Drama Casting & News
Interview with the Vampire (Idols)
by | January 23, 2012 | 70 Comments

Things are looking good for Vampire Idol, which is one of the first wave of new cable shows on the newly launched general-programming cable channels (which include JTBC, MBN, and Channel A).

The daily sitcom has had positive buzz from the start; there was enthusiasm mixed with critique about the awkwardness of the weird concept, but now that the show is settling into its groove I think those reactions are fading out. Ratings are doing pretty well, and last Thursday’s rerun episode, for instance, was the Number 1 ranked show among all the general-programming channels. Funny that the rerun did better than the new episode that aired afterward, but perhaps there’s less competition earlier in the evening than with all the prime-time offerings.

They show has been pretty amusing thus far; I’ve been tuning in periodically since we covered Episodes 1-3 and find it an easy, funny watch. The premise is utterly zany (a Hallyu-loving, 200-year-old vampire prince crash-lands on Earth with his bodyguards, and they’re taken in as an idol trainee group), but once you get past the setup, it’s pretty easy to follow.

The show produces an interesting mix of the mundane and the crazy. On one hand, you’ve got regular ol’ relationships between the characters (you have romantic interest flowing from the vampires to the girl group, and vice versa — only in different configurations, making for some amusing mixups). On the other, you’ve got the outlandish hijinks you’d expect of an aliens-in-disguise story.

What I find endearing is the relationships between the vampidols; the more they get used to Earth, the more they loosen up with each other and act goofy and cute, rather than being the uptight and repressed bodyguards of the initial episodes. They still have a tendency toward formality, but it’s adorable to see them squeeing over very normal Earth things, like cell phones and sel-cas.

It doesn’t hurt, of course, that the boys are pretty on the eyes, with the three sidekicks (considered ugly on their planet) being model-beautiful. The prince is played by 30-year-old Lee Jung, but the others are closer in age: There’s Lee Soo-hyuk (23), Hong Jong-hyun (22), and Kim Woo-bin (22). (Kim Woo-bin apparently changed to this stage name from his real name, Kim Hyun-joong, shortly after the show launched, to avoid confusion with that other Kim Hyun-joong.)

Lee Jung

In an interview conducted on the sitcom’s set a few weeks ago, the cast talked about taking on their roles and what the process has been like. Lee Soo-hyuk said, “The topic in itself was cute. Vampires coming to Earth and getting used to life here was a fun idea. It felt like a fresh venture, though I’m still getting used to it, haha. I thought that if done well, it could be a really entertaining topic.”

The vampires start out wearing the goth-leather fashions of their vampire planet (made “one stitch, one stitch at a time” by a hot designer on their planet, ha), and keep those getups for a while before trading them in for human clothing. The model boys are no stranger to sporting some wild ‘n crazy avant-garde fashions on the runway, but when asked if they’re disappointed to leave behind the vampire threads, they replied, “Not at all.” What, you mean wearing full-body leather isn’t comfortable?

It’s particularly funny to see the normally cool Lee Soo-hyuk (who was so imposing in Tree With Deep Roots) in a role that is so — for lack of a better descriptor — cute. Cuddly, almost. Defanged — you know, despite the whole vampire thing. He said, “I wanted to make him cute and decided to take a comfortable approach, so it looks like things are going according to plan.”

Lee Soo-hyuk

Kim Woo-bin (the former Kim Hyun-joong) first got people’s notice in the short drama White Christmas (which also starred his vampy co-stars Lee Soo-hyuk and Hong Jong-hyun), and has gone completely in the opposite direction to play this character, which shows a sillier, lighter side. He said, “I’ve always liked sitcoms, and as an actor I wanted to try it once. There were concerns that it would ruin my image, but I have another side to me too. I’m having fun filming the show.”

