Drama Casting & News
Interviews with Moon/Sun’s child actors
by | January 17, 2012 | 82 Comments

Soon we’ll be saying goodbye to the endearing young cast of The Moon That Embraces the Sun, who did such a solid job of anchoring the show in emotion, conflict, and cuteness. Their appeal surely sets up the adults (Kim Soo-hyun, Jung Il-woo, Han Ga-in, Kim Min-seo, Yoon Seung-ah) for lots of goodwill as they make their entrances, so let’s take one last look at a couple of the youngsters at the heart of the show: Lee Min-ho playing Yang-myung, and Yeo Jin-gu as young Prince Hwon.

First, Lee Min-ho, who’s 18 by Western counting, 20 in Korean age. He’s been acting for more years than not; his debut came in 1998 at the age of four in the SBS drama Soonpoong Clinic and he continued that with lots of child roles in dramas like Empress Myung-sung, Jang Hee-bin, Love and Ambition, Gumiho: Tale of the Fox’s Child and Kye Baek. (He also had a memorable bit in Sungkyunkwan Scandal as the Banchon thief in Episode 10.)

He says of his Moon/Sun role, “I put everything into it, thinking this would be my last child-actor role. Because I’m twenty now. [Laughs]”

Next month, Lee Min-ho will graduate from high school, and he plans to enroll at Joongang University, where he’ll study theater and film.

Lately he’s been on the receiving end of so much interest that he’s beat out that other Lee Min-ho in search result rankings, although he figures that those results are just a factor of who’s being talked about right now and may swap back soon.

But he has started to feel his newfound popularity, which he says came as a surprise to the cast and crew: “When we began filming, nobody could have guessed that it would become this popular. When the first broadcast had ratings at almost 20%, we were all shocked. Most of our shooting was in rural locations and it was hard filming in the cold, but the viewer response gave us encouragement.”

“Popularity? I can feel it a bit. [Laughs] Internet reactions sometimes bother me, but it seems like they’re definitely positive. I haven’t had a chance to play kkot-doryung [pretty boy young nobleman] roles in the past so I think people haven’t shown much interest in me, but I was really fortunate with this character. To be honest, it also makes me a little uneasy — the initial response was so great that I worry I’ll disappoint later.”

Asked about his “pretty boy quartet,” Lee explained that he’s the third-oldest, after Im Shi-wan (Yeom) and Lee Won-geun (Woon), with Yeo Jin-gu being 14 (Korean age 15). “Since we see each other on the set every day, we became close quickly. When the four of us get together, we get pretty chatty.”

His Yang-myung character harbors feelings for Yeon-woo, who has been (as of our most recent episode) designated the future wife of Prince Hwon. Yeon-woo’s played by 12-year-old Kim Yoo-jung, with whom Lee Min-ho has acted in a previous drama (Gumiho: Tale of the Fox’s Child).

Lee said, “At first, we supported each other a lot because we were friendly. But in the drama, she starts to get closer with Jin-gu, so we had fewer scenes together. It seemed like Yoo-jung and Jin-gu were getting a lot closer, so I started to feel jealous. In the drama, it was really easy to get into character for the scenes where I feel jealousy. Haha.”

Lee initially wasn’t going to accept the role, thinking that he’d be off to college soon, not sure he wanted to do another child-actor role: “But the role was too good to give up, and I thought if I didn’t take it I’d regret it. The script was really interesting.” He’s modest about his appeal, saying that the character was so well-written that anybody who did it would get lots of love. “In order to film cool action scenes, I went to action school for two months. In Episode 5, you can look forward to another scene where I fight again.”

Lee explained being raised to act from a young age, going to acting classes from the age of four: “My father dreamed of acting but wasn’t able to, so he wanted me to live out that dream. My start came at the hands of my mother and father, so during my adolescence there were times I rebelled, wondering why I had to be suffering and doing this work. But when I started high school, I took the lead and began acting for myself. That’s when I learned the taste of acting.”

Lee Min-ho has lots of roles on his filmography, but he says that the ones that he found interesting didn’t get him recognized: “As an actor, that’s a fortunate thing. That’s what enabled me to show many diverse sides. Without sticking only to cool roles, I had the desire to take on characters with diverse personalities.”

His acting role model? “I want to be like Song Kang-ho sunbae. I want to be the kind of actor who can take on any character well, no matter the role.”

Then there’s his young co-star, Yeo Jin-gu, already a familiar face despite his young years. Born in 1997, he’s in his second year of middle school and has also been acting from a young(er) age; his debut came at age eight in the 2005 film Sad Movie.

