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Lee Byung Hun & Kim Tae Ri to star in Kim Eun Sook's new historical melodrama

  July 19, 2017  
Eight years after Iris, Lee Byung Hun will return to the small screen in the new drama Mr. Sunshine, the third collaboration between screenwriter Kim Eun Sook and director Lee Eung Bok after smash hits Descendants of the Sun and Guardian: The Lonely and Great God. Rookie actress Kim Tae Ri (The Handmaiden) will make her TV drama debut in the historical melodrama about the love story between a soldier and a young woman from a prestigious family.

Set in the early 1900s, Mr. Sunshine will tell the story of a group of voluntary soldiers fighting against the Japanese occupation of Korea. In 1871, a teenage boy boards a U.S. warship and becomes an American soldier. Decades later, he (Lee Byung Hun) returns to Korea from the U.S. and encounters his love Go Ae Shin (Kim Tae Ri), the last descendant of a prominent family. Yoo Yeon Seok (Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim) will co-star as a butcher's son who wants to flee his country and start a new life in Japan, while Byun Yo Han (Six Flying Dragons) will portray a playboy with a warm heart.

Produced by Hwa and Dam Pictures, the production house of The Heirs and A Gentleman's Dignity, Mr. Sunshine is slated to air in the first half of 2018.

Text / Pisces

Mini Yang and Ethan Ruan star in period fantasy drama Legend of Fuyao

  July 18, 2017  
After starring in the hit Chinese period fantasy Eternal Love that aired earlier in the year, Mini Yang has begun filming another online novel-based costume fantasy series titled Legend of Fuyao, co-starring Taiwan actor Ethan Ruan. Based on Tian Xia Gui Yuan's 2011 novel Queen Fuyao, Legend of Fuyao is directed by Yang Wenjun, who worked with Yang on the film You are My Sunshine.

Legend of Fuyao is set in an ancient mystical China divided into five lands, with the Wuji Imperial City as the seat of the states. Yang plays the eponymous heroine Meng Fuyao, a swordswoman of the Xuanyuan Sect in Taiyuan. In order to collect the secrets to deciphering an ancient seal, Fuyao sets out on a dangerous adventure across the five lands. On her epic journey, she meets and falls in love with Prince Zhangsun Wuji. While Yang is no stranger to the costume fantasy genre, Legend of Fuyao marks Ruan's first ever costume TV drama, and his first television outing since 2009's My Queen.

The cast of Legend of Fuyao also includes Vengo Gao (Eternal Love), Zhang Yaqin (Twenties Once Again), Huang Youming (Perfect Couple), Ceng Yixuan (Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace), newcomer Liang Yimu and Liu Yijun (Nirvana in Fire) in a new original character.

Text / Sanwei

Godzilla to return in first animated film Monster Planet

  July 12, 2017  
Following the critical and commercial success of last year's Shin Godzilla, Japan's favorite kaiju will grace the silver screen again this year in the CGI animated film Godzilla: Monster Planet.

The first installment in a planned trilogy by Toho Animation, Monster Planet is the first ever animated feature in the Godzilla franchise. Directed by Shizuno Kobun (Detective Conan: The Darkest Nightmare) and Seshita Hiroyuki (Ajin: Demi-Human), the film features animation by Emmy-winning 3D CG studio Polygon Pictures (The Sky Crawlers), original story and script by Urobuchi Gen (Madoka Magica), and original character design by Kozaki Yusuke (Under the Dog).

Monster Planet depicts mankind's counterattack against the monsters after being driven off Earth by Godzilla. In the year 2048, protagonist Haruo (voiced by Miyano Mamoru), whose parents were killed by Godzilla when he was a child, is among a select few chosen to emigrate to the planet Tau-e. After 20 years of travel on the spaceship Aratrum, the crew arrives in Tau-e, only to discover the planet to be uninhabitable. Haruo leads the Aratrum crew's return to Earth to take back what was robbed from them. They find that 20,000 years has passed on Earth and monsters rule the land, with Godzilla on top of the new ecosystem.

Godzilla: Monster Planet opens in Japan on November 17, 2017.

