Updated: American adaptation of Boys Over Flowers fires their "Jun Pyo" and "Jan Di"
This story has been updated. Please see below.
Both romantic leads of Boys Before Friends, the American adaptation of the story known as Boys Before Flowers and other titles, have left the series. The reasons behind Joseph Almani and Dawn Morrow's departures are unclear, with the production company and the stars putting forth different stories. Initially, an announcement was made on the Boys Before Friends Facebook page saying, "We got some very disturbing news tonight. Joe Almani and Dawn Morrow have decided they no longer want to be apart [sic] of the project. We are sad to see them go and have no idea where we should go from here. We are asking fans to bare [sic] with us as we go through one more recasting. We are sorry and hope to not have these issues anymore."
However, the actors themselves had a different story to tell. Rather than deciding to leave the series, Morrow and Almani said they had been fired.
The Boys Before Friends Facebook page was updated to say that the remaining actors were working together to rewrite the script. Later, writer Kel Williams wrote "I know this news has been a shock. It has been a shock to us all. When I started this project 9 months, it was with the dream to bring something I thought was amazing to an American audience. I thought that we would get an amazing cast, an amazing team and we would ban[d] together to do something great. This is my dream, I have put my life into it and I vow that we will still put everything we have into the production. For legal reasons we can not speak about what happened with Dawn and Joe but we really are sad that they will no longer be apart of this cast. We would gladly welcome them back with open arms but when it comes to the choice of canceling the show or moving forward, we have chosen to move forward. Please know that we did this with the fans in mind. We promised a 16 episode series, and we will deliver that regardless of obstacles that may enter our path. We are doing this for you, in order to be able to complete the show, and deliver our promise. We promise that nothing will stop us from completing this series for you the fans, the most important people to us."
So what really happened? When asked what was behind the departure of the two main characters, a Facebook admin wrote "Because we are professionals, we can not disclose why they left. They made a choice that would have stopped the production and we made a choice to go ahead without them. We are sorry to see them go." The matter of "professionalism" seems to be at the heart of the cast shakeup. When pressed for details on Twitter, Almani gave a straight answer:
Dawn Morrow is actually the second actress to play the female lead. Claude Racine* played the character of Zoey for one and a half episodes before being replaced. In a humorously surreal scene, Zoey as played by the tattooed Racine was given a makeover, and came out of it played by Morrow (without tattoos). There's no word so far on whether Racine would return, or if another actress would step into the role.
What's next for Almani? He tweeted the photo below, saying it's for a feature film coming out in 2015, and adding the hashtag #Marvel.
As for Boys Before Friends, producers are reaching out to Facebook fans to send in recommendations to replace their male lead.
Joseph Almani gave more details about why he and Morrow were fired later today on Twitter. He says that when his management asked to see a copy of his contract, he and Morrow were fired:
*Corrected. This article originally stated that Riley Ray Baker appeared as Zoey. She had been cast at one point, but did not appear.