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Kim Woo Bin and Suzy return to small screen with Uncontrollably Fond

  June 28, 2016  
Three years since their last dramas, Kim Woo Bin (The Heirs) and miss A's Suzy (Gu Family Book) return to the small screen with KBS's Uncontrollably Fond, which marks their first collaboration. Following the hit Descendants of the Sun, Uncontrollably Fond is KBS's second drama to be completely pre-produced before its premiere. Directed by Park Hyun Seok (Spy) and written by Lee Kyung Hee (The Innocent Man), the romantic drama unfolds the love story between a documentary producer and a top star who meet again after years of separation. The drama also co-stars Im Ju Hwan (Oh My Ghost) and Lim Joo Eun (What's Up).

Uncontrollably Fond stars Suzy and Kim Woo Bin as former lovers No Eul and Shin Joon Young who separated due to an ill-fated relationship. Years later, No Eul becomes a documentary producer but gets involved in a corruption case that severely tarnishes her reputation. The terribly depressed No Eul then re-encounters her first love Joon Young, who has turned into an arrogant superstar. Joon Young unconditionally transfers the ownership of his reality show's copyright to No Eul, which leads to speculation about Joon Young being threatened by No Eul who will earn substantial revenue from the rights. However, No Eul gives up all the rights and disappears.

Uncontrollably Fond is slated for simultaneous release in Korea, China, U.S., Taiwan and Hong Kong on July 6.

Text / Pisces

Kubota Masataka to star in Tokyo Ghoul live-action adaptation

  June 27, 2016  
Ishida Sui's dark fantasy manga Tokyo Ghoul will be adapted into a live-action film starring Kubota Masataka, who recently played the lead role of Yagami Light in the 2015 Death Note TV series.

Set in a world in which super-powered ghouls that subsist on human flesh secretly live amongst humans, Tokyo Ghoul was published in Weekly Young Jump from 2011 to 2014, and its sequel Tokyo Ghoul:re has been serialized since 2014. The Tokyo Ghouls series has a combined circulation of over 18 million copies, and it has already inspired an anime, stage plays and video games.

The protagonist of Tokyo Ghoul, Kaneki Ken, is a normal college student who turns into a half-ghoul after surviving a near-death encounter with a ghoul. At a loss over his newfound powers and appetite for flesh, he gets taken in by the proprietors of a ghoul cafe and gradually learns how to adapt and survive in the company of both ghouls and humans. He also gets drawn into the battle against the government force tasked with wiping out ghouls.

Besides Kubota Masataka as Ken, Shimizu Fumika from HK: Forbidden Super Hero and NHK morning drama Mare has been announced in the female lead role of Kirishima Toka, a ghoul who reluctantly helps Ken acclimate to his new existence. The Tokyo Ghoul live-action film will mark the directorial debut of Hagiwara Kentaro, who previously directed commercials, music videos and short films.

Tokyo Ghoul begins filming in July, and is slated for a summer 2017 release.

Text / tabo
Translation / Sanwei

Andy Lau and Bai Baihe crowned at China Huabiao Film Awards

  June 27, 2016  
The 16th Huabiao Awards, one of China's top film awards, was held in Beijing on June 24. Andy Lau and Bai Baihe were crowned Best Actor and Best Actress for their respective roles as a father searching for his missing son in Lost & Love, and a terminally ill comic artist in Go Away Mr. Tumor. Following wins at the Golden Rooster Awards and the Hong Kong FIlm Awards, Tsui Hark received another Best Director prize for his period action-adventure The Taking of Tiger Mountain.

Lost & Love and The Taking of Tiger Mountain also both made the top ten shortlist of Outstanding Feature Films along with Jean-Jacques Annaud's period epic Wolf Totem, Wu Jing action film Wolf Warrior, war film The Hundred Regiments Offensive, fantasy blockbuster Monster Hunt, Dante Lam's cycling film To the Fore, crime drama Saving Mr. Wu, Peter Chan's Dearest and animated hit Monkey King: Hero is Back. Meanwhile, Go Away Mr. Tumor was recognized with the Young Filmmaker Creation Award.