Kim’s character is probably the most… normal of the vampires, although that may not be saying much. You’ve got the robo-nerd vamp, the warrior vamp, and then him, in the middle. Meanwhile the prince whom they serve is childish and jokey, and his royal mien provides comic clashes with his appearance and attitude. Here on Earth he’s no longer the ideal of male beauty, and that realization causes him some grief. Especially when his ugly bodyguards with their unseemingly long limbs and pale faces are the ones getting all the attention.

That swap also gives us some hilarious moments when the bodyguards, who’ve always been mocked for being unattractive, are suddenly hot stuff with the ladies. They possess none of that cockiness of Earthbound boys who might look like them, so their shyness and boyish glee can be downright adorable.

Hong Jong-hyun said, “The reaction around me is mixed. There are people who say that the show is fun and fresh, but the other half says it’s awkward. I think it’ll be more entertaining as we all settle into things.”

Hong Jong-hyun

Hong plays the brainy vamp, with an IQ of 790. I love that rather than making him competent and cool, in the way of K-drama heroes who know everything, this translates into socially awkward geek. Asked a simple question, he’ll spout of a litany of facts like a computer, and his pride in his smarts sometimes elicits a look of childlike satisfaction that is too cute.

The nerdiness also means he’s got the toughest dialogue, since he’s responsible for a huge volume of words. He said, “They’re not words you use in normal conversation, so the pronunciation, content, and information is really hard to say. It’s stressful.”

The show also occasionally requires the vamps to hang upside-down like bats (often outside windows, creepily peering inside), which also means dealing with the whole blood-rushing-to-your-head dizziness. How funny that Vampire Idol should mark the first wire action scenes for most of the boys.

Kim Woo-bin

Veteran comedian Shin Dong-yup plays an ajusshi vampire on the show, and it’s through him that the vampidols first come to the agency (he works as a band manager). Hong said, “Just watching Dong-yup hyung makes me laugh. He ad-libs lines differently than from rehearsal, and watching him do it in front of your eyes is like watching a gag program.”

Lee Soo-hyuk added, “Aside from the ad-libbing aspect, sitcoms are different from conventional dramas. It has to do with drawing out a scene well in the moment. I’ve still got a long way to go to developing my sunbaes’ concentration and comic sense.”

Apparently the filming atmosphere is lively and full of laughs, enough so that the guys often find it difficult to hold back their laughs. Asked whether they’re really laughing or whether they’re acting, they answered that their sunbaes often crack them up so much they can’t stop from laughing. Lee Soo-hyuk: “Everyone can see that we’re not good at acting [the laughs].” Hong Jong-hyun: “Woo-bin laughs so obviously that everyone thinks he’s acting.” Kim Woo-bin: “Laugh-acting is hard.”

In fact, they laughed during the interview, “Right before doing this interview we came from shooting about 100 NGs.”

The four vamp boys have, as a result of all their shoots, become friends super-quickly. Lee Jung is a lot older than the others, but they’ve gotten used to ribbing their hyung. They’ll have more time to bond in the future, too, because there’s still a long way to go — 30 episodes have aired out of a planned 120.

That also means they’ll get a lot of chances to experiment with form and genre in future episodes. Hong Jong-hyun said, “I’d like to show a lot of different sides in the show, without being restricted to genre.” Kim Woo-bin added, “I hope that in six months, the entire Vampire Idol family will have climbed one step up [in our careers] together.”

Lee Soo-hyuk said, “The reason we all chose to do Vampire Idol was to bring a comfortable feeling to our images and to give laughs.” Lee Jung, on the other hand, said, “Being in my 30s, I’m right in the middle of the Vampire Idol team, age-wise. From the middle, I want to portray my role well, and I’ll do whatever I can to help my dongsengs through this show.”

Vampire Idol airs daily on MBN.

Via Newsen, Mk.co.kr


70 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Joy

    Lee Soo-hyuk! Remember him from the “Princess Man.”

