Yoona Joins Joo Won in the K-adaptation of the Hit J-manga Nodame Cantabile

With critically acclaimed young actress Shim Eun Kyung declining the leading lady role for the upcoming Fall K-adaptation of Nodame Cantabile, the plum role was up for grabs and I’ve even postulated a handful of young actresses that are either suitable or likely to fall on the network’s radar when it comes time to cast. Joo Won has already been confirmed as the leading man for the last two months and the drama doesn’t air until October, but this story is so quirky and endearing if done right it definitely could use a head start. Plus the chemistry between the two leads needs to be electrifying to sell their mutually eccentric personalities sparking with each other. Joo Won is playing the of Chiaki Shinichi, and how his Noda Megumi (aka Nodame) has been cast with SNSD‘s very own Yoona! She was on my shit list for the longest time and I decided to give her a chance in Prime Minister & I because I love her male lead Lee Bum Soo and I was so desperate for a rom-com.

I ended up loving the drama and loving her even more in it. So her casting as Nodame is a thumbs up choice for me, but I’m sure there are still folks who haven’t yet warmed up to her and will worry whether she can handle a very difficult multifaceted character to bring to life. Both the Japanese leads Tamaki Hiroshi and Ueno Juri are hard acts to follow so even if I love Yoona it’s not a given that she can improve on playing a straight up heroine in PM&I to a piano-playing girl with her head in the clouds and a severe cleanliness issue. Both leads have low EQ and high musical IQ, but in different but complementary ways. With the two leads cast, plus two supporting roles already filled by Do Hee of Tiny-G and veteran Baek Yoon Shik, this drama will likely start cranking out the large cast consisting of actors and actresses playing the students and teachers at the musical arts university where the two leads are students.

The K-version of Nodame will be adapted from the original manga of the same name, rather than copying the J-dorama which stands on its own and honestly can’t be matched. Better to go to the source and do something unique.


Yoona Joins Joo Won in the K-adaptation of the Hit J-manga Nodame Cantabile — 82 Comments

  1. Oh God No. I was really hoping they’d manage to cast Im Joo Eun x_x
    Will still give this a go though I have some serious reservation about Yoona. Not so much about her acting, just that she’ll look too “pretty” to make a proper Nodame.

    • Was Im Joo Eun up for this too?? That could have been great. Hopefully she’ll land herself a good drama soon. I still haven’t seen the original Jdrama Nodame Cantabile, so thankfully have zero expectations, nor any particular feelings regarding Joo Won and Yoona – haven’t sat through a full drama for either.

  2. I think she did well in PMI but in a, she’s gotten so much better now she’s at least serviceable way, not a wow now she’s a A+ actress kind of well. The character Nodame requires a lot of depth, something which Yoona did not show for me in her past endeavours. As people have pointed out her image is also very different, though I think that’s less of an issue. It’s confirmed now so we’ll see how the drama goes. Production also has huge shoes to fill.

    • I was thinking the same.

      But Ara will be playing the same role all over again, after Answer Me and YAAS.

      And if KBS run out of option, they will 911 Jin Seyeon! Hah.

      Errr I’m not against her, I like her but not a fan of her, but it will be funny it that happens. And all the K-dramafan will be very very angry. And owh, that girl can play a piano very well.

      One thing for sure, I will watch it for Joo Won!

  3. Oh no. I was so looking forward to the K-version of Nodame Cantabile. I still think Joo Won is sure to do a standout job as Chiaki, but I’m not sure Yoona can handle Nodame’s nuanced character. She did credible job in PMaI, but I don’t think it was a challenging role to begin with, and her performance still wasn’t stellar. She’s not the worst actress around, but she just doesn’t have much range. And as mentioned above, I’m a little worried that concern for her pretty celebrity image will be at odds with the messy, unshowered oddness of the original Nodame. I have a sentimental attachment to Nodame Cantabile and while I’ll likely still watch this new version for that reason, my expectations have seriously dropped.

  4. Is it just me or the picture of Yoona at the top is odd? The photoshopping has gone wrong.

    Her face is facing a different way than her body.

    • I put all my ducks in one basket and say that there is no way KBS will allow the mangaka to veto Yoona publicly and embarrass her. KBS either already got her rubber stamp approval or will convince her to agree to it. Once the news is out now, she’s pretty much set unless SHE decides not to do it.

