Descended From the Sun’s production company announces new drama lineup with JTBC
Ooh, I’m really excited by this news, for a whole bunch of reasons. Studio&New, the drama production arm of NEW (Next Entertainment World), has announced their upcoming drama lineup. NEW is traditionally associated with its movie business — they’ve produced hits like The Attorney, Miracle in Cell No. 7, and Train to Busan — but with the ginormous success of Descended From the Sun, their first foray into dramaland, they’ve added a host of dramas to their pipeline.
Along with the previously announced season 2 of Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho, Studio&New is currently in pre-production stages for drama adaptations of webtoons Gi Gi Gwe Gwe and Moving, novel Ms. Hammurabi, and film Beauty Inside. I always have mixed feelings about adaptations, but I’m being cautiously optimistic because this lineup announcement accompanied the news that NEW has signed an agreement with JTBC for four of the dramas (minus Jo Deul-ho). JTBC has a pretty decent track record with adaptations (like Awl, Last, Solomon’s Perjury, to name a few) and I’m hoping their influence will help make these dramas successful, both critically and commercially.
Ms. Hammurabi, Moving
I’m not too familiar with the webtoon Moving and the novel Ms. Hammurabi, but they seem interesting in different ways: The former is written by popular webtoon writer Kang Pul, who also created 26 Years, which was adapted into a movie starring Jin Gu and and Han Hye-jin. Ms. Hammurabi is another legal drama (yawwwnn), BUT the main character is a newbie judge, which should provide some freshness to an otherwise overdone genre. The heroine is described as an overzealous rookie with a love of high heels and short skirts, who will focus on the people rather than on the case. This is giving me some strong Legally Blonde flashbacks, but the reports are saying this drama will have a more Misaeng in the courtroom vibe, so we’ll have to wait and see what the tone will be like.
Personally, I’m much more invested in, and worried about, the adaptations of Gi Gi Gwe Gwe and Beauty Inside. Gi Gi Gwe Gwe is a webtoon on Naver I read, and it’ll be interesting how they intend to adapt it because the webtoon is not one storyline but more of an omnibus. The genre isn’t consistent across each story either, so while they all have a somewhat eerie, supernatural element to it, some are more comical, while others are more touching, satirical, or outright scary. Gi Gi Gwe Gwe sounds the furthest along in pre-production, with two people already attached to draft the screenplay: writer Chun Sung-il, who has worked on Chuno, Level 7 Civil Servant (both the movie and the drama), and the movie Pirates, and director Park Jung-woo, who worked on movies Pandora and Jail Breakers.
Gi Gi Gwe Gwe, Beauty Inside
2015’s Beauty Inside is one of my favorite movies, and I still listen to True Romance by Citizens! on repeat whenever I need a little pep, so I’m clinging to the hope that this is one movie-to-drama adaptation that won’t fail *cough* Level 7 *cough*. The plot revolves around a man who wakes up to different faces every day, and the woman who comes to love him. I thought the story was perfectly sized for a film, so I wonder how they intend to stretch it out for a whole series. Also, there was a lot of star power required for the body-shifting hero in the movie, so I’ll be interested to see how that will be handled in the drama.
All in all, it looks like NEW is pretty serious about getting into the drama game; they’ve gone on a hiring spree and brought on directors Kwak Jung-hwan of Chuno and The K2, and Song Hyun-wook of Oh Hae-young Again and Introverted Boss. NEW founder and CEO Kim Woo-taek recently said that their company will focus on producing diverse content, in a “safe production environment,” so I’m going to be looking forward to what they will bring to the dramaland table.
Broadcast dates haven’t been announced yet, but the agreement with JTBC covers this fall through the end of 2018, so we can expect the first of these dramas to start later this year.