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Grandpas Over Flowers gets remade for American TV

And evil genius Na PD continues on the path of global dominion. The concept for his highly successful and groundbreaking variety show Grandpas Over Flowers has become the first-ever Korean reality show exported to American broadcast TV. While CJ E&M, the media conglomerate that owns tvN and other cable channels, has sold shows to other countries (game show The Genius was sold to the Netherlands earlier this year, and the Chinese version of Grandpas Over Flowers aired just recently), Na PD’s unique brand of sadistic humor will finally reach U.S. audiences next fall, as NBC has bought the format and will remake it into a show titled Better Late Than Never.

The American version will have the same basic composition and will be about men in their twilight years, sent on an international trip with only a youthful luggage boy to assist them. Some of Hollywood’s top senior actors are being courted, and already my mind is spinning with the possibilities. (How awesome would it be to watch a variety show displaying the real-life bromance between Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart? Throw Larry David into the mix and I’d be in heaven. Is Seinfeld too old to be a luggage boy? Hmm, perhaps as one of the younger seniors, then. While I doubt any of them have the desire to appear on a reality show, a girl can dream!)

After hearing that it was the first time a Korean variety show had been optioned by an American broadcast company, Na PD said, “As the PD of the program, I’m really proud. I’m very thankful to the viewers who enjoyed and rooted for Grandpas Over Flowers.” He continued, “I think the fondness given to grandfatherly figures is universal.” He also indicated the remake would have a distinctly American flair: “The U.S. version will stress that there are many things one can accomplish, even in his/her twilight years. If you think about the term ‘bucket list’ being coined by Americans, the emphasis makes sense.”

I have mixed feelings about the news, because, while I’m elated for Na PD and the acknowledgment of his unmatched ability to inflict pain in an immensely entertaining, watchable way, I’m worried some of the distinctive humor from the original will be lost: The discomfort that stems from differences in age won’t translate well, as Americans tend to treat those who’ve come of age as equals. This doesn’t mean the remake won’t be enjoyable; I agree with Na PD that something about a group of grandpas embarking on a grand adventure together universally tugs at the heartstrings — I just expect it to have a different feel.

On a positive note, Better Late Than Never will be produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who collaborated together on the movies The Bucket List, Hairspray, and Chicago, as well as the TV shows Drop Dead Diva and Smash, and I have hopes the veteran pair are serious about wanting the show to be a success. It has a target premiere date sometime in the latter half of 2015.

Via Star News, Dispatch

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I would cry tons if Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart ended up doing this series. I swear.

So proud of Na-PD hehe

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If Ian McKellen is in it, along with Patrick Stewart, I would actually watch this.

Damn, Ian was mighty fine in the Waiting for Godot production I saw a few years back.

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That's like the "perfect-est" cast ever!!!! Can they add Sean Connery? :-)

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i have the greatest crush on Sean. Maybe they will also do separate Englishmen version vs. American? Then Ian, Sean, Michael Caine, Anthony Hopkins, John Cleese, Ben Kingsley

with Jude Law or Christian Bale as luggage boy =)

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Sean Connery is also famous for women abuser. He thinks "women should be slapped" often. So, no. I would hate to see that misogynistic man on TV.

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This has Gary Busey written all over it.

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Omg these two men together in a show like this? Hells yeah!!

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well I'm hoping for that possibility^^ but tbh, I'll still watch it whoever will be the main cast

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James Garner would've been awesome for this. Now I'm sad again.

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Jack Lemon, Walter Matthau, and James Garner immediately came to mind when I first heard about this :(. I would've loved to see them doing this show.

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THIS. There's nobody that can even begin to compare to that generation of actors.

One of the things that the current generation of American 'elderlies' won't share with their Korean counterparts is that most of them have probably traveled extensively. And they've lived their private lives publicly. It'll be hard to recapture the wonder of the lifelong workaholic Grandpas, in their first sojourns out of Asia.

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Excellent points. But as awcoconuts pointed out, the American version would most likely carry a different feel & tone to it. Nevertheless, the concept is about a group of elders finding the time to travel outside of their comfort zone and bonding at the same time. This can still work just with a slightly different spin. I am looking forward to checking out how it's going to be interpreted by American culture

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It will definitely have to have a different spin. The two cultures are so different. What made GoF so interesting and funny are the following:
1) the way the gramps treated Seo Jinnie. He actually is their porter - I can't imagine any 40 yr old American actor playing Seo Jin's role humbly, even with reluctance.

2) the gramps, with the exception of Lee Soon jae were actually quite helpless - coming from a predominantly patriarchial society where their wives do most of the things. The American gramps are most likely to be very savvy.

3) Director Na. You can't duplicate him and his devious ways.

4) The unique and hilarious hyung and dongsaeng relationship between PD Na and Lee Seo Jin.

And I'm sure there are many more...

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While this is true - most likely they will have traveled extensively - they have done so with ALL the creature comforts and then some. Toss them into more remote parts of the world, where they'd be less recognized, and much discomfort and shenanigans could ensue! I see potential here.