Land Records, a drama about rural villagers resisting land encroachment by real estate speculators, won Best Screenplay. In the technical categories, Zhang Yimou's Coming Home picked up Best Music and John Woo's The Crossing 2 won Best Cinematography.

Text / Sanwei

Sodagreen, JJ Lin and Julia Peng win at 27th Golden Melody Awards

  June 27, 2016  
The 27th Golden Melody Awards was held in Taipei on June 25. Sodagreen became the biggest winner with five prizes including Best Mandarin Album, Best Band, Best Album Producer, Best Musical Arranger and Best Lyricist, thanks to their highly acclaimed album Winter Endless.

JJ Lin was crowned Best Mandarin Male Singer for the second time and won Best Composer for "Twilight." Defeating strong competitors Tanya Chua and A-mei Chang, Julia Peng finally took her first Best Mandarin Female trophy twenty years since her debut. "Darling" also earned her Best Single Producer. Beating out Hebe Tien's "A Little Happiness" and A-mei Chang's "Matriarchy," indigenous artist Suming's song "Don't Give Up" walked away with Song of the Year.

Eli Hsieh (Progress Reports) won Best Newcomer, while multi-nominated rookie group Chang and Lee was selected as the Best Group for their self-titled album. Jacky Chen garnered Best Hokkien Male Singer and Best Hokkien Album (Columbia) and Huang Fei triumphed in the Best Hokkien Female Singer race. Best Music Video award went to Sandee Chan's "If Sorrow Is Downloaded Twice."

In the technical categories, Chinese singer Cui Jian received the Best Vocal Recording Album prize, while puppetry film The Arti: The Adventure Begins bagged Best Instrumental Recording Album. Lim Giong was recognized as the Best Instrumental Album Producer for The Assassin's original soundtrack. Diva Tracy Huang, who has released 51 albums, was honored with this year's Lifetime Contribution Award.

Text / Garden
Translation / Pisces

Yoo Seung Ho leads a fraud ring in Seondal: The Man who Sells the River

  June 22, 2016  
Yoo Seung Ho, who played Joseon's greatest magician in The Magician, turns into a notorious con man in Seondal: The Man who Sells the River, based on a classic novel about Joseon's well-known swindler Kim Seon Dal. Director Park Dae Min (Private Eye) brings the tale to the silver screen again almost 60 years after Han Hong Yeol's Bong-I Kim Seondal was released in 1957. Different from his typical image as a middle-aged man, Kim Seon Dal is depicted as a dashing youth in the comedic period film, which also stars Cho Jae Hyun (The Fatal Encounter), Ko Chang Seok (The Con Artists), Ra Mi Ran (The Himalayas) and EXO member Xiumin in his big screen debut.

Kim Seon Dal (Yoo Seung Ho), who transforms himself into a hunter with the help of camouflage master Bo Won (Ko Chang Seok), begins his con business by selling a rooster as a phoenix at a high price. Banding together with fake shaman Yoon Bo Sal (Ra Mi Ran) and the fraud ring's youngest member Kyun Yi (Xiumin), the greedy group disguise themselves as monks and put an astronomical observatory on sale. Seon Dal also dresses up as the King to steal gold from the palace. However, the master fraudster's ultimate goal is to make a big deal with Joseon's most powerful man Sung Dae Ryeon (Cho Jae Hyun) by selling off the ownerless Daedong River.

Seondal: The Man who Sells the River opens in Korea on July 6.

Text / Pisces

Produce 101's Chinese version to premiere in late June

  June 8, 2016  
Produced by well-known Taiwan actor Ming Dao's Mid Entertainment, China's largest streaming video platform QQLive and Dongyu Entertainment, reality-competition program The Best Girl Group, the Chinese version of the Korean show Produce 101, is a large-scale project to create a new C-pop girl group. Mnet's Produce 101 launched the hot-topic K-pop idol group IOI right after the show finished, and the Chinese version will be looking to emulate the success.

Fifty contestants were selected through auditions in seven cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Xiamen and Taipei starting in April. After online voting, the top 30 contestants entered the second round of the competition and received intensive vocal, dance and strength training for ten days in May. The 20 most voted contestants will compete for the final six spots in the upcoming star-making show.