Credits: He played young Lee Jun-ki in Iljimae (where he had a young love with Kim Yoo-jung, adorably), young Jo In-sung in Frozen Flower, young Lee Beom-soo in Giant, young Ji Chang-wook in Warrior Baek Dong-soo, and young Ji Sung in Swallow the Sun. He’s played young Jang Hyuk twice — in Tazza and again in Tree With Deep Roots (briefly, as adolescent Ddol-bok).

Suffice to say, this young cast has more sageuk experience than most of its adult leads. He called them all good sunbaes, but has particular memories of Jo In-sung, who gave him advice while shooting Frozen Flower: “He told me what I should be careful about in the future, what kind of relationships to make with friends, and talked a lot with me on the set.”

Yeo said, “Till now, I’ve mostly played characters who get hit on their heads with somebody’s knuckles or who get mistreated, but now that I’m playing a prince about to become king, it feels awesome. It’s the most powerful of all the roles I’ve played. [Laughs]. …It’s especially fun this time, because all I have to do is look at somebody and they bow their head, and with one word I can make them all freeze.” He added that despite being a prince who uses royal language, “Since he’s still young, I’m trying to show the personality of someone that age. I’m focusing on showing a playful, innocent appearance.”

He sounds like he’s had a blast playing Hwon: “It feels great that a drama I’m in is doing well. But The Moon That Embraces the Sun is really fun. There’s comedy, melo, politics, and multiple genres mixed into it, and with every script that comes out it gets even more interesting.”

His acting start: “I really wanted to be on TV. I would be so envious of the actors who came out in dramas, so I nagged my mom to go to acting academy, and within three months of enrolling I was cast in Sad Movie.” After seven years, his interest is going strong: “I still find acting such fun. I may get tired of everything else, but I don’t ever get tired of acting. It’s difficult, but I’m addicted to it and I want to keep doing it.”

“The process is really interesting, to live a life that’s not mine, to study someone else’s life. Whether it’s a fictional character or a historical one, I find it appealing just to become somebody else.”

Moon/Sun marks a pretty big growth spurt for Yeo, and that apparently lost him one role. Jang Hyuk took to him when he played his younger counterpart in Tazza (he was adorable as the feisty young swindler), and thought of him for Tree: “Hyuk hyung says he wanted me to play the child role, but that I’d grown too much so I wouldn’t be right.” But Jang Hyuk had grown attached to the idea, and recommended Yeo Jin-gu for the brief sequence as child Ddol-bok grows into a teenager.

Right now he’s a child-part specialist, but he has hopes for the future: “I’ve never once thought that I won’t be able to play adult parts. I want to keep acting and become a good actor as an adult. The praise I like to hear the most is, ‘Your acting is just like the adult actor you’re playing.'”

I think I speak for more than just myself when I say: Can’t wait to see these kids grow up.

Via Yonhap, Yonhap, Sports Khan


82 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. temari

    I’m going to miss them so much…They were amazing actors!

    • 1.1 Mose

      me too

    • 1.2 hazel

      i’ll be missing u all!!


      especially kim soo hyunβ™₯

  2. gusya

    Both of them are so sweet. Wow time flies, they were cute little things a few years back and now they could take on more adult roles ^^ Hope they have great acting projects in the future!!

  3. sjkwifey

    Thanks for igniting my Moon/Sun addiction!! The young cast of Moon/Sun has really left a memorable impression on me and I have to say that I am quite sad that we won’t be seeing them again. I really cannot wait for these child actors to grow up as with those acting skills already, they will be sure to become better and more amazing in future roles.

  4. Annieboo

    Gaaah, they are just so adorable- how can you *not* love them, really?

    I can’t wait to see their next projects…

  5. T.

    i KNOW i’m going to be marathoning this drama and behaving like a crazed person when i cant find any more episodes to watch so i’m trying my best to stay away from MoonSun posts

    Me typing this comment shows i am failing


    but since this an interview i guess its ok

    • 5.1 red

      me too, I have exams coming up so Ive firmly prevented myself from starting moon/sun…esp after how crazy I was with sangkyunkwan scandal

      … but I hear such good things about it and i love these child actors from watching them in iljimae and giant..and then there kim soo hyun who Ive loved from the beginning

      no must not loose resolve lol..ideally i should stay of dramabeans too, but thats pretty much impossible so its the only concession I give myself