  5. when i saw this news, i thought i could hear you scream from miles away koala. I just momentarily forgot you like PMI.
    Im still very cold toward Yoona. She did well in PMI but that role is also very befitting to her personality. I can almost imagine how Yoona going to play Megumi. She had a sweet face so she probably going to play that cute puppy dog thing as Megumi. I donno, I’m probably just very negative right now. I hope Yoona sit down and study this character, and Go Ahra give her a lesson on thrashing her image then I might change my opinion.
    Yoona is just very aware of her image. She doesn’t act pretty, but most of her unpretty acts are still very pretty-ish.

    • I watched PMI up until the last few episodes, when the conventionality of her personality, the dullness of her portrayal, and the weakness of the storyline did me in. I find her an ordinarily pretty idol with an average acting ability, with the sort of every-hair-in-place, I-know-the-cameras-are-on-me side-eye that you get from nearly every female idol. There is no way she is going to be able to crack Nodame. It’s going to be a watered-down version of the original, with lots of cute and a bit of very self-conscious “weirdness”… not really Nodame Cantabile, at all. It will probably be wildly successful, because it will be so bland and inoffensive. Pass.

  6. Well, seeing as this is a lock for Yoona, I am guessing a few things –
    1) the character Nodame will be written slightly different from the original or she will just act her a little differently
    2) I just can’t see the Korean version being like the Japanese version.

    I am sure she will improve and I will keep my expectations low. Pm&i was good but like others have said, the role was fitting of her personality. Look pretty, is pretty. I will wait and see the drama and then make a better judgement. At least we always have the dorama to fall back on.

  7. Yoona… Oh why does it have to be pretty-faced-over-the-top-acting Yoona? T.T I was ok with im joo eun, junh eun ji and go ahra… But yoona? She was ok in PMAI and love rain, but i cant see her having the same subtlity and finess that juri ueno had, which gave us a naturally weird and messy but lovable Noda Megumi. Nooooo…

  8. Not really sure if Yoona can pull a good “Nodame” version. I’ve read the manga and I’ve watched the Japanese drama, both are really good and “Nodame” is one hard character to do. But we will see.

  9. She’s still bland. At least she do another type of character but my excitement factor dive 6feet below. I worry it will be another 7th level servant fail for joo won

  10. Flat out terrible casting. No way around it. Joo Won casting it’s great either though. I’ll pretend this isn’t being made.

  11. Hell, no. Just no. She can act bubbly and cute, but that’s the limit of Yoona’s acting ‘talent’. She would never be able to pull a role like Nodame off. I am not going to watch my favourite japanese dorama getting butchered.

  12. I’m so disappointed. I was really hoping for an actress that can act to play this role. I think I will pass this one.

  13. Noo……..No doubt she has improved in her acting due largely to her co-star Lee Bum Soo, but she can’t carry a drama, especially for such an iconic role as Nodame. I can still accept Joo Won as Chiaki but not Yoona. This role is critical in the success of the drama. Looks like I gotta drop this like a hot potato now !!!

  14. Finally. Someone who is giving yoona a chance! I was actually excited for yoona since finally she was paired with someone that is suitable for her. Chemistry wise they have it already ( watch her guesting in 1N2d). Acting wise you’ll never know what yoona can do. She might surprised us just like in pmai. This is a challenge for her and i will support her on this bcos of this turns out good, yoona will be recognized as a true actress.

    I expect hateful comments since this is a famous drma.

    ” based on knets comments, no one is deemed to fit this role. So even if it’s Yoona or not, they will bash whoever gets the role lol”via twitter.

    • I don’t really think that Yoona specifically is the problem, it is the overall idol image in Korea.

      Nodame in the Japanese version was pretty much a very strange person with pigpen issues. I really cannot see any of the Korean idols playing a part where she gets told things like “your hair stinks”.

      • I agree with you there. For me, I can’t see Yoona completely shedding her pure and pretty look for slobby and awkward. Actually, if I had to pick a character for Yoona, I see her more along the lines of Miki Kiyora or Chiaki’s previous girlfriend (the one who sings).
        I always have high hopes for Korean remakes of dramas because they seem to put much more investment into their dramas – which usually allows for a catchier OST, nicer costumes, and better filming locations and sets. But if the casting isn’t right, then I guess none of that matters anymore…

  15. the K-nets and I-nets have the same opinion. It’s a big no.
    Nodame is a crazy, shameless and unique girl. Yoona doesn’t fit her. She might be bubbly and happy but she can’t act crazy. She’s just too sweet to be nodame.

