Updated (17 January 2022)
Poor girl meets rich boy and they fall in love. It’s a tale as old as time, and it seems like it isn’t about to fade away from the modern consciousness any time soon. Case in point: Yoko Kamio’s manga Hana Yori Dango or Boys Over Flowers is getting another remake.
In Japan, “Hana yori dango” is an expression that means you choose substance and practicality (dango, a sweet treat you can eat) over something flashy and pretty (hana, meaning flower). Yoko’s protagonists capture the essence of this idiom, and throughout the multiple remakes of Boys Over Flowers, this value remains the centre of the plot.
To refresh your memory, the story follows a plain-looking feisty girl from a poor background who got a chance to attend an exclusive school populated by the children of the richest of the rich. She meets the four most influential students in the school called “F4”. They’re a group of boys who labels people with a red card, which is basically a signal for all the other students to bully “the marked” so they will leave. The girl defends her marked friend and gets a red card of her own. Complications arise when F4’s leader and another member gradually fall in love with her despite her supposed lack of elegance.
While most are excited about the announcement, there is also a current movement to ban the show due to the story being deemed inappropriate given the current post-#metoo social climate. The hashtag "#แบนF4" (translated as "#banF4") was trending in Thailand for weeks. Criticisms about the plot of Boys Over Flowers arose after the trailer dropped, with critics pointing out that the story is basically about a group of privileged men ganging up on a poor woman, and that woman falling in love with the leader of her bullies is misogynist and is a bad example for young women.
It would be interesting to know how this Boys Over Flower remake could appeal to a more socially aware and enlightened audience. Could they go the same route as the 2018 Japanese sequel of Hana Yori Dango and address the issues about the original plot head-on? We certainly hope so.
Over the years, we have fallen in love not just with the multiple reincarnations of the leading lady — Barbie Hsu’s Shan Cai (Meteor Garden - Taiwan), Mao Inoue’s Makino Tsukushi (Hana Yori Dango - Japan), Koo Hye-sun’s Geum Jan-di (Boys Over Flowers - South Korea) — but also nursed crushes over the F4 members. Raise your hand if you collected keychains and owned button pin badges with their faces printed on them. Well, we did too.
Excited to watch it? The series can now be streamed via GMMTV's YouTube Channel and Viu. Now, we can’t wait to meet the new set of cuties in Thailand's upcoming 'Boys Over Flowers' remake. Say hello to Thyme, Kavin, M.J., and Ren!
Vachirawit Chiva-aree (Bright) as Thyme the F4 leader
Before being cast as the leader of F4, Bright first gained fame for his role as Sarawat Guntithanon, an introverted student who has a lot of admirers, in the BL show 2gether: The Series. It seems like Bright has a knack for playing popular-in-school stoic characters since the F4 leader is also known as an outwardly cold persona with a soft heart. His looks certainly fit the role as well, with his unique sharp features and piercing gaze. If you’re wondering why he looks like a “hapa” (half-Asian), that’s because Bright comes from a mixed heritage; his father is Thai-American and her mum is Thai-Chinese.
Aside from being a talented actor, this 23-year-old cutie is also a gifted musician who can play the guitar and serenade our hearts. We wonder: are we gonna get a song number by Bright in this Boys Over Flowers remake?
Although still a rising star, Bright has shown to be quite adept at handling controversies. When embroiled in a controversy because he liked a photo on Twitter with a caption saying that Hong Kong is a country, he was able to gracefully handle it. His new role as the leader of F4 will undoubtedly expand his reach and he looks ready to thrive in it.
Metawin Opas-iamkajorn (Win) as Kavin, the fun-loving bad boy heartthrob
There was some mild uproar when Win was announced as the second lead of F4 because he played the love interest of Bright in 2gether: The Series and people wanted to see them back on screen as a couple. We have to admit that after seeing their chemistry together, it’s a little challenging to think of them as just friends. But we’re holding judgements until Thailand's upcoming Boys Over Flowers remake airs. For now, let’s get to know Win.
As an actor in the romance genre, Win shared that he has a fondness for Korean drama love stories but his all-time favourite movie is Interstellar because he’s fascinated by stories about the extraterrestrial.
Like Bright, he’s also a musician and can carry a tune. He was even a part of a percussion choir at Belmond-Klemme High School, which he attended as an exchange student. His time abroad could explain why he’s very fluent in English, as seen in this interview.
When away from the spotlight, 21-year-old (turning 22 this 21 February) is pursuing a degree in economics at the international program of Thammasat University.
Hirunkit Changkham (Nani) as M.J., the joker of the group
In contrast to Bright and Win who are now internationally known, Nani is still mostly a mystery for many. Before landing the role as the happy-go-lucky heartthrob F4 member, Nani worked as a model. We don’t know about you but he looks a lot like Meteor Garden’s Ken Chu to us, complete with the long hairstyle and broad physique. Although he’s about to play a carefree character onscreen, 23-year-old Nani is actually pursuing a degree in political science at Ramkhamhaeng University. We’re excited to see how he portrays his role.
Jirawat Sutivanisak (Dew) as Ren, the second lead
Played memorably by Vic Zhou in Meteor Garden, the role of the second lead is now in Dew’s hands for this remake. Just like Nani, Dew also worked as a model and this will be his first major role. Looking at his Instagram, it seems like he’s a fun guy who loves to pose with his beloved cats.
He just turned 20 last October and is the youngest in the F4 cast. Upon meeting his new co-stars, he remarked that his first impression is that all of them look mature and expressed that he’s worried about measuring up to them. We’re definitely intrigued and we’d love to know more.
Which of these four is your new bias? F4 Thailand will air on GMMTV's official YouTube channel starting 18 December 2021.
Love Thai dramas? Binge these while you wait for Boys Over Flowers to air.
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