Text / Sanwei

Kim Jae Joong falls into a Manhole in new time-travel comedy

  July 11, 2017  
Kim Jae Joong (Spy) is gearing up for his small screen comeback with the upcoming KBS drama Manhole, which marks his first drama after his military discharge in December 2016. The JYJ member will be paired up with actress-singer UEE (Marriage Contract) in the time-travel romcom.

Manhole is a collaboration between crime thriller screenwriter Lee Jae Gon (Special Crimes Force TEN) and director Park Man Young, known for his romantic dramas such as Love & Secret and That Man in Vineyard. The drama revolves around the amusing time-slip story of Kim Jae Joong's character Bong Pil, a jobless young man trying his luck for his third civil service exam. After learning that his long-time love interest Soo Jin (UEE) is getting married in a week, he travels back in time hoping to stop the marriage.

The drama also includes Jung Hye Sung (Good Manager), Jang Mi Kwan (Strong Woman Do Bong Soon) and B1A4's Baro (Angry Mom), who plays Bong Pil's double-faced friend.

Manhole starts airing on KBS on August 9.

Abe Hiroshi returns as Detective Kaga in 2018 feature film

  June 28, 2017  
Abe Hiroshi is set to return as detective Kaga Kyoichiro in the upcoming feature film Inori no Maku ga Orirutoki ("When the Curtain of Prayer Descends"), based on Higashino Keigo's 2013 mystery novel. This will be Abe's fifth time playing the brilliant police detective following the 2010 TV drama Shinzanmono, the 2011 TV special Akai Yubi, the 2012 feature film Wings of the Kirin and the 2014 TV special Nemuri no Mori.

Higashino's Inori no Maku ga Orirutoki, which concluded the Detective Kaga novel series, begins with the discovery of a woman's corpse in a Tokyo apartment whose owner has gone missing. Evidence indicates that the victim came to Tokyo to see stage director Asai Hiromi, an old acquaintance of Kaga. In the course of the investigation, Kaga unexpectedly finds that the murder case is connected to his mother who disappeared many years ago.

Besides Abe, series regular Mizobata Junpei reprises as Kaga's cousin and fellow detective Matsumiya Yuhei, Tanaka Rena as nurse Kanamori Tokiko, and Yamazaki Tsutomu as Kaga's father. Matsushima Nanako co-stars as Asai Hiromi. The film is helmed by Fukuzawa Katsuo, who has directed I Want to Be a Shellfish and many TV dramas including ratings giant Hanzawa Naoki and the Abe vehicle Downtown Rocket.

Planned for a 2018 theatrical release in Japan, Inori no Maku ga Orirutoki began shooting on June 6 and will film until late July.

Text / Sanwei

Khalil Fong and Eve Ai crowned Best Singers at 28th Golden Melody Awards

  June 26, 2017  
The 28th Golden Melody Awards were held at the Taipei Arena on June 24. Five-time nominee Khalil Fong was crowned Best Mandarin Male Singer for the first time, and Eve Ai also took her first Best Mandarin Female Singer award.

Indigenous singer Sangpuy and rookie indie band No Party For Cao Dong were the biggest winners, with three prizes each. Thanks to his acclaimed Yaangad, Sangpuy won Album of the Year and secured his second Best Aboriginal Singer trophy following his win in 2014 for his debut dalan. The multi-nominated No Party For Cao Dong walked away with Best Newcomer and even defeated strong contenders such as Mayday and Jam Hsiao's Lion in the Best Band race. Their song "Simon Says" was selected as the Song of the Year.

Mayday, which had led with eight nominations, took only one prize in Best Mandarin Album for History of Tomorrow, and vocalist Ashin was recognized as Best Lyricist for "Almost Famous." Ellen Loo received the Best Arrangement prize ("Not Far Enough") and Best Composer went to Europa Huang ("Centrifugal Force"). New jazz duo Mr. Miss triumphed over more experienced acts like Power Station and Grasshopper in the Best Group race.

Wu Bai's Ding Zi Hua was named Best Taiwanese Album. Urban Cat picked up Best Hokkien Album (The Golden Age) and Best Hokkien Singer. Hsieh Ming Yu (Chiou Nien) and Olivia Tsao (A Song of Missing) emerged victorious in the Best Taiwanese Male and Female Singer categories. Taiwanese diva Chi Lu Hsia and late singer-songwriter Tom Chang were honored with this year's Lifetime Contribution Award.

