Kim Hyun Joong chosen as male lead for ‘It started with a kiss’ / ‘Playful kiss

It’s official!!!  Kim Hyun Joong will be playing Baek Seung Jo in the upcoming drama “Playful Kiss” – the Korean remake of the Taiwanese drama “It Started With A Kiss”.

Words can’t express how happy I am right now.  I’ve been fangirling over Kim Hyun Joong ever since Boys Over Flowers and We Got Married, and “It Started With A Kiss” has always been one of my favorite Asian dramas.  I mentioned in my “You’re Beautiful” review that I was completely obsessed with ISWAK at one point in my life.  I even made my boyfriend watch it with me because I needed someone to share my love for the drama with.  He didn’t fangirl over Zhi Shu like I did (naturally) but he enjoyed the show a lot.  In the beginning I had to beg him to watch the series with me, but after a while he was the one yelling “NEXT!” at the end of each episode.  He even agreed to watch the sequel (They Kiss Again) with me after we finished ISWAK.

Eventually I made Brinks watch the show too so we could fangirl over Zhi Shu (Joe Cheng) together XD

Anyway, Kim Hyun Joong competed with other idols like Jung Yonghwa (CN BLUE) and Changmin (TVXQ) for this role.  He’ll be playing a cold-hearted genius who excels in just about everything he does.  I hope he does a good job.  Joe Cheng played the part really well in ISWAK, let’s hope Kim Hyun Joong will do the same.

The role of Moon Ha Ni (Yuan Xiang Qin in ISWAK) is still up for grabs.  I hope the person they choose will have good chemistry with Kim Hyun Joong.  (One reason I loved ISWAK so much was because I loved the Ariel Lin/Joe Cheng pairing – they’re so sweet IRL.)    I heard Park Shin Hye auditioned for the lead female role, I really hope she gets it.

Park Shin Hye and Kim Hyun Joong in a commercial they shot together.  Maybe we’ll be seeing more scenes like this in the future? XD


I wonder who they’ll get to play the role of Ah Jin?



15 thoughts on “Kim Hyun Joong chosen as male lead for ‘It started with a kiss’ / ‘Playful kiss

  1. OMG.

    Thanks for the news :)) I was actually hoping for a lesser known actor to pick up the role because I think it’s more pressure & more difficult for prominent names to excel at a role that is already so close the hearts of so many fans.

    I love Joe Cheng, I think he was perfect as Jiang Zhi Shu. I love Hyun Joong too, from his one acting gig, it’s hard to tell if he has what it takes to be just as memorable. Truth be told his acting skills weren’t exactly top notch in BOF (though I still love you JiHoooooooo!!!) but I will watch this w/o judging. I hope he doesn’t try to emulate Joe, instead he will interpret the role his own way.

    As for the female lead, I’m actually hoping Park Shin Hye doesn’t get the role as it would be too similar to her Go Mi Nyu in You’re Beautiful.

    Oh, & I hope they don’t butcher the simplicity of the storyline.

    • I also think that Joe Cheng made the perfect Zhi Shu. I really hope Hyun Joong does a good job in this drama. I agree, he’s not exactly the best actor. (But we still love him XD) I was actually hoping that Lee Min Ho would get this part, but I guess he didn’t want it (from what I’ve read). Anyway, I hope Hyun Joong will play the part well.

      I agree, Xiang Qin’s character is very similar to Go Mi Nyu in You’re Beautiful. But I really loved seeing PSH acting adorably stupid. I’m hoping that she gets the lead role in this drama so I can see more of her cute antics XD

  2. Guys.. why go for last place when we can have first place.
    Although Lee Min Ho was the ideal actor for the role in Joe Cheng’s eyes.. I’m sure there are others who can handle this role.

    Kim Hyun Joong is not a serious actor, he doesn’t like to act. He accepted the role in BOF because his agency persuaded him to and I’m pretty sure that’s the case here as well.

    It’s not to say that he shouldn’t act.. If he wants to, why not? It’s just, not this drama. Are there any Kim Hyun Joong fans who agree that this casting is not a good career choice?
    As fans, we should support his projects. But, I’m a greater fan of the series than a fan of him, I’d rather they do it wonderfully in 10 years’ time than settle for second best just because they have a clock ticking..

    Anyway, I started a Facebook group called Change Lead Actor for Playful Kiss/Itazura na Kiss remake.. If anyone’s interested in joining, please do..

    • I respect your opinion, but as I mentioned, I’m happy that Kim Hyun Joong was chosen for this role. I admit, he doesn’t have the best acting skills and I do have a hard time trying to imagine him playing the lead role in this drama, but who knows – he might go and give a great performance and prove us all wrong (that’s what I’m hoping for at least). I’ve whined about casting choices in many other dramas before, but in the end it usually turns out alright. I don’t think the casting directors will choose someone if they don’t think that person will be able to handle it.
      I also think that the actress that they will choose to play the lead female character will greatly affect how KHJ performs in this drama. Which is why I’m hoping that they’ll pick someone he’s comfortable with

      • I’m kinda praying that God will bestow him with the acting powers of Marlon Brando and Heath Ledger…

        I hope he manages to pull it off too. I hope you’re right.
        But, I’m not gonna stop this petition until the drama airs.

