Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Korea Herald Rings Starting Bell

'Single Daddy in Love' promises comic relief

A mixed martial arts fighter plays a single father to his seven-year-old son in KBS's new drama "Single Daddy in Love."

Set to air its first episode tonight, "Single Daddy in Love" follows on the heels of the star-studded melodrama "Bad Love." And, unlike its melancholy predecessor, this comic drama promises to bring laughter into households nationwide with its talented cast and quirky plot.

"[This drama] is like a fairy tale that is filled with the warm laughter and love of people who want to build their own families," said director Moon Bo-hyun.

And veteran actors Oh Ji-ho and Kang Sung-yeon, along with newcomer Heo Yi-jae, promise to give this fairy tale drama the levity and warmth it needs to have its happy ending.

Oh, 31, who won audiences over with his comic performance in MBC's drama "Fantastic Couple" (2006), now takes on the challenging role of Kang Poong-ho, a single father who ekes out a living for his small family as a mixed martial arts fighter.

But playing a single father is the least of Oh's problems. Thanks to bad back, the greatest challenge he faces is not his role as a dad but as a martial arts fighter.

"Last September, while I was filming the drama 'Karl and Su-jung,' my back was not in good condition, so I went to the hospital regularly for treatment," he explained. "As a result, I wasn't able to exercise much. I am a little worried because my role is that of a mixed martial arts fighter."

But, despite his worries, Oh, who filmed a fight scene on Jan. 28, managed to pull through just fine.

"While leading actor Oh has been filming rough fight scenes and working all night long, thanks to his strong spirit and sense of responsibility, he has been handling it well," said director Moon.

And Oh is going to need all the strength he can muster because he will be playing opposite two very talented actresses.

Actress Kang blew audiences away with her electrifying role in the blockbuster "King and the Clown" (2005). And now she takes on the complex, interesting role of Yoon So-lee, Kang Poong-ho's first love and the mother of their son, Kang San.

Playing a woman who abandons her son for a career as a pianist, Kang is going to have trouble winning viewers over. But she promises to portray a character who is more than just a one-dimensional bad gal.

"Unlike my previous drama, 'The New Good Wife,' where I played a simple-hearted and accident-prone housewife, this character is a cold, sophisticated city girl," said Kang, 31. "But that's just her from the outside. She is actually masking a great deal of pain within. And I am going to act out all of these complex emotions to the best of my ability."

Playing opposite Kang's complex, dark character is newcomer Heo. And, while she may not have racked up as much acting experience as her co-stars, Heo can hold her own on screen.

Having starred in the MBC drama "Prince Hours" (2007) and in the flick "A Dirty Carnival" (2006), this 20-year-old actress promises to light up the screen with her comedic role as Jun Ha-ri, a medical student who falls for Kang Poong-ho.

"I did a lot of character analysis before we started filming," said Heo. "The role of Ha-ri, who grew up to be a bright and energetic girl, thanks to her father's love and attention, is not a mediocre role. While she's bubbly and happy on the outside, she has her own issues. And I need to keep this in mind when playing her."

With a plot that involves a single father and the two women who love him, "Single Daddy in Love" may read like a melodramatic love triangle. But the director plans on keeping this story from being pigeonholed.

"Their lives could be portrayed in a dark and sad light," said Moon. "But all the characters are bright and optimistic, like characters in a fairy tale. They are the type of characters who can just brush off the weight of life and get back up on their feet."

Audiences can decide for themselves by tuning in tonight.

"Single Daddy in Love" airs on Mondays and Tuesdays at 9:55 p.m. on KBS 2 TV.

By Jean Oh
The Korea Herald

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