Oy vey. The reports are conflicting, the response is growing heated, and confusion abounds over the immediate fate of Myung-wol the Spy, which was thrown into chaos over the weekend when its star, Han Ye-seul, didn’t appear for her scheduled shoots.
The trouble began on Saturday the 14th when Han, who was scheduled for an early morning shoot, didn’t appear. Her side seemed as confused as everyone else, and stated that the shoots had gone so far into the night that she only had two hours after being released before her next day’s call time. Then stories emerged that Han and the PD, Hwang In-hyuk, have been at odds since the very start, which has only grown more contentious as filming went on. They’d fought fiercely on set earlier in the week, and Han had repeatedly requested a PD switch. A new PD was brought onboard but PD Hwang remained, which appears to have been a halfhearted non-attempt to appease her.
According to a production rep, Han expressed her problems with the schedule, and when those differences were not resolved, told the director that she wouldn’t make the Saturday shoot. The explanation was her ill health due to the shooting schedule, but apparently the crew still expected her, and the cast was in standby mode until shooting was eventually cancelled.
Han didn’t shoot on the 15th, either, and with the drama up to its neck in live shoots, that left the show with only 40% of its scenes shot for this coming week. KBS and the producers met on Sunday for emergency meetings to try to resolve the conflict, but ultimately the show was too far behind and they decided to go with the time-honored solution to many a last-minute broadcasting emergency: a special episode, whipped up to fill the timeslot.
That’s the plan for Monday; producers are still not sure what to do with Tuesday’s broadcast.
Okay, so those are the facts. To be honest, this story doesn’t add up for me, which is why I hesitate to make any declarations. I recall that Han had made the request before the drama began that the shoots adopt a less killer schedule, along the lines of a five-day workweek. Those rumors faded once the drama got under way, which suggests that she found a way to reconcile herself with the schedule. Or perhaps (and now I speculate) she was assured of a lighter load, only to be worked to the bone anyway.
I do think that Han’s behavior is clearly unprofessional, but because of the way this story has been reported and sensationalized in the past day, I’m not ready to condemn her yet. She would have to know how damaging to her image it would be to refuse to shoot — and she’s already getting lots of heat from netizens — so I wonder how bad it must be for her to risk it anyway. Then again, maybe she didn’t think. Who knows what the real story is?
As we know, the K-drama live-shoot system is hectic, possibly dangerous, and definitely crazy. It’s flawed, but as long as productions believe that the rewards (freedom to adjust on the fly, cater to ratings) outweigh the costs, they’ll keep doing it as long as they can get away with it. But one can’t help but wonder when the broadcasters will get sick enough of the madness to impose some rules from the top down to create some safety nets. In the case of Myung-wol the Spy, it’s one actress refusing to shoot, but in other cases, a delay of just a day or two from accidents and injuries can take a drama off the air (see: Boys Before Flowers, You’ve Fallen For Me). Surely we need more buffer time than that.
If Myung-wol fails to air this week, on the upside (glass half full!), perhaps they won’t need their two-episode extension after all. The story doesn’t need the extension, and it was more out of consideration for follow-up drama Poseidon than for Myung-wol anyway. If Myung-wol resumes broadcasting next week, it can end with Episode 16 and still let Poseidon premiere as scheduled.
There, I turned that frown upside-down. It’s sort of a twisted grimace, but hey, it’s not ALL bad news, right?
(Also: I say this because of the massive derail in the thread below, but let me just remind you to please, please keep things civil. Arguments fine, attacks not fine. Don’t make me come over there.)
- Myung-wol the Spy gets an extension, sort of
- Eric v. Kang-woo, the Twitter wars
- Dramabeans Podcast #7, Part 3
- Myung-wol the Spy: Episode 1
- Han Ye-seul in action as Myung-wol the Spy
- Character stills and posters for Myung-wol the Spy