    • I think Lee Min Ho made the right decision for his career. I think the last thing he’d want to do is take on another manga-turned-live-action remake idol drama, & esp where the roles aren’t all that different.

      I think the best thing they could’ve done was select a lesser known face to play the lead, that way, everything can feel as fresh as possible. I do see some similarities btwn the Jiang Zhi Shu & Yoon Ji Hoo character so it’s not like Hyun Joong is completely out of his depth (though at the same time I am not banking all my hopes on it lol) As strangevision said, it will depend largely on who lands the part of Xiang Qin.

      Park Shin Hye was adorable in YB. Ditzy but not irritating xD

      • Hey… You watched ISWAK and TKA right?

        With regards to what you said, I beg to differ.

        Itazura na Kiss is very much a family drama.

        ISWAK and TKA is successful due to :

        1.The overall direction of the drama
        2.The entire cast from the leads to the supporting actors to the extras.
        3.The plot.

        So, if the two leads have amazing chemistry but the supporting actors like the family members fail to back them up, it’ll be horrible.

        Zhi Shu and Ji Hoo have one similarity in common : aloofness.

        But, Zhi Shu has more, how do you say, worries..
        The changes in his emotions are very subtle but it has to be obvious to the viewers. Kim Hyun Joong hasn’t been able to do that yet.

        • I’ve also seen both TKA and ISWAK. And yes, I do agree that those three things that you mentioned contributed to the success of both shows. But I’d like to point out that you did mention (in #2) that it’s the entire cast from “leads to the supporting actors to the extras” that make the show. They’re all very important. KHJ is one character in the show. True, he may be playing a big part, but just him alone is not going to determine whether this drama will be a success or not. I think that the female lead that they will choose for this drama will actually have a greater influence in its success than KHJ since the story mainly focuses on her anyway. And there are still other characters that we have to consider.

          As for his acting skills, he’s had like one major role in his career. He’s had a few acting jobs before but they weren’t that big. It’s true that he wasn’t spectacular in BOF, but he was still able to gather a lot of fans from that show (me included). I refuse to judge his potential as an actor based on that that single drama. Actors grow and learn more as they get more parts, so why should we stop them if the people in the industry believe that they have what it takes?

          I am a fan of the show, and of course I’d like to see it succeed. KHJ wasn’t my first choice for the role as well, but I’m happy that he got the part. Having him play the lead may make a few fans unhappy but there are still people like me who support him and believe that having him play lead is not going to make the show a complete disaster.

        • Yes I have seen both seasons.

          The three points you mentioned aren’t specific to the It Started With A Kiss series, they’re crucial to ALL drama series (& movies for that matter.) I’m not saying that the be all & end is lies within who they will cast as the female lead, I am saying that they will need to ensure they choose someone who will complement Kim Hyun Joong. Given he isn’t the top-notch actor as we agree, the chemistry factor btwn the leads will be v. important. I don’t doubt that the family elements are prominent in ISWAK, but the success for this shoujo story centers around the relationship btwn Zhi Shu & Xiang Qin- it’s what the fangirls come to see (& the ones who will ultimately spill out the dosh to buy all the merchandise ^^;;) I think the writing of this series will also be essential to the success- like I mentioned earlier, I hope they don’t screw around & convolute it too much – I don’t want to see another Boys Over Flowers story fail lol

          I agree, aloofness is one similar characteristic btwn Zhi Shu & Ji Hoo. But they are also both incredibly loyal, devoted & neither give a damn what the rest of the outside world thinks of them. They also have a high respect for their elders & really look after the younger ones.

          By no means am I trying to say that Kim Hyun Joong is my choice for the role, I just think we should give him a chance. I remember when Ju Ji Hoon was first cast as Prince Shin in Princess Hours, fans of the manga erupted & started a petition to shoo him off. Boy am I (& a million other girls around this world) glad he stayed on xD The production crew obviously see SOMETHING in Hyun Joong so I guess only time will tell if it’s the right decision or not.

        • What they need to do now is show us BTS clips so we can judge whether he can play Baek Seung Jo.

          Group 8 has not been known to make the best decisions.

          Producers and directors make mistakes as well. Sometimes, directors have hardly any say in who will and who won’t. It’s the investors and producers. Those who put in the big bucks.

          What I’m thinking is, why didn’t Group 8 consult Kaoru Tada’s husband regarding the remake?

          Why? Profit is more important to them than making a faithful adaptation. How do I know? I know because of the way they chose the actors, because of their actions.. It was all about making something that brings in the bucks.