  16. Yoona is capable of quirky cute but that’s not Nodame, Nodame is flat out weird.

    I’m already wary because I don’t think Nodame Cantabile is kdrama material and if they go with Yoona then I’m gonna need a lot of positive feedback before I think about watching it.

  17. what a let down! Nodame is not a easy character to portray and you can’t act Nodame cutesy. Nodame has a whole range of traits that aren’t easy. Juri was fantastic as Nodame, she wholeheartedly portrayed Nodame.
    This is just a bad casting choice, sigh. Back to watching the dorama.

  18. Hmmm…I like her. If she can go one step edgier in her comic delivery, rather than soft – she could get this right. Her handlers have to let her play the part rather than be a SNSD person playing the part.

    • I also think she might surprise us all. From what I’ve seen from her tv interviews, she does seem to have a bit of the looney tunes in her. Maybe now that everyone knows she has a bf and she’s free from some of the image making pressure, she can be all ‘sod it, I’ll show you all’. Go Ara in Reply 1994 and Lee Yeonhee in Miss Korea has made me believe anything is possible.

  19. I haven’t seen her acting in PM and I so I can’t comment on her improvement but what I do know is that she has an image of the perfect pretty girl and I have a very hard time imagining her as Nodame unless they give her a major makeover and I can’t see his anywhere but in the direction that gave us Goo Hye Sun as Jandi in BOF

  20. i was hoping for lee hana (lovin’ her quirks at the TVN drama) though quite far-fetched. am not convinced yoona would make a convincing Nodame but, sure, let’s see. am not exactly thrilled about joowon either anyway. will just have to tune out if it sucks. :p

  21. Aww I was hoping for they will give kim ji won a try but )-: yoona is ok too but is the drama going to be against the one sooyoung is in? if it is then haha. yoona’s drama haven’t been doing well in ratings so I hope joowon’s luck in kbs ratings will change yoona’s luck

    • Suzy, aka the one idol actress who’s worse than even Yoona’s worst performance?

      Yeah, great fit for Nodame *sarcasm*

      • The Suzy hate here is strong even when the girl has nothing to do with the issue. Pathetic.

  22. This is a train wreck. I like YoonA as an entertainer and she can deliver lines, but she is too concious of how pretty she is and acts accordingly. She was good in PM&I, but I don’t think she can carry the drama, especially one like Nodame Cantabile. The thing that really disappoints me is that she is a fan of the series and wants the role for herself, despite how unfit she is for it.

    • I am willing to give anyone a chance, and she did OK in PM&I – but I think the big problem is the “idolness”. Nodame was pretty much max slobsville, and I just can’t see Yoona or any other idol adjusting to that image.

  23. Can someone please tell me how they hell you go from SHIM EUN KYUNG to YoonA?! I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that.

  24. *shrugs* I like Yoona enough as an idol, and her acting improved in PMI, she was very natural for me. The downfall of that drama to me was the story towards the end…sadly. Anyway, I loved her and Joo Won chemistry in 1N2D, they were so cutee that I was wishing for them in a drama ^^ so yay

  25. I like Yoona but not for this role…..and not super sure about Joo Won either.

    Also is that the Pig-Rabbit from You’re Beautiful that Dohee is holding?!

  26. This drama is a curiosity for me. The characters of NC are crazy, serious and cute. Kdrama always gives up the crazy side or can’t do in a good way. Yoona was not so bad in PM because the character was like her… I don’t see a SM actress for this role. And if they choose a idol, they could choose someone who is good in music…

  27. Seems like no one read the last bit that Koala wrote, the production will follow the Manga and not the TV series…lol.

    • I have both read the manga and seen the Jdorama, and it doesn’t matter. While the JDorama may have deviated from the manga in terms of story, when it comes to characterization of Nodame the Jdorama was spot-on. The Nodame of the manga is virtaully the same as the Nodame of the Jdorama, so this argument is moot.

