The Korean adaptation of the 2011 hit Taiwanese drama, In Time With You, will be finally sailing this Saturday night. Titled The Time We Were Not In Love, A-list actress Ha Ji Won, who finished the sucker Empress Ki last year, and Lee Jin Wook, whom you might have last seen in The Three Musketeers, will revive the characters Cheng You Qing, originally played by Ariel Lin, and Li Da Ren, originally played by Bolin Chen, respectively, as Oh Hana and Choi Won. The 16-episode series is directed by Jo Soo Won, who’s known for successful dramas like Pinocchio, I Hear Your Voice, and Gapdong, and the script is written by Jung Do Yoon and Lee Hana. Other cast members include Yoon Kyun Sang, Choo Soo Hyun, Jin Kyung, Choi Dae Chul, Infinite’s L, and a lot more. I honestly dislike the fact that there are many new actors and unknown faces here (‘cause if you notice, Ha Ji Won used to work with the likes of Lee Yoon Ji, Jo Jung Suk, Kim Sarang, and Yoon Sang Hyun as the second leads), but a part of me wants to give them the benefit of the doubt. I think it’d be too judgmental of me if I deemed them not fit as early as now, and I wouldn’t break my rule of always seeing the glass half full. So far, The Time We Were Not In Love is nothing but perfect in terms of the pretty posters—Ha Ji Won and Lee Jin Wook have depicted a romantic perfection there—and stills released. The teasers and previews are all good, interesting, and colorful, but they make it obvious that the drama’s not going to be faithful to the original. I seldom watch Taiwanese dramas, but I did love In Time With You, and it’s fine with me even if the Korean remake turns out to be something so different as long as the premise—the friendship that blossomed into romance—would stay the same. None can guarantee a decent story (even Empress Ki with all things good except the PD sucked so bad in the end), but something’s telling me as early as now that I’m gonna love this drama, and I hope I’ll really do.
Here’s a brief description of the four main characters. Oh Hana (Ha Ji Won) and Choi Won (Lee Jin Wook) are both 34 years old, and they’ve been best friends for 17 years since high school. Hana is a confident career woman, who works in a shoeline factory, while Choi Won works in an airline, where he meets a cabin attendant named Lee So Eun (Choo Soo Hyun), who instantly falls in love with him. Meanwhile, there’s Cha Seo Hoo (Yoon Kyun Sang), who’s a free-spirited pianist. (He’s a new character, and there’s not much said about him.) Infinite’s L has a guest appearance, playing the role of Sung Jae (or Nic from the original), a much younger colleague of Hana. (I like it that L is here; he was the best thing in My Lovely Girl last year.) Long story short, Choi Won has always been by Hana’s side, most especially whenever she gets in trouble, but just like in the original, when they were in high school, he made it clear to her that he couldn’t possibly love her, love as in more than a best friend, and we shall find out why.
Pictured above is my favorite poster. It’s symbolic, I suppose. Choi Won is only looking at Hana, but Hana is looking at somewhere else. He always has his eyes on her, and he’s always by her side, but she doesn’t notice it. Just like the distance between the two windows, they’re always by each other’s side literally and figuratively, but there’s still always an invisible distance between them. And that invisible distance that separates the two of them has been purposely drawn since the moment Choi Won confessed that he couldn’t possibly love Hana. Hence, they put a limit on their friendship and have continued their purely platonic relationship. In the original, it was Li Da Ren (Choi Won), who’d realized it first that he loved Cheng You Qing (Oh Hana) more than just a best friend, and maybe the same thing will happen here. Won will love Hana romantically first before she does it back. By then, maybe Hana will finally look back at him through the window. (See, the poster is so on point. I love it!)
I loved this press conference. They had a very bright and cheerful mood that I found myself smiling along just by simply looking at these photos. I liked what everybody was wearing and the idea of complementary black and white as worn by Ha Ji Won and Lee Jin Wook (which of course reminded me of my long gone Empress Ki OTP, who’d also been in complementary black and white for, like, 3 times) ‘cause they both looked classy. Ha Ji Won went all black, and she looked ravishing and elegant. Her pumps—which were approximately more than 5 inches high—killed me. Maybe she purposely had to wear those super high heels to keep up with Yoon Kyun Sang’s height. Choo Soo Hyun’s white dress was simple and cute, and it looked good on her, plus the cute white shoes that I liked.
Ha Ji Won said there was no pressure on ratings. I, too, watch dramas without giving a damn about their ratings because I watch for entertainment, not for competition. With that said, I still badly want The Time We Were Not In Love to save SBS cursed timeslot, ‘cause after all, Ha Ji Won’s previous two SBS dramas, Secret Garden and Something Happened in Bali, which were slated in the same timeslot, were both glorious in terms of the ratings.
Ha Ji Won as Oh Hana (Cheng You Qing)
Lee Jin Wook as Choi Won (Li Da Ren)
Yoon Kyun Sang as Cha Seo Hoo (new character)
Choo Soo Hyun as Lee So Eun (Maggie)
What I hate about this adaption is that it practically removed Sunny Wang’s character, Ding Li Wei, Cheng You Qing’s asshole ex-boyfriend. I remember Ding Li Wei, despite a total jerk, as an important character, as he was always the root of You Qing and Da Ren’s arguments and fights. Because even though Da Ren disliked all the guys who became You Qing’s boyfriends, he particularly detested Ding Li Wei because he really was total jerk for breaking You Qing’s heart, not just once but twice or perhaps more. Newbie Choi Jung Won—the guy you might have seen in My Secret Hotel last year—will be playing the role of Oh Hana’s ex-boyfriend, and we don’t even know if that’s Ding Li Wei or just some other guy. It’d have been more exciting and sexier (Lol) if there’s a Ding Li Wei here.
I have a feeling that I’d love Hana’s style in this drama, just as how I loved Kim Hang Ah’s Kate Middleton inspired style in The King 2 Hearts. This is the first time in so many years that Ha Ji Won will be playing a girlish girl character, where there’s no kicking-the-baddie’s-ass, no guns or swords, no cross-dressing. In short, no action genre. So I wish Hana would dress up like a fashionista, like what we see in the stills. Let’s please appreciate fashion, drama.
While I agree that both Ha Ji Won and Lee Jin Wook look a decade younger than their actual ages, I think it’d have been much more realistic and suitable if there were real teen actors for the high school part. That’s just my opinion. But since Ariel Lin and Bolin Chen also played the high schoolers themselves, then Ha Ji Won and Lee Jin Wook as high schoolers is fine with me.
*Wig appreciation post* I wanna take the girl’s place and wear that colorful wig and take a picture with Ha Ji Won.
Ha Ji Won and Lee Jin Wook’s chemistry has turned out to be so good that it’s exploding. Ha Ji Won has the ability to establish a good rapport with almost all her onscreen men and be in sync with them, but I still didn’t expect something grand like this on her chemistry with Lee Jin Wook. They hadn’t known each other before this drama, and they’d just met a few months ago, but if you didn’t know that, seeing their interactions at the press conference and interviews, you’d think that they’ve really known each other for 17 years like they do in the drama. Seeing the press conference photos and watching their interview, I can feel Lee Jin Wook’s genuine admiration for Ha Ji Won not only based on what comes out from his mouth, but also through his body movements and gazes at her. Well, who wouldn’t like Ha Ji Won when she’s practically perfect? I love it that they have this kind of chemistry—not as Oh Hana and Choi Won, but as Ha Ji Won and Lee Jin Wook—that really wows me. One thing’s for sure—no matter what, I’d stay with this drama for the pretty and the OTP’s chemistry.
Images: SBS, TOPSTARNEWS, OSEN
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