    • 1.1 Joy

      My bad! Tree With Deep Roots. 🙂

      • 1.1.1 kbap

        Lee Soo-hyuk! (Soo-bin! Pyung!) I love that guy 🙂

  2. Ani

    Lee Jung! Lee Jung! Lee Jung!

    I’m so happy to hear this show is receiving some love considering I haven’t heard anymore about it after the initial recap. So happy for them. X)

  3. kay

    i love their blooper reels. they’re always adorably laughing.

    • 3.1 kay

      ahh, i just remembered the story when lee soo hyuk went out to eat with a couple of friends and the waitress was busy fangirling over jiyong. after she divided up the food, giving most of the meat to jiyong, soo hyuk looked at her with puppy eyes saying, “i really don’t eat vegetables.” bc he’s a vampire. LOL so cute.

      • 3.1.1 kbap

        Excuse me for a pathetic question, but that’s in an episode right? And which one…? o.o (fails at searching)

        • kay

          it’s not a pathetic question 🙂

          this happened about a month ago in real life. he was hanging out with bigbang’s gdragon(jiyong).

          • JoAnne

            ha! that’s hilarious!

        • kay

          ah maybe i didn’t answer clearly. but the waitress actually posted a fan account. so it’s not in the episode.

          • kbap

            Ooooh since I saw “vampire” I was like
            “Must find episode!”
            …and I guess I’m not a good BigBang fan, lol xD I only know GD by GD :/ xD

      • 3.1.2 Noelle

        Aww. Someone feed him!

  4. jubilantia

    Ahh, I haven’t checked up on it in awhile, though I would have if somebody were subbing it right off. Maybe they are now…

    Thanks for the translation!

    • 4.1 JoAnne

      Episode 1 is subbed on Dramacrazy.net, I just watched it last night. I like it!

  5. Noelle

    Aww I can feel the bromance love through the screen. BTW, wasn’t Hong Jong Hyun in Wild Romance as the waiter who got beat badly by Mu Yeol?

    • 5.1 Fate

      Yes, he was!

    • 5.2 asianromance

      Yeah! I was wondering why he looks so familiar and from this post, found out he was also in White Christmas, which I loved!

  6. soomp

    i LOVE this show. it’s a daily dose of feel-good comedy and eye candy. *hearts*

  7. Rae

    Where can I watch this show with English subs? My usual go-to drama site doesn’t have it, but I’m kind of a newb, so I don’t know all the sites…

    • 7.1 alua

      Good question. Just checked on dramacrazy, but they’ve only got the first episode subbed (and raws up to 28).

      Given this is going to end up being 120 eps, I wonder if they will really sub them all…

      • 7.1.1 queencircles

        I’ve been looking also. I’ve only seen the first ep with subs on dramacrazy. Mysoju, dramafever, and viki don’t have any subs for it. It’s a shame, I want to watch this show!

        • Rae

          Ooh, thanks for sharing – at least now I can pretty much end my fruitless search.

          It’s true, 120 eps is a really big deal for a sub team, especially when airing every day. So… I understand it, even though my petulant side is throwing a little tantrum right now. :T

          • kbap

            Hmmm…I’m not sure but another site you can definitely check is epdrama (watch out for pop-ups!) and I’m pretty sure I saw some of the episodes on Youtube…

            OK here we go. It’s a fan channel for Girls Day, and one of their members, Minah, plays girl idols in Vamp Idol. So beware of the other links! Haha. Sadly, they’re all raw 🙁

      • 7.1.2 JoAnne

        I just found out from reading DB that it’s going to 120 episodes…that would be an enormous commitment! I hope I hope I hope, though.

  8. alua

    120 episode… oh my…

    But the premise doesn’t sound bad. Or least not the way you describe it. And I kind of want to see a cute Lee Soo-hyuk… he’s fascinating to look at (and definitely not getting enough screen time in What’s Up).

