Drama Casting & News
Equator Man casts frenemies and childhood roles
by | February 15, 2012 | 48 Comments

What strange casting: Lee Jun-hyuk (City Hunter) has been added to the melodrama series Equator Man, the KBS drama touted as “the male version of Women in the Sun” (read: intense, dramatic, revengey). He’ll be the hero’s BFF-turned-antagonist, both of whom grew up together in similar circumstances and matured into successful adults.

I like Lee a lot and he pulls off dramatic acting well, and City Hunter took him to the next level in his career, both performance- and popularity-wise. So the strange part isn’t that he’s been cast in a melo, or as a strong second lead, or that he’s playing a prosecutor again — it’s that he’s supposed to be playing Uhm Tae-woong’s childhood best friend. Whaaa?

Uhm Tae-woong plays Sun-woo, who as a boy is sent off to the orphanage after his father is killed, and transforms himself into a sharp businessman. His childhood best friend is Lee Jun-hyuk’s character Jang-il, who is born to a dirt-poor rural family. Jang-il pours everything into working his way up in the world, till he becomes a star prosecutor, but his thirst for success leads him to betray Sun-woo.

Lee Hyun-woo, Im Shi-wan

Im Shi-wan was recently cast in the drama to play Lee Jun-hyuk’s younger counterpart. I find it really strange that the “child” Jang-il is only four years younger than the “adult” version.

Then to make the math even weirder, the fabulous child actor Lee Hyun-woo (God of Study, Return of Iljimae) will be playing young Sun-woo. Lee Hyun-woo is a terrific young actor, and he is 17 (just shy of 18). Uhm is nearly 38, so if the drama plays close to their real ages, we’re talking a twenty-year time jump. Yet Im Shi-wan is 23, and his “adult” actor is 27 (he’s almost 28). How are they supposed to look 20 years apart? Or even fifteen? Did they travel around the equator of a time warp? I’m all confused now.

I’m all for actors playing outside of their true ages — performance is about so much more than your age — but at a certain point you can’t get past visual perception. Uhm Tae-woong and Lee Jun-hyuk look like hyung-dongsaeng, maybe. Sunbae-hoobae, more believable. Teacher-student, even more likely. Uhm is an adorable manchild who looks his age, and Lee’s serious mien can’t hide his youthful face, even if he did try to cover it up with a scraggly beard in I Am Legend. And while there’s no rule that besties have to be the same age, unless Uhm Tae-woong spent his childhood changing his best friend’s wet nappies, I’m having a hard time seeing it.

Or maybe they’re being all experimental and none of these four actors will ever share a scene together, since they’ll all be depicted at different ages. I don’t get it.

On the upside, three of these four are wonderful actors capable of blazing intensity. Im Shi-wan isn’t there yet, but perhaps he could get there with more experience. Equator Man premieres on March 14.

Via Sports Khan


48 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. callie k

    i want to see him in a lead role! soon.
    but yes, he does have a baby face.

  2. pohonphee

    I like him in City Hunter! And I never look foward to City Hunter season 2 unless they can make dead man alive. :p

    • 2.1 Qua Trang

      Second you! City Hunter is only 19 episodes in my book!

      • 2.1.1 mary

        Hahaha I love you!

    • 2.2 rich

      So I wasn’t the only one who was crying when he died… >.< I've been looking forward for his projects after City Hunter.

      • 2.2.1 alua

        Definitely not the only one! I was so sad he died, especially such a cruel, unnecessary death. )-:

        • bubbletea

          Yeah I cried when he died too! :'(

          And I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at this sentence: “unless Uhm Tae-woong spent his childhood changing his best friend’s wet nappies” 😀

        • Mystisith

          1 : He’s not dead for me.
          2 : He’s 1000 x hotter than LMH.
          Sorry fangirls.

          • Briggy

            I loved him too,he is too hot and I cried when he died in CH but his role in this one is a no no for me!!I hope he gets a romantic lead soon.

  3. Deeliteful

    uhm me thinks they’re strapped for time since the premiere is less than a month a way.
    Dear believe, you’ve been suspended.

  4. mariolawpanda

    I’m not a big follower of ZE:A (Im Shiwan’s idol group) but I am kind of glad that they’re getting better than their idol personas. Their idol career isn’t really shooting to mega-fame but at least they’re experimenting and kind of succeeding in other fields.

  5. sandy

    lee bo young was cast as well I thought this was confirmed too

  6. djes

    changing wet nappies! hahaha.

    weird casting also happened in “Introduction of Architecture”, another UTW’s project.
    UTW is 38, his younger part played by Lee Jae hoon, 27. And the lead actress is Han Ga In, 30, and the younger part played by Suzy, 17.

    So I think everybody thinks UTW looks (wayyy) younger than his real age.

    I like 3 of them ( never watch any Lee Hyunwoo’s project ) so I’ll tune in for this drama.

  7. KitKat

    totally love the actors and all, but this seems pretty darn weird. i hope we don’t have a thing like in Me Too, Flower, where, no matter how much I loved Yoon Shi Yoon in that role, WHY ON EARTH WAS HE BEING CALLED AJUSSHI?!?! I get that they were super strapped for time, but REALLY?!

  8. Kiara

    Lee Hyun-woo one of my favorite child actors and another noona killer. He played the young Kim Yushin in QSD and UTW played the adult. Nice to see them sharing the same role again.

    • 8.1 So3

      I thought about the same thing! Brings back my QSD memories!