Helmed by top Taiwan variety show director Zhang Zhi Peng, The Best Girl Group focuses on the contestants' transformation process from ordinary people into super idols. Led by Ming Dao, the trainers include Mocika Li from the Chinese singing contest Super Girl and Chinese boy band M.I.C.'s Chi Yuehan. More than 20 famous artists will also participate in the show.

BEAST member Yong Jun Hyung participated in composing and writing the theme song for the Chinese web survival show. The song marks the singer-songwriter's first track promoted in China.

The Best Girl Group is scheduled to premiere on QQLive on June 26 and the Yong Jun Hyung-penned theme song was released on Chinese online music platform QQMusic on June 6.

Text / Pisces

The 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards winners

  June 6, 2016  
The winners of the 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards were announced on June 3 in Seoul. tvN drama Signal and hit KBS drama Descendants of the Sun both took three awards and became the biggest winners in the Television section. Signal garnered Best Drama, Best Screenplay (Kim Eun Hee) and Best Actress (Kim Hye Su). Descendants of the Sun received the Grand Prize and Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo were named Most Popular Actor and Actress. Answer Me 1998, which had led with nine nominations, took only two prizes including Best Director for Shin Won Ho and Best New Actor for Ryu Jun Yeol.

For other acting prizes, Yoo Ah In (Six Flying Dragons), who triumphed over Jo Jin Woong, Joo Won, Nam Gung Min and Song Joong Ki, was crowned Best Actor in the television category for the first time, while Cheese in the Trap's Kim Go Eun was honored with Best New Actress. Though Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo lost out in the race of Best Actor and Best Actress, they both picked up the iQiyi Global Star Award, a special prize created in 2015.

Lee Joon Ik, the director of the period dramas The Throne and Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet, gained the Grand Prize in the Film section. The most nominated films Assassination and Veteran won Best Film and Best Director (Ryoo Seung Wan) respectively, while the Best Screenplay prize went to rookie director Ahn Gook Jin's dark indie drama Alice in Earnestland.

Lee Byung Hun, who won Best Actor at the Asian Film Awards, secured his second acting prize for his role as a vengeful political fixer in the crime thriller Inside Men. Jeon Do Yeon also earned another Best Actress award for her performance in the romantic noir thriller The Shameless. The Best Supporting Actor winner is Lee Kyung Young (Minority Opinion), while Ra Mi Ran (The Himalayas) was recognized as the Best Supporting Actress.

Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet's Park Jung Min acquired his first Best New Actor prize, while Park So Dam added the fifth trophy to her Best New Actress collection thanks to her impressive acting in the supernatural mystery thriller The Priests. Coin Locker Girl's Han Jun Hee edged out other rising directors and came out on the top in the Best New Director race. EXO's D.O. (Pure Love) and miss A's Suzy (The Sound of a Flower) walked away with the Most Popular Actor and Actress prizes, respectively.

Text / Pisces

Ohno Satoshi to make period film debut as Sengoku-era ninja

  June 3, 2016  
Arashi's Ohno Satoshi will make his period film debut as a Sengoku-era ninja in the upcoming live-action adaptation of the novel Shinobi no Kuni. The film reteams Ohno with director Nakamura Yoshihiro six years after Kaibutsu-Kun. The novel's original author Wada Ryu will serve as the screenwriter for the film version of Shinobi no Kuni.

Shinobi no Kuni revolves around the battle between the storied ninjas of Iga Province and Oda Nobunaga's forces in the late 16th century. In 1579, Oda Nobunaga's son Oda Nobukatsu led an army of 8,000 in an attack against the Iga, but the outnumbered ninja clan successfully repelled Oda's army with their superior fighting skills and battlefield prowess. Ohno takes on the fictional role of Mumon, a seemingly lazy and unmotivated ninja who actually harbors great powers that are unleashed in times of battle.

Shinobi no Kuni, which begins shooting in July, is slated for a summer 2017 release.

