Fall­ing down a man­hole with Kim Jae-joong

Star2’s fash­ion ed­i­tor shares a fan girl mo­ment. Mind you, it isn’t fash­ion-re­lated (though he is very fash­ion­able).

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Opinion - By DZIREENA MAHADZIR star2@thes­tar.com.my

COME Aug 9, I will be glued to the screen watch­ing a Korean drama.

To be hon­est, I am not re­ally a Korean drama fan. The only se­ries I’ve com­pleted watch­ing is Au­tumn In My Heart. That was way back in 2000 and the lead ac­tress, Song Hyekyo, re­mains to this day, in my mind, the most beau­ti­ful South Korean ac­tress.

I watched it with my mum then, and it aired on TV around din­ner time, and I re­mem­ber my dad say­ing, “I think there’s too much cry­ing at the din­ner ta­ble”. Talk about feel­ing emo­tion­ally over­wrought!

I at­tempted the fa­mous Win­ter Sonata (2002) but couldn’t get through it, skip­ping here and there be­cause it was so tragic. I mean, why doesn’t any­one have a happy-ever-af­ter? And that was the end of my K-drama feels.

Later on I found out that, some­times, there is a run­ning theme/ trend for th­ese se­ries, and I was ob­vi­ously watch­ing the tragic drama era. Since then I’ve tried (and failed) to watch rec­om­men­da­tions from friends or hits like the 2014 drama that sold out a YSL lip­stick, My Love From The Star.

Now I am once again go­ing to at­tempt to watch a se­ries to the end be­cause my favourite South Korean star, singer and ac­tor Kim Jae-joong (known as Jae­joong), is mak­ing his act­ing comeback post-mil­i­tary ser­vice.

Jae­joong is not just any singer – he’s got a huge fan­dom that dates back to 2003, and he’s a pro­lific song­writer, whether as a group mem­ber (he’s in the group JYJ) or solo singer (he’s one of the topselling solo singers in South Korea).

I first be­came a fan about a decade ago (he has the most beau­ti­ful voice!), though I have to ad­mit I was a spo­radic fan till around 2013. That was when I saw him and his fel­low JYJ mem­bers as the faces of Korean skin­care brand Tony Moly.

It trig­gered a fan­dom catch-up with him, his mu­sic, and his projects. And believe me, keep­ing up with Jae­joong – who I some­times think can lit­er­ally do any­thing (he’s also art di­rec­tor of Korean fash­ion brand Moldir) – is no mean feat. As a fan you end up branch­ing out along with him, mov­ing from his mu­sic to his act­ing to his fash­ion la­bel, and what­ever other projects he’s in­volved in.

Though he’s a singer, he’s been quite ac­tive in front of the cam­era as well, ap­pear­ing in se­ries such as Pro­tect The Boss (2011), Dr Jin (2012), Tri­an­gle (2014), and Spy (2015). Un­for­tu­nately, I never fin­ished watch­ing them, but I’m try­ing to rec­tify that by go­ing on a Jae­joong se­ries spree (talk about de­vo­tion!).

Jae­joong’s roles have been quite di­verse – yes, he has done a times­lip sto­ry­line be­fore but that was in a his­tor­i­cal drama (Dr Jin) – and he’s never been afraid of try­ing some­thing new, go­ing the ex­tra mile and dis­card­ing his usual stylish ap­pear­ance.

This be­ing Jae­joong’s comeback drama, I will def­i­nitely be sit­ting through the en­tire se­ries (around 16 episodes); plus it’s one of my favourite gen­res, time travel (or a time slip, in this case).

The ro­man­tic-com­edy, which will be­gin air­ing on Astro’s KBS2 chan­nel on Aug 9, is called Man­hole (be­cause he goes into a man­hole and back through time). Jae­joong plays lead char­ac­ter Bong Pil, an unem­ployed man who goes back in time to pre­vent the wedding of his best friend who he’s in love with; she’s played by Uee (she’s from the girl group Af­ter School and is also an ac­tress).

The prob­lem is when Bong starts mak­ing changes in the past, it af­fects the fu­ture, re­quir­ing him to go back and forth to keep fix­ing prob­lems.

I’ve been fol­low­ing the film­ing, cur­rently still in progress, and am a lit­tle ner­vous as there have been ac­ci­dents: Jae­joong’s had three in­juries on set, suf­fer­ing a burn, hurt­ing his leg, and get­ting seven stitches in his thumb.

I’m not too sure about his hair ei­ther – he’s shed­ding his usual ethe­real hand­some­ness and at­tempt­ing to look less glowy and gor­geous with a frizzy perm (it’s not work­ing, he still looks good).

The first teaser had quite a re­sponse, as the main cast (which also in­cludes B1A4’s Baro and Jung Hye-Seong) are danc­ing to that an­noy­ingly ad­dic­tive PPAP (PenPineap­ple-Pen) song.

The second teaser, which came out on Wed­nes­day, gives more details with hu­mor­ous and dra­matic scenes of Jae­joong go­ing through the man­hole and his frus­tra­tion when his at­tempt at chang­ing things doesn’t go well. There also seems to be an on-and-off frizzy hair thing go­ing on.

I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to see­ing Jae­joong on-screen again and while I may not be a K-drama fan, just from the teasers it looks like it’s go­ing to be a fun and en­ter­tain­ing se­ries. Watch his drama! And for up­dates, fol­low this fan ac­count on Twit­ter: @Man­hole_KBS. Touche is a monthly col­umn in which team Star2 shares its thoughts.

ou h Kor ing


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If you’re go­ing to go through a man­hole, you might as well look good while do­ing it. — Pho­tos: C-JES En­ter­tain­ment

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