Drama Casting & News
Jang Hyuk considering lead role in IRIS 2
by | September 14, 2012 | 55 Comments

Really, IRIS 2 is happening after all?

They’ve been talking of this for years, but nothing ever came of it and I thought the idea had been shelved. But the latest news is that the drama sequel to 2009’s action-thriller is (back?) in pre-production and courting Jang Hyuk (Tree With Deep Roots, Chuno) as the hero. Jang’s agency confirmed that they received the offer and that he’s considering it favorably, though of course that comes with usual caveats about decisions not being final.

According to president Jung Tae-won of IRIS’s production company Taewon Entertainment, IRIS 2 is currently in planning stages, and the producers intend to announce its broadcast and casting plans soon. Vaguest announcement ever, no? No word yet on what kind of story it’ll be, other than that it picks up three years after the end of the first series.

The time skip is understandable since they’ll be without first season hero Lee Byung-heon, who announced early on that he wouldn’t reprise his role in a sequel. [SPOILER ALERT] So they’d need a new hero anyway, even if his character hadn’t met his untimely end in truly aggravating fashion at the end of Season 1. Urg.

But here’s the thing about an IRIS sequel: Does anyone care anymore?

I don’t mean that IRIS was a bad show, because I certainly enjoyed watching it, but with regards to a sequel it sorta feels like it missed its window. When the show premiered with a bang (pun not intended, though always appreciated) and recorded impressive 30%+ ratings, there was a ton of excitement about creating a franchise out of it — before it had even wrapped, Taewon was announcing IRIS movies, sequels, comics, and spin-offs.


Then Athena came along and tanked in the ratings, and by all accounts (I didn’t stick around for that one) the story was also a mess. It sure seems like Taewon was in such a hurry to capitalize on the brand that they scrambled to meet demand before making sure there was demand.

I’m always game for a thrilling spy drama, and IRIS did boast impressive cinematography and action scenes. But in the three years that have passed, the drama landscape has upgraded quite a bit, and this is no longer the hot action kid on the block — there are darker, more tightly written, more emotionally pulsing action thrillers around.

I always thought IRIS felt conceptualized as a franchise first, drama second. That showed in the writing, which was more sizzle than steak. So IRIS 2 really has to up its game to stay level with this playing field — although yes, IRIS helped raise the level of play in the first place. That’s the way of the world, though: keep up or get left behind.

Also: I thought Jang Hyuk wanted to get away from action roles, to keep from being type-cast. It’s why he decided against Gaksital, isn’t it? (Side note: How different would that show have been with him as Kang-to? Jang Hyuk is capable of killing it with dark and intense roles, but just by casting him the tenor of the show changes — they’d have to cast an older Shunji as well, and part of why their friendship and rift broke my heart was seeing them both in the full bloom of youthful idealism, before they transformed into battle-weary foes.)

Annnnyway, IRIS 2 is aiming for a February 2013 premiere, though seeing as how it has yet to secure a broadcaster, that date may change.

Via Mk.co.kr


55 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. DramaticTeacher

    I like him!!!

  2. coconut

    i wouldnt mind watching iris 2 if they cast kim so yeon as lead this time 🙂

    • 2.1 Annie

      Isn’t Kim So Yeon in the King’s Dream already? I doubt she’d take back to back projects like that.

    • 2.2 Nik


  3. Yervang

    I havent even seen the first part. But Jang hyuk is badass
    Chuno fan!!

    • 3.1 True2u

      “Tree With Deep Root” right here!!!!!!!! so DOWN with it!!!!!

    • 3.2 Autumn

      Iiris 2 with this guy?
      I’M IN.

  4. Kat

    Agreed! Imagine Kim So Yeon and Jang Hyuk as a spy couple!!!!!
    But please no Kim Tae Hee this time!

    • 4.1 musicfey

      My thoughts EXACTLY!

    • 4.2 subject

      Mine too. Can’t stand her!
      Aish, my Jung Hyuk, please take the role. Make it worth to watch!
      javabeans, as much as I loved Joo Won as Bridal Mask and spend 14 weeks cutting segments like maniac at viki, I can tell for sure, if Jung Hyuk was Bridal Mask I would not bother even to help other viki projects, mostly because it was filling me completely. But the taste and smell etc.

