This means Kim Bum is out of the running; Ji Chang-wook is taking the lead role in upcoming manhwa-adapted action sageuk drama Warrior Baek Dong-soo (formerly called Honorable Baek Dong-soo).
Kim Bum may have had the mane-of-glory-in-training, but it’ll be Ji Chang-wook who gets to flaunt his in the drama, all while flashing some serious martial arts moves as the titular hero. Baek Dong-soo was a real-life figure who created a martial arts guide in the Joseon era, though this drama takes much of its inspiration from the manhwa.
I’m definitely looking forward to this, not only because it stars two very solid actors: the veteran, Choi Min-soo (Sandglass, Father’s House), and the talented up-and-comer, Nam Ji-hyun, who’s starting to transition from child roles into adolescent ones (she’s 16). She notably played young Queen Seon-deok, and had strong performances playing childhood parts in Will It Snow For Christmas and Giant, but now she’ll take on a more mature role as the recipient of Crown Prince Sado’s love. Aw, someone’s all growed up.
In addition to that, Ji Chang-wook is a serious cutie, and I’d wondered when he’d get his breakout. You could say he already got it with the daily drama Smile, Dong-hae, after first coming onto the scene as the adorable youngest brother in Sons of Sol Pharmacy. I loved him in the latter, playing a guy with an unabashed love of craft projects that were sneered upon as sissy-ish by the men around him, and by all reports Dong-hae is performing strongly in the ratings. But it takes something more dynamic, a character with strong screen presence, to take him to the next level into leading man territory. We’ll see if Warrior Baek Dong-soo is that project.
This drama is a fusion martial-arts sageuk set in the Joseon era, with Baek Dong-soo being the noble warrior at its center. Key players involve Crown Prince Sado, son of king Yeongjo who advocated for the abolishment of the aristocratic class system. (He’s also the man at the center of much speculation and conspiracy-theorizing, some of which we saw in Sungkyunkwan Scandal, as he died when he was locked up in a chest for days under his father’s orders. There were rumors that he was mentally ill, but others believe those were falsified claims. Sungkyunkwan‘s Geumdeungjisa was supposedly a crucial document incriminating his father, which was sought out by Prince Sado’s son, King Jeongjo.)
Lee Jia was reportedly a leading possibility for the lead female role, but has since been dropped from contention, which isn’t surprising given the massive scandal still raging about her secret marriage and divorce to Seo Taiji. Something tells me she’s not done losing roles yet. According to drama reps, the field has been narrowed to three actresses, and will probably be decided very soon.
The series will be a Monday-Tuesday show on SBS to premiere in July, and comes from the directors of Tazza and OB-GYN. It begins shooting at the end of the month.
- Choi Min-soo confirms drama, will Kim Bum join him?
- Rumors abound for Kim Bum’s return to dramaland
- New daily drama Smile Dong-hae premieres this week
- Drama special Father’s House brings in strong praise
- Choi Min-soo returns in Father’s House
- Hero’s updated cast list
- Another Sol Pharmacy son gains endorsement power
- The Sons of Sol Pharmacy House / My Too Perfect Sons