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Cha Seung-won courted for Hong sisters fantasy romance on tvN

This would be an interesting reunion: Cha Seung-won (Hwajeong) has met with the Hong sisters writing team (Hong Jung-eun, Hong Mi-ran) and is in talks to headline their new fantasy-romance drama, which is being considered for a Friday-Saturday slot on cable station tvN. The drama is based on the Chinese classic novel Journey to the West (Seoyugi in Korean) and reimagined as a modern story, and will be titled Hwayugi. (No explanation has been given on the title; it’s a pun on Journey to the West but I’m not sure in what sense without more explanation.)

My knowledge of Journey to the West is limited, but it seems like the Hong sisters will be taking a sideways spin at the tale rather than going at it head-on. The classic Journey to the West is centered around five main characters, with a monk on a pilgrimage to India accompanied by disciples/companions, each of whom is atoning for sins committed in past lives. The mischievous Monkey King, Sun Wukong, wears a gold ring around his head that can control him; the Pig is the fighter with a big appetite; Sandy is a water demon who has a quieter role; and Yulong is the son of the dragon king who appears as a horse.

In this 2017 modernized version, the monkey character is depraved and the monk full of snobbery and materialism (perhaps in lovable ways? The Hongs do love to play with lovably flawed leads). The story is described as “finding the light in a dark world overrun with evil spirits.” It’ll have both horror-thriller elements and comedic romantic ones, which makes me think of the Hongs’ drama Master’s Sun, which is one of the better associations to have with their past works.

In Hwayugi, Cha Seung-won is up to play a character named Woo Hwi-chul, who is based on the Bull Demon King character, Sun Wuokong’s sworn brother. Woo Hwi-chul is a successful businessman who is the object of others’ envy, and the image of an utter gentleman.

On the one hand, I really loved Cha Seung-won when he worked with the writers before on their hilarious rom-com Best Love, back in 2011. While Cha had plenty of star power before that drama, the show did revitalize his image as a comedic leading man, and I think that was the Hong sisters near the top of their writing game, which had a long list of hits: Delightful Girl Chun-hyang, My Girl, You’re Beautiful, My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho. But then came Big and Warm and Cozy, and now I find myself pretty uncertain what to expect from the pair. Will the last two years have given them time to find their mojo? Or will we get another lackluster rom-com with nonsensical plots and character logic? I really hope the writers have found that lovin’ feelin’ again and will be back strong.

PD Park Hong-kyun of Best Love and Queen Seon-deok is attached to direct. Hwayugi is looking at a December premiere on tvN.

Via Joongang, TV Report

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Yes! Hopefully they can make another classic like Greatest Love!
I really enjoyed Cha Seung-won in romcoms so I hope he accepts it ><

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"Journey To the West" is a VERY beloved folktale/story of Chinese culture, so I hope that things will go right, the stars will align, and the writing won't go cray cray and spoil such a beloved folktale/story that is such a big and vital part of our Chinese culture and many childhoods of us Chinese people lol *crossing fingers super hard and praying for the best*

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There's so many remakes in China of the story, it never gets old. It'll be interesting to see how much of a spin they put on this.

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I hope Hong sisters found their groove again. They do have interesting stories. They just... go downhill at the end. Rooting for you, Hong sisters. And of course, rooting for you, Cha Seung Won!

random, I still have all my You're Beautiful OST albums. hahaha!

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Me too! Its on my phone and when I played the song randomly and the OST played, it made me want to see the drama again.

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yes, Hong sisters has been missing on radar couple of years, Master's sun is their last hit .

Journey to the west is my fav classic I grew up with watching with my grandma. since I'm buddhist, the novel itself has very deep meaning. I hope it will they second heyday again like MGIG,.

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Another Bhuddhist?, high five Bro!!!.

I still remeber dearly the las episodes of Monkey, Arthur Waley's take on that classic, and yes, its content about emptiness was wonderful. Anyway, a recommended reading: filled with imagination, luscious content, racunous fun and under that fantastic surface, a tale of self discovery, camaraderie and enlightenment.