Text / Sanwei

Director Park Chan Wook returns with erotic thriller The Handmaiden

  May 26, 2016  
Three years after his English-language directorial debut Stoker, award-winning filmmaker Park Chan Wook returns to Korean cinemas with the highly acclaimed erotic thriller The Handmaiden, which earned him his third Palme d'Or nomination at the Cannes Film Festival following Old Boy and Thirst. Starring Kim Min Hee (Right Now, Wrong Then) as a wealthy Japanese heiress, rookie star Kim Tae Ri as a maid, Ha Jung Woo (Assassination) as a fake count and Jo Jin Woong (A Hard Day) as the heiress's uncle, the film is an adaptation of Welsh author Sarah Waters's notable lesbian crime novel Fingersmith about the love between a rich heiress and her maid.

In 1930s Korea, Lady Hideko (Kim Min Hee), who lives with her uncle (Jo Jin Woong) in a luxurious mansion, becomes the sole heiress to her family fortune. In an attempt to seize the heiress's wealth, a swindler (Ha Jung Woo) pretends to be Count Fujiwara and hires pickpocket Sook Hee (Kim Tae Ri) to become her maid. Though Sook Hee is given the mission to convince Lady Hideko to marry Count Fujiwara, she finds herself sexually attracted to her new mistress.

While retaining the original novel's suspense and plot structure, Park relocates the story from Victoria-era London to Japanese-occupied Korea. Following the style of Park's "Vengeance Trilogy," The Handmaiden features elements of revenge and forbidden sexuality. Apart from the dark side of human nature and difference in social class, Park focuses on issues of sexuality and morality to bring crime and romance together in the film. Through the costumes, set design and depiction of language and lifestyles at the time, the auteur also wants to show Korea's development towards modernization.

Published in 2002, Fingersmith was nominated for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction and Booker Prize for Fiction, and won the CWA Historical Dagger award. The novel has been adapted into a 2005 BBC drama starring Sally Hawkins, Elaine Cassidy and Rupert Evans, and a 2015 stage play written by Alexa Junge.

The Handmaiden has been pre-sold to 116 countries and is set to open in Korea on June 1, 2016.

Text / Pisces

Sodagreen leads 27th Golden Melody Awards nominations

  May 25, 2016  
Nominations for Taiwan's 27th Golden Melody Awards were recently unveiled. Sodagreen leads with eight nominations including Best Mandarin Album (Winter Endless), Song of the Year ("Rainy Night"), Best Composer and Best Band.

Frequent winners Tanya Chua (Aphasia) and A-mei Chang (AMIT2), both of whom garnered six nominations, will be competing against Peggy Hsu (Swing Inc.) for Best Mandarin Female Singer and Best Mandarin Album. Julia Peng (Hey Darling) and Xiao Xia (Self-Titled Album) are also nominated for Best Mandarin Female Singer.

Hebe Tien's hit Our Times movie theme song "A Little Happiness" is nominated for Song of the Year and Best Composer. Other Song of the Year nominations include Suming's Golden Horse-winning Wawa no Cidal theme song "Don't Give Up," A-mei Chang's "Matrimonial Society" and JJ Lin's "Twilight." Lin also picked up Best Album Producer and Best Composer nods through his album From M.E. To Myself, and he's shortlisted again for Best Mandarin Male Singer along with Namewee (Asian Killer), Li Jian (Li Jian 6th Album), Matzka (Vu Vu Reggae) and Kowen (Ni Bu Zhen De Xiang Liu Lang).

This year's newcomers make a strong showing. Besides Kowen, Su Yun Ying (Ming Ming) garnered a Best Mandarin Female Singer nomination, and Poetek () and Eli Hsieh (Progress Reports) are in the Best Mandarin Album race. Hello Nico (Familiar Destination), Chang and Lee (Self-Titled Album) and Hong Kong singer Yoyo Sham (Here) round out the Best Newcomer contenders.

Two-time Best Band winner Sodagreen seeks their third trophy against Mixer (Before Being Named), io Band (III), Cosmos People (10,000 Hours), Tolaku (Mr. Hormone) and Won Fu (Papa I Want To Be A Star). Meanwhile, Best Group nominations go to Cozy Diary (Live a Cozy Life), Sibonjie (Na Xie Fei Zhou Ren Jiao Wo De Shi), 911 (Jiu Si Wu Can) and Chang and Lee, who are also nominated for Best Taiwanese Album.

The 27th Golden Melody Awards will be held in Taipei on June 25.

