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Major anticipation for Ha JiWon + Lee SeungGi for “The King”

Yay, it’s official!  The production company announced the two main leads and no one is denying it this time!  Actor Lee Seunggi will star with Actress Ha Jiwon in buzzed about drama “The King.”  The production side said “We are already anticipating the fantastic chemistry to come from the pairing of Ha Jiwon and Lee Seunggi.”  The press has been reporting it as the meeting of “nation’s actress Ha JiWon” and “hit-maker Lee SeungGi.”  Both have been involved in projects receiving much love and high viewer ratings, and both are beloved by people of all ages in Korea.  The drama will be helmed by the same production/writing team from hit “Beethoven Virus” (2008), PD Lee Jae Kyu and writers Hong Jin Ah, Hong Ja Ram (not to be confused with Hong Sisters of My Girlfriend is a Gumiho).  The 20-episode “The King” is scheduled to air on MBC in March, following “Moon that Embraces the Sun.”

See more  details at Dramabeans (the most original, reliable, smart, sassy, level-headed K-site helmed by Javabeans and Girlfriday, a duo that makes me, fellow Korean-American LSGfan, extremely proud, even when I don’t agree all the time)~~

So, what I’m really anticipating the most…  Lee Seunggi – Ha Jiwon couple…

Imagining them as couple didn’t come easy at first.  Jiwon (34) is 9 years older than Seunggi (25).  Sure, younger guys and older women has been commonplace, but typically it’s like a 2-5 year difference.  Also, Jiwon is one of the top, if not THE top actress in Korea, successful in both film and drama.  So, while Seunggi is in the sought-after group of actors in their 20s (Jang Geunsuk, Lee Minho, Yoochun, etc), getting to play opposite Jiwon (especially at her level now) is more serious.

But Seunggi is way mature beyond his years and has responsibility experience on various projects, despite being the youngest on set (ie, My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, Strong Heart and 1N2D post Hodong).  So, playing an older lead character shouldn’t be a problem (ie, Hwan from Brilliant Legacy).  Also, Jiwon’s shown both on and off screen that she can play younger.  I’m so curious to see how Seunggi approaches Jiwon about how to address her.  Will it be like that of Minah?  Will it be Jiwon-sshi versus sunbaenim or noona!  Hehehe.

I like that Seunggi (and Hook) took the risk, and chose this high-profile drama over other ones, despite knowing other older male leads were rumored previously.  This indicates to me he wants foremost to be challenged and grow as an actor.  So I’m totally looking forward to him bringing his A-game to match Jiwon!

He’s always said that his philosophy on making a successful program is teamwork above all things, bringing out the best in others versus just thinking about your own part.  Thus, another reason I’m anticipating this couple!   I have no doubt the lovely and sweet Jiwon sunbae will work great with Seunggi, who’ll work his butt off in typical fashion!  They’ve both experienced the pressure and expectations of leading a production so they both know it’s all about chemistry and team work.

One of the reasons why My Girlfriend is a Gumiho received so much love was the very transparent Seunggi-Minah chemistry.  Even though Minah was older by 3 years, she had no problems showing her genuine admiration for Seunggi’s maturity, sense of responsibility, and work ethic (Stuff Korean people seriously love!). And well we all know, whoever gets to work with Seunggi is going to really get top-notch treatment!

So, the stuff that’s going to STRESS me out…  Ratings, competition, politics.

TV ratings is the bottom line, but a strong production with good chemistry you can be proud of trumps everything.  One of the main reasons why My Girlfriend is a Gumiho was highly regarded despite unexpected mammoth 50% ratings Baker King.

“The King” will air after “Moon Embraces the Sun.”  It can be an advantage, but also more of a burden.  Like My Girlfriend is a Gumiho’s time slot competition (MBC Playful Kiss, KBS Baker King), there’s buzz already about the Wed-Thurs lineup come March – MBC The King, SBS Rooftop Prince, high profile drama planned for KBS too.

So this means there will be lots of PR spin and press releases from the 3 broadcast channels and the different management companies.  Jiwon’s management, Wellmade Entertainment, also is home to KBS Win Win’s Kim Seung Woo, who’s been heavily rumored to be joining the new season of KBS 1N2D.  And although it’s not confirmed yet, it seems like Seunggi will most likely not be part of season 2.

However, it’s highly likely that he will still be active on SBS as an MC, continuing with Strong Heart or doing rumored new show with Shin PD.  Not sure what this will look like, you know, doing a drama on one channel but MCing a show aimed at shining the light on on actors, entertainers on another channel.  I guess we’ll find out soon.