    • 4.3 Kiara

      You read my mind. Yes to Jang Hyuk and no to Kim Tae Hee. He’ll be awesome with someone like Soo Ae.

  5. kakashi

    Jang Hyuk in an action thriller? I’m at least half-way in.
    Iris surprised me big time (cause I wasn’t expecting it to be so … good) and I loved it for quite a few episodes, but somehow, I didn’t finish it. Good for me! I hear the ending sucked, haha
    Anyways, compared to some more recent OCN shows like Hero, Vampire Prosecutor, or Ten (is there going to be a second season for this or not?!), it feels pretty tame now.

    • 5.1 kakashi

      ah, and the-mess-that-was-Athena … it made me dislike Soo-Ae and Jung Woo-sung, which I both saw for the first time (I’ve never recovered from it, unfortunately) and almost killed my deeeeep adoration for Cha Seung-Won.

      • 5.1.1 kakashi

        urgh, shouldn’t have said that, now I am afraid they might kill my deeeeeeeeeep adoration for Jang Hyuk with Iris 2!

      • 5.1.2 True2u

        I don’t think anything can kill my adoration for Cha Seung Won. Damn, the man is a walking SEX symbol!!

      • 5.1.3 tearfulheart

        i was told soo ae had great acting skills. did not see that in athena; her face appeared to be frozen for the majority of the show.

        athena was a mess. iris was much better, although the plot was all over the place, so many loose ends…i was just left hanging at the end of the series. this, i’m willing to forgive because they planned to make a sequel though. hopefully they’ll actually explain what was happening towards the end in iris 2.

        • tearfulheart

          but i’ll definitely give iris 2 a shot if jang hyuk is indeed the lead!

  6. Mystisith

    Never watched Athena thanks to the warning signs posted everywhere. I remember Iris mostly for the bitter end and for the candy kiss. I don’t see what is the point on doing a sequel, really. They should start with a “fresh” idea if they want to do a spy/chase/thriller thing (I know, fresh is a relative notion in dramaland…).

  7. Annie

    It’s looking more and more like a done deal so I’m looking forward to the casting of the female lead. Maybe someone like Han Ji Min or Yoon Eun Hye? It would be neat to see them as kickass action stars instead of the beauties next door for once.

  8. grounds

    Kim So Yeon has always looked like a less attractive Ha Ji Won to me. I find her face kind of terrifying to be honest, which I know is really mean :/

    • 8.1 Autumn

      B-b-but Kim So Yeon is stunning.
      Those high cheekbones + that perfect smile = <333

  9. True2u

    I Know, I Know, But what about Kim Sun Ah as lead? She’s proven to be damn well good at action. XD. But she just finish I Do I Do so I don’t think she will jump on another project so soon. Oh well, I girl can only dream/wish right?

  10. 10 aX

    Now we just need Son Ye Jin on board!

  11. 11 Kat

    Can somehow explain to myself why some people are terrified by Kim So Yeons face 🙂 but that face totally rocked the show at Iris 1!!!! (Besides in my eyes her face is beautiful).

    Generally I enjoyed Iris a lot because though its not new I find the plot itself interesting. And even with some new characters a good writer could make something out if it in a sequel. (I haven’t seen Athena, but Ive herad it was awful)

    The things which bored me to tears were the scenes with Kim Tae Hees character, the multiple flashbacks with Kim Tae Hees character and Kim Tae Hees acting.
    I am feeling sorry for bashing her all the time.
    I can not help. The moment she appears on the screen I fall asleep. Good night!

    • 11.1 ~Feather~

      Why are people scared of her face? I wouldn’t know since I don’t think I’ve seen her in anything.

      • 11.1.1 ~Feather~

        btw, she looks fine in the pictures on google; she looks more like a mature-beauty than an innocent-pretty.

