Drama Casting & News
Kang Haneul offered lead in MBC castaway drama
by | April 14, 2016 | 91 Comments

It’s about time that Kang Haneul got a leading role in a drama. He’s been a supporting actor in a number of projects that have earned him recognition (Misaeng, C’est Si Bon, Heirs, Monstar), but 2016 seems to be the year he’s breaking into leading man territory. He’s already headlined the film Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet earlier this year, and is now considering an offer to star in a new MBC drama called Gaia (as in Mother Earth, as far as I can tell).

The drama is an upbeat youth coming-of-age romance about a pretty idol boy band leader and an average heroine who survive a plane crash and are stranded on an island together. Um, is it The Blue Lagoon? Kang Haneul is being courted for the leading role, the prickly leader of a popular flower boy rock band. Of course he’s famous and prickly and she’s average and plain.

At least the castaway setup is different and interesting, even though right now I keep picturing Rain’s comical epilogues in Come Back, Ajusshi, which aren’t helping. But a youthful romance on an uncharted island could be really cute, since you’re pretty much stuck together and forced into all kinds of unusual situations where you have to depend on each other. I don’t know how much staying power is in a relationship that begins on a castaway island, but that’s probably not this drama’s concern, is it? I’ll just be glad if he gets a good co-star to be marooned with.

PD Choi Byung-gil of Angry Mom is at the helm, and the series will be a Korean-Chinese international co-production. Kang Haneul is ironing out scheduling conflicts, since he’s already begun work on fantasy sageuk Scarlet Heart: Goryeo, due out later this year. If all that can be worked out, he might end up in two concurrent dramas this fall.

Gaia is being planned for the post-Monster slot on Mondays and Tuesdays in September.

Via Osen, News1


91 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Moonbean

    Is this the same Gaia Song Ji Na was supposed to write for MBC?

    At least it’s fresh as far as Kdrama plots go…

  2. Moonbean

    Looks like it is but I wonder is she is still involved and if there are still other castaways..


  3. sky

    I want ryu hye young ,my second favorite actress this year.

    • 3.1 elfie

      Yes! I could see RHY opposite KHN

  4. alua

    Whose it the writer? Who is the director? That’d be decisive for me.

    Watched a few episodes of Angel Eyes the other day, which was quite terrible for various reasons (had to bail) but the first two episodes with Kang Haneul were good and he was certainly wonderful (the actors for the adult characters just couldn’t match him and Nam Ji-Hyun). Watching that did make me think that acting-wise he’s very much ready to carry a drama (or film, if better projects are found there) on his shoulders.

    • 4.1 Konjo

      The writer is song jina who wrote HEALER! ๐Ÿ˜€

      • 4.1.1 alua

        Hmm. I thought Healer was so-so, including in the writing department.

        • fan

          You say Song Jina is soso?

          • fan

            I liked parents’ stories in Healer, reminded me of Sand Glass somewhat.

          • alua

            I said Healer and its writing was. Not terrible but not amazing beyond comparison like many people seemed to think.

            Song Ji-na may have written other scripts that are better. I don’t know, I don’t think I have seen anything else by SJN.

            If actors I am interested in and a decent director gets on board, I’d give this a try, but ‘it’s the same writer as for Healer’ isn’t enough reason for me to watch this.

          • Kiara

            She wrote 2 back to back masterpieces (Sandglass and Eyes of Dawn) in her early years. I wish she’d go back to her root and write more period dramas. Romance is not her strength.

        • pogo

          I couldn’t get into it, but it was something of a craze. So get that cult hit status. I guess?

          • alua

            I get and don’t question the cult status of Healer (for kdrama watchers outside of Korea), but that doesn’t change my personal assessment/enjoyment of the drama. I found it watchable, but if I had never watched it I don’t feel I would have missed much. I did appreciate some of the acting and individual roles (Ahjumma more so than the two leads).

    • 4.2 pogo

      It’s Song Jina, based on previous info – not a bad sign. I wasn’t into Healer but she’s actually written some good dramas before, and a lot of people loved Healer too (understatement lol)

      But if Kang Haneul does take this, we’re going to end up with him on our screens in two dramas simultaneously – Scarlet Heart will also be on SBS around the same time.

