The return of screenwriter extraordinaire Lee Kyung Hee is schedule now, two years after her last drama Uncontrollably Fond. The queen of melo is coming back in January 2019 with the drama tentatively titled Chocolate surrounding the intersection of medicine and food. It’s the romance between a neurologist and a French trained pastry chef as they find a way to make meals for those who have their days numbered on earth. Oh man this sounds like a spigot fest, like my tear ducts are going to be out of control. Lee Kyung Hee’s dramas that I loved from first frame to last include Nice Guy and Let’s Go to School, Sang Doo, but I don’t think I have ever ever cried as much for a K-drama as I did for the last two episodes of her most recent work Uncontrollably Fond. Whatever flaws were in that drama, the last two episodes were beyond words amazing, and honestly a screenwriter who can still give me a gut punch is golden and I can’t wait to sample Chocolate.
Lee Kyung Hee is a maker of young actors and actresses, giving them the meaty roles that if they really dug deep they could carve out a career from. Case in point Rain who is still coasting on Sang Doo and finally in Sketch makes me proud again. Who will lead Chocolate? If I had my choice, it would be Park Bo Gum and a female actress that deserves a Lee Kyung Hee female lead role.
below are some of my picks:
female lead: park se young, lee yoobi, chae soo bin, kim sohyun
male lead: park hyungsik, park seojun, park bogum, yook sungjae, yoo yeon seok
I agree with all your pics! What a casting bonanza they’ll have when they do get to pick. Whenever Chocolate is mentioned in a film/drama title I always think of one of my favourite novels by Laura Esquivel adapted for the screen was ‘Like water for chocolate’. In saying that I don’t want to alarm anyone but my 6th drama sense- antenna is saying the female lead is hedging towards an idol. And with that I’m all good with whoever they choose. ?
Haven’t read the book.. but the Like Water for Chocolate movie is etched in my mind. So good.
She’s gonna pick Joy or Hyeri next 🙂
please no! lol… if it has to be an idol actress, i’d go for IU or Jung Eunji.
I’ll also be fine with Kim Sejeong if an idol actress is a must.
There is alot of good acctress… It’s just many PD always picking bad acctress to pick their female lead. Heck, Kim Go Eun can pull off any type character of Lee Kyung Hee drama, as long as it’s meaty
Lololol I would hope she learned her lesson about casting bad acting-idols just for their name though, after UF.
@anon – IU or Jung Eunji would be good picks. Their acting is solid and they’re expressive enough to pull it off.
I know k-ent tend to skew towards younger casts, but still the premise (Neurologists and Chef) is pointing towards a male lead in his early 30s and female lead in her late 20s. So, some of the names seem to be quite young for the roles.
Late 20s female leads can be played by anyone from early 20s to early 30s, so the range for that is quite huge. I can see the names working for the actors as well, but maybe Bogum and Sungjae will be too young.
yook sungjae, park bogum, and kim sohyun might be too young for the roles.
how about han hyo joo or lee sung kyung for the lead? if this was a comedy, i’d say go ara might be worth considering, she’s currently slaying it in miss hammurabi, but since this is a lee kyung hee drama, probably not.
for the guys, how about ha seok jin, lee dong wook, yoon kyu sang, lee seunggi, or lee jeong seok?
Unless we are talking about a Neurologist and Renowned Chef, who have skipped alot of steps on the career ladder, then Kim Sejeong Kim Sohyun and maybe abit of Chae Soobin would look awkward visually age-wise. But PSJ and YYS seems like good fit for the male char visual-age.
I agree wholeheartedly about Uncontrollably Fond’s final 2 episodes. It was my fav drama of all time! It did not deserve the low rating. But I applaud Kim Woo Bin and Suzy for playing the lead roles. If Chocolate can get me all mush up inside like UF, then count me with lots of tissues.
