Will it be third time’s the charm for the upcoming period K-drama Age of Feeling (Inspiring Generation)? Will Kim Hyun Joong avoid the pitfalls that befell his last attempted drama comeback City Conquest? These two are some big what-ifs and the latest news reports indicate the two might dovetail. Back in February there were murmurings that Lee Jun Ki would be picking Inspiring Generation as his K-drama comeback, a story about a patriotic Korean young man living in Shanghai in the 1930s. The news went quiet on this production until Lee Jun Ki announced he was coming back to dramas via the upcoming MBC drama Two Weeks about an unjustly persecuted man who has two weeks to clear his name and get his daughter treatment for leukemia. Then came word that Inspiring Generation was courting Kwon Sang Woo, who is as different in style and acting from Lee Jun Ki as actors get. It would also make the male lead character older and more grizzled. That was nearly two months ago and now the juiciest news popped up that Inspiring Generation is in talks with Kim Hyun Joong to headline the drama. I’m ready for the usual “he can’t act” litany and frankly its all warranted. That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be entertaining watching him onscreen in the right role and with a leading lady he has chemistry with. I still love Playful Kiss and don’t feel a lick of shame for loving this guilty pleasure, Kim Hyun Joong’s performance as Baek Seung Jo included (though most it was the charm of Jung So Min as Oh Ha Ni). Inspiring Generation is based on a manhwa from the writer of Damo and promises to be gritty and warm-hearted. If he signs on, Kim Hyun Joong will be playing a young hoodlum ruling the streets of Shanghai who uses his fists when necessary to protect his country, his family, and the woman he loves. I don’t know why this sounds like Gaksital (Bridal Mask) but set in Shanghai instead of Seoul and probably no masks will be involved. I have a pretty high tolerance for Kim Hyun Joong’s brand of emoting (or lack thereof) and the crash-and-burn of his last drama City Conquest was particularly disheartening for everyone involved. It was mid-way through filming when the plug was pulled due to lack of a broadcaster, which probably means it was terrible so perhaps it was a wise decision but I’m sure its gotta hurt. If he comes back with Inspiring Generation then I’ll definitely check it out. I love period dramas and Shanghai in the 30’s was a wild and snazzy time era to depict.
Directing will be the PD who did Call of My Country, The Man Who Can’t Get Married, and Sweet 18, none of which indicate he has any aptitude for a period drama involving patriotic themes criss-crossed with street fights. Neither does anything in Kim Hyun Joong’s resume indicate this is the right role for him, but I’ll wait and see what comes of this possible production. I’m way more interested to see who is cast as the leading lady if he does accept. It’s DOA for me if it turns out to be one of those idol girls who can’t act.