Move aside, “Goblin” (도깨비) – The handsome men of “Hwarang” (화랑, aka “Flowering Knights”) are coming to steal the K-Drama limelight. We can’t for the long-awaited period drama to air because where else are you going to get a glimpse of all your favourite idols in one drama series?
Set in Seorabeol (the capital city of the Silla Dynasty) 1,500 years ago, “Hwarang” is a coming-of-age story about friendship, growth, and love.
The 20-episode drama follows Moo Myung (played by Park Seo Joon), a young man of low status who turns his life around by becoming a Hwarang warrior. One day, he saves a very drunk woman named Aro (played by Go Ara), who later becomes the love interest of both Moo Myung and Sam Maek Jong (played by Park Hyung Sik), a sensitive and irritable king who wants to make himself known to the world.
Other lead characters include romantic playboy Suho (played by Choi Min Ho), competitive and cold-hearted Banryu (played by Do Ji Han), mysterious but foul-mouthed Yeo Wool (played by Jo Yoon Woo), and innocent maknae Hansung (played by V aka Kim Tae Hyung).
In order to prep you for the K-Drama, here are some fun facts about “Hwarang”:
1. The origins of “Hwarang”
Hwarang was the name given to a special group of young men who received different types of education provided by the Kingdom of Silla during the Three Kingdoms (Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla) period. According to the Samguk Sagi, a historical document done by historian Kim Busik, court officials decided to replace women with beautiful young men as their leaders following a tragic (and murderous) incident involving 2 female leaders. Kim also added that these young men were “arrayed in cosmetics and fine clothes”.
An extract of Samguk Sagi reads, “The Hwarang are beautiful men, respected and revered by crowds who flock to see them. Sometimes they debate moral principles; sometimes they enjoy music and singing with each other; sometimes they go sightseeing together. In this way, people can get to know their moral strengths and flaws, and the good-hearted people are chosen to refine and improve.”
2. The drama gathers 9 gorgeous flower boys
The K-Drama boasts an all-star “pretty boy” ensemble cast including Park Seo Joon (of “Kill Me, Heal Me” fame), ZE:A member Park Hyung Sik, Do Ji Han (of “Incarnation of Money” fame), SHINee rapper Choi Minho, Jo Yoon Woo (of “Flower Boy Ramen Shop” fame), BTS vocalist V aka Kim Tae Hyung as well as former child actor Shin Dong Woo, actor Kim Hyun Jun, and HALO member OOON. In one of the video teasers, some of the boys, notably Minho and Hyungsik, can be seen showering in the same bathroom. Enough said.
3. Some cast members were injured during filming
As the upcoming show centres on a group of brave Silla warriors, some of the actors suffered injuries while filming action scenes. According to Soompi, Park Seo Joon (박서준) injured his neck whereas Go Ara’s (고아라) hand was bitten by a horse. In August, Kim Hyun Jun (김현준), who plays Dan Se in the drama, was hit in the forehead by another actor’s arrow! Thankfully, he was wearing a wig at that time and was able to receive immediate treatment.
4. It marks BTS member V’s drama debut
ARMYs (as BTS’ fans are lovingly known) were delighted when KBS2 announced that V was casted as one of the flowering knights. The 21-year-old singer will be making his official small screen debut using his real name Kim Tae Hyung (김태형). In an interview with KBS Entertainment Weekly, the other cast members revealed that the adorable young idol, who is the maknae of the group, tries very hard to appear manly on set.
“They’re all very masculine, so I thought I should be too. That’s why I cross my legs if they cross their legs. It’s a concern for me,” he said sincerely. Minho also added that V is actually a very lovable and cute younger brother.
5. The OST project will feature SISTAR’s Hyorin, BTS’ V and Jin, as well as BEAST’s Yang Yoseob
As K-Drama fans would know, the heart of any great series is the original sound track (OST). To drum up more interest in “Hwarang”, KBS2 has revealed that the first episode will feature tracks from OST queen and SISTAR member Hyorin, BEAST vocalist Yang Yoseob, as well as BTS’ V and Jin, whose track was already used in one of the drama’s trailer (above). While the BTS duo’s song is somewhat light-hearted, we think that both Hyorin and Yoseob’s tracks would be ballads. We’re already looking forward to it!
6. It’s SHINee rapper Minho’s first historical drama
Choi Minho (최민호) is an idol, a former “Dream Team” member, and a talented actor. Having made his singing debut as a member of SM Entertainment’s 5-member boy group SHINee, he is known for his good looks and athletic skills. As an actor, Minho was awarded the “New Star Award” at the 2012 SBS Drama Awards for his role in “To The Beautiful You” and although he has starred in several K-Dramas prior to “Hwarang”, this marks his first appearance in a historical series.
When asked about his filming experience, he said, “I never thought that I would become this close with other actors. Even though filming has ended, we’ve already hung out a few times. It’s difficult to meet actors around the same age as me. We became close while filming so for that reason, I was able to have such a fun time filming.”
7. Seo Ye Ji took dancing and horseback riding lessons for her role
26-year-old actress Seo Ye Ji (서예지, of “The Throne” fame), who joined the cast in July, had to take up traditional dance and horseback riding lessons for her role as Princess Sook Myung, the sister of Sam Maek Jong. Her character is described as “a lonely princess who is being cherished by the people around her”.
8. Lee Kwang Soo will make a special cameo…as a beggar?
In Moo Myung’s character teaser, “Entourage” star Lee Kwang Soo can be seen dressed in worn-out clothes, talking to Moo Myung in a large field. Not much is known about his character other than his name is Mak Mun, but fans can look forward to his performance nonetheless.
“Hwarang” is 100% pre-produced and it premieres on KB2TV on 19th December 2017. It airs every Monday and Tuesday at 10pm (KST).