Text / Pisces

Seo Kang Joon to play robot in new sci-fi romance

  June 22, 2017  
Seo Kang Joon (Cheese in the Trap) and Gong Seung Yeon (The Master of Revenge) will team up for a robot-human romance in the new KBS drama Are You Human Too? In the sci-fi romance, the actor will play both a comatose business heir apparent and a humanoid robot falling in love with his bodyguard. The drama also features Kim Sung Ryung (Mrs. Cop 2), who portrays the protagonist's mother, the mastermind behind a deceitful robot project.

Are You Human Too? will follow an AI robot who gets involved in a fierce power struggle. Nam Shin (Seo Kang Joon), a young man from a rich family, falls into a coma after an accident. His mother (Kim Sung Ryung), an expert in brain science and artificial intelligence, creates a mind-reading android named Nam Shin III with other top scientists to replace her son. Since Nam Shin III has the same appearance as Nam Shin, no one discovers his real identity. The robot soon develops an unlikely relationship with bodyguard Kang So Bong (Gong Seung Yeon) and becomes entangled in an unexpected fight for power. Lee Joon Hyuk (House of Bluebird) co-stars as Nam Shin's secretary and only friend, while Park Hwan Hee (Descendants of the Sun) plays the protagonist's fiancée.

From the producing team of hit drama Love in the Moonlight, Are You Human Too? will be directed by Cha Young Hoon (Uncontrollably Fond) and written by Jo Jung Joo (The Princess' Man). The drama will start shooting at the end of June and is set for an autumn release this year.

Text / Pisces

Produce 101 Season 2 winners to debut as Wanna One

  June 19, 2017  
Hit Mnet survival show Produce 101 Season 2 announced the top 11 contestants during the final episode on June 16. Selected through voting from an initial pool of 101 contestants, the winning members will make a summer debut as the limited-time boy group Wanna One, which means everyone will become one together. Like Season 1's I.O.I, the group is managed by YMC Entertainment.

Kang Daniel (MMO Entertainment) came in first with more than 1.5 million votes and will automatically become the center of the group. Second place went to Park Ji Hoon (Maroo Entertainment), followed by Lee Dae Hwi (Brand New Music). The remaining winners are Kim Jae Hwan, Ong Seong Woo (Fantagio Entertainment), Park Woo Jin (Brand New Music), Lai Guan Lin (Cube Entertainment) from Taiwan, Yoon Ji Seong (MMO Entertainment), Hwang Min Hyun (Pledis Entertainment), Bae Jin Young (C9 Entertainment) and Ha Sung Woon (Ardor & Able).

The new idol group will hold a concert in July together with other show contestants, and release their debut album in August. They have been invited to model for the school uniform brand Ivy Club and will appear on tvN's sketch comedy show SNL Korea 9. The group members' contracts with YMC Entertainment will end in December 2018.

Some of the eliminated contestants will also debut very soon. Popular contestant Kim Samuel (Brave Entertainment) is gearing for his solo debut later this year, while RBW's Son Dong Myung will start his music career as a member of the band MAS.

Text / Pisces

Nakajima Kento and Chinen Yuri to star in Miseinen Dakedo Kodomo Janai

  June 19, 2017  
Sexy Zone's Nakajima Kento (Silver Spoon) and Hey! Say! JUMP's Chinen Yuri (Gold Medal Man) have been cast as romantic rivals in the live-action adaptation of the manga Miseinen Dakedo Kodomo Janai ("That is Not a Child but a Minor"). The two Johnny's idols will star opposite up-and-coming actress Taira Yuna (Sagrada Reset) in the teen love story.

Based on Minami Kanan's manga that was serialized from 2012 to 2016, Miseinen Dakedo Kodomo Janai will follow Taira's schoolgirl Karin who receives an unexpected gift from her parents for her 16th birthday: marriage with her crush Nao, a senior at her high school played by Nakajima. While Karin initially thinks that they're getting married out of love, Nao only agreed to the arrangement for economic reasons. Chinen plays Karin's childhood friend and longtime admirer Isuzu who discovers their secret and pushes her to get a divorce.