Knowing Seunggi, he’ll manage and make the best of it!  And get a lot of support along the way.  Although I have dreams that Hodong will soon come back into to his rightful place as nation’s MC, next to Seunggi and as his biggest hyung!

Upcoming official “The King” script reading…

Cannot wait for this!  So excited!  I’m glad Seunggi and Jiwon won’t be meeting for the first time!  Plus, based on their interaction from the 48th Savings Day event back in October, they project such a real comfortable ease and warm vibe.   I even wrote that this looked more like a press conference for a drama!

I can’t help but to wonder if it this event perhaps cued the production team (and Jiwon!) into considering Seunggi for the male lead early on, despite the character being perhaps older?  Thus, explaining the other older top male stars rumored with the project.

Supporting Seunggi and his projects…

Ha Jiwon is older, the sunbaenim in the drama, and the one who signed on first.  And because there’s been so many other older high profile actors rumored with the project, not EVERYONE is going to warm up right away to Seunggi being cast.  And that’s okay!  (to quote my fave K-bloggers Girlfriday and Javabeans!)  Plus, this always happens when there’s a lot of rumoring beforehand.  When Seunggi first signed on to My Girlfriend is Gumiho early on, and Shin Minah was finalized later on, not everyone was thrilled, especially after a bunch of other actresses were rumored for the part first.

And well, everyone knows the result of that and how much the Hoi Couple was loved!  And I have no doubt Seunggi and Jiwon couple will be loved in their own special couple way, distinct from My Girlfriend is a Gumiho and Secret Garden.

Seunggi is definitely the type of guy you love and admire as you see his projects and get to know him more.  Fact is, he’s enjoyed beloved status in Korea for 4 straight years with practically no Antis, basically a miracle and considered a life-time in K-entertainment!  Usually, as celebs get more popular, score highly prized CFs, and make a lot of money, and enjoy general success… this brings out the Antis.

But you can’t enjoy top status like that forever, especially in K-entertainment that’s always looking for the newest trend!  And Seunggi always acknowledged that.  He’s said that his life motto is to work hard and be around in the entertainment industry doing the things he likes for a long time, versus enjoying short-term popularity.

Unfortunately, there are some people who are so miserable, they have to put their misery on other people.  I have no problem with informed, critical comments, or even saying that someone is not as pretty or handsome as he/she prefers.  But it’s obvious when a comment is just flat-out cruel and comes from a mean-spirited place, and that kind of stuff… I just feel really sorry for that commenter and his/her miserable life!

While I’m always amazed by the devotion of Korean Airens, sometimes I’m surprised by the sensitivity and over-protectiveness(?) over Seunggi.  I guess it’s not that different from other K-idol fans.  But unlike the usual fan-warfares between Kpop idol fans, Seunggi works mostly with more established people on his popular variety shows, which means Airens can end up taking on broadcast establishment, veteran entertainers, industry insiders, and actors that are very connected through powerful management companies.  And those people definitely don’t play, since at that level, a lot of it comes down to business, politics, and money.

I hope for Seunggi’s future career sake, there’s a way we fans can continue to voice our support for him in every way possible, but without burning any bridges with the industry players and the general public, who’ve also shown a lot of love for him too…

Seunggi always has NO EXCUSES for things, no matter how crappy the situation, conditions, or people are!  And makes the best of things.  Sometimes that drives me crazy, wishing he would just be a jerk and get pissed off!  But most of that time, I totally admire that in him.  He doesn’t need to say anything and his actions speak for itself.  My yoga instructor always says that’s a good way to stay positive, happy, and mentally strong!  I think Seunggi maybe does yoga?!

Lee Seunggi – Ha Jiwon~~~Fighting!!!! 

The King~~~~ Fighting!!!

via Hankyung, Naver;  Images: As labeled/DCLSG

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15 Responses

  1. I love every words that are written there. It will be a daebak drama for sure knowing of Seung Gi’s crave for hard-work and improvement plus he have talent and skills in acting.

    He already proved himself with the other dramas before but being questioned until now for his ability to pair up with Ji Won? March is not that long, and will definitely shut those negative comments.

    Well the anticipation for The King is very high and the support will be all through the way.

    Also the picture above when LSG and HJW staring with each other, i see sparks.. uh ho the chemistry is there! That’s for sure!

  2. Dear Ann,
    Very sane and wise words indeed. I will print this out as a constant reminder to myself…maybe tape it right on my yoga mat?! (New Year resolution number 1 – take up yoga & don’t stress too much over SG!)