      • 8.1.1 Trina

        yup me too.. ahh QSD memories.. I miss KNG… =(

      • 8.1.2 El

        me three

    • 8.2 Jomo

      And he was adorable with his fountain hair in RoI, and also cute in Brain.

  9. yenniechan

    “….unless Uhm Tae-woong spent his childhood changing his best friend’s wet nappies, I’m having a hard time seeing it” I literally started cracking up out loud and my cubicle mates gave me weird stares. Your posts make my day 🙂

    • 9.1 lala

      ME too..hahahha

  10. 10 Linda165

    Well I think it helps that Im Shi-wan has a cute baby face, and that he actually looks 17, not 23.

    • 10.1 YY

      IF only Kang-ah were acting in this show….he’s got a cute baby face too.

      • 10.1.1 mary


        Kang-Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!! Now I want to see him with UTW! Hot Ajusshis Alert!

      • 10.1.2 Jomo

        How did HE get into this thread?

        Shouldn’t you be talking about exactly what type of superhero Equator Man would be?

        Without Equator Man and his loyal sidekick, Prime Meridian, life on earth would be unbearable.
        Struggling against the evil twin gangsters T of Capricorn and T of Cancer, EM’s not afraid to be W I D E. While some claim he is imaginary, his SUPER BELTING power keep the guts of the earth in.

        You know?

        • Linda165

          Because YY and Linda165 are here 🙂

          And now I want to watch THAT drama!

        • YY

          I bet Equator Man cuts everything neatly in halves before he eats, like his hardboiled egg, for instance. And he wears his own boxers which he makes himself, and he wears them high above the navel, so that the waistband divides his upper torso into two equal halves.

          • jomo

            I think you are right!
            When he sleeps in his round bed, he must maintain equidistance from all edges.

      • 10.1.3 Linda165

        YY, you really know how to make me smile!!!!
        Kang aaaahhhh!!!!!!!!!

        • Ennayra

          Kang ah!!!!!

  11. 11 Aya

    Lee Jun-hyuk can prosecute me anytime he wants

  12. 12 FishcalledWanda


    But…. I don’t understand the childhood thingy. I was really happy when I read he was cast, but now I’m kinda confused?

  13. 13 Tha

    Have I ever said how I excited I am about this drama!!! Im so ready all ready!!!! Uhm Tae Woong….SWOON….

  14. 14 Lalaa

    I really liked him in City Hunter, therefore I`m looking forward to watch this drama.

  15. 15 risa

    Sounds like whoever did the casting was in serious need of Equator Man to equate the age differentials (har har).

  16. 16 Danna

    I always thought Lee Joon Hyuk looked a bit older for his age so it’s not that bad for me…..but he certainly does look younger than Uhm Tae Woong…but I have the feeling that they’ll have the right chemistry to play rivals.

  17. 17 hpn88

    Squeel. I loved him in City Hunter. Excited to see him back on my screen in a month

  18. 18 classied

    both leads. SO swoon-worthy. will be tuning in.

  19. 19 redfox

    …confusion, sonfusion, don´t care, gimme. … I´d watch. and drool all over the place with cartoonish star-and-hearty eyes !
    I went totally King-Kong ready to tare down buildings when his character was killed in CH… kinda had aliiiitle crush.

  20. 20 alua

    …it’s weird, but I’m just going to wait and see how it turns out once the drama is being screened and then judge based on that.

  21. 21 peachys2sleep

    In his rising star interview, Lee Jun Hyuk actually talked about how early in his career he was almost always playing characters that were above his age (early 30’s when he was in his early 20’s) and wondered why that happened and was kind of insecure of looking older He said that later in his career it he realized it was because of his mature appearance that he’s able to make a living. Haha.

    On another note, it looks like he’s going from another project to another. It looks like he’s doing his Chinese drama “1/2 Fairy Tale” and then jumping straight into this one.

  22. 22 lorac

    Improbable or not, I’m all for any drama with Lee Jun Hyuk. At least he’s not going off to China again like Jo Hyun Jae. I only hope that WithS2 or Haru pick up the project.

  23. 23 Cass

    No news on the female lead yet.

    Lee Hyun Woo is such a cutie with a great acting.. Definitely will watch this.

  24. 24 Laica

    Lee Jun-hyuk was the best character in City Hunter. I’m torn between mad excitement he’ll be back on my screen and wishing he would get a lead role already. (I Am Legend didn’t count, he was such an afterthought in that drama. Although his songs were the awesomesauce.)

  25. 25 Kaddict4ever

    Im Shi-wan – Yeom… I like him a lot 🙂 such a gentle face (what i am that shallow)

    Yeah i am in… bring it on!
    Hopefully UTW’s role is meatier than Dr Champ (What a waste of UTW’s talent).

  26. 26 wahhaha

    Lee’s beard was not that scraggly in I am Legend..it was pretty neat and tidy.. :)) I always think that it was a mistake for lee to take on the role in IAL…the female lead simply couldn’t match up with him..

  27. 27 bishieaddict

    lol. man that is messed up. It’s going to be one of those details that would bugs me.

  28. 28 Fräulein

    Yayyy…. I was just wondering when I could see him on the small screen again.
    Same here, City Hunter was a 19 parter to me!! At time I thought he looked cooler n calmer than LMH’s brooding Yoonsung.
    How come no one mentioned his hotness in Three Brothers? He was great there too!!

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