Drama Casting & News
Yawang stills and plot setups
by | December 21, 2012 | 28 Comments

SBS’s upcoming Yawang continues to add to its cast list and is also releasing some stills (albeit at a pace that’s more like a trickle) now that it’s begun filming. And while the images themselves are not that interesting, the description finally has my interest piqued. Since I wasn’t expecting to be interested, this is a nice surprise.

Because really, the stills alone are hardly exciting. Or even telling. We get a bit of this, a bit of that, and not really much of an idea of what to expect. Wait, let me rephrase that: We are expecting Daemul Again, but have yet to see Yawang’s actual plot gears in motion. We’ve got Su Ae and Kwon Sang-woo on set, reading scripts, walking in a neighborhood, and a lady on a horse. O… kay.

But wait, it does get better. Despite my first reaction to dismiss this as a shadow sequel to Daemul (say, like Dream High 2 attempted to do by using the same premise of the original), it turns out there’s a very deliberate link. And I mean aside from the fact that Yawang is adapted from the manhwa penned by the same writer.

More so than that, however, this seems to be a companion piece to Daemul, and that means the repeat casting of Kwon Sang-woo is meaningful. In Yawang, Kwon Sang-woo plays a man named Ha Ryu, which immediately pinged my (admittedly hole-ridden) memory — because that was the name of the character he was initially supposed to play in Daemul. Or so I thought. Based on the manhwa, Ha Ryu was the lead character who started as a gigolo and then joined forces with Madame President on the road to the Blue House. Ryu was the brother to Ha Do-ya — and then the drama sorta conflated the characters and named Kwon Sang-woo’s character Ha Do-ya instead. (Here’s my more detailed description on the manhwa plot.)

Now in Yawang, Kwon plays Ha Ryu. The brother! This intrigues (and yes, also confuses) me. Because Ha Do-ya was the faithful right-hand-man to Korea’s First Lady President Go Hyun-jung (…although have the recent elections just rendered this premise passé?) and now Ha Ryu “is ready to sacrifice everything” for Su Ae, who burns with ambition to be the first lady. (Also: Maybe your ambitions could aim a little higher?)

So are we dealing with a complete universe reset, or parallel (yet connecting) universes? Does that make Kwon Sang-woo the Universal Tangent? (C’mon, you pun-lovers all laughed at that.) Like I said, I AM CONFUSED. But also intrigued.

On to more casting: Lee Jae-yoon (Ghost) is a new addition as step-oppa to Su Ae, since the time she was adopted into his family. Um, his character description starts out “stepbrother to a sister he shouldn’t love…” Wait, imma stop you right there. In fact, can we screech the brakes on the whole thing for a moment while we all shudder and get that out of our systems? Why the fauxcest, dramaland, WHY?

Okay, I can see the appeal (narratively), so let me rephrase: Why SO MUCH the fauxcest, dramaland? Isn’t there a limit to the sordid type of angsty gratification in watching these stories unfold? Or is this a dumb question when we’re talking about the home of makjang mania?

Ahem. Getting back on track… Oppa has to hide his love for Su Ae so he keeps that close to the vest, but it does turn him into a jealous mean jerk with the men in her orbit. He doesn’t let that ugly side show to dear sister, but he “crosses the line and does deeds a human should not do.” Uh…

Lee Jae-yoon, Lee Il-hwa

Another actress joining the cast is Lee Il-hwa, whom you may recognize as the hilarious mom from Answer Me, 1997, this time playing Kwon Sang-woo’s mother figure. She’s not his biological mom, but she’s raised him since his childhood days at the orphanage and now lives with him on a ranch. (Ah, does this explains the horses?) She’s part mom, part sister, part aunt, so I expect the relationship to be close and warm. Aw.

On to the ranch, where actress Kim Sung-ryung (The Chaser, Neighbor Enemies) is pictured on horseback. She plays the daughter of a corporation CEO, and noona to Yunho. Oh… right. I forgot about him.

She, like many chaebol heiresses before her, has a haughty air and harbors a “cold ambition” within her. Like so many chaebol heroes, that aloof veil masks a deep hurt, she’s not really so mean, blah blah.

So the story’s working some angles I could warm to. I admit to being a sucker for the childhood setup where Kwon Sang-woo and Su Ae grew up in the same orphanage and had a sweet relationship, then got separated when they were adopted out, only to reunite in adulthood. Yet since this story is as much about betrayal and ambition as it is love, there’s no guarantee it’ll end happily.

I’ve got a better idea of the story now, but I still think the drama is failing to fill in some really important holes. Just one solid logline would do wonders! Just… one… coherent… plot…

Yawang will replace King of Dramas on Mondays and Tuesdays in January 2013.

Via SBS, Asiae


28 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Cynthia

    I love the leads for this. I could watch Su Ae painting her nails and be ok with it, but yes, this plot is confusing.
    She burns with ambition to be ‘first lady’? Is that first lady, Madame President or first lady, the wife of Mr. President?
    Confused, I am.

    • 1.1 pabo ceo reom

      I am with you on Su Ae. I just love watching her on the screen. However, this drama has some big question marks for me that I might not get over.