    I totally remember your reporting of the Savings Day event and your foresight into future! Interestingly, Tryp reported that the casting of SG in The King might occur a lot earlier than announced. Look at the timeline:
    – Oct. 25, Savings Day, where Jiwon had a good look at SG and liked what she saw! (From the way she looked at him, I sense love was in the air already.)
    – Nov. 14, at MBC Drama site someone posted Jiwon AND SG were cast as leads in The King.
    – Nov. 27, SG could not resist mentioning Jiwon again during MNET Mic interview (which you lovingly translated and posted). (Sometimes he is really too honest for his own good!)
    Just wonder if without all those casting rumors the air would be a little bit calmer.

    Regarding the negative comments, no matter their intentions, what irks me the most (and almost got me to arms) is the criticism that SG is a lesser actor than some others. By golly, are we seeing the same thing? I would not compare him to others as each has unique charm and apples and oranges and stuff.

    Anyway, so looking forward to this. Actor Lee, you’ve come back!

  3. Well said, LSGfan. *clap..clap..clap*
    And, OMG, those pictures above are like screencaps from a drama.
    Can’t wait to watch ‘The King’.

  4. hodong.. please come back.. take care.. your dongsaeng… ” Seung-gi” :(

  5. Do you think that Seunggi is kind of being typecasted in dramas though. His Hwan and Daewoong characters all belong to the rich childish brat type, and that seems to be happening again for The King.

    • Nah, anyone who watches kdrama regularly knows that the male lead is usually a rich, self-absorbed type in popular dramas. and throw in there the cold guy thing. so i think rich and self-absorbed pretty much defines the charismatic male lead role of your typical popular kdrama.

      so i think it’s a good script, story line, compelling character development of nuances and quirks that lend themselves to give those typical male lead roles their own color and uniqueness. particularly in the context of some turn of events, usually associated with the interaction with an equally nuanced and well-written female lead character counterpart.

      to me daewoong and hwan were both rich, self-absorbed guys but in very different ways that made their characters very different in personality. I’m biased to hwan! :) and really looking forward to seeing Seunggi play more the cold serious type of lead. i think him being a prince/king in a modern day monarchy will make for something very different then what he’s done before, especially his relationship with jiwon’s spy character.

      and i’m expecting, hoping for more melodrama and stuff that will make us laugh, but not over the top slapstick comedy stuff…

  6. Where is the like button? I want to hit the like button for this article for nth times..:D

  7. oh my ann! this was our wish since SBS drama 2010. i remember seunggi saying he wanted to work with Ha Ji Won

    and come on. sorry seung gi, but i have to say, Seunggi you are they lucky one.Ha ji won is an experienced actress with a daesang in her belt. and she doesn’t need to prove her self anymore. Seunggi can learn alot from her!

    and CHEMISTRY!! i think they will really get along. Ha ji won is a sweet heart. She loves to laugh and all! i bet seunggi is nervous now!! :))
    i guess Seunggi will call her Noona, but who knows. After all it’s


    and!sadly,. since this is MBC i cannot see Ji won promoting in strong heart. i hope they will have tv guestings(which is i guess unusual?) at MBC to promote the drama. ha ha ha

    The Royal Couple!
    Seunggi-Jiwon FIGHTING!!!!

    Ann! thank you for this lovely article!

  8. Love this article… Very well written, indeed!

  9. Are you sure that it isn’t the Hong Sisters that did MGIAG?? Because everywhere I’ve been looking about this drama has Hong Mi-Ran and Hong Jeong-Eun as the writers…. asianmediawiki.com, viki.com, and crunchyroll.com to name a few. Just wondering :) And I absolutely cannot wait for this drama >.< Lee Seung Gi is #1 in my heart in all things. Lol.

    • It’s got people confused (even in korea) because how often do you have TWO sets of Hong Sister writers!

      here’s the official Naver search link to KING drama. It hasn’t been updated with the cast yet, the writers are listed as 홍진아, 홍자람 (Hong Jin Ah, Hong Ja Ram).

      here’s the official Naver search link for MY GIRLFRIEND IS A GUMIHO drama. The writers are 홍정은, 홍미란 (Hong Jung Eun, Hong Mi Ran).

      Unfortunately English-platform Korean-entertainment sites are still not the most accurate. Dramabeans is the most reliable; they already mentioned there were 2 Hong Sister writing teams.

      • Thank you sooo much for clearing that up! Lol. Two Hong sisters IS very confusing. Lol. I have to admit I’m a little disappointed that it isn’t the other Hong sisters writing for this drama because I absolutely love all of their shows! I mean, I bought the greatest love, have MGIAG as my computer background, and Hong Gil Dong as my phone background >.< lol. You might say I'm a big fan of theirs, but with these two extraordinary lead actors in it, it's gonna be fantastic either way :) Anyways, thanks again for replying so quick :)

  10. He calls her noons and sunbaenim

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