Is Bad Guy in danger of an early cut-off?
Poor Bad Guy. That’s becoming a recurring refrain, but what can you do? The drama is currently working extreme overtime, pulling multiple all-nighters as it films, because its star Kim Nam-gil has been called to report for military service on July 15.
The drama had been a few weeks ahead of airing schedule and is filming all of Kim Nam-gil’s scenes up front in preparation for the worst-case scenario (i.e, Kim leaving production early). But even so, there is some speculation that the drama may have to cut its run short, down from the planned 20 episodes.
With the enlistment date so close, it’s doubtful that he’ll get the requested extension (and it’s been noted that he already requested and received an extension earlier this year). As of the 9th, Kim’s management stated that they were still awaiting reply. (Ironically — or not? — the initial extension came because Kim was about to begin filming for Bad Guy, which had been given a tentative spring air date. SBS then knocked it around the schedule, left it off, moved I Am Legend in its place, and then finally granted it its slot after Kim Sun-ah backed out of that drama.)
One source from the Bad Guy production team said, “With Kim Nam-gil heading to army duty on the 15th, we are hurrying to fit everything into his schedule. Kim’s scenes are being shot first, and as a result the other actors are standing by on set in case of emergency. The writers aren’t sleeping in order to put out the scripts, and on set the two shooting teams, A and B, are both filming without rest. We’re using all of our efforts to do as much as we can, but at this rate we may have to cut down the number of episodes.”
Currently 9 episodes have aired. As of July 9 (when the two source articles were published), they were filming episode 13. The script for 14 had come out. Even if they manage to film one episode’s worth of material as fast as possible (i.e. taking one to two days for each), it would take them a week to film the remaining seven episodes. And they don’t have a week.
Another possibility is to write the script in a different direction, and turn the focus of the story away from Kim Nam-gil to the other characters. A bit difficult when he plays the “bad guy” of the drama’s own title, but they’re running out of options. Also, this messes with the story that had been planned — and in a revenge thriller, that planning is pretty key — and could very well ruin the production quality of the drama, which is one of the shining assets thus far. The script is already the weak point in a brilliantly shot and produced show, so weakening it further with last-minute twists could derail it.
As a result, the producers have held some talks about reducing the episode count to 16 or 17.
On the other hand, they have also stated, “We won’t give up through the end.” Kim’s management stated that they have received no word of a reduction, and Kim is only focusing on his filming.
SIGHHHH. Girlfriday notes that this doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and may get the producers to speed up development. I’m not against a cut run in theory, but I do worry that the producers will work themselves into the ground, and THEN realize that they can’t manage and then scramble to make sense of things after Kim has already left.
With so many setbacks befalling this drama, I suppose it might make someone think, “There’s no point in watching this now. Next!” What kills me, though, is that it’s actually good. Not perfect, not brilliant, but solidly good and compelling and intriguing. Garghhhhhhh, curses.
(Also: If you discuss the spoiler I gave out in the previous post about this topic, could you please add a SPOILER NOTICE in your comments? I kept the spoiler purposely hidden so those who wished to avoid it could do so; I’m sure other readers would appreciate the warning.)