Text / Garden
Translation / Sanwei

Warner Bros announces live-action Fullmetal Alchemist starring Yamada Ryosuke

  May 25, 2016  
Warner Brothers has announced production for the live-action adaptation of Arakawa Hiromu's best-selling fantasy action-adventure manga Fullmetal Alchemist. Hey! Say! JUMP's Yamada Ryosuke, who recently headlined the Assassination Classroom live-action movie series, takes the leading role of alchemist Edward Elric. Sori Fumihiko, who has helmed the manga adaptations Tomorrow's Joe and Ping Pong, will direct.

Serialized from 2001 to 2010, Fullmetal Alchemist is set in a Europe-inspired alternate world in which alchemy holds great scientific importance and transmutation is strictly regulated. Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric pay a grave personal cost when they attempt human transmutation to save their mother. The technique, which is forbidden by law, backfires and Edward's limbs and Alphonse's body are destroyed in exchange. To find a way to revive Alphonse, Edward joins the military as a state alchemist outfitted with armored prostheses and embarks on a search for the powerful Philosopher's Stone. Fullmetal Alchemist has previously inspired two anime series, two animated films and multiple video games.

Besides Yamada Ryosuke, Honda Tsubasa co-stars as Edward's childhood friend and mechanic Winry Rockbell and Dean Fujioka as Colonel Roy Mustang, a state alchemist and the leader of Edward's squadron. Other cast members include Kohinata Fumiyo as General Hakuro, Sato Ryuta as Lieutenant Colonel Maes Hughes, Renbutsu Misako as First Lieutenant Risa Hawkeye, Natsuna as Second Lietunant Maria Ross, Harada Natsuki as Maes Hughes's wife Gracia, Kunimura Jun as Dr. Marcoh and Oizumi Yo in a special appearance as Major Shou Tucker. As for the antagonist Homunculi, artificial humans with superpowers created from Philosopher's Stones, Hongo Kanata has been cast as Envy, Matsuyuki Yasuko as Lust and Uchiyama Shinji as Gluttony.

Slated for a winter 2017 release, Fullmetal Alchemist will begin shooting in Italy in early June.

Text / Sanwei

Romantic period K-Drama Hwarang: The Beginning unveils cast

  May 19, 2016  
Park Seo Joon (Kill Me, Heal Me), ZE:A's Park Hyung Sik (High Society), Go Ara (Answer Me 1994) and SHINee's Choi Min Ho (Because It's the First Time) will be playing the lead roles in the KBS romantic period drama Hwarang: The Beginning. Directed by Yoon Sung Shik (Bridal Mask, The King's Face) and written by rising screenwriter Park Eun Young, the star-studded drama focuses on the love triangle among two young elite warriors and a girl from a royal family in the Silla dynasty. It also co-stars Kim Ji Soo (Memory), Do Ji Han (Basketball), Jo Yoon Woo (Dating Agency: Cyrano), BTS member V in his acting debut, and Lee Kwang Soo (It's Okay, That's Love) who makes a cameo appearance in the first half of the drama. Hwarang: The Beginning is production company Oh! Boy Project's first period drama following past "flower boy" themed dramas like Flower Boys Next Door, Shut Up Flower Boy Band and EXO Next Door.

During the Silla dynasty, cold and charismatic Empress Dowager Jiso (Kim Ji Soo) forms the "hwarang," an elite group of young warriors who receive all aspects of education. Though he comes from a low-class family, Moo Myung (Park Seo Joon) enters hwarang and becomes the legendary warrior called Sun Woo Rang thanks to his intelligence. He falls in love with Ah Ro (Go Ara) from the royal family but the huge difference in social status poses an obstacle to their relationship. His love rival Sam Maek Jong (Park Hyung Sik), the prince of Silla, also becomes a warrior in order to conceal his royal identity. Trained to be a warrior, the weak prince grows strong and is finally enthroned as King Jinheung. Other warriors include optimistic Soo Ho (SHINee's Choi Min Ho) who is the leader of the other young aristocrats, clever and friendly Han Sung (BTS member V) whose grandfather is the royal family's antagonist, cool and intelligent Ban Ryu (Do Ji Han) and mysterious Yeo Wool (Jo Yoon Woo).

