Cable network’s tvN upcoming Saturday-Sunday drama Hwayugi is still courting Lee Seung-gi for the lead male role but his female counterpart has already been confirmed to headline. The network announced on October 17 that Oh Yeon-seo confirmed her starring role in the new drama, an adaptation of the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West about a monk who goes to a journey with four companions hoping to atone for their sins.
Hwayugi will recreate the novel’s premise in the modern-day world while keeping the central conflict the same—a monk will battle evil spirits roaming around the world. Oh Yeon-seo, who previously played a Joseon princess in My Sassy Girl, will be playing the monk named Jin Sun-mi. Described as a snobby, materialistic, and beautiful CEO of a real estate company that resells haunted houses, abandoned houses, and other houses that exude bad energy, she will team up with the Monkey King Sun Wukong (offered to Lee Seung-gi) and Bull Demon King in fighting the bad spirits and will fall in love with the mischievous Sun Wukong in the process.
Cha Seung-won (Hwajeong) also recently confirmed to play the charismatic entertainment company CEO Woo Hwi-chul, a role similar to the Bull Demon King in the novel who presents an obstacle to the monk and her companions but later becomes a sworn brother to the Money King. It’s been four months since the role was offered to the actor but it was not until this week when his casting was finalized. He reportedly joined the cast because the character fits him perfectly and it was created with him in mind.
Journey to the West is a popular folklore in Chinese culture that was published in the 16th century during the Ming Dynasty. Hwayugi is just one of the several media adaptations of the novel, the most recent of which includes The Legend of the Monkey, also an upcoming TV series being produced by Australia’s ABC, New Zealand’s TVNZ, and Netflix. Slated to premiere this December, the drama is written by sisters Hong Jung-eun and Hong Mi-ran of The Master’s Sun and My Girlfriend is a Gumiho and will be directed by PD Park Hong-kyun of Queen Seon-deok.