BLACKPINK Jisoo’s new drama Snowdrop, where she co-stars with Jung Hae-In (One Spring Night), finally dropped its first episode this week. Jisoo plays Young-Ro who falls in love at first sight with Jung’s Im So-Hoo. Meanwhile, Jung’s character, Im So-Hoo, is an activist whom Young-Ro takes in her dorm one day in the midst of a chaotic protest. The story explores their budding romance during the time of a major socio-political unrest. Talk about intriguing! This is Jisoo’s first starring role in a drama, immediately following her short acting stint in 2019’s Arthdal Chronicles starring Song Joong-Ki.
Curious to see if Jisoo's drama is something you should look forward to seeing? We spill the details of Snowdrop’s plot, cast, release date — and previous controversies — below.
Snowdrop’s plot is partly based on true events and people
According to previous reports, Jisoo’s character was initially named Eun Young-Cho, which was heavily rumoured to reference real-life pro-democracy activist Chun Young-Cho. This was immediately met with scrutiny, so the name was eventually dropped and Jisoo’s character was renamed Young-Ro.
Snowdrop was also inspired by South Korea’s 1987 Democracy Movement that generated mass protests, which were participated in by university students among many others. People at the time were strongly demanding fair elections from their then-authoritarian government. Physical altercations between authorities and activists became the fear of almost every household. The drama Reply 1988 touched on this event briefly through the story of Sung Bo-Ra (Ryu Hye-Yong).
The drama was met with a lot of controversy and was almost cancelled
Snowdrop’s plot was put under the microscope after the script was leaked around March 2021. This followed the cancellation of the drama Joseon Exorcist in the same month due to the backlash it received for its historical inaccuracies. Snowdrop’s script, which showed Jung Hae-In’s character as a North Korean spy who posed as a university student activist driving some of the protests, circulated online.
The script seems to be inspired by Chun Young-Cho’s story, who Jisoo’s character was also said to be patterned from. Chun was married to fellow activist Jung Moon-Hwa, who was sentenced to life imprisonment after being framed as a spy in 1974. Jung Moon-Hwa seems to be who Jung Hae-In’s character was based on.
Many felt that the premise might distort the truth about this particular event (especially for unaware viewers), along with other historical events which influenced South Korea’s present-day government system.
An online petition with over 200,000 signatures was even sent to the Blue House (the official residence of South Korea’s head of state) calling for the cancellation of the drama.
JTBC, the drama’s network, issued a statement addressing the issue and said that the project doesn’t aim to distort history. The Blue House also rejected the online petitions, citing freedom of expression as stipulated in the country’s constitution. However, the Blue House still noted that they will be monitoring the program along with respective broadcasting regulatory boards to see if there will be any violations as the plot goes along.
Days before the first episode was released, posters promoting the drama in South Korean subways were taken down due to complaints from citizens about its plot.
The cast is filled with a lot of familiar faces
If there’s one thing about the drama that’s not filled with controversy, it’s the exciting cast lineup.
Aside from Jisoo and Jung Hae-In, Yoo In-Na (of Goblin and Touch Your Heart fame) will also be in the project; she’ll play Kang Chun-Ya, a surgeon working at a state-run hospital. Kim Hye-Yoon (Extraordinary You) is also on board as Kye Boon-Ok, a young woman who works as a phone operator because she can’t afford to enter university. Yoon Se-Ah (Sky Castle) takes the role of Pi Seung-Hee, the one overseeing Jisoo’s character’s dorm.
Snowdrop release date
The drama’s pre-production started in mid-2020. However, filming was halted around November last year due to someone in the cast reportedly coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. None of the cast or crew members was reported to have caught the virus, but production was still delayed because of the incident. Controversies from March to April 2021 also affected production and the drama only wrapped up in July. The first episode dropped on 13 December and is available for streaming in Singapore on Disney+.
(Cover photo from: Disney+)
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