Well well, now. Producers have announced the two lead stars of its anticipated IRIS 2: Hallyu star Jung Woo-sung and rising actor Cha Seung-won. The drama which will be produced under the title Athena, which is an international terrorist organization that provides the conflict in the sequel.
Jung plays the good guy, while Cha is the bad. Jung’s character is an agent with the national intelligence agency, named “Lee Jung-yuk”; like Lee Byung-heon’s character, he’s the top spy at the agency. Cha, on the other hand, is “Sohn Hyuk,” the “absolute leader” of Athena who trains his agents as human weapons.
Producers at Taewon Entertainment promise that they’ll be casting sufficiently noteworthy female stars and supporting actors, whom they will unveil in due time. Athena will begin filming in June in either Italy or Switzerland, two of a total of six overseas shoots that include Singapore and New Zealand. It plans for a premiere later this year.
When the rumors floated about Kwon Sang-woo’s interest in this drama, discussion pointed out that in order to live up to its predecessor, the drama would really have to go big in the casting, and it has done that with Jung Woo-sung. This is Jung’s first drama role in fifteen years; his last was 1995′s 1.5 with Shim Eun-ha. (Sidebar: omg, remember 1.5? Unintentional hilarity GALORE! The series was all about the “1.5 generation” of Korean-Americans, who feel caught between their mother country but have grown accustomed to living in the States. Good idea, bad execution.)
Cha Seung-won is another great pick; he’s had a number of film roles but didn’t really break out until City Hall, where he showed both intense charisma and an ability to portray some bad-guy behavior in a compelling way. If the female leads are as strong (at least stronger than Kim Tae-hee, although it’ll be hard to top Kim So-yeon), perhaps Athena will hold its own as a worthy sequel.
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