Hwarang: The Beginning starts airing in December on KBS and on Chinese broadcaster Letv.

Text / Pisces

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time to be adapted into TV drama

  May 11, 2016  
Japanese writer Tsutsui Yasutaka's oft-adapted 1965 sci-fi novel The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (a.k.a. Toki wo Kakeru Shojo) is set to return to screen again in a new live-action TV drama this summer. The latest version of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time will star up-and-coming teen actress Kuroshima Yuina and Sexy Zone member Kikuchi Fuma in their first leading roles.

Kuroshima Yuina, who has appeared in supporting roles in many productions in the last few years including Ju-on: The Final, Hana Moyu and Samurai Sensei, plays heroine Yoshiyama Mihane, a high school girl who acquires the ability to jump back in time after smelling a lavender scent in the school laboratory one day. With her newfound ability, she encounters various strange experiences, including the feeling of first love, and meets Ken Sogoru, a boy from the future played by Kikuchi. In a departure from previous adaptations, the new drama will approach the story from the perspective of Ken.

Tsuitsui's novel has inspired multiple film, drama and stage adaptations over the years, the most well-known being the 1983 film starring Harada Tomoyo, the 1994 TV drama starring Uchida Yuki, Hosoda Mamoru's award-winning 2006 animated feature and, most recently, the 2010 film starring Naka Riisa.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time TV drama will air on NTV in July.

Text / Sanwei

Jeon Do Yeon returns to the small screen with Korean remake of The Good Wife

  May 11, 2016  
Award-winning film actress Jeon Do Yeon returns to the small screen for the first time in 11 years in tvN's upcoming political/legal drama The Good Wife, a remake of the acclaimed American series starring Julianna Margulies and Matt Czuchry. In her first TV drama since the 2005 SBS hit Lovers in Prague, Jeon will play the leading role of a full-time mother who restarts her career as a lawyer after her husband is sent to prison. Director Lee Jung Hyo (Witch's Romance) and screenwriter Han Sang Woon (Spy) pair up to reinterpret the highly praised CBS drama together with a stellar cast that also includes Yoo Ji Tae (Healer), Yoon Kye Sang (Last), Kim Seo Hyung (Assembly) and After School's Nana.

In The Good Wife, prosecutor Lee Tae Joon (Joo Ji Tae) never shows mercy when dealing with crimes, even if they involve powerful politicians and plutocrats. Due to his indiscreet behavior, he gets involved in a political scandal and is sent to prison. His wife Kim Hye Kyung (Jeon Do Yeon), who stopped working after marrying 13 years ago, then becomes the family's sole breadwinner. Restarting her profession as a lawyer, she joins a law firm managed by her old schoolmate and love interest Seo Joong Won (Yoon Kye Sang) and co-CEO Seo Myung Hee (Kim Seo Hyung), and works with a bunch of rivals and colleagues fresh out of law school, including her assistant (After School's Nana).

Aired for seven seasons from 2009 to 2016, the original The Good Wife garnered myriad awards and received numerous Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. Lead actress Julianna Margulies and the supporting cast including Archie Panjabi, Martha Plimpton and Carrie Preston also won various acting prizes for their outstanding performances in the drama.

The Good Wife begins airing on tvN on July 8, 2016.

Text / Pisces

Kamenashi Kazuya and Tsuchiya Tao to star in P to JK adaptation

  May 9, 2016  
KAT-TUN's Kamenashi Kazuya and Tsuchiya Tao (Orange) have been announced as the leads of the live-action adaptation of Miyoshi Maki's shojo manga P to JK. The romantic film marks the first collaboration between the two actors.

Serialized since 2013, P to JK revolves around 23-year old police officer Kota and high school girl Kako who first meet on a group blind date during which Kako pretends to be a college student. Though he initially shows interest in Kako, Kota rejects her after finding out her real age. A series of incidences brings them back together and strengthens their bond, leading Kota to propose.

Set to begin shooting in June, P to JK will be directed by Hiroki Ryuichi who is fresh off two other shojo manga adaptations, Strobe Edge and Wolf Girl and Black Prince.

P to JK is planned for a spring 2017 release.

