Rom-com fans rejoice: MBC is bringing an upbeat romance to a timeslot otherwise dominated by an action-heavy period piece and a melodrama.
"Still Marry Me," a spin-off of MBC`s 2004 "Marry Me," will continue to chart the escapades of its 30-something and single heroine Lee Sin-young.
When asked if "Still Marry Me" could be defined as a second season of "Marry Me," a MBC representative said over the phone. "It is not really a sequel. It has a feel that is similar to that."
Original scriptwriter Kim In-young will play a strong connective role in imbuing the upcoming drama with the same feisty characters that gave "Marry Me" its addictive zest.
"Lost And Found" actress Park Jin-hee, 32, will be replacing "Marry Me" lead Myung Se-bin as the heroine. Two new female characters, played by actresses Uhm Ji-won and Wang Bit-na, will fill in for Lee`s former gal pals and carry on the girl talk legacy that led the original to be dubbed the Korean version of HBO`s "Sex and the City."
But it is the new male lead that promises to garner the most attention. "Boys Over Flowers" Kim Bum is signed on to star as Lee Sin-young`s hot and young love interest.
The 20-year old actor seems inclined to opt for challenging roles.
"In truth, I was very concerned about it," he expressed his initial reaction to the younger man in love with older woman plotline in a press release from MBC. The press release detailed an interview between the star and the drama`s production crew.
"I think that co-star Park Jin-hee probably felt the same way."
"I even wondered if we would really be able to appear as though we were truly a couple in love," Kim Bum continued. "But filming started, I started to work with Park Jin-hee, and I thought, thanks to Lee Sin-young, this could be a warm winter, and my concerns and worries went away."
When asked about the relationship between Kim Bum`s and Park Jin-hee`s characters, the MBC representative answered: "It could be seen as the central romance."
According to the press release, Kim Bum and co-star Park met near Seorae Village in the early stages of filming to analyze the romantic relationship between their characters. Kim Bum also revealed that he is learning how to play the guitar for his role as a musician and composer.
In the new drama, 24-year old Ha Min-jae (Kim Bum) encounters 34-year old newsroom broadcast reporter Lee Sin-young (Park Jin-hee) on campus. The two start off quibbling when they meet again after Lee breaks Ha`s guitar string because she thinks he is interfering with her reporting and then she comes to teach a special lecture class at his college. Over the weeks, Ha finds himself growing subconsciously attracted to her, an initial feeling that eventually develops into love.
"My Too Perfect Sons" actor Lee Pil-mo and "My Wife is a Superwoman" actor Choi Cheol-ho will also be starring in "Still Marry Me." Lee will be playing Lee Sin-young`s ex-boyfriend. Choi is cast as an oriental medicine doctor who goes on a blind date with heroine Lee but ends up courting Lee`s friend.
Slated to air next Wednesday, MBC`s new drama is entering the Wednesday and Thursday night ratings race two weeks after KBS` "The Slave Hunters" started airing. "The Slave Hunters" stepped up to the ratings throne from the day it first aired and continues to remain the ratings leader, nabbing nationwide ratings of 27.2 percent (TNS Media Korea) on Wednesday.
Will "Still Marry Me" be able to put a dent in the period piece`s current success?
"Still Marry Me" first airs on Jan. 20 on MBC at 9:55 p.m.
By Jean Oh