If you have time and want to have a fun read (albeit a little dated), please take Monkey as a recommendation.

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hehe tossed back five chingu ^^

"filled with imagination, luscious content, racunous fun and under that fantastic surface, a tale of self discovery, camaraderie and enlightenment"

Beautifully captured about this holy journey. every word is on fleek ~camaraderie and enlightenment~

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Ahjusshi is back!!!! ??? Sigh now I want a reunion with Gong Hyo Jin too. ?

Please be good drama. Just be good ???

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I thought its now Sat- Sun slot for tvN?

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Ohhh, I'm intrigued. Best Love is probably my favorite Hong sisters drama, it was so zippy and clever, it reminded me of a Shakespearean comedy in a lot of ways. And Master's Sun is tied for second (with You're Beautiful) because the spooky elements worked so well with undermining the Candy theme. If this is the Hong sisters we get again, I'm in.

I'm just pretending Warm and Cozy was a weird fever dream I had a few summers ago.

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Me too... Mad & Boring drastically cooled my love for K-Dramas.

To your lovely list I personally add My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, My Girl and believe it or not, Fantasy Couple.

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i hope the writing is good because i loved my girlfriend is a gumiho and master's sun(even tho the last three episodes were very annoying)....i think they mix fantasy well with rom-com..but since big and warm and cozy were pretty meh...am here hoping they've got their groove back because a well made fantasy drama is always a nice christmas season gift.

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Me tooooo - They made my favorite and least favorite dramas. I love their good ones so so much and am such a fan of their best writing, their puns, their triple entendre, their metaphors! Pleeeeeeease be good!!

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Hopefully they'll work their magic again and give us a delightfully hilarious rom-com. *crossing fingers*

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Honestly, I would watch Cha Seung-won in almost anything for that face alone. Blessed be the genes that came together for such a miracle. Amen.

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They had me at "Cha Seung-won"!

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Now I remember that I haven't seen Best love, I just tremendously enjoyed DB recaps. This is a mistake that needs to be corrected soon.

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Lucky you!

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I've been wanting to see CSW in another rom-com, and even though the Hong Sisters have written a couple of duds lately, they've built up a lot of goodwill with me, so I'm choosing to be optimistic. Hwaiting, Hong sisters!

I think the pic is funny 'cause it looks like just the thought of returning to a drama-shooting schedule is making him tired.

P.S.-- I spy 소. ?

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Just don't drag everything and it gonna good.

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But... it's tvN :( If the ratings go up, we're looking at 1.5 to 2 hours per episode. O___O

I hope it's good though. I miss the Hong Sisters. The real ones! Not the alien-abducted replacements that wrote their last show.

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Now I'm reminded of Reply...

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Wait what's that? The sound of my brain shattering from internal screaming? THIS HEADLINE MADE MY DAY ?

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I watched and loved most of their works. I want to hope they've usefully spent these 2 years to deliver us a drama like they used to do, before Big and Warm and Cozy.

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I have hopes that TVN knows what they're doing and if they pick it up it won't be Journey to the Big Warm & Cozy Place.

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Yes, I am hoping that Big and Warm and Cozy were because the Hong sisters felt obligated to deliver a drama almost every year and that taking some time off has let them find their mojo. Because when they are on, they are on!

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Ding dong, 소, Pororo microphone/lie detector... Few of many things I remember in Best Love. Love that rom-com because it was the first time I watched CSW not as super villain, and realized that he's great at playing comic roles.

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I used to adore Hong sisters until their huge fails......I love Cha Seung-won in comedies, i only hope the writing lives up to his talent. Mmmm....he doesn't sound like he'll be the lead unless there's 2 male leads. The lead would have to be Monkey King, which I'm sure they will be getting a young actor, probably an idol. :-( Ahhh...more bromance, right up my alley. Hope they get a good actor, someone like Sung Jae who had great chemistry with his sunbaes in Goblin.

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Omg, now that you mentioned sungjae I wish this got real :'(. Btw anyone knows what the story is actually about? The whole idea of the mischievous monkey king and his sworn brother, then a pig, a horse, and a monk? I'm scratching my head to link all these to a fantasy romance thriller lol.

