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Kim Jong Kook Makes His Drama Debut

BY Julie Jones | Mar 20, 2015 11:28 AM EDT

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One of Korea's favorite variety stars is taking a part in a drama about a variety show.

Singer and popular "Running Man" cast member Kim Jong Kook has agreed to star in the upcoming drama "Producer."

On March 20, his agency, Urban Works Entertainment confirmed that he will attend his first script reading next month. "Producer" will be Kim's acting debut in a drama and for a debut it's impressive. His co-stars will be Gong Hyo Jin, Cha Tae Hyun, Kim Soo Hyun and IU.

Although "Producer" is about variety shows, Kim J won't play his real-life role as a cast member. He's going to play the variety show's producer and also Cha Tae Hyun's workplace senior. Kim and Cha are longtime friends in real life.

A representative of the "Producer" production staff told Newsen that Kim Jong Kook agreed to appear in the drama because of Cha Tae Hyun.

"His desire to appear with Cha Tae Hyun was stronger than his ambition to act," said the production company representative. "Although his timing isn't very flexible as he has various commitments, we'll work hard to create fun scenes even if he does not appear too often."

Kim Jong Kook does know a thing or two about variety shows. His television appearances have focused mostly on variety shows such as "X-Man" and "Family Outing." Because of his participation in "Running Man" he has become one of the biggest names in variety shows. His leadership abilities on the program have earned him the nickname of "SpartaKook" or just "Sparta" and also "Mr. Capable." His abilities also earned him the 2011 Best TV Star Award at the SBS Entertainment Awards.

And Kim Jong Kook is also known for hosting a documentary program called "Escape Crisis No. 1."

Kim Jong Kook began his career as a singer. He started out with the duo Turbo and then launched a career as a solo artist. He released his fifth album after leaving his mandatory military duty in 2008. Although he has focused on his television career since 2009, he released two more albums after that.

Because of its star-studded cast, "Producer" is a highly anticipated drama. Gong Hyo Jin plays Tak Ye Ji, an arrogant veteran TV producer, whose private life is a mess. Kim Soo Hyun plays young producer Baek Seung Chan. IU plays an icy pop star princess. Cha Tae Hyun will play producer Ra Joon Mo, a producer in the entertainment division. So far, Kim Jong Kook's character does not yet have a name.

Park Ji Eun, who wrote "You Who Came From The Stars" is the screenwriter. Seo Soo Min, who directed "Gag Concert" and "1 Night, 2 Days" will direct "Producer."

The Friday-Saturday drama is scheduled for April.

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