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New weekend thriller takes dark twist in otherwise familiar setting

All Headlines 16:44 October 02, 2018

By Woo Jae-yeon

SEOUL, Oct. 2 (Yonhap) -- The theme of changing souls is nothing new in Korean dramas, but a new television series on tvN promises to be different by foregoing the usual comical elements seen in similar series.

During a press event in Seoul on Tuesday, Ji Young-soo, the producer of the mystery thriller, "Room No. 9," acknowledged that the story of two women suddenly getting to live in each other's body is a recurring theme. But he emphasized that the depth of the dire, desperate situations the two main characters find themselves in distinguish the show from other dramas with similar settings.

A poster for tvN's new weekend series "Room No. 9" (Yonhap)

"Room No. 9" revolves around Eulji Hae-e (played by Kim Hee-sun), a young, supercilious lawyer, and Jang Hwa-sa (played by Kim Hae-sook), a death-row convict who has been locked up for more than three decades for a crime that she didn't commit.

The two are destined to face off in the prison's Room No. 9 for the retrial to shorten Jang's sentence, which Eulji once sabotaged. During the uncomfortable, tense meeting, something inexplicable happens and the two's souls switch.

From then on, Jang breaks free from the cell and sets out to find the truth behind the scheme that entrapped her 34 years ago, while the lawyer is locked in the cell and the condemned criminal's body.

Veteran actor Kim Hae-sook, who started her acting career in 1974 and has appeared in many critically-acclaimed TV and film works, said that the chance to play the two different characters was too appealing to pass up.

"I kind of plunged in because I found the story really interesting and new, and I wanted to challenge myself. But I have to say, it is hard," the 62-year-old said.

In this photo provided by tvN, three actors of the new television series "Room No. 9" pose for photos during a press event in Seoul on Oct. 2, 2018. (Yonhap)

Kim Hee-sun, 40, also said playing a double role for the first time was one of the biggest factors that led her to choose the drama. Working with such an established senior actor like Kim Hae-sook was "a great honor," but presents a big challenge at the same time, she said.

"I wish I had more time to study her performances before shooting. Every time I watch her perform, I feel embarrassed and want to shoot again," she said.

Kim Young-kwang plays doctor Ki Yoo-jin, another important character in the show, who, according to the director, holds the key to solving the mystery surrounding the false charge against Jang that ruined her life.

"Viewers can see how my character changes as he gets to uncover the truth behind a series of mysterious incidents happening to him," the 31-year-old said, adding that the role will mark a departure from the cheerful, boy-next-door characters from his latest two successful films, "On Your Wedding Day" and "The Soul-Mate."

The 16-part series will premiere at 9 p.m. on Saturday, succeeding the hit series, "Mr. Sunshine," which aired the finale on Sunday with a viewership rating of 18.1 percent.

jaeyeon.woo@yna.co.kr
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