After percolating for the past year, SM Entertainment has finally finalized the cast for its adaptation of Hanazakari no Kimitachi e (Hana Kimi) which is called To the Beautiful You. The cast is a combination of two idols in the lead, Sulli from f(x) playing the role of Ashiya Mizuki and Minho from SHINee as Sano Izumi, plus two young actors Lee Hyun Woo as Nakatsu Shuichi and Kim Ji Won as the token second female lead. This looks and feels like a potential Playful Kiss, which I personally loved, but tanked so badly with domestic ratings in Korea. I don’t have a great fascination with Hana Kimi, despite watching the original J-dorama version (not the atrocious 2011 remake) because of my adoration for Horikita Maki and finding Oguri Shun strangely okay, but really it was Ikuta Toma who stole the show (plus the remaining gaggle of cute J-boys). What’s worse for Beautiful You’s prospects is that it’s going up against Nice Guy and Arang the Magistrate, and younger themed dramas continue the trend of getting low ratings. Wishing this drama good luck probably won’t do it much good.
I have no clue about this Minho feller but he looks solid enough to convince me he’s a star athlete. Sulli is adorable, and she was a child actress (she was young Princess Sunhwa in Seodongyeo, my first K-drama ever and I loved the child story in that drama) so I have faith she’ll do just fine. She’s about as convincing as a boy as Maki was, so believability isn’t exactly a requirement in Hana Kimi adaptations (though conversely Ella and Maeda Atsuko both looked like boys in their turns). I’m actually tuning in for the second leads in this version, though tuning in doesn’t sound right, since I’ll be slavering over Arang to really pay attention to other things. But I am curious to see how the K-version stacks up to the other three remakes.
Also joining the cast is L of Infinite (who folks think looks like my Shin but I only see a vague resemblance) and Hwang Kang Hee (of ZE:A). For the adult characters, supposedly Ki Tae Young has signed on, and rumors have Jang Dong Gun’s wife Ko So Young in talks to join the cast. Beautiful You premieres in August on SBS following Ghost. It will be directed by the PD who did Boys Over Flowers (Korean Hana Yori Dango), Witch Amusement, and My Girl, and written by the screenwriter for High Kick 2 and 3 as well as Once Upon a Time in Saengchori. If you are one of the rare folks out there who hasn’t seen one of the existing three Hana Kimi adaptations, it’s the story of a girl cross-dressing to join an all-boys boarding school to encourage her star athlete crush to regain his sporting mojo. Hijinks ensue.