By Jianne Soriano
July 16, 2021
It’s another exciting week dominated by comeback announcements in the music industry and casting news in K-drama land
As we gear up for the summer, so is the Korean entertainment industry—artists and groups are preparing for their comebacks. Blackpink is releasing a documentary as part of their fifth-anniversary festivities with rapper Lisa making her long-awaited solo debut. Astro, ONF, Dreamcatcher and more are also all releasing new music.
Meanwhile, we’re also entering the summer lineup for Korean dramas as well as announcements for year-end and early 2022 castings. Ryu Jun-yeol and Jeon Do-yeon’s anticipated return to the small screen is happening later this year and they’ve just released posters and a teaser to excite fans. Korean director Park Chan-wook is also returning to TV directing with Marvel superhero Robert Downey Jr. set to star.
Find out all the details of that and more on this week’s Korean entertainment roundup. In case you missed last week’s news, read it here.
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Blackpink released a new trailer for their upcoming documentary, The Movie which promises fans an exclusive inside look into the K-pop quarter’s journey and will reflect black in their five-year career so far. The documentary is part of their 4+1 Project, in celebration of their 5th anniversary since their debut.
Slated for an August 4 release in North America and an August 8 release worldwide, the documentary is set to include clips of never-before-seen conversations with band members, backstage footage as well as footage from live performances such as 2018’s In Your Area and 2021’s The Show.
In addition to the documentary, the mega girl group is also releasing a limited-edition album photobook as well as joining WeVerse, a community online platform. Rapper Lisa will also be making her highly-anticipated solo debut this summer.
See also: Blackpink’s Lisa: 13 Of The K-Pop Star’s Most Stylish Looks
Singer and songwriter Sumni, former member of the now-defunct girl group Wonder Girls is confirmed to be releasing a new song in August. Her agency, Abyss Company said, “Sunmi is preparing a new album and aiming for an August comeback. The exact schedule will be announced later on”.
The planned August comeback is a follow-up to February’s album release, Tail together with the title track of the same name. The singer is also set to appear in the survival program, Girls Planet 999 alongside other female contestants across South Korea, Chin and Japan who share the same dream of debuting in a girl group.
See also: IU: 20 Stylish Looks To Dress Like The Korean Star
— 온앤오프 (ONF) Official (@wm_on7off) July 9, 2021
Boy group ONF is preparing for a comeback in August. Their agency, WM Entertainment confirmed the news, “ONF is preparing an album with the goal of making a comeback in early August. The concept or details haven’t been decided yet”. If things go as planned, the return will be their first since April when they released their repackaged first full album, City of ONF backed by the title track, Ugly Dance.
Weeekly 4th Mini Album
[Play Game : Holiday]
— Weeekly (위클리) (@_Weeekly) July 14, 2021
Rookie girl group Weeekly is confirmed to be making a comeback on August 4 with Play Game: Holiday, their fourth mini-album. With the announcement of the comeback date, the group released a teaser photo highlighting the concept of the comeback. It will mark their first release since March, following mini-album We Play and hit title track, After School.
— 드림캐쳐 Dreamcatcher (@hf_dreamcatcher) June 30, 2021
Another girl group making a return is Dreamcatcher. The seven-member girl group is gearing up for a July comeback, their first in six months since the release of mini-album, Dystopia: Road to Utopia in January.
Korean sibling duo AKMU is making their highly-anticipated comeback towards the end of this month with a new collaboration album. The duo revealed the star-studded tracklist which includes the likes of IU for the title track, Lee Sun Hee, Zion.T, Beenzino, Jannabi’s Choi Jung Hoon, Crush and Sam Kim.
To go along with the announcement, they also released a cinematic trailer filled with fun, dancing moments that suddenly takes an unexpected turn for the worst.
See also: BTS, IU And Song Hye-Kyo: 9 Korean Stars And Their Expensive Properties
ASTRO 8th Mini Album
Moving Poster 💡
— 판타지오뮤직 (@fantagiomusic_) July 12, 2021
Earlier this week, Astro confirmed their comeback with the release of an eight mini-album next month. Alongside the announcement is a poster with the words, “Coming Soon” and release date, August 2. They also revealed the album’s title to be Switch On together with a moving poster.
The following day, the group dropped the teaser schedule and on the next day, released a set of individual teasers starting with Sanha’s mood trailer and concept photos. JinJin’s own mood trailer and concept photos were released the following day while Cha Eun-woo’s was just unveiled today.
See also: Lee Min-Ho: 9 Most Stylish Looks From The Korean Actor
🎉Billboard #Hot100 No.1 x 7🎉
정말 믿기지 않는 7주 연속 1위 #BTS_Butter 😭
We can’t believe this is really happening to us 😭
— BTS_official (@bts_bighit) July 12, 2021
BTS continues their historic winning streak at the Billboard Hot100 charts with Butter for the seventh straight week. “We can’t believe this is really happening to us. Thank you so much,” said the group on the group’s company account.
