You know, if only Monster weren’t a 50-episode drama, I’d probably be all revved up and rarin’ to go — the second teaser is out, and it looks intense and full of angsty performances. (Note: On desktop, the video player autoplays, so turn your sound down or get ready to hit pause if you don’t want it to play. Apologies for the annoyance — MBC has been oddly restrictive about access to its Monster videos, and this was the only one I could find.)
I wouldn’t say that the length is enough to kill my interest, but it does make it feel like a daunting undertaking and an extra commitment. Although I suppose that this writer pair — Giant, History of a Salaryman, Incarnation of Money, Empress Ki — is used to sprawling epic stories that unfold over time and involve lots of characters.
It took a little digging, but I eventually managed to find the first teaser for MBC’s revenge-melo series Monster, which has apparently taken the restrict-all-social-media-availability approach to promotion, which seems rather counterproductive if you ask me. It’s too bad, since I like the look of the show; we’ll just have to see if MBC decides it wants anybody to be able to see it or not. (Why is this a question?!)
The drama has a familiar revenge premise, where Kang Ji-hwan is the “man who’s had everything stolen from him” who decide he’ll go after those at the top who made that happen. Along the way, he meets Sung Yuri, who becomes the one good thing amidst the ugly and corrupt world he’s dealing with. She looks sweet in the teaser, but she’s described as rather mercenary, having had to take care of her autistic brother on her own, with her tenacity being a strength and also a weapon.
Here we have a handful of new stills for Monster, MBC’s upcoming revenge melodrama starring Kang Ji-hwan in what seems to be his favorite type of transformation, from disheveled beggar to sleek urbane city man. Why are those always his two options? I do admit that he sure can make a makeover satisfying, probably because he goes after the scraggly “before” version with so much gusto (see: Runway Cop, Big Man).
In the drama, Kang Ji-hwan plays a character who loses both parents in childhood, then has everything stolen away by his uncle (Jung Bo-seok, playing another baddie). His own life is imperiled, but he survives the close call and then is “reborn” later with a new name. The descriptions are a little cagey about the reasons for all this, but we do know he’ll be going up against the rich and powerful, trying to take them down.
After circling on the casting-go-round for a while, MBC’s upcoming revenge melodrama Monster is finally winding down, its main casting complete. Kang Ji-hwan was cast last month as the hero out to seek his revenge against the greedy rich elites who trampled his family, followed by Park Ki-woong as a dissipated chaebol villain, Jo Boa as a chaebol daughter, and Sung Yuri as the heroine whose love is like “a flower in a mud pit” to the hero.
Kim Soo-hyun (or simply Soo-hyun, as she’s dropped her surname to avoid confusion with the Hallyu super-duper-star) is the newest addition to Monster, returning to dramaland after her Hollywood turn in Avengers 2. She’ll play a spy who gains employment at Dodo Group (run by our central chaebol family) under false pretenses and is carrying out a secret assignment for the national intelligence service. She did previously play a spy for the drama Level 7 Civil Servant, but maybe this one will be better written. Really, it couldn’t be much worse written.
Ah, finally news of a potential leading lady for Monster, the revengey melo starring Kang Ji-hwan whose life is trampled by the super elite and who then sets out for payback. News has surfaced simultaneously that both Han Ji-min (Hyde Jekyll Me, Rooftop Prince) and Sung Yuri (Birth Secret, Feast of the Gods) are in contention, though both sides are very clear that they’re just considering.
Aside from the super awkwardness of courting two actresses publicly (who thought of that idea, and are they still employed?), I have to say I could get behind either pairing purely based on their prior outings with Kang Ji-hwan. (In fact, I even wonder if the drama went fishing for leading ladies specifically in his pool of former co-stars, to ensure a decent partnership. Was Kim Haneul busy?)
Oh great, now I HAVE to watch Monster. I mean, yay I have to watch Monster? I’m not even sure anymore. (It isn’t that it sounds bad; it’s that this is one of those serious, sprawling 50-episode dramas, and man, those take work.)
But with Kang Ji-hwan (Incarnation of Money, Big Man) headlining the series and now Park Ki-woong (Gaksitaaaaal) choosing it as his army comeback drama, who am I to fight it? I’ll just block off April through September on my calendar and settle in for the long haul…
Ah, this casting makes more sense: Kang Ji-hwan (Big Man) is now confirmed as the leading man in MBC’s upcoming 50-episode melodrama Monster (formerly titled Tyrant), while relative newcomer Seo Kang-joon (Cheese in the Trap) is no longer in consideration for the show. It seemed so strange to have a young rookie like Seo being courted to lead a big show like this, particularly since it covers a lot of ground and spans 20 years and requires an actor with a bit more gravitas, and he’s not there yet.
The story of Monster starts during the IMF crisis in the late ’90s and tells “the revenge story of one man sacrificed by an avaricious den of demons.” He loses his parents at a young age and almost dies, and takes on a new life and name in pursuing his revenge, vowing to expose the ugly true faces of the elite; along the way, he finds a love that’s like “a flower bud growing in a mud pit.” Recently cast to play the hero in his youth is idol Lee Ki-kwang (Mrs. Cop), while Lee Yeol-eum (Village: Secret of Achiara) will play the younger heroine.
This new drama sounds like it’ll probably be a comedy, so it could be a fun new project for Kang Ji-hwan (Big Man), an actor I much prefer in comedic roles. He’s good at dramatic stuff too, but he’s got a particular zing when he’s playing something for laughs, and the more outlandish the comedy, the better. He’s considering an offer to headline the new MBC drama My Little Baby, about a detective who unexpectedly has to raise a baby on his own. Does one get left on his doorstep? In any case, hijinks are sure to follow.
Remember Home Alone, that new drama that was aiming to pair Kang Ji-hwan and Moon Geun-young as love interests that was announced all of two days ago? Well never mind, you can go ahead and forget it now, because that’s what KBS is doing—it has backpedaled and removed the drama from the schedule.
It’s a surprising move for its suddenness; everything about this project was handled so abruptly—one day it was here, and the next day it was gone. Home Alone had been talked about as a Monday-Tuesday drama for KBS, to follow Taming Mother-in-Law (which follows currently airing I Remember You). The plot was to center around a main character who loses his family, moves to the States, finds success there as a businessman, then moves back to Korea and falls for the woman caretaker for his house and dog.
Good news: Kang Ji-hwan (Big Man) and Moon Geun-young (Goddess of Fire Jung-yi) may be teaming up for a new drama! Aw, I’ve missed them in good dramas!
Less good news news: The drama comes from writer Kim Do-hyun of tvN’s weirdly mishmashed rom-com-murder drama My Secret Hotel, and is produced by Dream E&M, which did the absurd weekend makjang King’s Family and the heart-transplant melodrama My Spring Days.
But on the upside: Directing is Lee Jung-seob, the PD of Healer. Whee!