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Lee Jae-wook, Park Hye-eun to co-star in new Hong Sisters drama


Lee Jae-wook, Park Hye-eun

Recently, Lee Jae-wook (Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol) was confirmed as the lead in a new Hong sisters drama called Hwan Hon. Rookie actress Park Hye-eun (The School Nurse Files) stars opposite him in this fantasy drama about young psychics who handle the secrets of the universe. It’s been reported that the first script read already took place.

Apparently, various famous actresses auditioned for the female lead role, but in the end, Park Hye-eun was chosen for being a fresh face with solid acting abilities. I’m just glad to see Lee Jae-wook finally paired up with someone his own age, not that I didn’t enjoy all the delicious noona romances he’s been in.

As of yet, there haven’t been many details announced about the plot of this upcoming drama, but fantasy romances are pretty much the Hong sisters’ bread and butter (ex: Hotel Del Luna, Hwayugi, Master’s Sun) so I’m not too worried. The title may be a big hint as to what the drama will be about, as “hwan hon” refers to the return of a soul to the mortal plane.

Directed by Park Joon-hwa (What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim), Hwan Hon is currently being negotiated to air on tvN.

Via Hankyung

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I'm up for Hong sisters' drama! I like that they cast a new actress.

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Seo In-guk is back! Lee Jae-wook is gearing for a comeback! Both on tVn!! I'm so happy! ☺️

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Interesting! I am not fan of the Hong sisters, but man, I love Lee Jae wook!
Let's see...

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I'm hopeful for this. We are praying that I will like this drama like I loved School Nurse Files and not how I hated Ddsslls.

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YAY I am so excited for a comeback from the Hong sisters. Glad they decided to cast a fresh face, and also Lee Jae Wook <3

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Park Hye-eun was excellent in School Nurse Files! I also like it that they chose a less conventional type - she's beautiful, but not cookie-cutter-pretty, and she's very expressive

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Oh Lee Jae Wook. I wonder if he found a new agency. I was surprised he didn't renew with his last one. They found him pretty great and different characters and he has a good reputation as an actor of his age. And now, he's in Hong sister's drama.

It's unusual they chose rookies for the leads and pretty young ones. I like the idea to let the chance to new actors to work with famous writers!

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This may be the youngest they've ever cast. I feel like they used to cast rookies and less well-known faces until they became big enough names. I like this return to newer actors!

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I'm glad that Lee Jae-wook chose this drama over KBS's rom-com Dal-li and Gamjatang (that Kim Min-Jae confirmed to star) .
I really hope this Hwan hon will be like another Hotel Del Luna.
Hwan Hon (환혼 還魂), just the title itself sounds like so Hong sisters' drama already.

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Hong sisters ace at fantasy but I end up enjoying characters and world building more than the romance.

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Definitely tuning in for Hong sisters' drama! I also like Lee Jae Wook so yay. I'm surprised and happy they are casting a fresh face for the female lead. She did pretty well in School Nurse Files and I actually remember her from the many student roles in that drama!

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Lee Jae-wook with an actress around his own age?? Yes please. Noona romances are fun but same/similar age pairings are the best.

Also, I’m glad to see fresh faces in dramaland, especially in a project as relatively high profile as this one.

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Why are noona romances fun?
I'm genuinely trying to understand who finds them enjoyable.

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Because any ethical and healthy romances can be fun, regardless of age gap?
I was twice in a noona romance, sort of. Living in a society where age gaps in a relationship matter especially when the women are older and being in such relationships twice, I can relate very well to the pains and challenges portrayed in these stories. However I can completely understand if many prefer similar-age pairing. It’s just that I don’t think there is anything wrong in noona romance if it doesn’t break any moral values, and if there’s nothing wrong with it why can’t it be genuinely resonating for a certain group of audience?

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You addressed everything I wanted explain in such a clear and thought-out manner.

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“Fresh faces in dramaland” oh look how naïve I was. I was actually so excited for this before they ruined it.

LJW will permanently be stuck in noona romances from now on. It’s the law.

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Oh lol, I was going to comment and say well...

I do wonder (prob. b/c dramas require more funding/buzz) why rookie actresses can't just debut as a main FL w/o dropping out due to cold feet? We have males (idols) who are given ML's off the bat, or Ji Soo (Snowdrop). Agency power/fame/built in fanbase prob. offsets it.

