Rating:
Average user rating 4.5
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Jung Il-woo is happiest with script in hand

With all the other buzz dramas making a splash these days — Boys Before Flowers with its pretty youngsters, Cain & Abel for its anticipated comebacks, East of Eden at its dramatic finish — Return of Iljimae is steadily continuing along.

Quiet and unsensational, Return of Iljimae isn’t making huge headlines, but its quality remains constant and the drama’s gorgeous, delicate sensibility really set it apart from the pack. (So I’m spreading the love a little with these behind-the-scenes shots.)

As we well know, lead star Jung Il-woo has been committing himself fully to the role, and has earned recognition from the drama’s staff for his dedication to the role. In fact, he’s so immersed in the character (and, from watching the drama, I can tell you it’s paying off), Jung finds himself practically inseparable from the script: from the moment he receives it, he’s busy reading, studying, marking notes.


A staff member says, “Normally when the director yells ‘Cut,’ actors put on their overcoats or reach for a mirror, but Jung Il-woo always asks for his script.” Apparently, among all the staff’s scripts, his is always the most tattered.

Jung explains that even when he’s not on set, he feels uneasy whenever he is without his script in hand and carries it around with him, not just for memorization purposes but because he’s constantly trying to figure out how to act a certain scene: “It isn’t for one particular reason, but reading the script allows me to focus on the work, and eases my mind.”

Currently in its seventh week (Episode 14 airs this Thursday), the drama has won praise for its high production quality and storytelling, despite trailing the popular I Hate You, But Let’s Try Again and the newly premiered Cain & Abel.

We’re only in early March so perhaps it won’t mean much to say it’s my favorite drama of this year, but maybe it’ll make more of an impact to say that I feel confident that Return of Iljimae will make my end-of-the-year “Best” list. How I end up scoring the drama in my personal rankings is still up in the air, but suffice to say that it’s the first drama in a long time that warrants no complaints. (Yet. Knock on wood.)



Via My Daily, Asia Economy

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Thanks for the post, Dramabeans! With all the behind the scenes stuff about Boys Over Flowers (though I'm totally enjoying that, too) I'm really happy you put up one about the Return of Iljimae. Jung Il-woo, with his pretty boy looks and great acting to back it up, is really doing an awesome job with his character. Even though the drama is beautifully shot, directed, written, etc, he just makes this drama for me. *fangirly squeal* :D Hope this drama continues with great episodes all the way to the end!

Btw, this is kinda unrelated, but the header right now is the one with Gu Hye Sung and Lee Min Ho leaning against the car... THE AWESOMEST BANNER EVER! ^-^

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great great drama. oh thank god after all the unsteady drama in BBF, I can rely on this for calmness, scenes that make sense, and all in all beauty.

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I started watching this series because of your beautifully written recaps.
I was hesitant to watch it because I thought that it was a continuation of Iljimae but I read from previous recaps that its a completely different story.
I dont mean to be sappy but there is a lot of heart into this drama and the scenes are well thought of..
I have been enjoying it very much so far..

Thank you for spreading the love..! You got me! lolz

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I agree that this series have so much quality and I'm so thankful and appreciative of your time to do recaps!

In your last recap you stated how you felt something was missing, I think the episode before the previous was focusing on the political stuff and not so much the friend-ship bonding moments that were found in early episodes. Thats why in the last episode where it focused on the close relationship between Iljimae and adoptive/type father, it brought back those feelings we found in earlier episodes.
I think those moments is what makes Iljimae the most enjoyable when we watch it because the director really (I mean REALLLLLLLY) knows how to make those scenes outstanding.

I mean, the last time I cried 5 gallons of tears was in Stairway to Heaven -_-
In Iljimae, for once I'm not crying because I'm sad, but because the moments are just so beautifully delivered that it really reaches your heart.

... I hope I'm not the only one feeling that way XD

I actually think this is the best drama of the year. The quality of the drama is so high, that I'm worried it might end up like Star's lover... you know, a favorite in the beginning but draggy at the very end.

I hope I didnt jinx it... >.>

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that picture of him with his hand puppets/gloves/mittens is cute. though it seems turning pages would be cumbersome

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Hi Javabeans! I have been a silent reader for a long time, I just wanted to thank you for the daily updates with news, recaps, etc. I have been meaning to watch this, but I keep on stopping it due to streaming it via Viikii. Streaming sites just bug the crap out of me (since the quality is crap and the 7 parts click is just tiring after a while) Hopefully if this drama is as good as you say, someone would actually pick up this drama and sub it for those of us who aren't as fortunate to watch them without the eng subs. If anyone happen to find soft sub for this, please share! thanks so much!! Hopefully Withs2 will sub this, even as a side project, i'll wait for that miracle. ;)

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I'm with you on this drama... it is so beautiful and lovely, music, acting, directing etc.. The 2 leads are very good too. One of my all time favourites so far. Tks for all the reviews, much appreciate :)

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Thank you, Sarah, for spreading the Return of Iljimae love. You know I heart you. :P

Wait till you get to Ep.14. Beautiful in every way!!!