  28. its not that yoona is terrible. its just that the thought of shim eunkyung might take the role before makes people disappointed.

  29. I have a hard time imagining Yoona in this role. Joowon, I think he has the chops, but Yoona, not really.

    Maybe KBS may take some liberties with this adaptation and do some gender switcheroo. “Oh let’s make Joo Won act like Nodame and Yoona like Chiaki. ”

    Maybe….Just maybe… Hey, a girl can dream!

  30. I just saw this news today. I must say I’m surprised by the selection, not so much that it’s Yoona but they chose to remake this drama which is like asking to remake Sassy Girl when it’s almost impossible to surpass the original. Now coming back to the selection of actors… Maybe I’m a little bias since I do follow the GG girls, lol I actually do think Yoona can do the role.. I can imagine the skipping and …lol . It doesn’t mean she can out do Ueno or do exactly the same but the role isn’t impossible for her. From the Yoona I know from GG, I see the possibility and I think there were some bits of it in Nam Da Jung which shows Nodame potential. I agree that she would have to shake the GG center image completely to convince us. Those who do follow GG knows she is a big tomboy and prankster which is so different from the image she has been showing. I guess we all want to see likeness since we have already seen the original. However, I will open my mind and see if we can see a different interpretation of the manga. I guess the fun is seeing something you don’t expect. I see some say Eunju or IU and it’s true they have that image but isn’t that expected then. They always act these sort of characters so how do you differentiate them from their previous roles? Same goes for Joo Won as Chiaki, I see quite a few negative remarks but I think he will do well too. Anyway, I don’t think much will change unless KBS delay the broadcast. To me, either don’t do the remake or if so I will keep an open mind. After all, it’s only a TV drama. Don’t watch it if you don’t want to. A side note, talking about Ueno, she just finished a drama on TBS. Seems like she is still shaded by the a Nodame role, everyone acknowledges her acting but can’t let go of Nodame whenever they think of her. The downside when the role is so iconic.

  31. Yang Jin Sung can pull-off a good “Nodame.” Somehow I just remembered Na Doo Rim and her quirkiness… It’s just so sad that she wasn’t even considered for the role…

  32. Well, i am not a fan of Yoona i think she is an ok actress but like everyone thinks Noda is hard to portray. But hey maybe she surprises us. I like Joo Won i think he can pull it off, he is a good actor. So i am in although my expectations are high i will try not to compare lolz.

  33. My 1st choice was Shim Eun Kyung and 2nd choice was Kim Seul Gi. They didn’t happen. So I think I’m going to skip this one unless something drastically good happens.

  34. i agree with some comments Yoona doesn’t fit to be Nodame character. i would prefer Moon Chae Won be in Nodame character.
    if i recall that Korea adapted drama from manga is always fill with over act cuteness, let’s say boys before flowers vs hana yori dango. Many viewers said that Japanese version is better and close to manga than Korea version and the lead actress in japan version portrays best than others version.

  35. It’s a tough act anyway to get the quirkiness in J-doramas, mangas into a remake in another country. I totally LOVE this dorama and feel dread on how it will come out. Choosing Yoona seems to imply, to me anyway, that it will be a watered down version like someone else posted earlier. But the Chiaki and Nodame characters are so central to the story that if not cast just right, no matter how great the production is, it will probably fall flat.
    So now my low expectations, have gotten even lower. I will probably give the first 2 episodes a look after reading everyone’s reaction and after much mental preparation LOL!

  36. Yoona is the epitome of dullness. There is nothing to expect from this empty shell and the most surprising in this news for me was to learn that she was persisting to pursue an ‘acting’ career. Thinking of idols, IU is of course better. But aren’t there young and talented actresses in Korea to embrace this golden role? There are. Yoona’s involvement is in no way a guarantee neither of good ratings nor of good international reception. Please, Joo Won deserves to have an actress as his partner.

  37. wow . . . see some heavy comments here . . . i love nodame from the manga to the live japanese adaptaton to the japanese special . . . i’m gonna give the whole production team a chance eventhough it’s kbs made (since their jdorama adaptation of BOF sucks), i’m still hoping hoping that it’s not gonna be a mess . . . Yoona better prepared herself in this role of Nodame and wish her luck then . . . i’m gonna give this a 5 episode try when it airs 🙂

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