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Ji Hyun-woo fights for the little guy in JTBC’s new drama Awl

Ji Hyun-woo is heading to cable for his next drama, a JTBC series with a serious-sounding bent, titled Awl. The drama is based on a webtoon of the same name, which is in turn inspired by real-life events that transpired in 2002 when union workers were unfairly fired from large supermarket chain Carrefour, and fought back. Meaty sounding stuff, and I have to think Ji Hyun-woo was aided by his recent turn as an idealistic teacher in Angry Mom, where he started out weak and naive but eventually tapped into his inner strength to rally against the corrupt educational system.

In Awl, Ji Hyun-woo will play the lead character of Lee Soo-in, an employee who takes the charge in leading hardworking employees in the union’s fight against unfair management. Ahn Nae-sang (Hwajung, Maids) is currently in talks to join as well, and his potential character is described as a very quiet type who helps the hero. I can see him wringing my heart with his ability to draw pathos out of soul-wearying despair, and look forward to his partnership with the hero.

The popular webtoon is written by Choi Kyu-seok and began running in 2013, and already the drama is drawing comparisons to Misaeng. Okay, I know it seems like such an obvious thing to say that a drama wants to be the next Misaeng (who wouldn’t want to be showered with those high ratings and accolades?), but this vehicle does sound like it could follow in that vein: Both series were based on webtoons, and both dealt with the stories of everyman underdogs in unfriendly workplace environments with delicacy and nuance.

It doesn’t hurt that the webtoon writer is known for his sensitive touch in drawing upon the realities of modern society, as he did in other series that include A Sad Homage to Dinosaur Dooly, Wetlands Ecology Report, and The Natives of the Republic of Korea. Also, a similar premise helped propel the movie Cart to critical acclaim last year (Cart wasn’t based on the same incident but drew on similar themes; it was inspired by a 2007 case where union employees of a supermarket went on a 512-day strike to protest unfair dismissals).

The project will reunite Ji Hyun-woo with director Kim Seok-yoon, who directed him back in the movie version of Old Miss Diary, which was an early career-making turn for Ji. Kim Seok-yoon is now bureau director at JTBC, but prior to that his directorial projects included I Live in Cheongdam-dong and Detective K. Awl will be written by a team, writers Lee Nam-kyu and Kim Su-jin, the former of whom Director Kim worked with on those two projects.

Awl is aiming to begin filming in August for a fall premiere.

Via Joy News, My Daily

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Both of these actors have broken my heart and made me cry in other roles. I like the premise too, I'm in!

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Awl: a small pointed tool used for piercing holes, especially in leather.

For those who wanted to google for the meaning, myself included :)

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Thanks!! I was wondering and was about to google :)

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Thanks for that! I really was just about to google it when I saw your post. :D

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If this is even half as good as Misaeng, it'll be an excellent drama. But a lot depends on how the writing and direction are handled - Misaeng did very well on those scores, right from the prequel short films.

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Oh, didn't Wetlands Ecology Report get a drama special with Sung Joon starring. I've always wanted to watch that but never found it with subtitles.

I can always get behind this sort of thing when it's done right—character driven and compelling. I will keep an eye out for it.

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It did! I've always wanted to watch it too...

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"Oh, didn’t Wetlands Ecology Report get a drama special with Sung Joon starring. I’ve always wanted to watch that but never found it with subtitles."

Yes, and me, too !

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Sounds soooo good and out of the (ordinary) box of kdramaland! I presume this one goes beyond Misaeng and the white collar premise. It's a common knowledge in the capitalistic world how filthy rich do make the lives of Labour class a living hell the moment they practice "profit before people". The blue collar must strike back at any cost! I'm sure it will be a difficult and heavily emotional journey but I'm mentally prepared for the collision of classes!

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Sound like movie Cart being make into drama with male as protagonist. Looking forward for this one.

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Seems really interesting! A drama to look forward to!

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I really couldn´t connect with Misaeng, but supermarket might be a bit more familiar environment.

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Much more interested in Ahn Nae-sang starring in this than Ji Hyun-woo, because the latter still gives me unforgivable flashbacks to One Thousand Kisses.

Ahn also has a much more interesting and solid filmography than JHW.

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Try Queen In-hyun's Man!

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That's been suggested to me before but I have yet to last a full sageuk (fusion doesn't make much of a difference) and Yoo In-Na doesn't work for me either.

Ji Hyun-woo would have to be cast with someone like Gong Hyo-jin for me to consider watching a drama of his because she is awesome and her drama picks are always worth it.

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May i suggest try Old Miss Diaries (the sitcom, not movie) then...not sure about your preference, but he's so adorably (and embarrassingly) awkward in there.

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QIHM is the only drama I've liked Ji Hyun-woo in, so I'm hoping this will be better!!

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Sounds great and I hope I can get into the show as I didn't like and didn't finish Ji Hyun-Woo's last two projects and I miss him dearly.

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Didn't realise the teacher was Ji Hyun Woo, that explains why he looked so familiar!

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Not a big fan of JHW. Only role I've liked him in was Queen Inhyun's Man because of his chemistry with Yoo In-Na (they were a great couple while they lasted) but he was disappointing in Trot Lovers and Angry Mom imo. His expressions and acting just seems so fake

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That director, writer combo is awesome.

He's bureau head for jtbc? No wonder that channel has good shows! :) I hope this gets subbed or recapped somewhere.

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