I really liked Nice Guy and really didn’t like Uncontrollably Fond, so I’m curious but not more. I think it will depend of the casting. Suzy was very bad and KWB didn’t convince me in this role but SJK and MCW were so good in Nice Guy. Actresses I would like to see are Park Eun Bin or Nam Ji Hyun. For the male lead, who is a neurologist so not too young, Im Joo Hwan (why he has only second role), Woo Do Hwan, Yoo Seung Ho, Yun Woo Jin.
The only young leading man I can think of who really fit Lee Kyung Hee leading male is Jang Ki Young. But he is not a top star yet I guess… He is really good at potraying the deep emotion and more over he is so masculine. The rest of the bunch is just doesn’t impress me. If only Yeo Jin Goo is a possible. Ahhhh.
Ahh that is a good choice for the male lead! Hopefully Lee Kyunghee will pick people who can act rather than popular actors.
well Song Joong Ki wasn’t yet a top star when she cast him in Nice Guy, it was his first ever leading role.
Rain and So Ji Sub had never done lead roles before either at the time when she first cast them in Sang-doo/MiSa but look at how they did.
Song Joong Ki might be haven’t had a leading role back then before Nice Guy, but he has already a big star thanks to his Sung kyungkwan Scandal, he rose to stardom. It’s only a matter of when he will officially get a lead role to strengthen his status as a top star. The same with Kim Woo Bin thanks to his role in The Heirs. Not the level of Kim Eun Suk star level. But still.
Fact is: Song Joong Ki has only two leading roles in a drama to date and maybe another two in a movie. He hasn’t done that many projects yet.
With this writer, I love Thank You and A Love to Kill.
I really love So Ji Sub but I don’t understand why I am Sorry I love was a hit and it was funny that he migrated into Australia at age of 5 but he can’t enunciate the simple words properly. Don’t get me wrong I love other dramas of him Road No 1 & Phantom/Ghost in particular.
I also couldn’t understand the same for Nice Guy. I skipped through the end just to see what happened.
Contrary to what other say I actually love Uncontrollably Fond first half but sadly couldn’t make myself to watch the last 4 episode as I don’t see it was worth the tears.
Sangdo? I couldn’t even make it to episode 5.
I don’t like long dramas but Wonderful Days worked for me.
I hope the writer can bring up something new. His/her dramas are great but most of them are recycled and I think it would depend on director as well if he can bring the best of the script.
Fact it: Song Joong Ki has only two leading roles in a drama to date. He actually has not done that many projects yet. I hope he will be signed to do another one soon.
That’s exactly what I’m thinking. If really look carefully, compare to his other peers, he is actually not being tested much for headlining projects. Just 2 dramas so far.
I’m one of the people who aren’t found with Lee Kyung Hee’s brand of writing. Found it more interesting to read reviews of her dramas than actually watching them. I found her style of writing is too makjang
Uncontrollably Fond was badly written with such caricature characters. A lot of people like to rag on Suzy for her poor performance in that drama; the truth was that the writing was bad and so cliche that I doubt even a talented actress would have made the drama more interesting.
I’m not saying that Suzy’s acting was good; because it wasn’t, just that there were much more serious problems than her acting. Like an irrational mother who ignores her dying son because of his career choice; an overbearing lead male (many of his expressions of love were NOT romantic ), a paranoid second lead female and so on.
I hope her next drama will have better, more fleshed out plot with more realistic characters.
Are melodramas still in trend? Uncontrollably Fond was called outdated in terms of storyline. Seems like audience are no longer liking the genre despite it being one of the reasons for the first hallyu wave.
They still do well.”Miracle We Met” and “Should We Kiss First” are this year’s melos and they both broke 10%+ in ratings.Misty was a melo too and its one of the top rated cable drama.It hit 7-8% a few times.Its rom coms and youth dramas that have been flopping consistsntly.Look at how “greasy melo”, undateables, radio romance etc.
Ubcontrollably failed in part because it was slotted in the wrong season.Melos suit winter and spring season not summer like they did.And frankly both Kim Woo Bin and Suzy were too green(inexperienced) in their acting skill for that kind of script.
