By Hwang Jin-hwan
Will a TV drama version of the blockbuster "Friend" be as thrilling as the original movie?
Avid fans certainly hope so. The mega-hit, which garnered a record-high 8.2 million ticket sales in 2001, will be remade as a 16-episode TV series titled "Friend: the Untold Story," said to be aired in the first half of 2009.
"I have decided to direct the drama with untold episodes added to the original movie. The scenario is in the process of being written," said Kwak Kyung-taek, who catapulted into stardom as the film director and scenario writer.
"All the episodes will be shot in Busan, just like the original film," Kwak said, refusing to reveal which TV broadcaster will show it.
Kim Min-jun, 32, who starred in Kwak's 2007 film "Love," will replace Yu Oh-sung as the gangster Jun-sok, and Hyun Bin, 26, will replace Jang Dong-geun as Jun-sok's friend Dong-su. Oh and Hyun Bin will play the two leading characters among the four friends in the movie, according to the 42-year-old director. Hyun Bin starred in TV soap operas "Queen of Snow(2006)" and "My Name is Kim Sam-sun(2005)."
The original movie depicted the director's experience with his friends, a semi-autobiography set in his hometown of Busan. The actors use a strong regional dialect. Many movie-goers, especially male adults, were attracted because it reminded them of their high school days.