Text / Sanwei

The 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards nominations

  May 3, 2016  
Nominations for the 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards were recently unveiled. Shin Won Ho's nostalgic drama Answer Me 1988 leads in the Television section while Ryoo Seung Wan's crime thriller Veteran and Choi Dong Hun's period espionage thriller Assassination received the most nominations in the Film section.

In the Television section, Answer Me 1988 leads with nine nominations including Best Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Leading Actress (Ra Mi Ran), Best New Actor (Ryu Jun Yeol, Ahn Jae Hong and Lee Dong Hwi) and Best New Actress (Ryu Hye Young and Girls’ Day’s Lee Hye Ri). Descendants of the Sun and Six Flying Dragons are the second most nominated dramas with five nominations each including Best Drama, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

Song Joong Ki (Descendants of the Sun) will be competing against Yoo Ah In (Six Flying Dragons), Nam Gung Min (Remember), Jo Jin Woong (Signal) and Joo Won (Yong Pal) for Best Actor. Song Hye Kyo (Descendants of the Sun) is joined in the Best Actress race by Kim Hyun Ju (I Have a Lover), Critics Choice Awards winner Kim Hye Su (Signal), Ra Mi Ran (Answer Me 1988) and Hwang Jung Eum (She Was Pretty).

Besides the five nominees from Answer Me 1988, Byun Yo Han (Six Flying Dragons) and BTOB’s Yook Sung Jae (Who Are You: School 2015) are nominated for Best New Actor, while Kim Go Eun (Cheese in the Trap), Park So Dam (Because It's The First Time) and Lee Sung Kyung (Queen's Flower) received nods for Best New Actress.

In the Film section, both Veteran and Assassination got five nominations including Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay. The remaining Best Film nominees are Jung Ji Woo's Fourth Place, Woo Min Ho's Inside Men and Lee Joon Ik's Dong Ju: The Portrait of a Poet.

Jeon Ji Hyun, who recently took the honor of Best Actress at the 52nd Grand Bell Awards, is again nominated for Best Actress with one-time winner Kim Hye Su (Coin Locker Girl), Lee Jung Hyun (Alice in Earnestland), two-time winner Jeon Do Yeon (The Shameless) and Han Hyo Ju (The Beauty Inside). Yoo Ah In, who was crowned at the recent Blue Dragon Film Awards, is nominated for Best Actor again with Song Kang Ho for their impressive performances in The Throne. Baek Yoon Shik and Lee Byung Hun from Inside Men and Hwang Jung Min from Veteran are in the competition as well.

Best Supporting Actor nominees are Bae Sung Woo (Office), Um Tae Goo (Coin Locker Girl), Oh Dal Soo (Veteran), Lee Kyung Young (Minority Opinion) and Jo Jin Woong (Assassination), while Best Supporting Actress nods go to Ra Mi Ran (Himalayas), Ryu Hyun Kyung (Office), Uhm Ji Won (The Silenced), Jang Young Nam (The Classified File) and Jeon Hye Jin (The Throne).

For Best New Actor, The Coin Locker Girl earns two nominations for Go Kyung Pyo and Park Bo Gum, together with Park Seo Joon (Chronicles of Evil), Park Jung Min (Dong Ju) and Tae In Ho (Shadow Island). Best New Actress nominations go to Park So Dam (The Priests), Kwon So Hyun (Madonna), Kim Sae Byuk (A Midsummer's Fantasia), Kim Shi Eun (Su Saek) and Jung Ha Dam (Steel Flower).

The real time popularity polls for Most Popular Actor and Actress in both sections are in full swing. EXO's D.O. (Pure Love) and miss A's Bae Suzy (The Sound of a Flower) currently top in the Film section, while Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo from Descendants of the Sun dominate in the Television section.

Text / Pisces

Yoon Shi Yoon and Kim Sae Ron star in fantasy drama Mirror of the Witch

  April 28, 2016  
Yoon Shi Yoon (Prime Minister and I) and teen actress Kim Sae Ron (A Girl at My Door) take the leading roles in JTBC's fantasy romantic period drama Mirror of the Witch, which is Yoon Shi Yoon's first drama since his military discharge. Inspired by the Korean medical book Dongui Bogam compiled by famous imperial physician Heo Joon, the drama directed by Jo Hyun Tak (Maids) combines the life of Heo Joon with witchcraft.