I don’t understand why people keep blaming the weather for UF flopping, trust me a low temperature would not have made that drama more enjoyable! Lee Kyung Hee’s previous melo, Nice Guy, was a late summer arrival and its ratings were great.
Also Reply 1997 was a summer drama that featured winter clothes in several key first-half episodes and that didn’t stop people falling in love with it. UF was just a mediocre drama that relied too hard on dated melo tropes and didn’t have the acting firepower or chemistry to make up for it the way LKH usually does with Nice Guy etc (I thought Kim Woo Bin did well by the end though, but what a cruel twist to see him getting ill in real life).
Yeah funny enough UF went against a thriller (W) and rom-com (Jealousy Incarate), two genres that are popular for summer season and headlined by bigger stars. It really stood no chance in terms of plot, acting skills nor season.
The excuses are getting next-level hilarious now. This isn’t a case of a tiny school drama like Cheer Up being premiered during college entrance exam season and barely promoted, this was one of KBS’ biggest dramas of the year, pre-produced with a star writer that they were pushing as the ‘next DotS’ and they began promoting it right from the KBS drama awards of 2015. Jealousy Incarnate meanwhile didn’t even begin airing till the last week of August, UF began in first week of July.
And if melo is always such a flop in summer then what was Noh Hee Kyung’s It’s Ok It’s Love doing succeeding against Joseon Gunman (sageuk action) and Fated to Love You (romcom) in 2014? UF would have been a disappointment even if it aired in deep winter, the season is not responsible for the drama not doing well when the content itself was the issue on various fronts (writing, acting).
It’s responsible, since it was aired in summer, but everyone in UF wore winter clothes. All melos that you named, despite genre had a right season on the screen. Winter drama UF aired in summer made people disconnect with it. In fact, people in SK vote UF as s drama that they want to watch the most in winter. KBS and production company made a fatal mistake with UF. Including that fact, that autumn and winter was then free from buzzy or quality dramas and people would emerge more into moody, cold atmosphere of UF.
Has anyone watched the 2017 Japanese movie Kirin no Shita no Kioku (The Last Recipe)? similar concept but of course the movie has a bigger story to tell… If the main focus is on the Chef, then maybe Junho can repeat his cooking act?… lol.. just a thought… Park Bo Bum is good too if his cooking act can be as convincing as Junho 🙂
If the lead role is going to be a neurologist I hope they pick an actor in his thirties. I know Kdramas have baby-faced actors in their twenties playing geeenius doctors, lawyers, judges, prosecutors, CEOs etc but in the dramas I’ve watched they all lacked the gravitas that older actors bring.
Agree.I do think melodrama in general especially this writer’s dramas fits older actor and actress like 30+.They have the range, depth and life experience needed to tell a story in a melo.
My pick of male actors would be:
1.Kim Nam Gil
2.Nam Goong Min
4.reunion with Song Joong Ki or So Ji Sub
5.Jo In Sung
6.Lee Dong Wook
7.Gong Yoo etc
1.Jun Ji Hyun(if she is ready, it would be good to see how she would do in a melo)
2.Song Hye Kyo is good in melos
3.Kim Ah Joong
4.Gong Hyo Jin its been a while since I saw her in a melo
5.Kim So Yeon
6.Kim Nam Joo
7.Kim Hyun Joo etc
For Gong Hyo Jin and Jang Hyuk it will also be considered a reunion. They did thank you. But Lee Kyung Hee always goes for younger actors.
In wonderful days, Lee Kyung Hee rely on more older actor
Agree Agree Agree and my pick would be Jo In Sung and Kim Ah Joong because I’m still pissed from The King and her limited screen time. But its me and I’m pretty cool with whoever is chosen though.?
As per its synopsis, I think they might look for a much experienced actor.
I really Lee Joon Gi in melo and he broke my heart in Moon Lovers and I feel like a machonist watching that drama repeatedly.
I watched him in this TvN My Ears Candy with Park Min Young and I think if they could receeate the chemistry in that variety show and recreate the The Calm & Passion vibe from it to this drama.
