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Drama ‘Children of Lesser God’ pursues reality amid fantasy

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Updated : February 22 2018

Despite the use of fantastical elements, OCN’s new series “Children of a Lesser God” looks to enhance the realism of drama, a new attempt in the crime-fantasy genre.

The press conference for the drama series held Wednesday in Seoul had an unusually charged atmosphere: One of its actors, Jo Min-ki had been hit with several allegations of sexual abuse just the day before.

Mere hours before the press conference, Jo announced he was dropping out of the series in response to the sexual misconduct allegations against him. The actor and professor had resigned from his university post after the school’s internal probe found the allegations to be true. More are joining the #MeToo movement against him, with a police investigation now under way.

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Kang Ji-hwan (left) and Kim Ok-bin pose for photos at a media briefing for “Children of a Lesser God” in Times Square Mall, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, Wednesday. (OCN)
The series, originally scheduled to air from Saturday, has been pushed back a week for “strategic reasons.” Director Kang Shin-hyo denied that the airing of the drama was postponed because of the incident. “As there wasn’t enough time to discuss the matter, we are not sure how we will proceed,” Kang said at the media briefing.

“Nothing (except for Jo’s withdrawal) has been decided,” he said. “Even though the start was not so smooth, we will work on making a drama that one cannot stop watching.”

The TV drama is to air on cable channel OCN, which has focused on cross-genre dramas, especially crime-fantasy series. It has produced such hits as “Tunnel” and “Black” and intends to continue its winning streak. Kang Ji-hwan and Kim Ok-bin are the leads of the 16-episode series. Kang plays the role of a forensics expert who believes in numbers and facts, while Kim is a warm-hearted rookie investigator who is able to sense ghosts.

The Saturday-Sunday drama’s plot centers on the partnership of the two figures as they work together to unravel the corruption that underlies the deaths of 31 members of a religious group.

“It’s a genre series that a whole family can watch together. The story may be serious but the characters are humorous,” director Kang said.
Screenwriter Han Woo-ri, whose previous credits include SBS' investigative documentary series “We Want to Know,” will make a cameo appearance in “Children of a Lesser God.” A big fan of the SBS program, the director offered Han a chance to write herself in.

“The script had a distinct characteristic, devoted to facts,” actor Kang said, emphasizing that the series had required a lot of preparation. “Every scene has more details to discuss, compared to other productions.”

“As the script is more fact-based, the descriptions are very detailed and realistic,” actress Kim said, explaining she was drawn to the work because of the scriptwriter’s unique career.

Kim added that she was stressed from playing her character, who sees the memories of dead people when she touches them. “I repeatedly watched footage of local shamans performing rituals to use as reference for my acting. After that, I began to have nightmares,” Kim said.

“Children” is to be reflective of major incidents that happened in the modern history of Korea. “Viewers will be reminded of some real events,” Kang said, without further elaborating.

Despite sharing the title with the 1986 Oscar-winning Hollywood film, the director said that the two are unrelated.

“I could have been inspired by the film, but the title is related to the drama’s story. It deals with the subject of religion,” Kang said. “The underlying topic is that there is nothing more important than the dignity of man. Through the episodes, viewers will be able to see what I mean.”

The first episode of the fantasy-crime drama has been rescheduled to air at 10:20 p.m. on March 3.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)

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