    • 8.1 JoAnne

      He really is fascinating to look at, isn’t he, Alua? Sometimes he doesn’t really look human, but I don’t mean that in an unattractive way. Just very ‘other’ – and then sometimes, he’s handsome, and others, he’s cute. It’s a very unusual face, to say the least. I wonder how getting older and putting on a bit of weight/muscle in the Army will affect that.

      • 8.1.1 alua

        Oh yes. There is something very captivating about his face – it’s the kind of face I would instantly pick out from a crowd and would want to photograph.

        Not beautiful in a ‘classic’ way, but very distinct.

        • canxi

          Agreed. His face immediately stood out to me the first time I saw him. Maybe it’s because I’m an artist, but I was all like

          “…Let me paint you….”

          • alua

            It’s just that kind of face, isn’t it?

            Very paintable, photographable…

  9. Caitlyn

    I really wanted to watch this but without subs, I feel that i’d miss too much of it. I imagine it would be quite hard to sub a show that airs every day, lol. It’s a pity but I hope that eventually, there will be a team that sub it.

    • 9.1 Shel

      They’ve been subbing High Kick 3 and that’s a 120 ep show, also. Although they are about 20 eps behind. But there are people that will do it. So hopefully, someone will do it eventually.

      • 9.1.1 JoAnne

        That’s what I’m hoping, too, Shel – when I saw that the first episode was done I figured, well ok, holidays are almost all over – Lunar New Year now, but the likelihood of a Chinese person watching a Korean Drama and then subbing it in English…well, we know that these things get WATCHED that way but maybe not SUBBED that way, right! So maybe it will get picked up and we’ll see more episodes quickly. I really do not want to watch raw as I think the visual humor alone wouldnt be enough for me.

  10. 10 Mia

    i love this show! it’s just so hilarious! i do hope to get their names right soon!

  11. 11 Zain

    I really want to watch this. Especially because I just finished white Christmas (which was amazing by the way) and three of the actors from there are in this. They were my favorite characters. I loved angel yunsu which was lee soo hyuk’s character. And Mad Mireu aka Kim won bin. White Christmas had the prettiest and tallest cast ever with almost all the actors being models. It gave the drama a fresh feeling. Happy that they are doing so well and bonding even more.
    I remember when I first saw lee soo hyuk in 2ne1’s mv it hurts and being amazed at his features. He looked so otherworldly. And then I saw him again in what’s up as soo bin though his character is minor though it does seem he is getting more development now. But all the characters he played had a cold feeling to them except maybe white Christmas. So I really want to see a cute soo hyuk.

    • 11.1 danna

      Love Mad Mireu!!!…Kim Woo Bin was such an adorable bad boy

      • 11.1.1 JoAnne

        Is it wierd that I really preferred Mad Mireu with the pink hair and the T.O.P-ish eyebrows to this more standard Idol hair?

        • kbap

          No, I adore his read hair. 🙂

        • Zain

          So I wasn’t the only one who thought he and his eyebrows looked like T.O.P. and I loved his red hair. His character was awesome. He was a troublemaker and a savior. I loved how he wasn’t even supposed to be in the school but plays a major part in the story.

          • JoAnne

            Nope, Zain – at first glance I thought it WAS TOP. Then he spoke and I knew it wasn’t, but after a minute or two it didn’t even matter!

    • 11.2 carpetfibers

      White Christmas was fantastic. Not at all what I was expecting with the cast listing, but they did such a fantastic job. I was really struck by Hong Jong-hyun’s great acting there too– and then I saw him in Jungle Fish 2 and was blown away. He so has a great career ahead of him.

      • 11.2.1 JoAnne

        White Christmas RULED.

    • 11.3 girlatsea

      2ne1’s It Hurts was also where I first noticed him too! And then I’m pretty sure that I saw him in several model shoots after that. He definitely stood to me, I somehow knew that there was absolutely no way he could simply be a model. I thought it was a waste of a face. He’s so ATTRACTIVE.

      p.s. I’ve been wanting to see White Christmas for a while now. Does anyone know where I can stream it in good quality? Should I just download it?