Miseinen Dakedo Kodomo Janai will be directed by Hanabusa Tsutomu, who helmed the shojo manga adaptations No Longer Heroine and High School Debut. Shooting will take place in August and September, and the film is slated for release on December 23, 2017.

Text / Sanwei

Gugudan's Kim Se Jeong as female lead in School 2017

  June 13, 2017  
Popular Korean drama franchise School is returning with its seventh installment, School 2017. Gugudan's Kim Se Jeong will take her first leading role in the upcoming KBS drama alongside rising actors Jang Dong Yoon (Solomon's Perjury) and Kim Jung Hyun (Jealousy Incarnate). Director Park Jin Seok (Haeundae Lovers) and Let's Eat series' screenwriter Lim Soo Mi bring a brand new high school tale in the hot-blooded coming-of-age drama that tackles teen issues such as bullying and academic pressure.

The new season records the school life of a group of 18-year-old high schoolers. Kim Se Jeong plays optimistic student Ra Eun Ho, a drawing talent who is mistaken for a delinquent while seeking inspiration for her comic at school. Her schoolmates include model student Song Dae Hwi (Jang Dong Yoon) and rebellious Hyun Tae Woon (Kim Jung Hyun), a transfer student from America whose father is an investor of the school. Led by a timid teacher played by Han Joo Wan (Blow Breeze), the class also includes SF9's Ro Woon (Click Your Heart) and Seol In Ah (Strong Woman Do Bong Soon). Former Secret member Han Sun Hwa (Radiant Office) joins the cast as an ace detective who ends up becoming a school police officer after bungling a case.

School 2017 will begin shooting in mid-June and is set to air on KBS in July.

Text / Pisces

Chinese version of Midnight Diner adapted by director of Black & White

  June 12, 2017  
Having already inspired multiple television seasons and feature films in Japan, Abe Yaro's acclaimed manga Midnight Diner arrives on Chinese television with a star-studded adaptation by top Taiwan television director Tsai Yueh Hsun, whose works include the idol drama classics Meteor Garden, Mars and Black & White. The foodie healing drama revolves around a late-night diner that serves as a warm refuge for urbanites seeking comfort food and conversation. Stepping into the role made famous by Kobayashi Kaoru, Huang Lei (Men, Where Are We Going Day?) stars as the sage chef/owner who dispenses just the right food and advice for his troubled diners.

Like the Japanese series, each episode of the Chinese version of Midnight Diner tells a story based around a dish, such as beef noodles, red braised pork and fried rice. The series enlists an impressive lineup of guest stars from Taiwan and Mainland China, including Jam Hsiao, Richie Jen, Cheryl Yang, Kirsten Ren, He Qiong, Liu Haoran, Wu Xing, Ma Su, Stephy Qi, Xu Jiao, Cherrie Ying, Song Yang, Liang Jing and Black & White's Mark Chao, Ivy Chen, Janine Chang, Shiou Jieh Kai and King Shih Chieh. Midnight Diner also marks a return to television for Tsai Yueh Hsun, who has only directed two films since 2009's Black & White.

First adapted by TBS in 2009, Midnight Diner turned into a late-night hit and found fans throughout Asia. The series went on to inspire three more seasons in Japan, the most recent of which was aired on Netflix in 2016, as well as feature films in 2015 and 2016. Besides the Japanese adaptations, Midnight Diner was also adapted into a Korean television drama in 2015, with Kim Seung Woo in the leading role.

The Chinese version of Midnight Diner begins airing on Beijing Television and Zhejiang Television on June 12.

Text / Sanwei

Kim Ki Duk's new film to star Jang Keun Suk

  May 26, 2017  
Korean Wave star Jang Keun Suk has been cast in the leading role of Kim Ki Duk's 23rd film Human Time. The project marks Jang's first collaboration with the director, and his first film since 2011's You're My Pet. The controversial auteur intends to challenge the boundaries of people's ethics and trace the roots of humanity in Human Time.

Set on a battleship that has been converted into a cruise liner, the film examines the morals and desires of a group of passengers of different ages and backgrounds after their ship enters an unexpected new world. In his most challenging role since debut, Jang will play the cruel and cold character of Adam that reflects the nature of man. Japanese actress Fujii Mina, who previously appeared in Korean productions like My New Sassy Girl and Like a French Film, will take on the character of Eve.

