Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
From the 2020 hit drama Itaewon Class to the most recent Sweet Home, The In-Laws, Love Revolution, True Beauty and The Uncanny Counter, dramas based on the webtoon (or web novels) are receiving positive responses regardless of genres and subjects. Given the recent success stories, there is no exaggeration in saying that the heyday of webtoon dramas has arrived. More and more webtoon-adapted dramas are on their way, and this article will cover those that officially started the production.
She Would Never Know
She Would Never Know, set to premiere on Jan 18, is based on the web novel by author Élise, who won the grand prize in the modern-romance category of the “2017 Romantic Collaboration Contest.” It tells a sweet love story between a lovely “sunbae (senior)” who doesn’t consider younger guys as men and a bold “hoobae (junior)” who has it all, and Won Jin Ah and SF9’s Rowoon have been cast for the roles. Won Jin Ah plays Yoon Song Ah who dreams of starting her own cosmetic brand, while Rowoon takes on the role of Chae Hyun Seung, Yoon’s junior marketer. Directed by The Queen’s Classroom and Feast of the Gods director Lee Dong Yoon, the drama flaunts its fancy cast lineup that includes Lee Hyun Wook, Lee Ju Bin, Lee Kyu Han and Wang Bit Na.
All of Us Are Dead
The new Netflix drama All of Us Are Dead, based on the popular webtoon “Now at Our School” by Joo Dong Geun, tells the story of those isolated in a high school and those who face extreme situations as they try to save them while a zombie virus spreads like wildfire. Intimate Strangers director Lee Jae Gyu will helm the drama. Rookie actors Yoon Chan Hyung, Park Ji Hoo, Jo Yi Hyun, Park Solomon and Yoon In Soo will lead the drama, while veteran actors Lee Kyu Hyung, Yoon Gyung Ho and Kim Byung Chul back them up. Yoon Chan Young plays Chung San, an ordinary boy who does his best to protect his crush, and Park Ji Hoo takes on the role of Ohn Jo, the most popular in school for her easygoing and cheerful personality.
Like a Butterfly
tvN’s new drama Like a Butterfly is based on the popular webtoon of the same name (written by Hun, drawn by Jimin) published in 2016. It is about Duk Chul, who begins ballet at the age of 70, and the 23-year-old ballerino Chae Rok, who has lost his ways while chasing his dreams. Song Kang, who rose to stardom through Sweet Home, takes on the role of Chae Rok, who face the harsh reality after belatedly diving into the world of ballet, while Park In Hwan plays Duk Chul, a retired mailman who took out his old dream of ballet at the end of his life, showing a special “teacher-student” chemistry. Na Moon Hee has been cast for the role of Hae Nam, Duk Chul’s wife, who always puts her grown-up kids as the top priority. Squad 38 and Miss Lee director Han Dong Hwa and Tunnel writer Lee Eun Mi joined hands for the project.
Webtoon Hellbound, written by director Yeon Sang Ho and drawn by Awl author Choi Gyu Suk, has been made into a new Netflix original series. Hellbound is a story about a supernatural phenomenon where supernatural beings from hell appear out of nowhere to condemn people to hell. The two aforementioned director and writer partnered up for the production and screenplay. Its star-studded cast also stands out. Yoo Ah In plays Chairman Chung Jin Soo, the head of the “New Truth Society” who explains the supernatural phenomenon as a sign of God, and Park Jung Min takes on the role of Bae Young Jae, a TV producer who delves into the truth behind “New Truth Society.“ Kim Hyun Joo has been cast for the role of lawyer Min Hye Jin, who stands up against “New Truth Society“ and its followers “Arrowhead,” while Won Jin Ah plays Bae Young Jae’s wife Song So Hyun, who breaks down from unbearable pain.
A Terrifying Cohabitation
A Terrifying Cohabitation, a popular NAVER Webtoon that started in 2017, will be made into a rom-com drama starring Jan Ki Yong and Hyeri. The drama, which made headlines for being programmed as a new tvN drama, depicts the romance between 999-year-old gumiho Shin Woo Yeo and college student Lee Dam, who start “terrifying cohabitation.” Jang Ki Yong plays gumiho Shin Woo Yeo, who has been collecting human energy in his marble for 999 years to become a human being, and Hyeri takes on the role of Lee Dam, who accidentally swallowed Woo Yeo’s marble. What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim co-writers Baek Sun Woo and Choi Bo Rim and Kkondae Intern director Nam Sung Woo will be in charge of script and production.
Based on webtoon “Deluxe Taxi” (written by Carlos, drawn by KKJane), SBS’s new drama Taxi Driver revolves around a mysterious taxi company called “Rainbow Transportation” that takes revenge on behalf of innocent victims who are not protected by the law. Doctor Detective director Park Joon Woo will be directing the drama and Fabricated City writer Oh Sang Ho will pen the script. The birth of the “social chastisement” K-hero drama is expected, and Lee Je Hoon, Esom, Kim Eui Sung and Naeun confirmed their appearances. Lee Je Hoon plays Kim Do Gi, a former special force and the only Rainbow Transportation driver, Esom will take on the role of Kang Ha Na, an elite prosecutor who pursues justice like a bulldozer, and Kim Eui Sung becomes Rainbow Transportation CEO Jang Sung Chul.
Kim Bo Tong’s webtoon, which realistically depicts abuse and human rights issues in the military with a fresh material called D.P. (Deserter Pursuit), will be produced as a Netflix original series. The drama will center around a soldier who has been conscripted into a special squad and is sent out to chase down military deserters. Jung Hae In plays Ahn Jun Ho, a quiet private who slowly changes after facing various stories of the deserters and Koo Kyo Hwan takes on the role of corporal Han Ho Yeol, the team leader of the D.P. squad. Kim Sung Kyun has been cast as Sergeant Park Bum Goo, who consistently uses abusive languages but is actually like the father figure for the D.P. squad, while Son Seok Koo will play the role of Lieutenant Lim Ji Seop, an executive in the military police who only cares about his performance. Coin Locker Girl director Han Joon Hee and writer Kim Bo Tong have joined hands for the production.