I love Thank You, A Love To Kill and Wonderful Days from this writer. I love So Ji Sub but I am Sorry I love You just didn’t work for me just like her other dramas. I hope she has come up with fresher materials and would team up with a director who can bring out the best of her script. I hope they will casts strong lead actors who can portray with depths.
I’m hoping Moon Geun Young will also be in the mix. I think she can handle melodramas. As for the lead actor, how about Yoo Ah In?
MGY would be a good choice, i think she can handle melo too, just look at her performance in CS,tho the drama is flop. Aha.. and I’m hoping for her reunion with YAI too.
I loved Thank you and MISA but I think it worked because it was during that time. If it’s a similar plot nowadays it will definitely be called old fashioned. With both these dramas the similarity was that the actress was stellar, they brought life to their roles and I actually believed they had such miserable lives. I just hope they choose as good an actress for this new drama.
@Abc – yeah, the skills/chemistry of the leads is really the X factor of Lee Kyung Hee dramas, up to Nice Guy it worked becauae she chose her cast for skills and not just popularity. I would not have stayed with the Nice Guy plot if it wasn’t for Song Joong Ki and Moon Chae Won.
I hope she remembers what that X factor really was and doesn’t just slap two trendy names together for buzz. I would like it if they cast a good actress – younger or older doesn’t matter, whether it’s Nam Ji Hyun or Seo Hyun Jin or Park Min Young or even a more recent breakout whose acting flourishes with good writing (Lee Sung Kyung).
Nah one of the strongest point of Lee Kyung Hee drama is she manage to know how to write character with strong deep emotion. She has a miss and a hit drama under her belt. Not always a writers I will trust to always deliver the good. But i always like her narrative core when get inspired. As flaws as UF is, there is just something about it that feels more geniune than anything I witness with other writers.
I loved UF. From flawed characters, to deep meaningful story, with a lot of strong dialogues and from great to good/okay acting, it was a really nice drama, that got too much undeserved hate. Partially because W and LJS fans constantly badmouthed it everywhere; partially because K-drama fans lost their ability to watch anything expect “perfect humans” on their screens, heroes that has no flaws, with strict good guys vs bad guys; partially because LKH style melos loosing their audience, which is sad. Sometimes I re-watch it and I see all the stuff I didn’t get the first time and it makes it even better in my eyes. Definitely unappreciated jam of k-dramas.
lol @the continued delusion that the weather was to blame for the failure of UF. The drama wasn’t great, Suzy’s casting was a waste of a role (Lee Kyung Hee is a good writer for young leads….as long as they can act at least somewhat decently), and it just felt like it was dated and trying to do the ISILY/Sangdoo vibes in 2018. Also, you guys really think it would have triumphed over MBC and SBS’s autumn/winter offerings like Shopping King Louie, Jealousy Incarnate and Legend of the Blue Sea?
It’s not an audience’s lack of sophistication that did the drama in, it was its own hubris. And btw I’m not even a fan of LJS or W, that had a messy plot too and a nonsense resolution but at least it took a risk because I can’t remember the last time anyone aired a modern fantasy/scifi drama on a public channel and actually did well. Anyone pretending UF was ever some underdog drama that only failed because ‘audiences can’t appreciate flawed characters’ needs to wake up and smell the coffee. Just as I hope LKH herself does. I loved her earlier dramas btw, there was something so heartfelt about them but UF just felt like a recycling of tropes in the hope of recreating that early success (it’s like she mashed up ISILY terminal-illness and the top-star aspect of ALTK).
Top actor then Jung Hae In? He’s the new it boy top actor right?
YES SHE’S BACK!
My favorite writer.
So Ji Sub / Yoo Ah In/ GoSoo / Lee Dong Wook / Hak Suk Jin / Kim Nam Gil
Oh Yeon Seo / Han Hyo Joo / Han Ye Seul / Kim Seul Gi / Gong Hyo Jin
I will seriously squeeee if any of these casting options happens <3