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Now I want Seung-gi! Keep the bromance and fridge commercial love alive! If not a leading role, maybe another epic cameo? Please please please?

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I can't imagine the pain it will give me if Hwayugi turns out to be a monumental flop... The memory of Warm and Cozy is still painful.

Hong Sisters, please get your act together.

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Best love is one of my favorite dramas, I hope this happens. The Hong sisters have been losing their groove, but they still have that magic in them, I know it.

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Hope they can recreate the awesomeness of Best Love!!

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I was thinking about the Hong Sisters and Chajumma (separately) yesterday and now a news about them... :)

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I hope they found their groove back because i love everything they have done (before Big). And my favorite dramas of all time belong to them. *lights up candle in offering for their enlightment*

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It's been some time since I last saw CSW in a rom-com so yes, praying hard that this will be a good one!!!

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I was thinking recently that the Hongs and Cha Seung Won need to come back to dramaland ASAP and have a reunion with a romcom before Cha gets too old for them and then boom i get this news and considering the fact that journey to the west is my favorite tv series which i used to watch as a kid(1986 version) and currently re watching this is an extremely good news to me lol like am super happy for this.Now am praying to still be around in December and watch the drama.

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Nah, there's no such thing as too old for a rom-com. Old people need love too.

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You are right but i just cant picture an older man puling off his role in the greatest love.

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woah, journey to the west is such a famous story, asians & especially chinese are really familiar with it. it's been remade & reused so many times it's impossible to count all of them. come to think about it, tvn has the same-name variety show too isn't it? lol

but seeing that the main lead is on the bull demon king character, i think it's just a loose adaptation only. we will need more details to see how much of the story is based on the original materials.

im always fond of best love & master's sun (so ji sub in romcom is pure LOVE ?) so im curious how the hong sisters will play around with the classic folklore. more details, especially the female lead casting, please!

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is he still popular?.. don't see him in movies/dramas

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Please let this be true! The first thing I ever saw Cha in was "Best Love", he stole my heart. I agree that the later Hong Sisters' dramas have not been as good, but fingers crossed!

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He is my favorite actor so I pray that the Hong sisters can pull off another Greatest Love. I am intrigued by the story and can't wait for him to be on tv again.

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OMG! Cha Seung-won has being the only Hong Sisters leading man that didn't make me want to hulk smash my computer, I love him and I loved him as Dokko Jin! I'm so there if he decides to do this. I haven't seen a Hong Sisters drama since that dull as dishwater Master's Sun. Please let this be good. Amen.

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Lol, oh no!!! Master's Sun was my first kdrama. It led to the addiction and will alsways hold a special place in my heart. So sorry to hear you found it dull.

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Rooting for the Hong sisters! My Girl will always remain my all-time favorite k drama and I'm still listening to My Girl OST now

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Omg, same here. The soundtrack always gets me in the feels, never feels old

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I'd heard that Cha Seung-won was doing a drama this year, and I suspected that it was going to be with the Hong sisters. I loved Cha Seung-won in Best Love. I hope the Hong sisters have gotten their mojo back and everything works out.

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Oh yeah,this sounds sooo good...For me at least Hong Sisters always have one good show and after one bad,the last was bad so now we must get by their tradition a good one...

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OK, this is totally random, but from years of watching K-dramas and seeing the chaebols with their walk in closets with carefully lit boxed wrist watches and the portrayal of fake "behind the scenes" of photo shoots and actors and the obsession with brand name luxury items . . .

I'm pretty sure Cha Seung-won is wearing a Vacheron-Constatin watch, which is the world's oldest continually manufactured watch brand and out of Switzerland. The model (if I'm right) is the Overseas World Time, which shows the time for cities around the world. It sells for a cool $25-30k.

I mention it only because I now imagine some lowly prop assistant being tasked with getting the watch to the shoot on time, and spilling coffee on it, and basically whatever would happen in the drama-world version of the shoot. Someone steals it to pay for younger sibling's life-saving surgery? Or to pay off father's debts? Or taken by the bitchy second female lead to make the Candy-heroine-prop-assistant look like a thief in front of the assy photographer (with a secret tragic past and hidden heart of gold, natch)? Or turns out to be a fake but the picture was already published and now the actor gets mocked for not being a big enough star to get real luxury goods to wear for a photo shoot?