Ryoo Seung Bum and Odagiri Joe, who starred in Kim's The Net and Dream, will play a gang boss and Eve's boyfriend, respectively. The film also co-stars Ahn Sung Ki as an old man, Lee Sung Jae as a politician, and Sung Ki Yoon as the ship's captain.

Text / Sanwei

EXO's D.O. & Shin Ha Kyun star in black comedy thriller

  May 24, 2017  
10 Minutes director Lee Yong Seung teams up with Shin Ha Kyun (Empire of Lust) and EXO's D.O. (My Annoying Brother) for his second directorial effort Room No. 7. The black comedy thriller has quickly attracted public attention and successfully raised US$1.79 million in less than a week through crowdfunding.

Room No. 7 stars D.O. as student Tae Jung, who works part-time at a DVD rental shop run by Doo Sik (Shin Ha Kyun). In order to pay off his debt, Tae Jung becomes involved in drug trafficking and hides a shipment of drugs in a room inside the shop. One day, he returns to the room for the drugs but finds that the room has been locked by Doo Sik, who hid a dead body inside. Caught up in a battle of wits, Tae Jung and Doo Sik try all means to keep their secrets hidden.

Room No. 7 also co-stars Kim Dong Young (The Age of Shadows) as a newly recruited employee, Kim Jong Soo (Asura: The City of Madness) as a real estate agent and Hwang Jeong Min (Cart) as Doo Sik's older sister.

Room No. 7 finished shooting in February and will hit local cinemas in the second half of 2017.

Text / Pisces

Monster Hunt 2 to open on Chinese New Year 2018

  May 23, 2017  
Monster Hunt 2, the sequel to Shrek animator Raman Hui's 2015 blockbuster period fantasy, has announced its release date to be February 16, 2018, Chinese New Year's Day. A family-friendly fantasy adventure comedy about a radish monster prince named Wuba caught in the altercation between humans and monsters, the first film set a box office record with a gross of 2.4 billion yuan when it opened in China in summer 2015. Though it has since been surpassed by Stephen Chow's Mermaid, Monster Hunt is still currently the second biggest Chinese film of all time.

Besides the return of Wuba and human stars Bai Baihe and Jing Boran, Monster Hunt 2 ups the ante with the addition of superstar Tony Leung Chiu Wai, as well as pop star Chris Lee, Taiwan actor Yo Yang, Da Peng, Huang Lei, Song Xiaobao, Liu Yan, singer Momo Wu and members of pop group X Nine. Picking up where the first film left off, the sequel sees Jing Boran's bumbling villager Tianyin and Bai Baihe's monster hunter Xiaolan setting out in search of her father. Meanwhile, Wuba, who has returned to Yongning Village, again falls under the attack of the Monster King and is forced to go on the run. News spreads of a massive bounty on Wuba, and soon both monsters and monster hunters from far and wide are fighting to capture Wuba first.

Monster Hunt 2 has completed shooting and is currently in post-production.

Text / Sanwei

Makers of Time Raiders to adapt Song of the Assassins

  May 23, 2017  
China's Le Vision Pictures has launched a massive new IP project to adapt Yuan Taiji's 2015 book Song of the Assassins into a web drama and feature film. The production company is working again with Hong Kong filmmaker Daniel Lee who directed the 2016 blockbuster fantasy action-adventure Time Raiders, based on The Lost Tomb novel series.

Often mentioned in the same breath as The Lost Tomb and Ghost Blows Out the Light series, Song of the Assassins revolves around a mysterious assassin order in ancient China and follows a young swordsman's journey to becoming the top assassin. The original novel is known for its detailed depiction of different aspects of Chinese assassin culture and skills, including martial arts, poison, weapons and traps.

The Song of the Assassins web drama goes into production first this month. William Feng is confirmed for the film version which is still in planning.