      • 4.2.1 alua

        Ok, I checked what else she wrote. Have only seen Faith (which I bailed on pretty early on) and What’s Up?, where I did watch the whole thing and found it okay, particularly the longer it went on. Actually recently tried rewatching this and found it really, really hard to do. Did make think about underrated actors though โ€“ย Jo Jung-Seok seems to be on track (though it’s taken forever) but Im Joo-Hwan and Im Joo-Eun are still stuck in supporting or small roles when they have so much more talent.

        • Kiara

          Try Sandglass at Dramafever or download Eyes of Dawn from WITHS2โ€™s subs if it’s still available. Those were her glory days with director Kim Jong-hak.

          • Kiara

            Thanks to her I found the incredible Choi Min Soo and many other incredible actors.

          • kalel

            I agree with you. The writer’s strongest point is something that I’m not so sure if local audiences still love to watch. In Healer, the story of the parents was the actual plot as far as I’m concerned but for some reason the younger generation seemed more relatable to viewers (btw, Yoo Ji-tae’s story was the most heartbreaking for me!)
            I’m still waiting for an epic drama such as Sandglass or Eyes of Dawn. Is modern Korean society ready for the real Healer, though? Are there actors who can bring to life this type of characters?

          • crystal

            What do you mean by ‘real Healer.’ It was by far, the coolest character in a drama last year.

          • kalel

            I remember-and I don’t think I’m wrong- that the actual Healer was one of the friends in the ’80s. The name comes from their story. Healer was their illegal magazine/newspaper during their fight for Democracy.

        • nomad

          I really really really liked What’s Up.

          • alua

            I remember liking it a lot in the beginning, but getting impatient with it as it went on (with some aspects of the story and some characters).

            Rewatching felt like pulling tooth though. Not sure why, didn’t try beyond 2 episodes.

        • pogo

          What’s Up had a really solid young cast, but it took ages for any of them to get the spotlight they deserved – Jo Jong-seok first, and then after many years, finally Kim Ji-won.

          I’m still waiting on Im Joo-eun, Im Joo-hwan and a post-SWWTN Lee Soo-hyuk.

          • crystal

            I don’t know these actors are except for Lee Soo Hyuk.

        • coffeenlucia

          Personally I enjoyed [i]What’s Up[/i] more than [i]Healer.[/i]

          [i]Faith[/i] was… not great.

    • 4.3 whimsyful

      Song Ji-na is usually at least good to fantastic — aside from the famous Sandglass, Eyes of Dawn etc, I also quite enjoyed Story of a Man and What’s Up. At the very least, her stories usually have a good range of developed characters and non-cliched plots.

    • 4.4 Starfish

      The first two episodes of Angle Eyes are the most beautiful and touching

  5. TJ

    Finally one of my favorite young actors gets a shot at getting the girl. Can’t imagine why it took so long.

  6. Sur

    It’s time he leads a drama, recently saw him in the movie Like for Likes and he was so good in it! Loved his chemistry with Esom.

    • 6.1 pogo

      now there’s a pairing I’d like to see! In a drama, that is.

      • 6.1.1 whimsyful

        Yes! Though tbh I’d like to see Esom more often in dramas, period.

  7. makoto

    It’s about time for Kang Haneul to be a lead in a drama. I watch almost all of his movie / drama / drama special and find him good but often trapped in similar characters (except his cameo in Two Weeks and Missing Noir).
    I still ship him with Dahee from Monstar anyway… but I will accept any good actress to work with him as long as the story is interesting.

  8. Rozen

    I also when i read castaway drama I immediately thought of Come Back Ahjussi, i think they got the idea from it, but it’s a fresh idea though

    • 8.1 Konjo

      This drama has been in the works since September 2015 when news first broke out that a drama of this plot was planned…

  9. Nerdy

    “The drama is an upbeat youth coming-of-age romance about a pretty idol boy band leader and an average heroine”
    No, no, no no, no…It can’t be more stereotypical

    and being stuck on an island? also big no, the best thing about DOTS is that main heroes don’t need each other and they CHOOSE to stay together. In this case we wouldn’t see this element which somehow kill whole romance for me.
    Anyway I like Kang Haneul, so I hope his project would be successful…even if it sounds really bad

    • 9.1 coffeenlucia

      I like the plot synopsis! It’s like Shut up Flower Boy Band meets Tamra the Island.

