Soo-ae – as Lee Seo-yeon, Kim Rae-won – as Park Ji-hyung, Lee Sang-woo – as Jang Jae-min, Jung Yu-mi – as Noh Hyang-gi
In five sentences
Lee Seo-yeon, living with her younger brother and aunt after losing her father, comes to have a crush on Park Ji-hyung, her cousin Jang Jae-min’s friend. Park too starts developing emotions for Lee but goes overseas for his studies, leaving behind his uncertain feelings for her, because of his fiancee Noh Hyang-gi. In the meantime, Lee, who had put away her feelings for Park, bumps into him at an art gallery one day. But Lee, who has decided to love without regrets until Park gets married, starts losing her memory.
A woman, who has been working hard at living her life well even after losing her father at a young age, loves a man with a fiancee yet starts suffering from amnesia. This explanation, because it sounds all too familiar, may be enough to make you turn the channel. But it becomes a different story when written by Kim Soo-hyun and directed by Jung Eul-young. Kim Soo-hyun, back with 20-part drama “Thousand Days Promise,” her first mini-series in four years, is an authentic melodrama which seems to be set to be as melancholy as the cool autumn air. And with her being far from lax, Lee Seo-yeon too is not just the typical leading female character living a tragic life but someone who “matures at an early age and is armed with should it be called protective coloring or cheerfulness or a mind for service, to not become the ugly hanger-on of the family.” Park too is a man who devotes his love to Lee who “was young, whose difference in circumstances was a hindrance for them and was not sure of her own emotions.” Like so, “Promise,” where Kim Soo-hyun’s exquisite power of writing meets the imagery of her long-time partner Jung Eul-young, is ready to stimulate viewers’ tear ducts with short lines. Will “Promise” be able to become an authentic melodrama which will be remembered by viewers for a long time, “like a man in the autumn who is willing to lay down his life for the love of one woman and open and warm up the hearts of viewers which have become cold,” as chief producer Kim Young-sub said?
To see, or not to see
To see? “I feel like I’ve already become her,” Soo-ae said at the press conference for “Promise.” It looked like Lee Seo-yeon had jumped right out of the drama. Soo-ae, who said she is “working hard at memorizing my lines perfectly to deliver Kim Soo-hyun’s intentions” because “there are many emotions I need to deliver, not just my lines,” talked faster than she usually does. Soo-ae, who looked composed yet as if holding a fire that is hot enough to make her approach the man she loves aggressively, even when he has a woman to marry, was enough to make one look forward to the main female character she will play, different from those who have been observed in Kim’s past works. Even Kim Rae-won, who must have had a hard time expressing his emotions since he went into shoot immediately after getting discharged from the military, said he was “impressed by how the director told me not to take my eyes off Soo-ae even when we’re not acting.” And this made him seem more than ready to play “the man who is to a foolish point, willing to lay down his life for the love of one woman.” The acting of middle-aged actors Park Young-kyu and Lee Mi-sook, who will play a couple in the show, will probably add to the show’s fun.
Not to see? “Thousand Days Promise” will probably become increasingly sad with each passing episode. Not only will there be scenes where people scream and passionate music is played but sad moments will occur unexpectedly in ordinary life as well. Tension and sadness will be core to the drama, just like how Soo-ae said, “Depicting on the detailed emotions which would show Seo-yeon’s daily life was most difficult to do, more so than the dramatic scenes.” And emotions which are difficult for even the actors to show can become like emotional labor for the viewer. Hence it is uncertain for how long a serious drama, despite being different from its competitors, will be able to lead on its viewers. Will Kim Soo-hyun’s ardent love story be able to become a drama that viewers will remember for a long time?
※ Any copying, republication or redistribution of 10Asia’s content is expressly prohibited without prior consent of 10Asia. Copyright infringement is subject to criminal and civil penalties.
Reporter : Han Yeo-Wool sixteen@
Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@