Producer and broadcaster JTBC has such a strong track record of making attractive and successful Korean TV drama series from tales of everyday lives that almost everything it does is likely to attract attention. Adding the presence of Son Ye-jin, star of Studio Dragon and Netflix hit “Crash Landing on You,” makes “Thirty-Nine” potentially one of the hottest Korean series of 2022.
The title is a reference to the age of three female friends who are only just the right side of forty. The 12-part romantic drama depicts them juggling life, work and relationships as they approach mid-life.
Son, who had the starring role in early 2000s blockbuster films “The Classic” and “April Snow” but in recent years has focused more on TV, plays the head of a dermatology clinic in Seoul’s affluent Gangnam district. She is joined by co-stars Jeon Mi Do (tvN’s “Hospital Playlist”) as a drama teacher whose acting career turned out to be a dream, and actor-musician Kim Ji Hyun who plays a shy department store manager, who never had a serious relationship in her life.
Ahn So Hee, former member of K-pop girl group, Wonder Girls recently joined the cast as sister to Yeon Woo Jin’s character. Her last notable role was in OCN and Studio Dragon’s “Missing: The Other Side.”
The male leads were announced only recently. Yeon Woo Jin (“Judge vs. Judge,” JTBC’s “Undercover”) plays a dermatologist obsessed with Son’s character. Lee Mu Saeng (“The World of the Married”) plays the head of an entertainment agency who falls for Jeon’s character at first sight, while Lee Tae Hwan (“Pride and Prejudice,” “W”) plays a restaurant owner and chef who develops a relationship with a regular diner as portrayed by Kim.
Shooting will start this month from a screenplay by Yoo Young Ah, known for smash hit comedy film “Miracle in Cell No. 7” and the more unsettling “Kim Ji Young: Born in 1982.” In TV, she was also behind the 2018 tvN-Netflix drama series, “Encounter” with Song Hye Kyo and Park Bo Gum in the starring roles. Regardless of genre, Yoo’s screenplays typically delve into a multitude of human emotions by putting her characters in challenging situations. The series director is Kim Sang Ho, a rookie who previously co-directed “Run On.”
The show is a co-venture between JTBC Studios (Sky Castle,” “Beauty Inside,” “The World of the Married”) and Lotte Cultureworks and is expected to broadcast in the first half of 2022. JTBC will handle licensing of the show. No international broadcaster or streamers have yet been announced.