Excuse me, but whut? It’s been hours since I heard this news and my mind is still not computing. I suppose in the world of K-drama casting anything goes, and I mean anything as long as it’s some arrangement between the agencies and production companies that the audiences will never know about other than wonder skeptically why two people were cast as a couple. KBS has been having a rough ride with its Wed-Thurs time slot all year, though that might have changed as of this week. KBS hasn’t had a hit in the time slot since Nice Guy (The Innocent Man) aired late last year, and its follow ups have been rating duds from Jeon Woo Chi to IRIS 2 to The Fugitive of Joseon to The Blade and Petal. There is a certain irony in that the currently airing revenge melodrama Secret (Secret Love) with Ji Sung and Hwang Jung Eum (which KBS touted as like Nice Guy) did a monster jump in ratings this week when Heirs and Medical Top Team both premiered and leap frogged to the front of the class with a nice mid-teens in ratings. Not bad for a drama that started off in the low single digits, I guess revenge melodramas does sell. I thought KBS was looking for something different for the time slot which is why it pushed Age of Feeling with Kim Hyun Joong into early 2014 and slotted in Beautiful Man with Jang Geun Seok. Movie actress Han Ye Ri was initially in talks to join BM but I knew she was out when she signed on to Kim Yoon Seok and Yoochun‘s upcoming movie Sea Fog instead. That’s kinda a no-brainer decision if you ask me. I figured KBS was scrambling in talks with various young actresses to land the right person for the role of the earnest ordinary-looking girl who has a massive and long-standing crush on “the world’s most beautiful man”. Even knowing any K-actress could land the part, my jaw still dropped when I read the news that IU was in the final stages of discussion to be the leading lady. IU?!? Who just dropped her new LP Modern Times and recently wrapped the 50-episode weekend drama The Best Lee Soon Shin. This one completely caught me by surprise. In addition to Jang Geun Seok, the drama has also signed on Lee Jang Woo as the second male lead and recently a new mommy Han Chae Young as the second female lead. Filming is slate to start in about two weeks to take over the time slot from Secret in late November.
Beautiful Man is a manhwa adaptation and will be produced by Group Eight, no stranger to adapting mangas and manhwas into dramas. Group Eight is responsible for Goong, Boys Before Flowers, Tamra the Island, Birdie Buddy, and Playful Kiss. Adapting the manhwa will be the screenwriter who recently had a major box office hit with Miracle in Cell No 7.