Park Hae Jin will go from a devoted love-sick swain in You From Another Star to a genius doctor with a secret? I dig that, and he totally deserves the upgrade. I’m thoroughly enjoying Park Hae Jin’s supporting turn in YFAS playing Lee Hwi Kyung, the man-child who has a one-track Cheon Song Yi type of mind, though truth be told I don’t blame him since Song Yi is just that magnetic of a lure. It’s pretty fun to watch him nail the role and even more amusing to think that he was actually going to play older brother sociopath Lee Jae Kyung (and even started filming in that role!) when Choi Min (who was supposed to play Hwi Kyung) bowed out due to an injury and Park Hae Jin had to quickly switch roles. The rest is history as Shin Sung Rok erased his longstanding schlubby nice guy onscreen persona for playing the hammiest villain in K-dramas in a long time. Park Hae Jin was probably asked to switch roles with SBS offering up a nice compensation and it’s in the form of the lead role in the upcoming Dr. Stranger. That drama has a two male lead structure and Park Hae Jin has been confirmed as one of the leads. He’ll be playing Han Jae Joon, a Harvard-trained cardiothoracic surgeon who returns to Korea to work at a local hospital. If Lee Jong Seok accepts the other male lead role, he’ll be playing Park Hoon, the titular Dr. Stranger in the title, another genius surgeon but he’s not from a prestigious university as much as he’s an escapee from North Korea. In talks to round out the cast as the female lead is Park Min Young who would be making her drama return in two years since the much maligned Dr. Jin. I’m assuming she’s also going to play a doctor and make this a hospital themed drama. It’s really the production team that is the powerhouse incentive for me to check this out – writing is the screenwriter Park Jin Woo behind The Kingdom of the Wind, Conspiracy in the Court, and Snow Flower, while PD Jin Hyuk of The Master’s Sun, City Hunter, Prosecutor Princess fame will be directing.
Dr. Stranger is scheduled to take over the SBS Mon-Tues timeslot – right now it’s Warm Words airing which will be followed in February by Lee Bo Young‘s God’s Gift – 14 Days and Dr. Stranger will take over in April after that. If Lee Jong Seok accepts then he’ll be doing a drama right after his noona Lee Bo Young, who we all remember their pairing struck ratings gold last year for SBS with I Hear Your Voice. Hopefully he gets rid of the blond hair by then, I can’t imagine how he’ll convince me he’s a North Korean genius surgeon when he’s got bleached blond hair which he’s sporting for promotions for his current movie Hot-blooded Youth.