      • 9.1.1 Solarmoonmoo

        As someone who listens to Wake Up at least once a week still, I approve of this synopsis.

  10. 10 Konjo

    The writer is Song Jina – she wrote Healer. Very promising.

    The production company is SM C&C & DMG Company (a Chinese company).

    I’m guessing they want a hallyu star seeing as there’s a Chinese company involved.

    Kang Haneul isn’t a hallyu star (yet!), so I’m assuming the female lead might be a hallyu star/a Korean actress that is big in China.

    Any guesses who it will be?

    • 10.1 Rozen

      Maybe kim ji won since now she’s famous in china because of DOTS

      • 10.1.1 pogo

        that’ll be quite the Heirs reunion (they played love interests towards the end of the drama)

        even if it’s not the one I was hoping for (Kim Ji-won/Kim Woo-bin)

    • 10.2 fab

      Thank you for this awesome piece of info. Song is my favourite writer. Totally approve of Kang Haneul as the lead, crossing my fingers, though, for a decent female lead.

    • 10.3 jichangwooklover

      Park bo young? But a reunion with Kim Ji Won would be nice too. The almost-but-not-quite couple from The Heirs lol.
      There are many actresses but a lot of them have upcoming dramas already or have just finished a drama.
      Too bad its going to take forever since Monstar is ending in September.

      • 10.3.1 Starfish

        Park Bo Young also comes to my mind. Both Ha Neul and Bo Young are super young and good actor and actress. Both of them are my idols.

    • 10.4 Solarmoonmoo

      I just had to look up Song Jina (I know, horrible).

      I’m currently watching Sandglass and I’m loving it even though I’m only 2 episodes in and it’s my first time watching it. I tried Faith and gave up 10 episodes in. I have yet to watch Healer but so many of my friends liked it which means I will have to watch it soon.

      But Kang Haneul…I will watch anything with him in it.

  11. 11 Adal

    Good for him! This is one case where it’s clear that all his hard work paid off. On the other hand, the plot sounds…meh. And I donโ€™t really see Kang Ha Neul in a pretty idol flower boy band leader rom com role, though he’s fully capable of surprising me and pulling it off.

  12. 12 Zah

    I hope this is more like Healer or Whats Up and less like Faith. Well for starters at least it’s not a historical drama. Song Ji Na fighting!

    It’ll be my first time watching Kang Ha Neul on the small screen. Heard a lot about him. ๐Ÿ˜›

  13. 13 Sancheezy

    Kang Ha Neul is a fine singer, I hope he get an OST from this drama

  14. 14 Sam

    I immediately thought of Come Back Ajusshi too.That was so hilarious to watch..I won’t mind if there will only be two actors in that drama (mostly) as long as it’s as entertaining as CMB’s..

  15. 15 Mandy

    I’m not a fan of the setup but it’s slightly differentiates itself if anything. Though really, I think getting stranded in an island together can only be funny for an episode or two. After that, it can get super repetitive.

    I love love love Kang Ha-neul though. He’s great and deserves a lead status in a commercially successful show. Now here’s hoping he gets a decent co-star – something tells me it’ll likely be an idol.

    • 15.1 pogo

      one can hope they’ll at least get a decent acting-idol for the female lead, though there aren’t that many who are fit for it.

      The ideal scenario would be them getting an actual actress, and a good one at that.

      • 15.1.1 woori

        I sincerely hope Kim Jiwon gets chosen. She just rejected the offer for ‘Moonlight Drawn By Clouds’ alonsgside PBG. She deserves a lead role. Her chemistry with Kang Haneul in ‘The Heirs’ was amazing!

