Chuno, Runaway PD comes back with cable spy drama Neighborhood Hero
Director Kwak Jung-hwan is in talks to come back with a new blockbuster action-spy drama, this time for cable channel OCN, and here’s to hoping he gives us more of the action and intrigue of Chuno and Conspiracy in the Court that made him famous, rather than the disappointments of hyped follow-up projects Runaway Plan B and Basketball.
The new project is operating under the working title Neighborhood Hero and, according to PD Kwak, has been in pre-production for a long while. It has a reported production budget of 8 billion won (which translates to close to $7 million USD) and takes the concept of “neighborhood spy action” drama, although I have no idea what those words together mean in terms of drama genre. The only thing I can think of is the (unrelated) blockbuster film Covertly, Grandly, which had spy-action elements but also close-knit neighborhoody relationships. Is that what they mean? It’s hard to tell, though I suppose it’s not a bad project to emulate since that movie was a box-office smash.
In any case, PD Kwak does do better with this kind of plot, all fast action and spy antics. Chuno was super-charged with energy and testosterone, and while Runaway Plan B was less of a hit, I did end up really enjoying its globe-trotting caper comedy beats (even if the plot itself was outlandish and unrealistic—but Lee Jung-jin, chasing Rain, over and over and over again? That was good times). Basketball was a strange exercise in dour histo-reality that was tanked by terrible rookie acting, but hopefully PD Kwak has learned from that and will be using his flashy directorial touch to better effect for Neighborhood Hero.
One thing’s for sure: With OCN up to broadcast the drama, there’s lots of room for cool effects, gritty action, and stylish direction. The timelsot is still undecided, though PD Kwak did say he plans to work with a rookie scriptwriter, with casting and detailed plans still in planning stages. Neighborhood Hero is aiming a 20-episode run.