  12. 12 Danna

    Not a fan of IRIS or ATHENa, so I’m really glad Kim So Yeon is already busy with something else…i’m also surprised Jang Hyuk is picking this after turning down Gaksital…I was hoping he’d pick something different next

  13. 13 yammy

    he was considered for gaksital?
    omg i m so glad joo won took was in it instead. i mean, jang hyuk is an awesome actor ( i loved tree with deep roots and slave runner?/catcher) but i feel like joo won was the better choice for the more emotional scenes where LKT struggles with himself. jang hyuk i see more as a charismatic action actor while joo won has a more a of emotional touch on him.

    would i watch Iris 2? probably not. i didn’t watch iris 1… spy dramas are usually my cup of tea, but iris 1 didn’t work for me. didn’t watch Athena either. in any case, i wish jang hyuk the best with his future projects. can you guys believe he’s married and has two sons?

    • 13.1 Ann

      If you haven’t seen Jang Hyuk in a non-action role, I highly recommend “Thank You.” He is great and the show is great. There are some hilarious moments despite what you would guess from the premise.

      • 13.1.1 eny

        i feel the same with yammy, i see early episode of chuno , i think in emotional act jang hyuk is still lack, i don’t know in another project

      • 13.1.2 yammy

        oh actually, i did see that drama. it was sooo sad. omg couldn’t look at a chocopie without feeling little sad for the longest time. jang hyuk was good, but i when i remember the drama, i remember the mother and the daughter being the more emotional acting…but that’s not to say jang hyuk’s a bad actor. and he looks really good in an alcohol? ad he did a while ago. but still joo won was better for gaksital. 😀

    • 13.2 R

      Oh yes completely, I now really can not imagine other actors as kang to. Because gaksital = joo won definitely!!

      • 13.2.1 R

        Even though i like jang hyuk as an actor, especially in the drama Thank you.

    • 13.3 Dominique

      Ju Won is what ruined Gaksital for me. He was fine in the beginning of the series as the hungry, ambitious, ravenous underdog. Then he stepped in to assume the dead brother’s mission and that is when it all fell apart. He just could not pull it off. He just does not have it.

      Lee Min Ho would have worked. It is quite telling that Javabeans even contemplated the what-if.

      Ju Won just is not an actor yet. If you live in South Korea and catches his Cantata Coffee, pay attention towards the end of one version – Ju Won’s pants are not properly buttoned up. Now, I can be as excited as any of you at the thought of a hot young actor being semi-undressed. But Ju Won (no longer considered hot by me) at that moment in the commercial looks as if his Mom forgot to wipe his nose. To borrow a British expression, is he daft?

  14. 14 Kdrama fan

    I’m with those of you who doesn’t want a sequel. It’s been too long since the original and they (the producers, etc) have waited too long to ride the coat tails of the original.

    I also agree with Athena. The starting was good then somewhere along the line I lost interest in the plot, characters, and etc. It just got tiring and boring.

    They should just come up with a new drama altogether. Then it wouldn’t be compared to the original so much and utilize the cast a lot better.

  15. 15 Ruky

    I don’t care what they do as long as they make the main female lead is KIM SO YEON. She should be the main lead with her wanting to exact REVENGE on North Korea. Jang Hyuk can be the NIS guy that falls in love with her in the process of trying to catch her/stop her from more killing.

  16. 16 lilly

    noooooo kim so yeon. dramas like iris and antena or something focus on the main female less so nooooo kim so yeon. kim so yeom deserves better. kim so yeon is now casting for the great seer with someone i forgot the name.

  17. 17 hereoR

    i want LBH..but i know he will not back for Iris 2..
    Yes…To take LBH role they need to find actor whose really have charismatic in drama and action…Jang Hyuk truly the best choice..Just look at how he concuer his role in Chuno..Briliant!..but if JH reject this role also.,i think they should take Won Bin to make comebake…Iris 2 will be Awesome…
    1st choice ~ Jang Hyuk
    2nd choice ~ Won bin

  18. 18 houstontwin

    I love JH but it has been a very long time since we saw his sweeter side. I would really like to see him in a well written romcom.,@@

    • 18.1 houstontwin

      Sorry for the strange typo. I guess that typo’s are my trademark!