Hopefully something good will come of this and not something cringeworthy in a failed attempt...

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Oh so true!! Your comment just brought tears to my eyes.

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Aww, man. That'd be an awesome cast.

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Yay for Na PD but I don't know how good the U.S. Version will be without Na PD there to challenge *cough-torture-cough* the cast! I mean Na PD is essential to the winning formula that is the "over flowers" series! Will the US version have a "Na PD" of their own?

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I am thinking of William Shatner, Regis Philbin, Jerry Stiller, Donald Glover, older types who have a certain way about them. That group would be awesome and I would love to watch them.

Get someone in their 40s or 30s. A true younger guy. Since it is NBC I could see them ask Nick Cannon.

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Wow! That'd be a great group.

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From what I've read from a good amount of people (and a few celebs) who have personally interacted with William Shatner, he's not a very nice person and that's a tame way of putting it.

A resounding YES to Jerry Stiller though. He was by far the best thing about one of my favorite shows, King of Queens. I would watch just to see his reactions and expressions, he cracks me up in almost everything he does.

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William Shatner is not known to be the gentleman, but perhaps the more it's fun to throw him in a far foreign country and let him figure his way around.

Jerry Stiller as the grumpy partypooper is perfect! He so funny, I love 'em.

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"(How awesome would it be to watch a variety show displaying the real-life bromance between Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart? Throw Larry David into the mix and I’d be in heaven. Is Seinfeld too old to be a luggage boy? Hmm, perhaps as one of the younger seniors, then. While I doubt any of them have the desire to appear on a reality show, a girl can dream!)"

This would make me watch American TV again! Bring it on!!

The thought of Seinfeld as the luggage boy is P.E.R.F.E.C.T!!

Awcoconuts, you made my day!

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I can totally see Michael Gambon in the mix too!

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I have mixed emotions about this. OTOH I think Evil Genius Na PD deserves worldwide recognition for his ability to spin nothing into comedy gold, but the practical side of me thinks, "How can this possibly work?"

The fish out of water halbaes concept worked very well because:

A) they have practically zero facial recognition outside of Korea (or Asia) so while locals in other countries would be mildly curious/intrigued by a group of foreigners being trailed by cameras, people like Patrick Stewart or any of the other wish list names mentioned here would have far too much recognition unless they went somewhere that doesn't get a television signal;

B) The halbaes were a mixed bag of experience and home-bodies, but unless you get someone who's had a staff who has done EVERYTHING for him for the past 15 years, it's unlikely you'll find someone who is befuddled by international travel;

C) Would there be the deferential attitudes paid to the older folks the way they would to the halbaes; would a US 'bag boy' be so easily bossed around by the seniors?

I reserve judgment and keep my fingers crossed! I liked Na PD's comment though; he expected that it was little more than a hoax/casual fishing expedition and never expected anything to come of it. And so shall I!

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i thinl another reason why the 'over flowers' series is so good is the mix of people that PD Na puts together. In this, he is more than a genius!!! The mix of halbaes was great - they each had a different personality, yet worked well together. The noonas too and now the ahjussis and youths. PD Na is fantastic in how he is able to choose the right kind of people to put together.

I am also not sure how well the Hollywood celebs are willing to show their natural self to the public. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Hollywood has variety shows of this kind - with celebs in situations where it's not entirely scripted and having the public and their fans see them as themselves. The Korean celebs on the other hand are more used to this.

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Aside form the current crop of super A-list celebrities, I think you're overestimating how famous Hollywood actors are in many places, especially if they visit Asia.

Some of the people mentioned, like William Shatner, Regis Philbin, Jerry Stiller, or Donald Glover would be virtually unrecognized by most people in China.

The Korean grandpas are probably more famous! Just look at the reaction they got in Taiwan.

So unless they go with some super famous top A-list actor, most Asians probably won't recognize them.

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As good as it sounds, but I think Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart are too Alist to star in a reality show. But it would be totally awesome if they did! However as much as we admire the American actors, I don't think we can have the same level of endearment we have to their Korean counterparts^^ But to each their own ?
For luggage boy we need a cute adorable puppy, Sienfield is already 60 kekeke. Just give him a few more years then he can actually be the grandpa cast member instead^^ We need fresher meat lol.

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hehe That was a bit of a weird statement since both are English actors and not American.

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I'd love to see old variety guys. Like the surviving guys from Monte Python, or the original Saturday Night Live cast.

Orrrrr crazy (but not foul mouthed) improv guys like Jim Carey, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jack Black, Dana Carvey, etc. Of course they'd all have to be in some sort if alternate-persona disguise.

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I started getting excited then I remembered that Boys Over Flowers remake then I cringed. I'll remain skeptical until I see which celebrity actually commits to this. I see 3 possibilities for casting.. 1. They get a big named star and everyone else jumps on board. 2. They get a bunch of familiar character actors (those we recognize but can't name). 3. They get retired actors who used to be stars.