Text / Sanwei

Mayday leads 28th Golden Melody Awards nominations

  May 17, 2017  
Nominations for Taiwan's 28th Golden Melody Awards were announced on May 16. Apart from physical releases, this year's Golden Melody Awards also give nods to digital releases. Mayday leads with eight nominations, including Album of the Year (History of Tomorrow), Song of the Year ("Tough"), Best Mandarin Album (History of Tomorrow) and Best Band. Leader Monster is nominated for Best Composer ("Here, After, Us") and vocalist Ashin scored double nominations, including Best Lyricist ("Almost Famous") and Best Album Producer (History of Tomorrow).

Eve Ai follows closely after Mayday with seven nominations, including Album of the Year (Talk about Eve) and Song of the Year ("The Sum of Us"). The soulful songstress will also compete against Jia Jia (Still Missing), Waa Wei (run! frantic flowers!), Ellen Loo (Imperfections), Faith Yang (Centrifugal Force) and Kiss Ko (Queen of Queens) for Best Mandarin Female Singer.

Both garnering five nominations, Khalil Fong (Journey to the West) and Guo Ding (The Silent Star Stone) seek their first Best Mandarin Male Singer trophy against other singer-songwriters including Jay Chou (Jay Chou's Bedtime Stories), Crowd Lu (What a Folk!!!!!!), Yoga Lin (Sell Like Hot Cakes), Namewee (Cross Over Asia) and Dog-G (Hard Knock). Jay Chou ("Love Confession") and Yoga Lin ("Spoiled Innocence") also received Song of the Year nods along with Mayday, Eve Ai, Rainie Yang ("Traces of Time in Love"), Wu Bai (Beng Kong), newcomer No Party For Cao Dong ("Simon Says") and Faith Yang ("Centrifugal Force").

With their debut album The Servile, indie band No Party For Cao Dong becomes a dark horse contender with six nominations. The Best Newcomer nominee will go head to head with veteran bands such as Mayday, and Chairman (The Boyhood of Chairman), as well as new rock powers FLUX (Pluralism), Jam Hsiao's Lion (Lion) and GDJYB from Hong Kong in the Best Band race.

Power Station (Power Station 20th), Grasshopper (Music Walker), Guess What (One), Astro Bunny (Gu Dan Hui Xiao Shi Bu Jian), RadioMars (RadioMars) and new jazz duo Mr. Miss (Mr. Miss) are all nominated for Best Group.

This year's Lifetime Contribution Award goes to Taiwanese diva Chi Lu Hsia and late singer-songwriter Tom Chang.

The 28th Golden Melody Awards will be held at the Taipei Arena on June 24.

Text / Pisces

Jung Jae Young & Kim Jung Eun to star in OCN sci-fi thriller drama

  May 12, 2017  
Jung Jae Young (Assembly) and Kim Jung Eun (Don't Make Her Cry) will return to the small screen in OCN's new drama Duel. They will engage in a head-to-head duel with two human clones in the sci-fi suspense thriller by Oh Hae Young Again director Lee Jong Jae and Nine: Nine Times Time Travel screenwriter Kim Yoon Joo.

Duel revolves around the kidnapping case of veteran cop Jang Deok Chan's (Jung Jae Young) daughter. In order to save his daughter, Deok Chan pursues the kidnapper. However, he finds out that the suspects are two identical human clones – psychopathic killer Sung Hoon and amnesiac Sung Joon – both of whom will be played by rookie actor Yang Se Jong (Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim). Suspicious of the relationship between Deok Chan and the clones, ambitious prosecutor Choi Jo Hye (Kim Jung Eun) teams up with Deok Chan to investigate the case. New actress Seo Eun Soo (Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim) co-stars as a medical reporter.

Duel begins airing on OCN on June 3.

Text / Pisces

The 53rd Baeksang Arts Awards winners

  May 4, 2017  
The 53rd Baeksang Arts Awards were held on May 3 in Seoul. Park Chan Wook won the Grand Prize in the Film section for his critically acclaimed erotic thriller The Handmaiden, while Guardian: The Lonely and Great God screenwriter Kim Eun Sook claimed the honor in the Television section.

The Age of Shadows, Train to Busan and The King were the biggest winners in the film section, each walking away with two prizes. Kim Jee Woon was named Best Director for his espionage blockbuster The Age of Shadows and star Song Kang Ho received the Best Actor trophy for his role of an undercover agent who hunts down his former comrades. Train to Busan filmmaker Yeon Sang Ho came out on the top in the Best New Director race. Kim Eui Sung earned the Best Supporting Actor award for his effective portrayal of a selfish businessman in the hit zombie movie. The King garnered Best Supporting Actress for Kim So Jin and Best New Actor for Ryu Jun Yeol, who won the same category in the TV section last year.