@4 Bisquit: "… I hope I’m not the only one feeling that way "
You are definitely not alone! :)

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Oops, I meant Ep.13. ;)

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They've just started airing Return of Iljimae here on MBC D/America tonight. Visually, it's just . . . wow. The choice of both soft and deep colors is so good, it's almost like Christopher Doyle was controlling the lens. Painter in the Wind was pretty, but visually this is just another level.

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Oh I personally find this drama very different and refreshing from those that I've watched! And I like its pace, peacefulness, funny moments and I've even grown fond of that storytelling voice XD

That ninja photo of him with those cute animal gloves is just so adorable!!

P.S. I don't usually leave comments but I'm a faithful reader of your website. :) Thank you for all the hardwork you've put in running it! I enjoy every of your posts!

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It s sad that New Moon doesn t have the right attention. Like you, I am really tired by the drama Boys over flowers and Iljimae is refreshing to watch. It s quiet and reall peacefull to watch not like the overnoisy behind the scene of east of eden or BOF. Maybe it is better like that then they could continue to produce a good quality in the filming and not be chained with the complains of viewers or changing script at the last moment making no sense to the drama..no pressure is a receipt to a good story quality and a best flowing storyline..^_^v

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reminds me of kim myung min. he also can't leave his script.

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oh what a lovely man!

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it is indeed a very good drama**love it ^_^

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I want to watch this drama so much, but there are no subs :( :( :( .

Somebody mentioned MBC American, is it a channel airing in America? How do I watch it? Thanks.

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Jung Il-woo's hard work and dedication is definitely paying off. He is doing a great job and this is a good drama which offers a different perspective whenever you need a break from BBF.

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i've been reading your recaps on this drama (even though i haven't had the chance to watch it yet), so it's nice to see some love for it amid the overdose of boys over flowers. it's also nice to see how professional and dedicated jung il woo is, not something every actor can claim to be. maybe we'll see more pretty return of iljimae banners on this site? XD

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I know I'm already biased because I really like guys with long hair but Jung Il Woo really takes the cake for his hair. I just love his hair in this drama!

P.S. Love the behind-the-scenes hanbok :)

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Yay! These are great pics! Thanks so much for this post and for recapping! People, you need to be watching ROI! :lol:

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This Drama Series is horribly boring

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I really want to watch this series, because I love dramas with presence, good acting and beautiful scenarios. Too bad no fansub group has taken the project for the english subs. I suppose Im going to watched without the subs, reading your recaps.
Thanks for recommend this series.

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Arww, he's hardworking AND gorgeous! *faints*

But seriously, all the script hugging and note taking is paying off as I think his acting has been great throughout Iljimae. I get the sense that Jung Il Woo is really connected with the character, which is why I like him better as Iljimae rather than Lee Jun Ki (I felt as if it was the story that was carrying him along, not the acting to be honest).

And giddygirl108, SAME! LOVE his hair. It's just so perfect..
Thanks Dramabeans!

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Ill Woo fan please come and support him in new drama here,,
http://www.viikii.net/channels/goto/LadyCastle?angel=mint0017

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I don't usually read these sites, but since I came across the article I thought I would do all of you a HUGE favor that want to know where to watch this series with sub-titles and HD clarity. The website you want is DramaFever.com with all of your K-Drama needs! The site is free and you can watch any drama you choose to. The only downside to it is that you have to endure there eqiuvilance to commercial breaks!! But it's all good.

As a side comment, being that I'm also an actress, I want to say that in our line of work an actor that's more absorbed and dedicated to the character script always delivers a commanding performance. Shoot hours are long, hard, and grueling, call times and set shoots reqiure absolute concentration with a bare minimum in the mistakes department(Directors and DOP's usually only allow this if your a greenie, the more experienced the actor the higher the expectations). Acting is not just fun and games as it appears to outsiders it is fulltime-all the time, with a little dash of fun. Cause why be an actor if you don't enjoy what you do, right?

So I give Il-Woo and Moon props for their deliveries as well as the supporting actors. A lot goes into making a series or movie and there are too many out there who don't fully understand nor appreciate the scope involved to create and bring to life a story to screen. So any one who reads this I hope I've brought to light a better understanding of what it takes to be an actor/actress, among many other things, and try not to slam a series because you didn't like it. That only means that you didn't understand what you were watching and have to encounter such experiences and allow others to be happy with the end result.-Jenna

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My first time reading this (I know, am sooo late!). Totally lapping up the BTS shots. Thank you, Sarah!

I love ROI so much I don't want it to end (currently at ep 18).

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i hope that show will be show here in Philippines, and jung il woo is the main character, i know that will be so great ! i hope that show will be aired here in Phillipines, more power jung il woo !

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