  16. 16 Sera The Ms Temper

    Kim So Eun crossed my mind. She and KHN had a great chemistry in Mourning Grave even they didn’t get a happy ending. They should have another project together again. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. 17 pogo

    Kang Haneul is one actor who’s turned in solid performances everything he’s been in, even the throwaway third leads he played in stuff like Heirs and that Hana Kimi remake. And for someone so young, he has amazing range – he’s played everything from adorkable heroes to outright villains and manipulative, cards-close-to-the-chest reserved types. I wonder what he’ll be for this one, if he takes it.

    He’s been leading man material for years and I’m glad dramaland is starting to wake up to that.

    • 17.1 Solarmoonmoo

      He was honestly the best part of To the Beautiful You, no lie.

  18. 18 Brittni

    My hope for this plot is that the girl stranded with him is a crazed super fan that drives him insane. But as they spend more time together she begins to realize how useless he is and the obsessive fan girl starts to get over the big star. So when he realizes she no longer cares he begins to try ( comically) to win her love back by proving he’s not useless, he has real life skills besides being pretty!… but he doesn’t haha

    • 18.1 Wag_a_Muffin

      I’d watch your idea, Brittni!

      • 18.1.1 Flightey Gazelles

        At first,I was “oh no,that just reduce the heroine to perpetual heart eyes emoji and/or pinning with the occassional variation of puppy tears”. See what they did to Lee Yubi in SWWTN(still pissed and sad that thats what many people will remember her for). But,then I read everything else and I actualy will really dig that esp. the disillusionment.

        • pogo

          I’m so mad at SWWTN for what they did to Lee Yubi. The poor girl sustained a major injury AND got the worst role ever for a young rookie actress that left everyone forgetting the difference between the (terribly written) role and her actual skills.

          And even with that, I thought she was actually really good in parts though it hurts to see a talented actress desperately searching for any point of emotional connection to her character when said character is basically a twit who’s too stupid to live.

          I hope to god Moonlight Drawn by Clouds does not do the same thing to Kim Go-eun or Kim Ji-won.

        • Brittni

          I think it’s like every mega fan girls dream to be stuck on an island with your celeb crush. But if you take away the fantasy version of him would you still love him? When I say she’s obsessed I see it more like rawr~haha she is thinking island boy +girl alone… so she’s aggressive (oh my ghostess style) but he obviously is repulsed by her weird behavior because he’s soooo awesome. But when she leaves him now he’s the one crawling to her while she ignores him. Haha

    • 18.2 Den in the Trap

      I like your plot ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’d like to see Ryu Hwa-young as that crazed fan girl. She was so good in Ex-Girlfriend Club and I think she and KHN would look good together.

    • 18.3 thelady

      I’d watch this drama

  19. 19 Fuzzy

    Yay for Kang Ha-neul! He certainly deserves a lead role. Song Ji-na is a big big plus. I really liked Healer and I loved What’s Up to bits and pieces. Sure, they were filled with makjang elements(ie. The one he loves is the daughter of the man he *kinda* killed, Her father was *maybe* killed by his father, etc.) Despite those stuff, I found both dramas endearing and cracktastic. They had a certain magic that elevated them. So I trust her to make this drama fun.

    Kim Ji-won is a big possibility since she was also in What’s Up. I’d love that pairing.

  20. 20 canxi

    Oh yay! I mean, he’s got everything the people like, I’m surprised it took so long.

    I wish the roles were reversed for genders but watching a prickly dude possibly be out of his depth with a rough island life while Plain Jane just goes with the flow (hopefully) sounds like something I’d like to see.

  21. 21 boo

    Baek Jin Hee for the female lead, please? She’s free now

    • 21.1 elfie

      As long as the character isn’t another Geum Sawol. And it’s MBC so there’s a big possibility she might take it

    • 21.2 kanz

      I second Baek Jin Hee.. Very promising young actress.

  22. 22 Minni

    I actually hoping something different in this drama. I want realistically approach on castaway themes, I mean not focusing on romantic aspect but the survival aspect. Something like the manga Suicide Island that I’m hoping to get the live action version of it.
    I can only hope.

  23. 23 blah

    The plot seems as plain as the lead female character and this guy does’t have enough star power to pull in big ratings so I call it flop. You can whine all you want about my comment, you know I’m right.

