Supporting cast lined up for Korean remake of Designated Survivor
Sohn Seok-gu, Kim Gyu-ri, Choi Yoon-young, Heo Jun-ho
I’m quite iffy on remakes generally, but this is one that sounds like it could make for an interesting transition from the States to South Korea. Designated Survivor, the Netflix (formerly ABC) show, is getting the remake treatment from tvN, with Ji Jin-hee (Misty) confirmed as the lead character last month. In the past week, a whole slew of casting reports have also been announced, filling in important roles in this political thriller.
I haven’t watched the original show, so I can’t say anything to the quality of the American version, but the plot is quite interesting: The US show begins with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development being sworn in as the unlikely President of the United States, following the bombing of the U.S. capital during the president’s annual State of the Union address, wiping out everyone in the near line of succession. The show then follows the newly minted president as he deals with the aftermath.
The Korean show has some minor changes, but sounds like it will remain faithful to the original in broad strokes: Ji Jin-hee will play the Minister of the Environment, who finds himself in the Blue House after the president and most of the high-ranking Cabinet are killed in a terrorist attack. A former chemistry professor from KAIST, Ji Jin-hee’s character will find himself unwillingly thrust into the seat of power, and dealing with a country in chaos following the events leading to his ascendency. He’ll be joined by Kim Gyu-ri (About Time), who will play his wife and First Lady of Korea.
And of course, we have various political players surrounding the new president: Sohn Seok-gu (Matrimonial Chaos) will play the Presidential Secretary for Administration. He’s considered the power behind the president, who is courteous and highly intelligent, but has an unapproachable aura. Veteran actor Heo Jun-ho (Kingdom), joins Designated Survivor as a former lower-level aide, turned Presidential Secretary for Political Affairs. And Choi Yoon-young (Enemies From the Past), who is more familiar to weekender watchers, will play the Presidential Secretary for Policy. I’m not familiar with the actress, but goodness knows I’m just really happy one of these key political roles is occupied by a woman.
And just as an aside, while the U.S. has a single chief of staff who assists the president in all areas, South Korea has various presidential secretaries for different issues (i.e. Foreign Affairs, Economy, Agriculture, etc.). These are separate positions from Ministers, who are the equivalent of American Cabinet Secretaries. I must admit that I’m not at all familiar with the hierarchy and structure of South Korea’s executive branch, but I’ll be interested to learn more and compare/contrast the dynamic with our own West Wing.
Designated Survivor is slated to air in the first half of this year on tvN.