The cast of the new drama ``Dream'' smile for the cameras at a press conference held in Tokyo, Japan, last week. From left: Ju Jin-mo, Son Dam-bi and Kim Bum. / Courtesy of SBS
By Han Sang-hee
The local drama scene has been offering a bit of everything, from the ancient tale of a queen, to advertising companies and figure skating. The new drama ``Dream'' will add the world of sports agents and K-1 to this varied roster of local television dramas.
The drama has caught attention with its impressive cast― singer-turned-actor Son Dam-bi, ``Boys Over Flowers'' actor Kim Bum and movie star Ju Jin-mo ― and a plot that follows the lives of a sports agent and K-1 fighters.
Nam Je-il, played by Ju, is a successful sports agent with some famous clients, but when one of his baseball stars gets involved in a drug case, he loses everything. But when the miserable Nam befriends former pickpocket and aspiring K-1 fighter Lee Jang-seok, played by Kim, and taebo instructor Park So-yeon, acted by Son, he decides to regain his glory by making Lee a star.
SBS had nicknamed Ju's character ``Korea's Jerry Maguire,'' referencing the charismatic agent played by Tom Cruise, but Ju said it was difficult to play the part that has been his own personal favorite.
``After seeing my first shoot, I couldn't bear to look at myself. I looked so tense and nervous acting as the successful Nam. I finally decided to be myself and act as natural as possible,'' Ju said at a press conference last week in Busan.
In order to bring a sense of reality to his character, who shouts into the phone and runs around giving pep talks to his players, Ju worked alongside real agents.
Son, whose acting debut in Hollywood was postponed because of the economic crisis, said she chose to star in ``Dream'' as soon as she heard about who had been cast. Debuting alongside such famous colleagues was a burden, according to Son, but her fellow actors and staff complimented her for bringing energy to the set.
``I was never a good dancer, but now I'm a dance singer. I think it's the same with acting. I have been training as an actor during my spare time for the past four years. There's no one who's good at it from the start, and so I'm doing my best to not fall behind,'' she said.
Son's character, Park, is a bit of a tomboy. Taebo is an aerobic exercise that is closely related with the martial art taekwondo. Son, already slim-figured, eventually became a big fan of the exercise and was more than eager to offer it to fellow women.
``I lost about three to four kilograms, and it's a great way to lose weight. I've been dancing for a long time, but when I first tried taebo, I couldn't move the next day, which proves how much exercise it can be,'' she said, laughing.
The biggest transformation for the new series is that of Kim, who portrayed a pretty and rich museum heir in the hit drama Boys Over Flowers. Not only will he play a tough K-1 athlete, but a sad and lonely figure with a dark past.
``My character Lee is a nice person who doesn't want to come across as weak. He pretends to be tough and mean to protect himself. As he learns K-1, he finally realizes the importance of relationships and starts to open up,'' Kim said.
The drama is also expected to usher a new chapter of hallyu, or Korean Wave, in Japan, as the crew and staff also held a press conference in Tokyo to attract buyers and broadcasters.
``We cannot confirm the exact Japanese broadcaster, but the drama will start airing in Japanese households as well. This will be a great opportunity for local dramas, as many consider hallyu to be taking a downturn,'' an official from SBS said.
Thanks to the interest from Japan and also being a program about sports, ``Dream'' will also have two-time K-1 World MAX champion Masato make a special appearance in the drama, the first time for the 30-year-old to appear in a local drama.
Written by writer Jung Hyung-soo (Prince of the Legend, 2006) and produced by Baek Soo-chan (Golden Bride, 2007), ``Dream'' airs every Monday and Tuesday at 9:55 p.m. on SBS.