ENTERTAINMENT

Lee Joon-gi, TVXQ Changmin turn vampire, prince in new TV drama

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jul 7, 2015 - 19:41
  • Updated : Jul 9, 2015 - 00:03

Korean period drama meets “Twilight” in a new MBC drama, starring two popular Hallyu stars -- Lee Joon-gi and Changmin of TVXQ.

In “Scholar Who Walks the Night,” actor Lee Joon-gi takes on the role of vampire scholar Kim Sung-yeol. A year since “Gunman in Joseon,” Lee returns to the small screen with a vampire role that seems fit for the actor with pale skin, sharp features and substantial experience with period dramas.

Lee Joon-gi (MBC)

“My looks aren’t what they once were, unfortunately,” said Lee, with a laugh at the press conference Tuesday in Seoul. “Age takes its toll on all of us. But what I lack in looks, I tried very hard to make up for with solid acting. I hope viewers will watch the show and understand that the production staff and I put a lot of thought and imagination into developing this character.”

As vampires have become more common recently in movies and on TV, “Scholar Who Walks the Night” aims to give more dimension to the well-known figures.

“There are a lot of vampire stories out there these days, so we tried hard to make it different,” said director Lee Sung-joon at a press conference for the show Tuesday at MBC’s headquarters in Sangam-dong, Seoul.

Set in an alternate Joseon dynasty, “Scholar Who Walks the Night” is based on a comic series of the same title by Jo Joo-hee. In the show, Kim is turned into a vampire while trying to protect a woman he loves. During the 120 years that ensue, Kim channels his bloodthirstiness into killing only criminals and gains a reputation as a faceless hero of the night.

Kim’s goal is to destroy the evil vampire Gwi (Lee Soo-hyuk), who resides in the royal palace and manipulates politicians according to his will. In the course of his pursuits, Kim encounters Jo Yang-sun (Lee Yoo-bi), a cheery girl who cross dresses as a male bookseller to make a living.

Shim Chang-min of TVXQ, also known as Max Changmin, plays the crown prince Lee Yoon, a character who is “intelligent and of noble character, but who pretends to be a free-spirited commoner on the outside.”

Shim Chang-min (MBC)

“It’s my first period piece so it’s been very difficult, but the cast and the staff have all been so helpful,” said Shim.

“Scholar Who Walks the Night” airs Wednesdays and Thursdays on MBC at 10 p.m. starting this week.

By Rumy Doo (bigbird@heraldcorp.com)