      • 5.1.1 loveyoumomo

        I’ve got exams too but after watching MoonSun and trying to be patient waiting for Wed/Thurs to arrive, I’ve ended up marathoning sangkyunkwan scandal, episode 17…3 more to go. I’ve never watched a saeguk before but MoonSun has now got me hooked on them πŸ™‚

        Goodluck to everyone revising~^^

  6. Saima

    Just saw the preview for Ep 5. *sniff sniff*

    • 6.1 Saima

      ^^”It seemed like Yoo-jung and Jin-gu were getting a lot closer, so I started to feel jealous. In the drama, it was really easy to get into character for the scenes where I feel jealousy. Haha.” ^^—> if this doesn’t scream that he likes her i don’t know what does. πŸ˜€ But, obvs she’s just soo young. And, not to forget stunning.

      As for Jin-Gu it’s awesome that he’s had this heart to heart talk with Jo In-Sung and Jang Hyuk was gunning for him to play his younger counterpart. Awesome. Haven’t started watching this show but still taken to it.

      • 6.1.1 miraliyana

        kekeke XD
        in this one TAXI show in 2010 during his shooting with Yoo-jung in The Grudge of Gumiho, he already show interest on her even though she’s clearly mush younger at that time XD well younger than she’s now ^^

        • akikisetsu

          I saw that taxi episode with lee min ho and kim yoo jung. He’s interested in her, but she’s just too young. Maybe in a few years…^^

          • bubbletea

            I went searching for the episode of Taxi after seeing the comments by you guys above, and I can’t help but giggle. HEEHEE, so cute, Lee Min-ho. Looks like his crush on Kim Yoo-jung has been going on for awhile! Now I can’t wait for these kids to grow up. πŸ˜›

          • bubbletea

            Ahh. But on second thought, I think Yeo Jin-gu and Kim Yoo-jung look cuter together. HEHEH. It would be SO CUTE if the two of them really do end up together in future. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

          • Hyejin

            can someone post me the link for this show.
            i can’t seem to find it :/
            thanks a bunch ^^

          • akikisetsu

            TAXI part 1
            part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEK6Mfq2O5A&feature=related

            Sorry it took awhile!^^

  7. 3hoshi

    Gah! They are awesome!!! You know, I think they don’t give themselves enough credit. I recognize them more than some of the adult casts! (Of course, the main ones I know, but you know the other adult casts) LOL^^

  8. taraLuvJJ

    i think i’m gonna miss them too.. but what can i say i see this drama coz i want to see jung il woo and kim soo hyun in their hanbok

  9. Bluefyre

    I can’t read MoonSun’s title (and this post’s title apparently) and not giggle for minutes on end! It’s all your fault DB crew! LOL! πŸ˜€


    Right. I’ll go and try and read now…

  10. 10 Aly

    jingu is kinda right about the part that he got beaten quite a lot and now he’s the king haha πŸ˜€
    I’m gonna remember that college minho is going to… exchange college for my future planned xD
    Sungkyunkwan as a 2nd plan haha (Joongki oppa <3)

  11. 11 waterfight

    The child actors in this drama is so amazing especially Yeo Jin-gu. I’ve loved him in every drama that he’s been in. I surely cannot wait to see all of them grow up.

    Also, am I the only one thinking this way when I say I wouldn’t mind if the adult actors never show up in the drama? =X

    • 11.1 violet

      I feel the same way,especially about LMH,and I got interested in this drama because of JIW at first!

    • 11.2 sevenaza

      me too..me too..I’m thinking like u also..they are really amazing..better this drama continue with adult actors but this is impossible..so bad..ermm..I just hope ranting this drama will be high in senior actors. ===

  12. 12 Miica

    According to the dramawiki and other sites the young Jang Hyuk in “Tree…” played Chae Sang Woo, not Yeo Jin Goo.

    • 12.1 javabeans

      If you’ll read the article again, you’ll note that he played the adolescent character, not the child version.

      Yeo Jin-gu in Tree With Deep Roots:

      • 12.1.1 yakuna

        thank you javajavadooo,,as usual ..simply amazing!!!!!!

  13. 13 Banu

    These young actors are really good hands down..^__^

  14. 14 cv

    Yeo jin gu is a great actor so far–acting in baek dong soo to tree with deep roots—Just love his expressions whether it’s sad, happy, curious, confuse or mad… it’s all there. If he continues to grow, he’s just going to get better and better. I can’t wait to see him in a few years as an adult actor. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for his future dramas. ^^

    • 14.1 cv

      Is he really only 14 years old? He looks so much older though. ^^ I would have thought he’s 16 at most. LOL

  15. 15 Mai

    “I think I speak for more than just myself when I say: Can’t wait to see these kids grow up.”

