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'Misaeng' Director Casts Lee Je Hoon In Fantasy Crime Drama

BY Julie Jones | Aug 20, 2015 12:00 PM EDT

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The director of the cable hit "Misaeng" is a man who likes to take risks and does not like to compromise. He took a risk directing a drama about the trials of Korean office life and created a surprise hit.

"Misaeng" had no love story and featured no top actors. It was almost painful to watch as the lead character, played by Im Si Wan, struggled through one trial after another. And yet the drama resonated with audiences, especially young workers in Korea. "Misaeng" won awards, and the actors Kim cast in it became stars.

Director Kim Won Suk was also not willing to compromise in the casting of his newest drama "Signal." He cast Lee Je Hoon, last seen in "Secret Door," in the lead role of Park Hae Young, a criminal profiler.

The plot of "Signal" also does not sound like a conventional or guaranteed hit. In the fantasy crime drama Lee Je Hoon's modern-day detective character talks to a detective from the past about solving previously unsolved crimes. They use a walkie-talkie to communicate through time and space.

The tvN drama is based on a succession of serial rape-murders that took place in the city of Hwaseong between 1986 and 1991. Ten women were killed and the cases were very similar. It was the first serial killing in South Korean history. Two million police officers worked on solving these murders and over 20,000 suspects were questioned. But the crimes were never solved. These are the same murders that the drama "Gap Dong" is based on and that also inspired the film "Memories of Murder."

Kim Eun Hee, who wrote "Ghost" and "Three Days," will write the screenplay for "Signal." Director Kim Won Suk is also known for his work on the historical drama "Sungkyunkwan Scandal," which starred Park Yoo Chun, Park Min Young, Song Joong Ki and Yoo Ah In.

Lee Je Hoon has mostly focused his acting career on films. He appeared in two-dozen movies, including "Architecture 101" with Suzy Bae. He has only acted in three dramas, namely "Three Sisters," "Fashion King" and "Secret Door." The historical drama "Secret Door," in which he played the doomed Prince Sado, was his comeback drama after serving his two-year mandatory military duty.

The weekend drama "Signal" is set to air in January 2016.

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