean (and former half of kpop duo Jinusean) was in attendance at the press conference to present his wife with flowers upon the announcement.

Meanwhile, said lead actress Yoon Jin-seo (in black), “It’s very different from shooting a film, and there are many difficult aspects, but I’m hard at work filming. I decided upon this drama through complete faith in director Hwang In-roi.”

The drama is said to be three-quarters complete with its filming, and premieres on January 21.




Via Now News, Yonhap News

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I'm very curious about this drama.
I loved the SBS Iljimae version with Lee Jun Ki, but I know this series has different story and character and this gives me many hopes.

Stupid comment: Jung Il-woo (with a poofball ^^) looks like a perfect Musashi Miyamoto (from Vagabond by Inoue)

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"I am, however, doing my best to ignore that ridiculous poofball he has attached to the back of his head. Who do you think you are, Bae Yong-joon?)"
*ROFLMAO* oh javabeans, i love you <3

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This drama sounds better and better.

Congrats to Jung Hye-young (& Sean for having the third gift from heaven) and initially looking at the poster I thought she's might play Iljimae's girlfriend. :) Looking at the photos in the press con, I find her out-shines Yoon Jin Seo. Is it just me?

The hairstyle comment is just too funny, javabeans, but I am ok with that; doesn't bother me at all.

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About the hair, i think it because he`s still filming the series, but it`s not so bad....

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awww, Jung Hye Young and Sean are adorable. I think their family's going to get bigger and bigger...but they have really cute kids <3

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that "poofball" also made me pause and go... what, bae yong joon? uh, not cute.

congrats to the radiant pregnant lady. i thought Jung Hye-young looked like song hye kyo in her solo pictures here.

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im loving this drama more and more, but is there any group that is subbing it?
i dont want to get disappointed again, with no one subbing a star's lover, i hope someone will sub this.

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Ohhh, it's airing soon! Yay~

Hahaha, that "poofball" comment was spot on!

@7: Someone is bound to sub this. I just hope it's WITHS2 because they do an absolutely amazing job ^^

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awww poofball. well i think it's not bad. i know its a necessary for the hair length needed by iljimae. ^^

congrats hye young and sean!

hmm... i dont know the female lead much..

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Javabeans, what did you say? Il Woo looks like Bae Yong Joon?

Il Woo doesn't look like Bae Yong Joon at all!!! I give Il Woo two thumbs up!!

He is just too cute to see..

Way..way..too cute..

His look fits his age..

About the hair; Come on..I guess there's nothing wrong with it..

I don't have to ignore that 'poofball', coz the poofball makes Il Woo cuter than before!!!

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I seriously hope this will be an entriely different drama than SBSs Iljimae - because that one sucked. I can't believe I watched all of it.

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ohmygosh. this is airing soon and i haven't heard a group who offered to sub this series. T_T please hear us, because this drama will be great for sure.

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okay I don't know a lot about this version of Iljimae... What I want to ask is how come MBC also making there version of Iljimae.? Did they also bought the right of making there version or... I'm confused....LOL

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I believe that MBC was planning on making theirs before SBS annouced that they were making one as well. MBC has the licensing for the original manhwa. MBC also made Iljimae before back in 1993 with I believe Jang Dong Gun as Iljimae.

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that poster looks sooo good
how come his face looks rounder at pres-con? CG in the poster?
anyway, this drama sounds very promising, will surely try to watch this one

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Here's a preview of Return of Iljimae . . .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=989TTZhKWLM

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I don't want to seems pessimistic but I don't think it'll be as good as Iljmae with Lee Junki..

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yeah!~ I think LJK should be in here. Anyway, I cried so many times in JK's iljimae. Its so good. I think people will have high expectation on this one due to JK's success, which is likely to disappoint a lot of people. I like comedy iljimae and a good mixture of thrills and romance. I heard this will focus on romance.

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i dun think this's suitable time 4 a new version of Iljimae. Jun Ki's Iljimae was so good. people might make a comparison between 2 versions

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i agree that the new vision of lljimae will not be as good as lee jun ki's lljimae.

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people said the same thing with meteor garden and japanese hyd didn't they? i mean before actually watching it...

give it a chance. say it sucks AFTER you've watched.

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The tone of the drama is a bit too serious but all actors and actress did their best.
Do they have any forum in dc like http://dcjunki.com

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I think this Return of Iljimae is one of the best Kdrama I have ever seen, and Jung Il Woo is great as Iljimae. I love what MBC has done here. All the actors perform their best in the drama, and the story is very well written. There is not a dull moment in it. Good job. (I certainly want to have the DVD set of this drama.) What a graceful young star Jung Il Woo is, because of him I start watching the drama and enjoy every moment of it. His acting shines thru ROI. Want to see more of him in the future.

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handsome iljimae il woo

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