      • 11.3.1 Val

        I don’t know how you can stream it but you can watch it in good quality at dramacrazy.net

  12. 12 Kaekae

    1st ep subbed on youtube as well (maybe same subber).
    also all episodes (except 10) are available unsubbed on youtube – the first 10 or so episodes are kinda easy to follow even without subs because they are so outlandish. later episodes get more talky so for me they are harder to follow.

  13. 13 Jen

    I think the 6th picture it’s not Kim Woo Bin.. Kim Hyeon Jong right?

    • 13.1 Val

      His original name is Kim Hyunjoong but since there is another KHJ (who happens to be much more famous than him), it’s’ very hard to find information about him, etc so he changed his name to Kim Woobin

  14. 14 ilovebinderclips

    this was really cool, to get a sense of what goes on behind the scenes and what motivated the actors to take on this project (esp. lee soo hyuk, whose character is hilarious in What’s Up). Thanks so much!!

  15. 15 Arhazivory

    Thanks for the update~!! Since I laughed my ass off reading the intro recap here on DB, I’ve been wondering how the show was doing. I hope eventually it gets picked up by a sub group if its even as a side project, because even if its 120 eps….I like comedy so much, that I’ll definitely watch it. If I could sit through 158 melo eps of Smile, Donghae….I most definitely can sit through something that makes me laugh.

  16. 16 KDrama Fan

    Thanks JB for highlighting these Van-dols. I enjoyed the recap of episodes 1-3, watched them raw, then let it go as I couldn’t understand. It was great to see the 1st episode subbed-felt like I was reliving the recap:)

    Wonder if JB and GF can come together and write a drama. Something like Color of Woman but with a good script.

  17. 17 JoAnne

    Who else thinks Soo Bin looks like Tae Yi from What’s Up in these pictures?

  18. 18 kbap

    Oh, I know this is random but for anyone Korean who’s been watching Vampire Idol, does anyone know what’s happening in episode 28? I watched it raw and is…very confused. hee!

    • 18.1 kbap

      29, sorry. xD

    • 18.2 KDrama Fan

      tarianantatoer said…
      I found a blog that recap this show..


      • 18.2.1 kbap

        Oh haha thanks. I believe that was a post after mine…? Haha that’s probably the reason for my question. Thanks 😉

  19. 19 Miky

    O i was so happy when i saw this post…I absolutely adore this show…I think at the moment it’s the only show that i follow with such suspans to say so…it’s been a while from the last drama that i waited every day for that one episode to come…
    II’m still sad that i really don’t understand their dialogue because i don’t know korean and nobody translates this show buhuuuuu….even so i still watch every episode till now and it crakc me so much every time Prince Jung says his full name(I’m from Romania and it’s so funny hearing them saying my country’s name and Transilvania,Dracula)
    I love all the vamps,they are so funny with diffrent personalites that makes them so intresting…I actually think that Kim Woo-bin(Gabril) has a bit of a wird as well,his love for food(like popcorn etc…)that he didn’t want to leave Earth with the others because of the food as well jaja..Iariru is as well so damn funny as the geek,his like a robot jaja
    And Mucadil is intretsing with that serious face ,i hope that his character will develop as time passes and his romance as well,i really want him with Min Kyung…
    I also think as cool it could have been No min-woo as the lead actor i still prefer Lee Jung …i this it was the best decison to go with him as the beloved and handome prince jaja
    i could say more but here it’s very late so i’m kinda tired…hope that frm time to time you could recap this show as well…

  20. 20 Eliana

    I totally wanna start watching this show!

  21. 21 tarianantatoer

    I found a blog that recap this show..


    • 21.1 KDrama Fan

      Thanks tarianantatoer!

    • 21.2 alexsi

      Thanks tarianan!