    • 18.2 Alvina

      haha! JH will always be “Elvis” to me 😛

  19. 19 mary

    Storywise, I want the NK spies from both Athena and Iris to be back. All badass Kims, ya hear me drama gods?

    Kim Min Jong
    Kim So Yeon
    Kim Seung Woo

    and Kim TOP! 😛

    Ok, the last one might be too forced, but we need teh pretty…

    • 19.1 yi ying

      + 1

  20. 20 Serendipity

    No, Hyukie! Don’t do iiiiiit!

    I couldn’t get through the first episode of Iris. And Athena was just, well, a motherlode of snark as far as I was concerned: http://thundiesprattle.com/2011/01/26/an-idiots-guide-to-planet-athena/

  21. 21 canxi

    I never did finish IRIS…I don’t remember what episode I stopped at, but it was probably half way through. So, I don’t know if I would watch IRIS 2, plus it is kind of weird to have a series for a show after so long…if it was a movie, it would have been different but…it wasn’t,lol.

    And I also had heard about Jang Hyuk being offered the role of Kang To, but I’m glad they went with a younger cast. Mostly because Park Ki Woong got to play Shunji and that was the best thing everrrrrr. All the awards to him. It would have been majorly different if he took the part though…I can’t imagine him breaking into random song and dance for instance (though, I know he can dance–Dance of the Dragon, anyone see it? Preeetty gooood. Do watch it.) It would have been more mature, I think….I think it worked because the actors were young….and reckless.

  22. 22 Sakura


    JANG HYUK , YES !!, LEE JI AH, YES !!!.

  23. 23 rubie

    LOL.. what a funny twist. ^^ Haha..

    Anyway.. agree with JB on this, completely .. what’s the rush or rather desperation with IRIS 2.. every year there’ll be news the sequel to air.. 2010.. 2011.. 2012.. now 2013. Did they forget how they screwed up IRIS with the movie epic-fail ending? Really glad that LBH not doing the sequel (though would love to see him in a drama again, if ever) .. Kim So Yeon, too. Can’t wait for her upcoming Sageuk.

    IRIS 2009 was really the drama while & when it aired 3 years ago. Just leave the high ratings and good reviews at that. Spin-off Athena already proved it’ll be very bad news to mess up with that.

  24. 24 hanaha

    I dont know if i.ll like Jh if he took on this role. I think he should take on another role that softens down from his previous works like chuno midas and deep rooted treee. I wish he.d stay away from that kind of role and give us a refreshing mind of him.
    Him as gaksital i doubt i.d have watched it. I dont think he.ll be able to take on emotional scenese like joowon did so well.

  25. 25 alqh

    Just if anyone hasn’t watch the extended version – IRIS the movie, you’ll be shocked to find out who killed Kim Seung Woo, and yes, who killed Lee Byung Hun’s character.

    *spoiler alert*
    I don’t think knowing that Kim So Yeon is going to get any revenge towards North Korea or IRIS gang…….

  26. 26 DaDa

    This is probably going to bomb so why bother. Come on, Jang Hyuk…you can do better.

  27. 27 Katherine

    Only thing I liked from Iris was Kim So Yeon as for the actual show it was okay, nothing extraordinary so the fact that there will be a sequel to me just means they are milking the franchise. Jang Hyuk choose something different, perhaps comedy.

  28. 28 Adryana

    that would be awesome:))i love him:X:X:X

  29. 29 ~Feather~

    Another question for all of you: Should I watch Iris (if JH decides to do the sequel and it turns out good. I’d like to watch from the beginning so i don’t feel like i was just dropped into the middle of everything.)? What are YOUR opinions on the execution and story of the drama? Please give the drama constructive criticism along with the fan-girling/boying because those type of reviews tell me more than “it was good, check it out.”
    Thank-you all!

  30. 30 Sajen

    if Jang Hyuk is in then I’m in it could be the exact same as the first or completely stupid but I’ll watch anyways that man can act

  31. 31 venapa

    Go.. Jang Hyuk! Jang Hyuk (chanting) anything as long as its him. IRIS was good with Kim Seo Yeon in it.. really hope she’ll be with this one too.

    But knowing Jang Hyuk, if the story is not good he’ll never sign up…

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