I may have seen too many dramas . . . . but in this crowd I'm probably on the lower end of submersion. ;)

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I love your deductive skills and the possible drama theories! And after I read your comment, I went looking and it is indeed a Vacheron Constantin! :)

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Hmmm...will proceed with caution...but I do love love love Cha ?!

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I love Cha and I can't wait to see him in a new rom-com a la Best Love.

Hopefully the Hong sisters have reignited their whimsical style of writing.

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I'm not at a point anymore where I can enjoy Hong sisters dramas (can't seem to turn my critical filters off), but I wish they would get their mojo back too. They were never good writers, but they used to be very entertaining. I have fond memories of marathoning their shows in my dorm room.

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I just finished watching his Man on Heels. It was intense. I am looking forward to seeing Cha Seung Won again in the small screen in a romcom and looking forward to the Hong sisters comeback. I enjoyed their Best Love, Master's Sun and of course My Girlfriend is a Gumiho.

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The Hong sisters are very hit and miss for me. They have had some really good dramas that I love and some I wish to erase from my memory. Hopefully this will be one of the beloved ones!

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whatever it is just be wonderful for cha seung won. i miss that guy and he needs a cracktastic drama to star in

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Definitely looking forward to seeing Cha Seung-won back in dramaland. He's been missed!

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After the poor writing and underutilization of stellar actors, in Warm and Cozy, the Hong Sisters get major side-eye from me. The Hong Sisters are very hit or miss to me. With that said, I'm a fan of Cha Seung -Won and I will place my confidence in him more than the Hong Sisters.

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Dear Beanies, how are you?. I am crossing my fingers for this Hong Sister's Dramas. I fell in love whith Ms. Shin Min Ah's MiHo in My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, loved even more Master's Sun, but Warm & Cozy considerably cooled my love for K-Dramas.

If you have time and love to read, please look for Monkey, Arthur Waley's abridgement on Wu Cheng'En('s) Journey to the West. Since it is an already slapsticky source (well in tune with Hong Sister's sense of humour) I look forward to their Career Revival.

Again, crossing my fingers ;) .

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Sorry Beanies, but since the last of Hong Sisters Drama that was really good was Master's Sun with its spiritual sorld, would it be possible to open a competition to develop a "Please don't dissapoint us again" talisman to ward off Mad & Boring writing?.

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Well keep in mind that Master's Sun happened between Big and Warm and Cozy so it's not like they've had 2 strikes in a row.

I think Big they just made bad choices. I suspect for W&C they just half-assed it because it ended up so far away from their original idea. Maybe they were told the budget was only X and then they cut down their plans and lost interest. Dunno.

Now, considering that the drama production industry is short on cash lately, this could be a bad thing indeed.

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Yes! He is one of my favorite actors. Although, I am nervous having just finished watching Warm and Cozy and it was not as good as their previous dramas.

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Yes! Finally!

Last drama I saw of his was You're All Surrounded and he wasn't the first lead in that show. That was about 3 years ago. I gave Hwajung a miss since it was too long.

Hopefully this is another memorable show like City Hall or Greatest Love. Cha Seung-Won is ace. Need more of him in dramaland.

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Oh yesss please!!!

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omg PLEASE. if anything I'm in for Cha Seung Won in a comedic role but please be good please be good

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lol wth?? ok so i'm chinese and watched journey to the west as a kid and its such a friggen classic and been remade many times so i'm curious to see how theyre gonna turn this into a kdrama with a modern flair......

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Bien Daram???

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As a Hong sisters' fan, I'm expecting that Dramabeans will recap and post reviews and news about this drama. Dramabeans and Hong Sisters hold a special place in my heart. During the time when Internet is not widely available and most korean dramas that I watch are from DVDs, Dramabeans quenched my thirst in recaps and screenshots of every scenes. Thank you so much, Dramabeans!~

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