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‘Strangers 6’ to go on undaunted

Earthquake-driven plot of new multinational TV series to remain unchanged


No one could have predicted the massive earthquake that hit the coast of Japan on March 11, especially not the team and cast of the forthcoming quake-centric drama, “Strangers 6.”

On March 3, just nine days before disaster struck, a press conference in Seoul unveiled the ambitious joint collaboration among Chinese, Japanese and South Korean production companies and stars.

The multinational plot would center on a huge earthquake predicted to hit Dalian, China within the next five years that could wipe out Asia. A project is set in motion to prevent the natural disaster from occurring and the help of a team of six special agents from South Korea, China and Japan is enlisted.

Two weeks after the devastating event left Japan reeling from shock and nearly a month after the highly publicized press conference, “Strangers 6” head producer Shinya Kawai and fellow producer Toshio Toyoda flew in Friday to meet with South Korean production partner W MEDIA CONTENTS and discuss what steps need to be taken next. Fellow production partner BMC Investment and main South Korean cast members Oh Ji-ho and Han Chae-young also attended the meeting, W MEDIA CONTENTS director Lee Kyeong-cheol said.

Considering the sensitive subject matter and plans to shoot part of the series in Ishikawa, Japan, there was ample reason for all those involved to review the situation, especially when Japanese screenings of Clint Eastwood’s tsunami-flick “Hereafter” and the release of “Aftershock” ― a film about the 1976 Tangshan, China, earthquake ― were halted and delayed, respectively, in light of the current crisis. 
The main cast and crew of “Strangers 6” (left to right) — director Ryuhei Kitamura, Han Chae-young, Oh Ji-ho, Yu Song Yan, Zhang Peng Peng, director Ma Jin, Toshiaki Karasawa and Masaya Kikiwada — attend the drama’s press conference in Seoul on March 3. (YTREE MEDIA)
The main cast and crew of “Strangers 6” (left to right) — director Ryuhei Kitamura, Han Chae-young, Oh Ji-ho, Yu Song Yan, Zhang Peng Peng, director Ma Jin, Toshiaki Karasawa and Masaya Kikiwada — attend the drama’s press conference in Seoul on March 3. (YTREE MEDIA)

After the meeting, Lee revealed there would be no changes in the original plot or delays in filming, with production scheduled to start in early April in China, where more than 50 percent of the drama will be shot.

The decision about whether or not to film in Ishikawa will be made in the second or third week of April, Lee added.

A representative of Oh Ji-ho’s agency declined to comment on how news of the earthquake has affected “The Slave Hunters” star, only confirming that he “will definitely be starring in the drama” and that he signed onto “Strangers 6” because it represented a new challenge for him as both his first tri-national project and first time playing a special agent.

Co-star Han Chae-young, according to an agency representative, is currently learning Mandarin and attending action school in preparation for her upcoming role.

Both Han and Oh will be playing South Korean special agents who join a team stationed in Dalian, China, tasked with maintaining peace within Asia while efforts are made to prevent a major disaster through a crucial project.

“The Great White Tower” star Toshiaki Karasawa, Japanese actor Masaya Kikiwada, Chinese actress Zhang Peng Peng, and Chinese actor Yu Song Yan will be starring alongside Oh and “Boys Over Flowers” actress Han.

The 10 billion won ($9 million), 22-episode series is currently slated to air in October or November on MBC and will also air in Japan and China.

By Jean Oh (oh_jean@heraldcorp.com)
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