Hip-hop youth webtoon Who Knows gets drama adaptation
There’s a new webtoon-to-drama adaptation in the works which fits into a familiar niche as a youth drama about music and romance, but it offers something slightly different: It’s about an awkward teenage boy who becomes a hip-hop musician superstar. Cool. The webtoon by Kim Jae-han is called Who Knows, a slangy phrase that’s used in a lot of different ways, from “what’s there to know” to “who the hell even knows,” and it’s a high school romance that cleverly integrates music as a part of the webtoon-reading experience.
The drama is being planned as a 16-episode pre-produced series, and an early casting offer was made to Yook Sung-jae (The Lonely Shining Goblin) to headline, but his agency almost immediately released a statement that he’d already turned the project down. That’s too bad, though honestly if the drama is about a hip-hop artist, it’s one case where I’d want them to cast someone who’s just as talented a rapper as he is an actor. You guys will probably know better than me—does such a person exist?
The webtoon is about a 19-year-old high school senior named Kim Won-joon, an introspective, overthinking kid who basically keeps to himself and tries to stay invisible from bullies in order to survive at school. He carries a torch for a girl he’s never even met—a senior at a nearby school who’s famous for her uljjang photos online—and he’s a bit of a fanboy about her, thinking himself a mere mortal who could never reach his “goddess.”
One day, his best friend decides to enroll them both in an open audition to be models (the friend hilariously submits Won-joon’s photo and a photo of Kimura Takyua for himself), and Won-joon’s ordinary life drastically changes when he meets his goddess at his audition, and then gets cast as a model. He sort of stumbles into the entertainment world and then discovers a love and talent for music, inspired by the girl he’s in love with.
I’ve only read the beginning of the webtoon, but what I like about it is how awkward the hero is—he’s not cool or suave at all, which is appealing when you know that he’ll somehow transform into a superstar. It’s maybe not as drastic a transformation as the one Kim Soo-hyun underwent in Dream High, but it’s that type of trajectory, where he starts out a bumbling fool who can’t even talk to pretty girls.
The story is set in 2007 to 2010, and the drama plans to use the music specific to that time, and even hopes to get cameos from different hip-hop artists for each episode. Casting is still underway and a broadcaster has yet to pick it up, but Who Knows plans to start shooting in July.
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