New series 'Iris' due on Isle channel
By Jeff Chung
Hallyu takes a bold step forward with a large budget and star-studded cast in the drama "Iris," airing in South Korea on KBS.
Promotional hype has led to successful ratings for "Iris" since the series started airing in mid-October. The series is produced by veteran director Kang Je-gyu, who is known for his movies "Taegukki (The Brotherhood of War)," with Jang Dong-gun and Won Bin, and his first hallyu hit movie "Shiri," starring actress Kim Yun-jin. Not surprisingly, as both movies dealt with North and South Korea through Korean War or spy-related story lines, "Iris" is also about the agents of the National Security Service of South Korea and reunification matters with a love triangle.
"Iris" director Kang was here for the Hawaii International Film Festival back in 2005 as a juror. He is producing "Iris" with a record-breaking budget of nearly $20 million.
Now airing in South Korea on the KBS network, "Iris" is to be shown in Hawaii on Time Warner Oceanic digital cable channel 80, tentatively scheduled to start on Dec. 2 in the 9:50 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday time slot.
The stars of "Iris" include Lee Byung-hun (HIFF 2005, "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," "I Come with the Rain," "All In," "The Good, the Bad, the Weird," "Bittersweet Life"), Jung Joon-ho ("My Boss, My Hero" and a frequent visitor of Honolulu), Kim Tae-hee ("Joong Chun"), Kim Seung-woo and Kim So-yeon ("All About Eve," "Best Chef").
Kim Hyun-jun (Lee Byung-hun) and his rival Jin Sa-woo (Jung Joon-ho) are both top-secret agents. Add Seung-hee (Kim Tae-hee) into the mix and a love triangle ensues. Hyun-jun develops a romantic relationship with Seung-hee to the envy of Sa-woo, who suppresses his feelings toward Seung-hee. Hyun-jun is sent on a mission only to get injured and betrayed. After losing everything he had, he returns to the agency to get revenge in the midst of the reunification of south and north.
Filming for "Iris" was done in Japan, South Korea and Hungary, with many action scenes naturally fitting the spy genre. Producing TV shows has been a challenge as expenses and talent fees increased, making budgets a problem. With the success of "Iris," despite its large budget, a new trend may evolve, with the industry investing more money into programming. It is a high-risk, high-return gamble, but surely boosts the hallyu craze with a return of high-profile celebrities back to the small screen.
As an aside, director Kang did say back in 2005 at HIFF that he plans to debut his next film in Hawaii. We have our fingers crossed and hope for a film release soon.
THIS WEEK'S K-DRAMA SYNOPSES
EPISODES 15 AND 16 (LAST EPISODE)
Tonight at 7:45: Gija pours her heart out to Minjoon, telling him that she was at her best when she was living in London, and now she's grown old beyond recognition. It breaks Minjoon's heart to see Gija so weak. Woojin promises himself he will concentrate his energy on Style. Tomorrow at 7:45 p.m.: Woojin regretfully lets his restaurant employees go.
'DARE TO LOVE'
EPISODES 45 AND 46
Sunday at 6:45 p.m.: Bong-sun's mom finds out about Bong-sun and Denny's engagement picture on the Internet. She comes up with a plan to stop Bong-sun and Denny from seeing each other. Denny's dad has surgery, and Poong-ran goes to see him again. Sul-ran spends the day with Soo-nam and Chan. Tae-woo's past comes back to haunt him. Sunday at 7:45 p.m.: Bong-sun acts like she's pregnant so she can marry Denny. Bong-sun's dad tells Denny's dad another secret and begs him to take his daughter to the States. The friction between Poong-ran and her mother continues. Tae-woo's past comes back to haunt him. Sul-ran starts to see the new Soo-nam.
EPISODES 15 AND 16
Monday at 7:45 p.m. A story of Straw and his gang force-selling tickets to bar girls gets published in papers. Je-il is investigated for his involvement with "organized crime." Fans turn their backs on FF League, and Je-il finds himself helpless. Tuesday at 7:45 p.m.: Je-il decides to surrender to Kang Kyung-tak for the sake of FF league athletes and So-yeon's family. Kang Kyung-tak accepts Je-il's surrender and takes in Jang-seok and the others. Je-il decides to leave for the States with his sister.
'SWALLOW THE SUN'
EPISODES 20 AND 21
Wednesday at 7:45 p.m.: President Jang gets very angry at Soo-hyun for having the prosecutor's office investigate him. Jung-woo gets worried about what President Jang plans to do with Soo-hyun. President Jang tells Mr. Baik that he has a bad feeling about the whole situation, and asks him to take charge. Tae-hyuk is shocked to find that Jung-woo is his half-brother. Thursday at 7:45 p.m.: Jae-myung asks Jung-woo if he's ready to fight against President Jang. Jung-woo asks Soo-hyun to keep the fact that he's President Jang's son as a secret. Jackson hears about Mr. Baik through Jung-hye and asks Kang-rae and Sae-dol to find out where he is. In the meantime, Jung-woo tries to find out what Mr. Baik has been doing with President Jang's money.