          Yes, he’s not out of his depth by playing Baek Seung Jo? If Baek Seung Jo is so similar to Yoon Ji Hoo, he would not do well.

          Forgive my ranting, but I can’t see him as Baek Seung Jo at this point.

          I’m not going to judge him on one drama alone as well. Because people change. But, to jump from a supporting role where his acting received negative feedback from native Koreans as well as the online community to a lead role. That’s too risky. Regardless whether he acts well or not, this drama will be successful commercially.

          And that’s the point of the petition. When did we get to a level of being satisfied with idol dramas?
          Group 8 seemed to be earnest in producing a high quality romantic comedy but now, their work seems so slip shod. Remember too, that the news of his casting came right after Lee Minho said he’d declined. What is one supposed to think?

          I’m taking in every point that you guys have mentioned. True, what you’ve mentioned is his character. As for the two characters’ personalities, there are few similarities.

          Bear in mind that the dramas produced are influenced by producers, investors, and the fans.

          It won’t be a disaster, it’ll be really successful.
          Some people can turn a blind eye and say,’I thought he did okay for a newbie.’ when in fact it was quite bland. I don’t remember who said it, but he or she said Xiang Qin/Moon Ha Ni bears the more important role. That is not true at all. The characters’ developments are equal.

          And I would hate for one actor to overshadow or upstage another by his or her acting.

          Kim Hyun Joong actually bears more responsibility at this point. Everyone wants to know whether he’s improved since BOF, whether he can portray such a complicated character.. If Kim Hyun Joong wants to do well in this role, he has a lot of work to do.
          Reading the manga is not enough.. Watching the Taiwanese version will affect him positively and negatively. One, he’ll pick up ideas of how to play Baek Seung Jo. Two, he’ll be playing Jiang Zhi Shu and not Baek Seung Jo,basically imitating Joe Cheng.

          If he’s as sincere as he wants us to believe, he has to go the extra mile, which is to visit the author’s husband on whom the character is based. Everyone’s pushing him in this direction and that direction, if I were him, I’d go nuts by now.

          The production crew saw something in Hyun Joong?
          They saw something in Koo Hye Sun as well. But, there were so many times I’d cringe at her Geum Jandi. This is by the same group who produced Goong S. BOF had Lee Minho, Kim Bum, Kim So Eun, Lee Min Jung and Lee Hye Young (She was brilliant) But, they also made a lot of mistakes. Sometimes, you can do spectacularly well at an audition but go overboard with the rest of your performance.

          Or maybe the producers got the wrong idea of what Irie Naoki is supposed to be like.

          • Again, I am not saying that Group 8’s decision is failproof. I am saying, give the guy a chance. Yes, some times producers & casting directors screw up but sometimes they get it right on the money. Will Hyun Joong rip this role apart? Again, only time will tell. I am not a die-hard fan of his but I won’t burn him down before he even gets a shot at playing the role.

            His acting in BOF was immature, yes. And yes there were many negative critiques but he still connected w/ many other fans. If he underperforms in this new role, then so be it. Alot of NOW great actors were possibly even worse in their earlier acting gigs so this will only be a small blemish (& something funny to laugh about some time down the track!) to his young acting career. He will learn from it & we will move on but his dedicated fans will continue to support him nonetheless. True fans of the story should understand that one bad remake isn’t going to ruin the original story- if anything, it’ll only make it better ^_^

            Again, I’ve said it before, I’d much prefer Hyun Joong to interpret the role his OWN way. Acting is about interpretation. You will notice also that different countries need to tailor certain characteristics to suit the demographic. So in a way I wouldn’t go against KHJ sidestepping a viewing of the Tw+J versions- this way, at least we can get his v. OWN interpretation of the role.

            Bare in mind as well, how everyone sees an actor subjectively varies. I agree Geum Jan Di was far from Goo Hye Sun’s best performance but I personally blame a large part of that on the way her character was written (she could only do so much.) On the other hand, I personally did not think much of Kim Bum’s acting in BOF, nor did I like Lee Min Jung. And while I don’t think Lee Min Ho was bad, I def don’t think he was anywhere near as great &/or as memorable as the arrogant F4 leader esp in comparison to Matsumoto Jun & Jerry Yan.

            One last thing, I don’t think there’s anything wrong w/ idol dramas, provided they are done well. The universal language here is quality.

            A police/crime drama aims to thrill. A horror/suspense series aims to scare. An idol drama aims to sweeten the shojo lovers. Irrespective of the genre, those elements you mentioned (direction, supporting cast etc) are the X-factors in distinguishing the quality of ANY drama series.

    • Haha, addik ka kup. Mabait kami, di kami nagaaway XD
      Yup, the best parin talaga si Zhi Shu ❤ And Xiang Qin! ARJOE FOREVAAAAH!!!! But I still can't wait for the Korean remake 😀

  3. oh this should be interesting, a Korean adaptation of ISWAK. I hope the girl won’t be as ridiculously clumsy as Xiang Qin was but, lol.

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