    • 23.1 crystal

      Love kang ha neul, but if it’s a joint korean-chinese venture – i doubt the role will be going to him. Proabably, it will go to an actor that can act ok – like L, or Kang Seo Jun, or whoever

      • 23.1.1 crystal

        meant actual *idol* that can act ok

      • 23.1.2 asdfasdf

        Well I mean MBC confirmed that the role was already offered to him, so it’s him who has to decide.

  24. 24 wapz

    Does someone know if Dongju is subbed somewhere? I heard it was released in some cinemas in Korea with eng subs so I thought it’ll come earlier than other movies. I really want to watch that movie.

  25. 25 crazedlu

    I honestly don’t think he can command a leading drama role, but I guess we’ll see. Interesting premise.

  26. 26 Callie

    The premise sounds better for a 15 min. web drama (as in, not that strong).

    There’s gonna be other castaways right? Otherwise there would be no supporting cast.

  27. 27 TrinPie

    I have been keeping my eye on Kang Haneul and wondering why he hasn’t been offered a lead role yet. I really hope he takes this because I can see him fitting the role perfectly. So happy for him!

    “..sheโ€™s average and plain.”

    But of course the heroine will actually be this amazingly beautiful actress but because the show says she is ‘average and plain’ we will have to suspend belief and pretend she isn’t.

    • 27.1 blnmom

      That just means they’ll give her glasses and perm her hair.

      • 27.1.1 TrinPie

        And frumpy clothes! Nothing says average in kdrama land like a perm, glasses and frumpy clothes.

      • 27.1.2 thelady

        or a short boyish hair cut

  28. 28 museofmanymasks

    The first thing I thought of was Castaway on the Moon. I hope they try and make their own noodles from scratch.

    • 28.1 Kiara

      Same here. Castaway on the Moon came to mind. Jung Jae-Young <3.

    • 28.2 Lindy12

      Castaway on the Moon is one of my favourites. I was reminded of another film, Man’s Favorite Sport, which doesn’t involve being castaway at all. The hero is pretending to be an expert fisherman and all round outdoorsy type to the point of even writing books on the subject but he knows absolutely nothing. When he gets into a situation where he has to prove his expertise, he is totally dependent on a woman who knows everything about fishing, setting up a campsite, wilderness survival etc. It would be nice to see Ms “Average and Plain” know how to survive in the wilderness, take charge and save the day while Mr “Prickly Arrogant Idol” is totally dependent on her for the basic castaway necessities of life.

  29. 29 Manpreet Kaur Sidhu

    WOW! Excited to see him in a drama as leading man <3 ope he doesn't suffer from too much overworking.

  30. 30 Blueribbon

    The plot kind of reminds me of the movie “Love Wrecked” with some changes. But yeah “The blue lagoon also comes to mind.

  31. 31 penny

    Ooooh! I’m in! 1. Kang Haneul 2. I love that trope. I just hope that they aren’t just trapped for two episodes.

  32. 32 Purple Owl

    I am so in! KHN is one of my longtime Kdrama oppas. Been cheering for him since *shudder* TTBY. And Blue Lagoon was always on replay (until Youtube realized it wasn’t for my age, sigh)

    Can’t wait to see who is up against Ha-neul, I’m torn about KJW because I want her with Park Bo Gum

    • 32.1 paroles

      I think I read somewhere that Kim Yoo-jung’s taking the role.

      • 32.1.1 paroles

        in the PBG drama.

  33. 33 Solarmoonmoo

    I don’t care how bad or good it will be. If Kang Haneul is in it, I will watch it.

  34. 34 salt n' pepper

    Not really feeling the premise but I really like Kang Haneul and the writer seems reliable so I’ll watch it if it does come out.

  35. 35 Marina

    I will watch for sure. Are you kidding me? Imagine KHN singing a lot of romantic songs and teaching his castaway lady to play guitar. The Monstar Blue Lagoon musical, pretty please?!

  36. 36 Starfish

    Hope that he will confirm to join this drama. I can’t wait to see him acting as a lead actor in this upcoming drama.

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