By Han Sang-hee
The famous Japanese cartoon "Boys over Flowers
" by Yoko Kamio will be broadcast next year through the small screen, complete with a Korean version of "Flower 4", that features handsome boys and a headstrong heroine.
Fans, reporters and camera crews packed the press conference held at a hotel in central Seoul, confirming the anticipation the drama has stirred for fans here.
The drama has cast four actors who were chosen from auditions: Lee Min-ho
(Tsukasa Domyoji, or Goo Jun-pyo in the Korean version); Kim Hyun-joong
(Rui Hanazawa, or Yoon Ji-hu); Kim Beom
(Sojirou Nishikado, or So E-jeong); and Kim Jun
(Akira Mimasaka, or Song Woo-bin). Actress Ku Hye-sun
will play Tsukushi Makino, or Geum Jan-di.
The story ― about four boys and one lucky girl, spiced with the right mix of love triangles, troubles in school and parents and luxurious adolescent life ― captivated Asia, first through its original comic book, then through an animation, dramas from Japan and Taiwan and a movie.
Why another one, particularly a drama?
"I was asked to make the Korean version, and after some consideration, I decided to do it. Our version will be based on the cartoon, and I have tried to bring originality as much as possible", Jeon Ki-sang
, the producer of the drama, told reporters.
He added that he did have to change a few details in the storyline due to the cultural differences between Japan and Korea, but he tried to stick to the original plot as close as possible.
Even the cast had to look similar to the original ones seen in the cartoon ― from hairstyles, overall image and even height.
"Rui is 186 centimeters and so we tried to match the height of the actors during the audition. In the case of Tsukasa, he has curly hair, so Lee had to perm his hair numerous times just to get that perfect curl", he said.
The actors were thrilled to be starring in a drama whose plot is recognized all over Asia, but there were also hints of pressure.
"At first, I felt I just won the lottery. But now I feel the pressure and also the responsibility", said Lee, who is regarded as the most similar to the original character Domyoji because of his height and dark curly hair.
The former leader of the boy band SS501 Kim Hyun-joong
also showed his anxiety by appearing as an actor.
"I do feel nervous and pressured, as this drama is my first one. When I watched movies or dramas, I just enjoyed them but now I focus on the way the actors talk, breathe and other acting elements. I just hope I'll do well enough to continue with another drama in the future", he said.
Compared to the male actors, Koo is a senior when it comes to acting, and she admitted that she thought she would have to lead the group, but realized that there was no need.
"I was worried at first, but everyone came so prepared. It actually made me nervous. I think I've changed a bit by acting as Jan-di, who is outgoing, strong and bright. I was uncomfortable meeting new people, but now I think I'm more like her", she said.
"We thought that the drama would be lame if it was just heavy and too luxurious. It will be more light and fun, that's why we decided to call it a trendy romantic drama", the producer said.
"Boys over Flowers
" will start airing Jan. 5 at 9:55 p.m. on KBS.