Whereas rookie actresses who aren't well known/new, don't have that power/backing yet. Even My Sassy Girl, the PD said they wanted to create a new star and auditioned thousands for the FL. The newbie FL dropped out bc/ of 'pressures', and Oh Yeon Seo stepped in. I'll be shocked if a K-drama actually cast a FL that's a (never done much like Park Hye-eun) rookie alongside a big name (Lee Jae Wook isn't a big name yet tbh, but he did do more roles/2nd ML's before going up) w/o needing to do that, and not get dropped/leave.

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This is just my opinion and it very well might be nonsense, but I think because these projects have a lot depending on its success, people behind the scenes get nervous when they see a rookie actress stumble or struggle a little with their new lead role. And because the industry has double standards against actresses (especially younger, less established ones like PHE), they just don’t want to bother with extra acting lessons/training or try to help them out as they might do with certain male actors. Better to get someone who you know will deliver a strong performance, than risk it at the hands of new talent.

This is just my speculation though.

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Its just strange that you hear that the PD/writer wanted to seek out new/fresh talent, so they did and she won the role. Of course, sometimes on camera, it doesn't pan out as expected. But it feels a bit strange to me given the cast read/audition prior to being on camera, the actress said she was disappointed but didn't clarify further.

For female actresses, its easier to debut in a film where they won accolades like Kim Tae Ri/Kim Da Mi in their debuts. Then get a lead in a big drama, then just having no experience. I also heard this show was 8 or 10 episodes, I guess b/c of fresh actors involved. I've so much to say but man what a mess! It is an industry where you get your work/rec. from those you've worked w/ before, so for Park, she didn't have that going in. My Sassy Girl (who was picked like Park in an audition) has gone m.i.a, I hope Park succeeds b/c she really does have a different look to her that would've been refreshing to see as a FL. Plus LJW could use a similar/close age pairing tbh.

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I love this casting but am a little bit wary of the Hong Sisters- I tend to like their world-building and characters (when they bother to make them compelling *cough*Jin Sun-Mi*cough*) but their romances tend to fall flat for me. And I need my boy Jae-wook in a good romance with a good ending after the character-assassinating dumpster-fire that was DDSSLLS.

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Fwiw. I have had the Hong Sisters upcoming drama from tvN, RETURN on my list of upcoming sageuks.
All I can find out about it is in this article from the beginning of the year where it is referred to as a ‘fantasy historical romance drama’:
https://zapzee.net/2021/01/01/masters-sun-hotel-del-luna-writer-hong-sisters-returning-with-another-fantasy-romance-drama/

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It’s not gonna be like River right?

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Certainly I hope it doesn't have the controversy that surrounded RIVER.

I am a big fan of Lee Jae-wook. DODO's collapse in the second half of the drama was not his fault but writer-nim, director-nim, producer-nim and a lot of other nims but not the fault of the actors in front of the camera.
Yes. I am still annoyed.

This will be my first Hong Sisters drama so I am kind of intrigued.

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I'm sorry to hear about your trauma from DODO. I thanked myself several times for adopting Beans' suggestion that I should not continue my watch after ep.13. It remains one of my most loved dramas until today. Oh, yes (for me) it ended at the end of ep 13.

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Lol I was there for the 'crash landing'.

In many ways DODO was a strange experience. I really enjoyed it up to episode nine when the writer decided to make little Jae-min into a child 'noble idiot'. I said to myself there is no way a child would act like that. After the age reveal the plot started slipping.
On the other hand there were still some lovely scenes for example the haraboji back story.
@mmmmm, if you haven't seen it, you really should go and watch the epilogue to episode 15. It starts at 59.20 (I just checked) and it is a beautiful scene between Joon and and Seung-ki (LJW and Yoon Yong-bin). That one scene made hanging in there worth it for me.

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Thank you for the recommended scenes and the specific time stamp! This should help me avoid unnecessary 'bad' things in those eps.

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Oh yeah for Hong Sister and Lee Jae-wook!!

