Nam Joo-hyuk offered lead in tvN’s Bride of the Water God
This would be quite the leap for Nam Joo-hyuk: He has been offered the lead in a high-profile tvN drama project called Bride of the Water God 2017, based on a manhwa of the same name (sans the 2017). He has not been confirmed, as initial reports misstated, but cable station tvN did state that he has been offered the role of the lead, water god Ha-baek.
The original story is set in a fantasy world where a water god is offered young women sacrifices by the inhabitants of a village that has been plagued by many years of drought. One sacrifice becomes his bride, and complications ensue. The drama is calling itself a spinoff version rather than a direct remake; it plans to keep the characters of the original while reworking the setting to a modern one, set in Seoul.
I might normally be wary of altering the story that much, but not with this production team, whose credits read like a list of personal favorites: Writing is Jung Yoon-jung of the acclaimed Misaeng and whimsical fantasy-romance Arang and the Magistrate, while directing is PD Kim Byung-soo, whose style I loved in thoughtful modern relationship drama Bubblegum, swashbuckler Three Musketeers, cerebral time-traveler Nine, and time-traveling romance Queen Inhyun’s Man.
Nam Joo-hyuk is doing wonderfully at the moment in MBC’s campus coming-of-age romance Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju, and I like him more in that show than I’ve ever liked him before—he’s exuberant, funny, and adorably devoted. Still, I’m pretty surprised to hear him as a potential lead for this project, because he’s still very young—both in age (nearly 23) and experience, debuting as a model in 2013 and as an actor with 2014’s Surplus Princess, where he was cute but very green. He was fine as a puppy-doggish sidekick in Cheese in the Trap, but his weakest moment was in last year’s Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, where I thought he just couldn’t pull off the emotion or seriousness of the role. I find him better playing boyish, sweet characters so I’m not sure what to expect if he ends up headlining this drama. I can imagine fans of the manhwa will have a lot of thoughts about this!
Bride of the Water God will air on tvN, though it has not yet been scheduled.
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