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Lawyers vie for top spot in drama line-up

2008/07/09 | 1144 views |  | Permalink | Source

Though the tagline for MBC's new Wednesday and Thursday night miniseries "The Lawyers of The Great Republic Korea" is "Love versus money", with two superhero dramas out right now, it should really read, "superheroes versus lawyers".

Following on the heels of the abysmal drama on reporters, "Spotlight", which ended on a sour note last Thursday, this romantic comedy will need more than a few lawyers to compete SBS' with "Iljimae".

The star power of Lee Joon-ki as a Joseon Dynasty superhero in the hit SBS drama has swept viewer ratings nationwide. And celebrities Lee Seong-jae and Lee Soo-kyeong will need to showcase some stellar acting and flawless comic timing in order to nab audiences in "Daehanminguk Byeonhosa" ("The Lawyers of The Great Republic Korea").

Actor Lee, who made his mark playing ruthless businessmen in flicks like "Public Enemy" (2002) and "Shinsukki Blues" (2004), takes his turn on the small screen playing the head of a finance group slapped in the face with a whopping 100 billion won ($100 million) divorce lawsuit by his trophy wife Lee Ae-ri.

"Well, I was up against the hit drama 'Jumong' at one point", said actor Lee, 37, at a press conference held last week, when asked about how he feels about going up against "Iljimae".

Lee's good-natured response, however, did not hide the miniseries' somewhat lackluster plotline or the relative lack of confidence of his co-star Lee Soo-kyeong, who revealed that this is the first time she is acting in a miniseries.

Actress Lee, who will be playing an inept but earnest divorce lawyer representing Lee Seong-jae's character in the suit, made her mark playing a minor role in the SBS weekend drama "Love in Heaven" (2005) before taking on a larger role in MBC's "Soul Mate" (2006).

In both shows, she charmed audiences as a clueless and innocent girl falling in love. While her latest role as a divorce lawyer possesses some of the qualities of her previous characters, it still represents a radical departure for Lee.

"If, in the past, I played a lot of dependent characters, this time I am playing a character who is independent", said actress Lee, 26.

But what Lee may lack in experience, she makes up for with spunk. The feisty actress packs a stiff punch, and co-star Ryoo Soo-yeong, who is playing her ex-boyfriend, can testify to it.

"It's the first time I have been slapped so hard that my cheek got swollen", said actor Ryoo, 28, who was slapped over 10 times by actress Lee while filming a scene.

In the scene, Ryoo's character returns after going M.I.A. for six years and expects his girlfriend to welcome him back with open arms.

"But in reality, if someone came back after six years and asked to move back in, I think he would get hit too", said Ryu.

Actor Ryoo proved he could do comedy in the KBS drama "18 vs. 29" (2005). In his new role, he plays both ex-boyfriend and rival to actress Lee by taking on the role of opposition divorce lawyer representing the wife of actor Lee's character.

But don't be fooled by the title or the presence of lawyers; this drama is not a Korean version of the hit U.S. series "Ally McBeal".

"It is not a genre drama about lawyers", said director Yoon Jae-moon. "It is a romantic comedy about four people ... Since it's hot this summer, I want to do a drama that makes people feel refreshed".

For those a little tired of all the superheroes whizzing around on the small screen, e.g., of SBS' "Iljimae" and KBS' "Mighty Chil-woo", this romantic comedy may be just what the doctor ordered.

"The Lawyers of The Great Republic Korea" airs tonight at 9:55 p.m. on MBC.

By Jean Oh

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