Son Ye Jin secured her fifth Best Actress award for The Last Princess, where she plays a captive Joseon princess struggling to return to her homeland. Edging out strong contenders including Kim Tae Ri of The Handmaiden, Lee Sang Hee (Our Love Story) emerged as the dark horse winner in the Best New Actress category.

The Wailing, which had led with six nominations, received the Best Film award. Yoon Ga Eun's remarkable directorial debut The World of Us was given the Best Screenplay prize. Veteran Kim Young Ae, who died in April this year, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Gong Yoo of the mega-hit drama Guardian: The Lonely and Great God was recognized as the Best Actor in the Television section, while Seo Hyun Jin took the Best Actress prize for Another Oh Hae Young. Kim Min Seok (Doctors) and Lee Se Young (The Gentlemen of Wolgyesu Tailor Shop) triumphed in the race for Best New Actor and Actress.

Besides Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, Dear My Friends is the other big winner in the Television section with two prizes, including Best Drama and Best Screenplay. The Best Director award went to Yoo In Sik (Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim).

EXO's D.O. (My Annoying Brother) was voted the Most Popular Actor for the second time in the Film section, while Girls' Generation member Yoon A (Confidential Assignment) won the Most Popular Actress prize. In the Television section, Love in the Moonlight's Park Bo Gum and Kim Yoo Jung walked away with the Most Popular Actor and Actress prizes, respectively.

Text / Pisces

Kimura Takuya and Ninomiya Kazunari to co-star in suspense film

  May 4, 2017  
Johnny's idols Kimura Takuya and Ninomiya Kazunari will collaborate onscreen for the first time in The Emperor in August director Harada Masato's new suspense film Kensatsugawa no Zainin ("Criminal for the Prosecution").

Set around the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor's Office, Kensatsugawa no Zainin is based on the same-titled 2013 novel by Shizukue Shusuke, whose Hannin ni Tsugu and Closed Note have also been adapted for film. Kimura, who famously played an eccentric upright public prosecutor in the Hero series, stars as elite prosecutor Mogami. Ninomiya plays Okino, a young prosecutor who looks up to Mogami as a mentor. The two are assigned to a murder case whose suspect was previously implicated in a schoolgirl murder case that has passed its statute of limitations. Okino's doubts about Mogami's handling of the investigation leads to a standoff between the two prosecutors over where justice lies.

Filming for Kensatsugawa no Zainin will take place from July to August 2017. The film is set for a 2018 release.

Text / Sanwei

Kore-eda Hirokazu & Fukuyama Masaharu reteam for courtroom suspense drama

  April 28, 2017  
Kore-eda Hirokazu reteams with his Like Father, Like Son star Fukuyama Masaharu for the new film The Third Murder (a.k.a. Sandome no Satsujin), a psychological courtroom drama co-starring Yakusho Koji. In a departure from his recent works, the Japanese auteur, whose last four films have been family dramas, writes and directs the original suspense drama about the defendant and defense lawyer of a murky murder case.

Fukuyama plays elite result-oriented lawyer Shigemori, who becomes the assigned counsel for murder suspect Mikuma, played by Yakusho Koji. Mikuma, who already has a criminal record from a murder charge 30 years ago, has confessed to killing the factory boss who fired him, and faces a possible death sentence. Though this at first seems like an open-and-shut case, Shigemori begins to have doubts about Mikuma's guilt and thin motives, and tries to undercover the truth.

Besides Fukuyama Masaharu and Yakusho Koji, the film co-stars Our Little Sister's Hirose Suzu as the victim's daughter who holds the key to the story, and Saito Yuki (Ballad: Namonaki Koi no Uta) as the victim's wife. Yoshida Kotaro, Mitsushima Shinnosuke, Matsuoka Izumi, Ichikawa Mikako and Hashizume Isao also appear in the film.

The Third Murder finished filming in March, and is slated to open in Japan on September 9, 2017.

Text / Sanwei

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