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I guess it won't end up like the BOF remake, though. Because it's NBC after all, and the producers are no rookies.

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Just show the subtitled Korean version. I'd watch it!

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If you want to add in visible deference for seniors, just get a luggage boy who is southern.

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Yes that's it, that's the solution! We were all thinking the problem isn't only that "Americans tend to treat those who’ve come of age as equals" because that addresses only the old-to-young perspective. The deference to elders is what would be tough to find--except in the south! (Northerners please don't get offended. Anyway you know it's true.) The thing that would be near-impossible to replicate in a US-version is the hierarchy amongst the elders, where the difference on one year determines who gets the seat and who gets served first.

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Oh, then maybe Matthew McConaughey as luggage boy?

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Instead of North and South, I think we should look more into how you were raised. I usually don't like bringing race into things, but I think this is a great place to mention it. In my experience, POC tend to be more respectful of older people. Even when they aren't completely raised with their family's culture, they usually still learn the whole respect your elders and do as you're told part of it. People from the North and people from the South aren't that different. It really depends on who you are.

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You got that right. US southerners say ma'am. noun \ˈmam, after “yes” often əm\. —used to politely speak to a woman who you do not know

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So are they going to drop these guys down in Asia or even Korea to film? That would be fun. And the cast they get probably won't be A-listers, so no Robert de Niro's, Clint Eastwoods or Robert Redford's (there'd be so much fun mumbling and yelling with those guys, though) but I could see actors like Fred Willard, recognizable characters who aren't household names, doing this. Eugene Levy, Martin Mull, Michael McKean, all of Christopher Guest's standard actors, basically, LOL. With a dash of Breaking Bad's Mike, Jonathan Banks' serious face and gravelly voice thrown in to even out all the funny guys. oh man, I'd love to see Jonathan Banks traveling around doing his thing wherever.

Depending on the cast, this could be fun.

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omg, any combo from the Christopher Guest group would be hi-larious.
They do need to go someplace where they aren't well known. Going to Korea would be both perfect and very meta!

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Yes! Yes! Yes! My thought exactly. It would be some awesome if they went to Korea. The meta of it all. Maybe they could even meet evil genius Na PD!

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This would be soooooooooo good!

I'd like character actors who all have that "I've seen that guy somewhere but I don't know his name" vibe. A healthy mix of guys who've played villains, dads, heroes etc. And of course guys who haven't travelled overseas much. Am cringing at actors mugging and doing the wink wink nudge nudge pseudo-innocent fake-grandpa thing. I just want the actors to be real....but am not sure American producers would want that.

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My wish list would be: Jonathan Banks, Ed O'Neill and R. Lee Ermey. Luggage boy can be Jim Parsons or Aaron Paul. lol

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Aaron Paul would be a great choice for luggage boy. In contrast to his Breaking Bad character, in real life he comes from a very wholesome, almost throwback background and he's a very sweet, positive, sort of unspoiled person. I think he'd be very respectful and deferential to the older actors.

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Ahh no kidding! I am so happy for the production team. They really pulled off a great concept and execution. Great for them and I am happy to catch the American version of it.

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Christopher Walken! Cary Elwes! William Shatner! Morgan Freeman!

(You'll notice that all of these dudes either talk...like...this, or have voices that melt butter. I might have A Thing for that.)

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Oh my gosh. I second SO HARD on William Shatner, Christopher Walken, and Morgan Freeman.

I still have too much of a crush on Cary Elwes from his Princess Bride days to be able to see him as a grandpa.

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I think Cary will still be young. Add Jack Nicholson and his bitchiness! it will be really fun =)

Why not Michael Douglas or Al Pacino or Robert de Niro? OMG, the lists are endless!!!

Can Shia be the luggage boy? He needs to shape up and clean himself.

But the best will be Iron Man, Robert Downy Jr. as the luggage boy, hahahah =)

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So many names of possible cast members comes to mind with this news, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan, two actors I have nothing but respect and love for, being two of them. I would love for Michael Cain and Morgan Freeman to be in it too! That would be the best!

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I am ridiculously excited about this. I literally could not contain the enormous smile that spread across my face just when I read the headline.

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Good luck with this for the first season...

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Ages might not be as important in american culture, but it'd be interesting seeing a rookie actor with only one well known movie (so far) be the luggage boy, then there is the respect of more well known, older actors.

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Remember -- it's NBC -- so Gary Busey will probably be in the mix somewhere.

Christopher Walken would be awesome, or John Lithgow. I wish Jimmie Fallon wasn't to busy to be the young guy.

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Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman! i think they will be courted given that the producers did The Bucket List =)

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That's great TvN and NaPD!
Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian Mckellen are great choices, imagine the Star Trek, X-men and ROTR meta jokes! Though sadly I don't see them consider a reality show.

I don't like the title but maybe it's very American. Better Late Than Never. Blegh.

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Larry King. Isn't he the grandpa of American TV? :P

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The tele-fairy has truly shone on Na PD...

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