This milestone marked the longest number one streak achieved by a group since One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men in 1995 which spent 16 weeks atop the charts. With this, BTS now has 12 Billboard Hot100 number ones with Butter leading the pack. They’re also the first Asian artists to hit number one for longer than four weeks—the last time this happened was in 1963 with Kyu Sakamoto’s Sukiyaki.
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Renowned Korean director Park Chan-wook is making his English-language TV directing return with The Sympathizer, based on Viet Tanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. According to Deadline, Robert Downey Jr. is slated to play “multiple supporting roles as the main antagonists, all of whom represent a different arm of the American establishment”.
The Oldboy director’s return to TV directing is a follow up to the 2018 limited series, The Little Drummer Girl. “With Director Park at the helm, I expect this to be a creative producing adventure for Susan, me and Team Downey, and a stimulating process for myself in playing these complex supporting roles,” says Downey Jr. to Deadline.
The espionage series will follow a spy from North Vietnam who’s in filtering the South Vietnamese army. When he’s exiled to the US, he remains connected to a local South Vietnamese community and becomes an advisor to an American film about the Vietnam war. Eventually, he goes back to Vietnam and helps fight the communists.
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Ryu Jun-yeol and Jeon Do-yeon are both returning to the small screen with Lost, a 10th-anniversary special drama from Jtbc. It will tell the stories of average people, who realise that they haven’t achieved much in life so they will try their best to strive for the spotlight.
The black-and-white teaser posters show both Ryu and Jeon looking upwards with nothing but expressionless faces and eyes. It’s accompanied by the text, “I want to disappear. I want to live” echoing both sentiments of hope and despair.
Meanwhile, the trailer also showed emotional scenes of the two characters who are striving to achieve something in life who later cross paths.
Ryu is set to play Kang Jae, who is running a service that allows employees to act out whatever roles their client requests. He’s trying his best to climb the social ladder and overcome poverty but deep inside, he’s afraid that he won’t be able to achieve anything.
On the other hand, Jeon is taking up the role of Boo Jung, a ghostwriter who’s already in her 40s. She feels lost and thinks her work hasn’t been able to achieve anything. The two characters are set to undergo a journey filled with empathy and healing.
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Fresh off the conclusion of Doom At Your Service, Seo In-guk is already being courted for a new drama titled Minamdang: Case Note. The webtoon-based drama will centre around a mysterious cafe called Minandamg and the people that visit it.
According to Korean news sources, the script will be penned by Park Hye-jin who worked on Ruler: Master of the Mask and the Korean movie, The Yellow Sea. A source from Seo’s agency Story J Company also clarified to Korean media that Seo received the offer and is “reviewing” it.
See also: Seo In-Guk: 8 Things To Know About The “Doom At Your Service” Actor
The rising actor who wowed audiences in Vincenzo is busy. He’s already been reported to receive other casting offers but this one seems to be the most promising one. According to Korean industry insiders, Kwak Dong-yeon received the offer to play Yong Ju in the drama, Monstrous which will be helmed by Train to Busan director, Yeon sang-ho.
Yeon is also making a new for himself. After the smash Korean horror zombie movie, he penned OCN drama The Cursed. Writer Ryu Yong-jae who worked on Netflix’s My Holo Love is also co-writing.
Previously, Kwak also received an offer to start in the upcoming Netflix series, Hunting Dogs.
See also: 15 Scariest Asian Horror Movies To Watch
Two Baeksang Arts Award winners may be joining forces soon. Best Actor Shin Ha-kyun is reportedly in talks to play the lead role in Beyond the Memory. The drama will revolve around the future and virtual reality and will be in a mid-form drama format, meaning that the entire series lasts less than an hour.
It will be helmed by Daesang-winning director, Lee Joon Ik who previously worked on The Book of Fish, The Throne, Donju: The Portrait of a Poet and The King and the Clown. Since both Shin and Lee are both Baeksang winners, there’s a lot of excitement for the project.
See also: 10 Baeksang Awards-Nominated Dramas And Movies To Watch
Space Sweeper’s Kim Tae-ri and Vincenzo’s Jeon Yeo-bin both moved to a newly established agency, Management mmmm. It was created by a team of employees from their previous agency, J.Wide Company, including their existing manager.
From a press release, the former company of the two stars said, “As Management mmm is a company created based on trust with the two actresses Kim Tae Ri and Jeon Yeo Bin, the company will continue to help out with diverse acting projects and positive career paths”.
Since the new company and J.Wide Company have a connection, J.Wide Company maintains that it supports the new step taken by Management mmm with “strong bond we have had for a long time and will work for the progress of each company”.
See also: Jeon Yeo-Bin: 10 Things To Know About The “Vincenzo” Actress