Earlier this month, Penthouse actor Kim Young Dae announced that he will be dropping out of the cast of KBS‘s upcoming K-Drama School 2021. It had been reported, according to an exclusive coverage from JTBC, that the actor chose to leave “because his role is different than what was discussed at the beginning when he accepted.”
On July 23, however, KBS channel released an official statement calling out the actor’s withdrawal to be “one-sided and without negotiation,” ultimately blaming the actor for the delay in the show’s production.
School 2021 has recently received a one-sided notice of withdrawal from actor Kim Young Dae’s agency. He has caused complications in the production of the show. School 2021 is now looking for a new lead and will resume shooting once the cast is confirmed.
Withdrawing from the cast requires as much discussion as joining the cast. It is a shame that Kim Young Dae agreed to take on the male lead role, only to have his agency announce his departure without any previous discussion with the producers — creating problems for the channel and show.
KBS aims to complete production of School 2021 and air it sometime in the second half of 2021. The remaining cast and staff are working as a team to bring the viewers a high-quality show by the estimated premiere date.
Following the statement, as the actor began receiving some criticism for lacking a sense of responsibility, Kim Young Dae’s agency OUTERKOREA responded with a detailed explanation of why the actor decided to terminate his lead role contract…
Hello, this is OUTERKOREA. This statement is regarding the production of School 2021. First and foremost, we would like to thank the channel, director, and staff members involved in the casting of Kim Young Dae for the male lead role in the highly-respected “School” series. We apologize to the fans who have sent love and support for the actor when he took on the role as well.
We want to make it clear, however, that we have terminated Kim Young Dae’s lead role contract as of June 21, 2021 for some complications that simply could not be resolved. Please note that since March of 2020, we have worked ceaselessly with the production company to figure out a way to keep Kim Young Dae on the show.
… exposing all the behind-the-scenes complications allegedly caused by the show’s production company, King’s Media (now KINGSLAND).
We signed Kim Young Dae for the lead role of School 2020 (at the time) back in March 2020 with the production company ‘King’s Media’ and the ‘School 2020 Special Purpose Company‘ (SPC).
According to this contract, the two companies should have begun the shoot in May 2020 and aired the show by August 2020. The show production, however, did not begin due to ‘internal problems’ at King’s Media. SPC did not proceed with the shoot either. In fact, at this point, a co-production company, SR Pictures, withdrew from the show as well.
The agency revealed that, because of King’s Media failing to move forward with the production, KBS actually cancelled the show’s premiere at one point. Yet, according to the agency exposé, the production company reassured the parties involved by publishing a press release article claiming that the premiere has been postponed to August 2021.
Since then, King’s Media has been unable to finalize the cast line-up or complete the script for the show. That’s when KBS channel officially ‘cancelled’ the School 2020 premiere for that year. King’s Media, however, published press release articles claiming that the show has been postponed to air in August of 2021 and that the production is on a roll. We, as the actor’s agency, decided we cannot trust King’s Media anymore and have continuously notified the termination of Kim Young Dae’s lead role contract between the end of 2020 through early 2021.
In response, King’s Media insisted that a new SPC will be established by March 2021 to start shooting the show. We have been told that by September 2021, the production will be complete. King’s Media assured us that the production team will work with Kim Young Dae to make sure the shoot does not cause any conflicts with his other schedules. Unfortunately, for some reason we still do not know, King’s Media closed doors shortly after this. A lot of the cast members dropped out. The scriptwriter and the director quit. A new production company, KINGSLAND (led by the same CEO of King’s Media), came to take over.
OUTERKOREA made it clear that the actor had no reason to continue working with KINGSLAND — especially since KINGSLAND is not the company that signed Kim Young Dae’s contract. The company, however, strongly pushed for Kim Young Dae to keep working on the show by releasing more press release articles without his consent.
We made it clear to KINGSLAND that there is no reason for us to renew the contract with them and that we do not wish to continue working with them. Please note that by this point in time, we had lost trust in this ‘new’ production company as it cancelled meetings and script readings multiple times. KINGSLAND, however, continued to push for Kim Young Dae to sign new contracts with them. In fact, they allowed press release articles to be published, claiming that Kim Young Dae is staying on the show — prior to any actual binding contracts, without our consent.
By June 2021, we gave in and agreed to work with KINGSLAND. We signed a new contract for Kim Young Dae’s lead role in School 2021. To make sure we don’t run into any scheduling conflicts while we work with this show that is constantly being postponed, we even ended up turning down one of the many shows that had been in discussion for premiere in early 2022.