  22. 22 cherkell

    Hong Jong Hyun — the Hottie Prince Yi San from Warrior Baek Dong Soo!! And Lee Soo Hyuk!! Soooo much eye candy!! ::drool::

    Thanks for the awesome post, JB!! I. FREAKIN’. LOVE. THIS. SHOW. My cable started carrying MBN and I try my best to catch the raws (when the show isn’t pre-empted by breaking news or pulled for a week when a despot ruler kicks the bucket…). It’s just so different than what seems to be a bunch of ‘weepies’ on air right now — nice to sit down and park my brain for a change.

    And it’s 120 episodes of a 27-minute show, so it’s manageable in small chunks — give it a try, peeps! 🙂

  23. 23 asianromance

    I need to watch this show since it has Lee Jung, Lee Soo Hyuk, and Hong Jong Hyun!

  24. 24 saranga

    i REALLY love this show. yes, initially it was a little awkward with a lot of the low-budget special effects stuff they had going on, but i liked how the characters were played and most of the actors who played them. i was most interested in lee soo-hyuk at first, having been mesmerized by him in tree with deep roots. but everyone else is getting better.

    it’s a little sitcom that has a lot more heart than i thought it would, and i’ve gotten really invested in the characters. if there’s a weak link, it would be the female idols. they’re definitely not as entertaining as the vampires. the brainy one can be hilariously cute, and woo-bin is so innocent haha. lee soo-hyuk is charismatic as ever, but i’m hoping to see more scenes where he gets to break his image more (“is this… KOKO??!!” hahaha)

    i also LOVE lee jung. i had/have no idea who he is/was outside of the sitcom, but he seems to be the one who is closest with his screen character. he takes all the ridiculousness in stride. i love the relationship he has with the 3 bodyguards… at the rate this show is going, i’m going to be as sad to see it go as i was when the original high kick ended…

  25. 25 Claudia

    Is there any fansub that are subbing this drama? I DL’d some of the episodes before when the drama started, but forgot about it since nobody was subbing it at that time.

  26. 26 grrrr

    oh god, that annoying Minah in this. eeeek
    but, well, at least those adorable vampires are enough to convince me watching this! yay
    They’s so funny 🙂

  27. 27 Ojou_Belle

    Thanks for the update!

    I was really interested in this show but quit it when the subs stopped coming. I wish someone would sub it, though.

  28. 28 Averlyn

    I decided to check this sitcom out after I read the hilarious recaps of eps 1 – 3 here on Dramabeans. (I was partly motivated by the fact that my new drama-crush, Soo Hyuk’s in it =P) I’m really surprised to find out that Soo Hyuk’s such a cutie in real life, unlike the impression he gives at first glance! It’s great that he explained the reason why he (as well as Woo Bin and Jong Hyun) chose the project, because I wouldn’t expect a stuck-up model to consider doing a show that ruins his image.

    And honestly? After having “chased” this show for so long, the person that laughs the most when he shouldn’t is Soo Hyuk, period. I always catch him laughing when he seriously shouldn’t. But y’know, this is a low-budget sitcom (and I’m biased) – they can’t possibly retake all his scenes! And it’s fun catching him laughing like a babo.

    Pardon my fangirling, I couldn’t help it >_< And I love this show! <33

  29. 29 Val

    Thanks SO much for this article! I love learning about different Korean models and these three are definitely my all-time favorites (especially LSH). This trio is just the best one out there~

  30. 30 canxi

    Aww, I really wanna watch this show. Hope it gets subs one day.

  31. 31 Viki

    I was waiting for the show to be subbed…but it’s very hard to find a sitcom completely subbed in time though…that’s why I am so behind with High Kick 3 (still in the 30s…actually stopped watching)…

    Oooh, so that dude changed his name! But why WonBin? Won’t that be confused with the other Won Bin even though he add his real last name to it?

  32. 32 DC

    OMG! White Christmas hottie reunion! I’m definitely checking this out.

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