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T.O.P and Seung-ri star in `19`


Members of boy band BIGBANG flexed their acting chops on set last Wednesday. On the last day of filming for their forthcoming telefilm, "19," T.O.P and Seung-ri took turns channeling teen angst; smoke swirling, rap pounding through the speakers.
One out of a series of eight feature-length dramas produced by Samhwa Networks under the overarching title, "Telecinema," "19" charts the growing pains of a trio of 19-year olds. The plot reads like your typical teen flick -- a group of kids on the cusp of adulthood get implicated in a murder case and run away.
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The writer behind this work, however, defies expectations.
Taking a cue from the Korean Wave, "Telecinema" has enlisted the creative prowess of Japanese scriptwriters, Korean directors and Hallyu stars to spin out, flesh out and act out the eight tales.
High profile directors like Pyo Min-soo of the hit drama "Full House" and Hallyu stars like Kim Ha-neul, Ji Jin-hee and Dong Bang Shin Ki`s Hero Jae-Joong are taking part in this large scale project.
"The writer of `19` scripted the original `White Tower,`" "19" director Jang Yong-woo referred to scriptwriter Inoue Yumiko during a press conference held on set, last Wednesday.
"For this project, I went for a young vibe, for dynamism and movement," Jang added.
Decked out in black, BIGBANG member-and-fashion maven T.O.P, who is also starring in the blockbuster drama "IRIS," put the spotlight on his and his co-stars` roles: "I don`t think that we will be fashionable (in `19`). Your attention won`t be drawn to our outfits. It will be drawn to our characters."
Fellow member Seung-ri ruled out a full-blown romance, "Unfortunately, there are no love scenes in our drama."
"Co-star Heo Yi-jae was unhappy about it," he quipped.
"He is joking," actress Heo countered, hitting her male co-star playfully.
For those looking forward to seeing sharp outfits on their K-pop icons, this may come as a bit of a disappointment. But fans of BIGBANG`s music may be in for a pleasant surprise.
According to director Jang, both T.O.P and Seung-ri worked on songs that may be featured in the forthcoming telefilm.
"It is very beautiful," director Jang said of Seung-ri`s ballad.
Following the press conference, Jang and the cast continued to film "19," which is slated to air, with seven other "Telecinema" feature-length dramas, on SBS in Korea and TV Asahi in Japan.
Four of the works are slated to hit movie theaters in Japan and Korea this summer.
The telefilms will be 90 to 105 minutes long.
By Jean Oh