Coming on the heels of tvN's successful fantasy drama 'Goblin: The Lonely and Great God,' people are bound to compare OCN's upcoming drama 'Black' with the former. Both the dramas feature a grim reaper in a prominent role and actress Lee El appears in both. However, 'Black' actor Song Seung-heon recently said fans will realise this drama is different than the award-winning Gong Yoo starrer. The teaser and trailers released by OCN confirm his assertions that 'Black' indeed looks and feels very different from 'Goblin.'
The first thing that strikes a viewer about the teasers is the tone. We are treated to a dark, inky shot of a mysterious figure walking towards the camera. The entire teaser has a neo-noir element to it that recalls Hollywood films like 'Mulholland Drive,' 'Sin City' and 'Nightcrawler' among others. Also, unlike 'Goblin,' which was more focussed on the tragic romance, comedy and fantasy aspects, 'Black' has a strong horror element in its visuals.
In the heavily stylised teasers, bodies are seen falling down lifeless as Song Seung-heon's grim reaper approaches them. Then, black smoke rises from piles of such bodies and swirl about in the air frantically; similar to some shots in 'Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.' Go Ara's character is tormented as she can see death and dead humans everywhere; in the streets or inside the passenger cabin of an airplane. She seems distraught. This does not to be a happy drama at all, neither can any comedic element be found anywhere. The grim reaper series looks very grim indeed.
Compared to Lee Dong-wook's more tortured look, Song Seung-heon seems much sterner and at one point his smile seems almost devilish. It seems Seung-heon's grim reaper will learn the value of human life and develop empathy as the drama progresses but not right at the start. That should be an interesting transformation to watch.
As noted by website Soompi, addressing the issue of similarities between the two dramas, Song Seung-heon had said in an October 11 press conference for 'Black,' "I think it's unavoidable for people to draw comparisons between our drama and 'Goblin' because both have the grim reaper play a major role. However, I'm confident that people's curiosity and concerns will be resolved by the first episode. Our storyline, genre, and other factors will differentiate us from 'Goblin.'"
Seung-heon also revealed how the approach to the OCN drama differed from the tvN one, adding, "When I first joined the drama, I had a hard time because it was complicated and difficult to decipher. But I was drawn to the fresh concept of my character and his viewpoint of human emotions. The drama aims to share the message that in the end, the only thing that can solve the troubles of humankind is people and their relationships with each other."
In the same press conference, singer and actor Kim Dong-jun, who plays a second generation chaebol in 'Black,' revealed Song Seung-heon really loves IU's voice. He said, "Whenever we have some free time before going into filming, Song Seung-heon plays us some music and it's always IU," adding, "Song Seung-heon asked the director if our drama will be having an OST and even suggested IU. I hope IU can give us a positive response after reading this news article."
The story of 'Black' revolves around a detective, who gets possessed by a grim reaper, played by Song Seung-heon and a woman called Kang Ha-ram, played by Go Ara, who can see the shadows of death. Both of them team up and try to save lives of others marked for death. As a result they break the rules of destiny and face harsh consequences from the celestial powers.
The first episode of 'Black' airs on OCN on October 14 at 10.20 p.m. KST. Watch the latest trailer for 'Black' below.