We would like to point out that, despite all the difficulties that he faced, Kim Young Dae showed enthusiasm for the show and wanted to give it his best shot. Unfortunately, against the claim that the production will progress without problems, KINGSLAND turned out to be in huge debt and unable to pay salaries to its production staff. Kim Young Dae continued to attend all meetings, show up at every script reading practice, and maintained a positive outlook for the show. Eventually though, KINGSLAND began to fail paying their actors (signed to management).
When we became aware of the problem, we stayed in touch with KINGSLAND to make sure Kim Young Dae will get paid. On June 18, we attempted to contact KINGSLAND about his payment. We have not received any payment since. We immediately filed complaints against the production company, to which KINGSLAND admitted that the company is currently unable to operate because it is financially struggling. The company also admitted that it is unable to secure any investments either. Yet KINGSLAND asked us to renew Kim Young Dae’s lead role contract with a different production company that they introduce to the show.
The agency expressed great disappointment in the fact that KBS mentioned Kim Young Dae at all, when, technically, the production company is at fault for the show School 2021 falling apart in its production stage.
Again, after everything that has fallen through since Kim Young Dae’s contracts with King’s Media and KINGSLAND, we expressed that we have no reason to continue working with them. We specifically and respectfully notified KINGSLAND that ‘We are not obliged to work with KINGSLAND or any other production companies that it introduces to the show — especially after all the damages that King’s Media and KINGSLAND have caused for us. We waited over a year for the production of School 2021. We turned down potential work in 2022 for the production of School 2021, with faith that KINGSLAND will keep its word. Considering the current situation KINGSLAND is in, we doubt that the show will be produced this year. We do not wish to remain tied to a School 2021 contract in 2022. We also cannot continue working with a production company that does not and cannot promise to pay the cast.’
Finally, as of June 21, 2021, we sent the official notice for termination of contract to the CEO of KINGSLAND. As per the terms outline, we clarified that the termination is caused by the production company’s failure to hold up its end of the contract. On the same day, we notified School 2021 production staff about the situation — including KINGSLAND’s inability to pay the cast. We explained that the contract has been terminated due to these reasons.
Ten days after the termination of contract, KINGSLAND texted Kim Young Dae directly — demanding him to clear his schedule and attend a script reading on July 15. As the actor’s agency, we have never felt so disrespected. Following the text message, we have continued to notify the contract termination multiple times. KINGSLAND, however, has not responded even to this day. Please also keep in mind that, with the script reading happening July 15, KINGSLAND’s initial promise for the production beginning June 2021 has not been kept either.
In conclusion, OUTERKOREA asked media reporters and fans to stop spreading false information about the situation and pled for the malicious comments to stop.
We have proof and documentation to support that this accounts for what really happened in the past 15 months between March 2020 to present. We, however, continue to see media reports about Kim Young Dae ‘ditching’ the show without discussing his departure with the production company.
Again, we notified the School 2021 production team multiple times that Kim Young Dae would like to drop out of the show. The production team is well aware of this — in fact, we are aware of the fact that they are holding meetings with new potential leads. We have been transparent the entire time, yet KBS is making it seem like we have dropped the ball on School 2021 to pursue a different show. For KBS to release a statement blaming Kim Young Dae of causing the delays in production is unfair and unprofessional.
Reporters and fans, please. Kim Young Dae and the agency are receiving so much backlash based on the articles that do not share the truth. Regardless, we remain grateful because we have worked so hard to be where we are today and we are proud of Kim Young Dae for starting to get recognized in the field. And we’re going to do everything we can to protect him.
We don’t regret having chosen School 2021. We wanted Kim Young Dae to build good relationships with new directors, broadcasting stations, and production companies. It is because of the production company’s unreasonable, unacceptable problems that we have decided to terminate the lead role contract and drop out of the show. We can only hope that KBS and KINGSLAND will figure out a solution for what has happened thus far and compensate us in the fairest way possible. Lastly, we wish the best for School 2021 and for the new staff and cast dedicated to carrying on the ‘School’ series.
Thank you for reading. Stay healthy and happy.
Kim Young Dae’s fans are happy to see the agency speaking up for the actor and wish to see him return to the screens in another K-Drama soon. Meanwhile, neither KBS nor KINGSLAND has responded to the agency’s exposé.