Mirror of the Witch is about the early life and romance of Heo Joon who falls in love with a witch. The drama also features Kwak Shi Yang from Night Flight and Oh My Ghostess, Yeom Jung Ah (Royal Family), Lee Yi Kyung (Maids), Jang Hee Jin (Scholar Who Walks the Night), Moon Ga Young (EXO Next Door) and Jo Dal Hwan (Ugly Love).

Heo Joon (Yoon Shi Yoon) is a young, passionate man who loves helping people in need. Born to a concubine, he is despised by others despite his cleverness and outstanding martial arts skills. Seo Ri (Kim Sae Ron), originally called Yeon Hee, is the daughter of Queen Shim (Jang Hee Jin). Unable to have a child, Queen Shim asks for help from powerful witch Hong Joo (Yeom Jung Ah) and finally gets a boy and a girl, but the twin girl is put under a curse and becomes a white-haired witch. The abandoned little princess is saved by Hong Joo's opponent Choi Hyun Seo (Lee Sung Jae). Harboring a crush on Yeon Hee, Choi Hyun Seo's son Poong Yeon (Kwak Shi Yang) takes care of her throughout the years and helps her communicate with the outside world after she turns into witch Seo Ri and moves to the mountains. Seo Ri and Heo Joon meet in the mountains one day and develop a romantic relationship, thus forming a love triangle.

Mirror of the Witch begins airing on JTBC on May 13.

Text / Pisces

Vicki Zhao reveals cast of second directorial film

  April 27, 2016  
Award-winning actress Vicki Zhao recently unveiled the cast of her second directorial effort No Other Love (Mei You Bie De Ai) through the film's first set of promotional images. The simple black-and-white teasers show close-up shots of the eyes of the eight main cast members: Chinese actresses Joan Chen (The Sun Also Rises), Yolanda Yuan (The Continent), Ning Jing (Lady of the Dynasty), Faye Yu (A Thousand Years of Good Prayers) and Qi Xi (Mystery), singer Han Hong (So Young), Taiwan actor Leon Dai (Parking) and Japanese actress Mizuhara Kiko (Attack on Titan).

In 2013, Zhao made a big splash with her blockbuster directorial debut So Young. The coming-of-age romance earned the actress-turned-director many awards, including Best Director at the 32nd Hundred Flowers Awards, and the distinction of being the first Chinese female director with a film grossing over 100 million yuan at the box office.

Zhao works again with So Young screenwriter and producer Li Qiang for her highly anticipated follow-up, which began shooting in March. Based on German writer Ingrid Noll's 1991 novel Der Hahn ist tot, No Other Love is about a horticulturalist who thought her love life had reached a dead end until she falls head over heels for a middle-aged academic. Her passion ignited, she puts everything on the line for love.

Text / Sanwei

SHINee to make Japan comeback with "copycat" group SHINyan

  April 25, 2016  
SHINee will be releasing the Japanese single Kimi no Sei de ("Because of You") on May 18. The single will be promoted together with the "copycat" group SHINyan, formed by five kitties created based on the K-pop group members' personalities and interests.

"Because of You" is a heartrending medium-tempo dance number about the pain of separation. The song was first revealed in the group's fourth Japan concert tour SHINee World 2016 DxDxD held from March 24 to 26 this year in Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo. The single will also contain the new song Nothing to Lose.

On the day of SHINee's comeback, kitty group SHINyan will debut in Japan with "Because of You for Cat," which is a cat version of "Because of You." The cat version's music video will be unveiled as well.

SHINyan is a group of five little cats that helps promote SHINee's Japanese songs when they are busy with overseas promotion. The group is created based on the SHINee members' personalities and hobbies. Group leader ONEWNyan is a chicken-loving cat with droopy ears. Main vocalist JONGNyan is a cool cat with a slim and flexible body. Fashionista KEYNyan is a smart cat that understands human language. Rapper MINONyan is a large, charismatic and athletic cat with velvety long fur. Dancing machine TAEMINyan is a shy cat with aquamarine eyes.

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