      First, the makjang vibe… the fauxcest is enough to scare the bejeezus outta me. Totally serious.

      Second, Kwon Sang-woo is hit-or-miss at best while Yunho is just a miss (let’s be honest).

      Although I guess besides Kwon Sang-woo, the others are secondary threads…hopefully…and shouldn’t take up much screen time right? Argh, Su Ae. Couldn’t you have done something else? 🙂

  2. kopytko

    I like Su Ae, but I cannot understand her ‘ambition’. What is so great about being a first lady? Is it the alleged respect? Something she wasn’t given as an orphan… Dunno, wouldn’t it be better to be a wife to a chaebol? There are no terms for chaebols 😉 and one isn’t in the public eye all the time. Not to mention that an ambitious woman would want to achieve her own goals, rather than be a wife to a succesful man.
    are we in for a battleaxe character?

  3. Annie

    I still don’t know anything about the plot… and First Lady seems to be an awfully random goal for a social climber. Will Yunho be the president?

  4. Quiet Thought

    They have ranches in South Korea? Are they more of the “rich folk’s estate” sort of establishment?

  5. crazedlu

    eck to the storyline. these two have been in really bleh productions since… forever, it seems. snore.*

  6. Quiet Thought

    That is a weirdly oblique life’s goal. Especially considering the woman’s background. If you’re a alienated social climber with a questionable background, I would expect that the last thing you would want to be is a politician’s wife. They’re expected to do everything political and have all their faults exposed to the public eye, without any real power to DO anything. And if you don’t want to DO anything, why get into politics?

    • 6.1 malta

      Very confusing…Daemul made sense. She eventually came to want to be a politician….not a politician’s wife. If that has changed then this is some other, less interesting, story. In Daemul they spent a significant amount of time in the drama setting up how she came to have the ambitions she did and it made perfect sense. It was why you rooted for her because you knew exactly why she wanted to be an elected official.

  7. swinter111

    I liked every thing till u said Yunho…..the guy can’t act and worse is tht his really bad tht u cant just ignore it.wht were they thinking putting him there???

  8. nomu nomu nomu

    love Su Ae. I like her acting performance in all her roles ♥‿♥ (but I can’t say I like the recent dramas that much)

    Oh, Su Ae, stop making all your Oppa’s fall for you.

    Lee Jae-yoon might be trying to hide his love for you, but if he starts doing anything like role playing Cinderella, then be a little suspicious. ◕‿↼

  9. Aya

    Su Ae’s stunning, all hail the Queen

    btw congratulations to the first female President of the Republic of Korea, Ms. Park Geun Hye.

    • 9.1 Laeah

      Too bad Park Geun Hye doesn’t care about women.

    • 9.2 Danna

      Yes Su Ae’s smile is breathtaking

  10. 10 Daisy

    This looks so good! I don’t mind the stepbrother relationship since its not like they are related by blood

  11. 11 anais

    Lee Il-hwa as a mother figure to Kwon Sang Woo is just ridiculous. Or rather Korean society that pits a woman only five years older as the mother figure is ridiculous. Especially because she’s such a lovely woman. I hope her role on Answer Me 1997 will typecast her as a mom to grown up 30-something children already.

  12. 12 Danna

    All I can think is, nooooooooooo King of Dramas cannot end

    • 12.1 Ivoire

      Hello Danna, I hear you…

  13. 13 rainbow

    Not interested…..all the factors are going against my liking..

  14. 14 BellaMafia

    omo… I read it Ha Yo-Da..

  15. 15 Porcelain

    Can I hope for Lee Il Hwa character to cook a lot? She is one of the cutest mom ever in K-dramaland!

  16. 16 Makoto

    It’s like another version of (not so) Nice Guy, only the ambitious woman here (Su Ae) will still be loved by KSW till the end. 😀 *just my thought*

  17. 17 Makoto

    Btw where are Yunho’s stills? Eventhough I’m not sure that I’m going to love this drama, I’ll definitely love him. *fangirl alert* :)))

  18. 18 SeoHaSeurri_22

    I was scanning through the pictures until I was…

    “Wait a minute… Where’s Yunho here???”

  19. 19 Fab

    Honestly I’d watch it just for Su Ae, js. But I am happy with the deeper plot. The possible villain is just the same old… ”Blah Blah” LOL
    Lee Il-hwa looks so much like an actress in Midas- mother of In Hye’s sister… Can’t find her name. Actually after seeing her picture here I thought they were the same person.

  20. 20 aX

    Holy crap! Finally, a pairing I actually approve! Let’s just hope the drama has depth and worthwhile! Please, do NOT waste this cast with a crappy storyline and weak characters!

  21. 21 Matt

    Wow Su Ae is gorgeous.. I need to move to Korea. lol

  22. 22 rjyuggy

    I am sure that there is more depth in that First Lady ambition. We have to find that out by watching the drama.

    I am so happy. Korea’s New Years gift to me is having Su Ae back on dramaland.

  23. 23 Jackie

    For people wondering about Yunho, a BTS pic was posted: https://twitter.com/sujin_sbs/status/287346603336032256

    Well he looks gorgeous, so that’s a start~

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