There’s been talk of a Korean remake of J-Drama Nodame Cantabile for quite a while now, but it’s now been confirmed! Readers who also follow the separate abyss of doom known as Japanese dramas should have at the very least heard of the cult favourite, which follows the merry adventures of a straight-laced, fastidious geeeeenius conductor and an obscenely messy and talented pianist who… fall in love. Surprise!
Among the original series’ many distinctive traits would be its distinctively whimsical aspect (think dancing cartoon bears and animated hearts dancing across the screen), the outrageous quirkiness of the titular pianist Nodame and her paramour’s out-of-this-world reaction shots, as well as a steadfast dedication to showcasing the colour and beauty of classical music. Music grounded the original series, and the scoring and choice of pieces featured were often front and centre in the drama, not to catalyse unnecessary plot motivations, but simply to celebrate classical music. Such directorial choices caused the drama to stand head and shoulders above the many other dramas with unconventionally quirky female leads and appropriately horrified male ones.
Representatives for KBS‘ remake of the drama have confirmed that Joo-won (Baker King Kim Tak-gu, Good Doctor, Gaksital) will be taking up the role of Chiaki, the aforementioned gifted conductor; nineteen year-old Shim Eun-kyung (Miss Granny, Sunny) is currently the prime contender to play Nodame.
It’s a pairing that looks well on paper: fans of the actor will know that Joo-won hails from a musical background (and played the lead in 2013’s Korean remake of the musical Ghost), which makes the geeeenius conductor role seem less of a stretch. Shim Eun-kyung has certainly earned her stripes in playing quirky roles, as evidenced by her no-holds-barred, never-mind-being-pretty performance in Miss Granny. It remains to be seen, however, if the seven-year age gap between the two becomes an issue in being able to realistically (as realistic as Nodame Cantabile can get) portray a romantic dynamic, especially since Shim still retains something of a little-girl-next-door image at nineteen, whereas Joo-won has long since moved on to leading man roles.
What most fans of the original series seem to be concerned with is whether the remake can recapture the eccentric, quirky charm of its predecessor; the best descriptor for Nodame Cantabile I can think of is anime-esque, despite it being a live-action drama. It was fantastical, while remaining grounded in (somewhat) realistic human interaction and reactions and a kickass score.
Fingers crossed and prayer circles mobilised for the remake to retain the distinctive Nodame charm!