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Hong Sisters are often a hit or miss for me. Some I enjoyed a lot (Sassy Girl Chunhyang, My Girl, You're Beautiful, My Girlfriend is a nine-tailed fox, Greatest Love and Master's Sun), while some are 'meh' (Hong Gil Dong, Big, Warm & Cozy, and A Korean Odyssey). As for their recent one, Hotel Del Luna, I enjoyed it initially but somewhere towards the end it kinda drags. While I did indeed enjoy the whole premise and plot, I didn't really enjoy the romance and the chemistry was a bit lacklustre in my opinion. I'm kind of curious of which category this one falls though. I'll look forward to it.

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I'm just happy his love interest is someone around his age. He's always getting paired with older actresses, and while that in itself isn't bad, it would be super refreshing to see him paired with someone his age. Finally!

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Lee Jae Wook 😍😍😍

Look forward to this. Hong sisters drama is a hit or miss for me. But i feel hopeful about this one.

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I will admit, I have a soft spot for psychics in kdramas. I feel like I can count on one hand the kdramas centered around a lead who is a psychic, so to have another one to add to that short list makes me very excited. And also given these lead actors who I liked in their other works, I'll definitely give this drama a fighting chance.

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So many rising/rookie stars, no wonder many talents feel the competition. The actress Park Hye-eun looks so much like the actress from Dead Like Me: Ellen Muth. It's uncanny how similar they look like to each other.

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"Apparently, various famous actresses auditioned for the female lead role, but in the end, Park Hye-eun was chosen for being a fresh face with solid acting abilities."

: Cut to now, where allegedly her 'bad' acting skills is what made the show drop her. Gross, the K-entertainment industry is so shady. Poor actress. When has bad acting stopped many poor actors before? It's obvious they wanted a 'bigger' star but got wet feet once shooting began. I assume funding wasn't sufficient (since the cast is full of rookies), and/or she refused to be taken advantage of. Its whose backing you up, and this rookie actress doesn't have that power. So slimy, why do PDs say they want to cast rookie females as leads in high profile dramas only to balk at the end?! Ex. My Sassy Girl (SBS) and Return (tvN). In order to create more stars you need to give chances to new talents. Smh, this whole ordeal is a MESS!!

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I wish people would stop jumping to conclusions when we don't know what happened behind the scenes. I've seen people blame everyone from the actress to the PD to the Hong Sisters--along with some shade even thrown at Jung So-min!! FWIW, JSM has worked with Park PD multiple times (in BTIMFL and cameo-ing in WWWSK and very recently My Roommate is a Gumiho) and seems to have a good relationship with him so I'm guessing she was one of the first people contacted when they were scrambling to find someone to fill the role.

I wouldn't be surprised if this being a Hong Sisters drama has something to do with it, and I'm sure they have the power if they wanted to replace an actor, but placing the blame squarely on them (or squarely on Park PD or on ANYONE) seems ridiculous to me when, again, we don't know what happened. I highly doubt this is a Princess Aurora situation.

I do feel really bad for Park Hye-eun and am sure it was not at all her fault in any way, and I hope she can get some good roles in the future to build up her resume so something like this never happens again. I liked her in School Nurse Files.

Also, what a mess the reporting on this was. How incredibly rude to write about the situation in that way. The poor girl must be humiliated.

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There's a lot to unpack here about what happened. All I can decipher is on the surface, it seems like a lose/win situation b/c they cut ties before shooting fully began. Yes, I read JSM is likely joining b/c of her ties w/ the PD. Although, we'll never know why the rookie actress was cut, to save face for everyone involved.

A Hong Sisters drama esp. with CGI/mystical stuff involved, this was def. a high profile drama. Its just confusing to see how one goes to audition for a high profile role, and then does the reading w/ the cast, and then boom out! I notice for K talents, they tend to work there way up in small roles/supporting before awaiting their turn to get lead status. Park Hye-eun's debut was a small role in Nurse Files. Kim Tae Ri was fresh/green when she got The Handmaiden, & she proved her worth. Sounds complicated, & I know Park posted a short video/pics of her on Return. It seems sad for her, and honestly I would've loved to seen her debut (Fresh faces in a drama esp. a FL is exciting).

I fear her career might have gotten side tracked from this before it even started. Poor girl indeed. What an unfortunate scenario. I have thoughts/?'s on rookie actresses having a harder time debuting as FL in dramas, & why they don't get that chance from what it seems when they have to drop out due to 'feeling pressured.' Anyways, I wish Park Hye-eun well, but the reporting done was messy/possibly damaging. Shame on the reporters and tvN for handling this situation poorly.

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