    OMG, I was just thinking the same! They are going to be so handsome and the next stars in the making!! I can’t wait to see their potential and me squeeling like a teenager even at 35! LOL!

  16. 16 hanna

    gah! i love this show!
    i hope to see your ep. 5 recap soon πŸ™‚

  17. 17 pabo ceo reom

    1997? Really? Oi. I watched my first dramas before that. I know I’m old but what a reminder!

    • 17.1 loveyoumomo

      Reading their date of birth is like a shock to the system. So young and so talented, all of them and yeah, makes one feel their age, every single year.

  18. 18 alua

    They will be an interesting bunch to watch in the future.

  19. 19 Arhazivory

    I’ve been in love with Yeo Jin Gu ever since Iljimae. I watched WBDS only after hearing that he’s in it. He’s just so good in whatever he plays, and he sounds like he has a good head on his shoulders. I like his reason for acting and with that passion, he’ll only get more awesome. He’s getting more handsome too. <3

    • 19.1 yakuna

      agree 101% hahaha!!!!

  20. 20 Yeng

    lee min ho has interesting character after seeing his respond…he is kinda cute here. I usually dont care for the second lead too much eventhough it is sad for them, but after reading this, it made me care haha he is so jealous

  21. 21 nuri

    Lee Min Ho’s role in SKKS was memorable. i don’t even have to re-watch them again to recall him.

    i think with this popularity, Yeo Jin-Gu might get leading role sooner than later.. (and he’s just 14?)

  22. 22 jomo

    I think I will prolly answer my own question, but as far as this:
    “he’s beat out that other Lee Min-ho in search result rankings”

    Do they only account for Lee Min-ho with some kind of qualifier that identifies the search is for 93LMH?
    Cause I remember searching for “Lee Min-Ho” and getting the wrong one.
    How do they know what the searcher means to find?

  23. 23 gailT

    I love the child actors, so I’m all over this article. Thanks, JB.

    Lee Min Ho reminds me of Jae Hee. Maybe it’s the mouth and the smile. πŸ™‚

    • 23.1 nnaiy

      That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking all this while!! ^^ A very charming young version of Jae Hee πŸ™‚

  24. 24 Marj

    I know I’ve already said it before on a recap but I LOVE these child actors. They’ve done such a good job with the drama so far!
    Thanks for posting this up javabeans πŸ™‚ How friggin cute were those Iljimae screen shots?! I couldn’t even remember they were in it. Super cute ^^

  25. 25 starrynighttt

    I'll miss seeing them in the upcoming Moon/Sun eps :'(

  26. 26 omo

    Definitely a VICOMYB. Sigh, I would hate to see them go off tomorrow.
    NB : VICOMYB = Very Inappropriate Crush On Much Younger Boys.

    • 26.1 Yumi

      LOL! What a nice acroymn!

  27. 27 Ani

    Aaaw, too bad we didn’t get a interview from Kim Yoojung, but this is awesome. I really will miss them after this. But I hope to see them again.

    • 27.1 Ani

      P.S. Lee Minho, don’t grow up too fast ok? Stay adorable a little bit younger.
      P.P.S. Enjoy your childhood guys. It only comes around once.

  28. 28 bbm

    yeo jin gu’s growing so fast… found this post from 10asia on couchkimchi
    and kim yoo jung is such a cutie…
    aarrgghh… i’m going to miss YJG sooo bad when KSH came out… korea really need to make a teenage drama, maybe god of study season 2??

  29. 29 Lolly

    my young crown prince!!!! <3

  30. 30 Suzi Q

    They really have a cute and talented younger cast.
    Yeo Jin Gu is only 15? Kim Yoo jung is 12? I’m impressed by their acting. They’re better than some of the singing idols who are trying to act in dramas.

    • 30.1 djes

      I love some my idols, but yeah you’re absolutely right.

      But then, these kids are born to be actors.. I just love love the younger casts, and once again I’d like to wish, somebody please make a teen drama for them! Something like “God of Study”, maybe?

  31. 31 78446

    Eek, is Yeo Jin Gu the little kid that made me weep like a baby in Sad Movie?! The one who hired Cha Tae Hyun’s character so he could tell his mommy he didn’t love her anymore because she was leaving him, i.e. dying? Whoa. He’s the reason my toughest macho friend still refuses to talk about that movie. Every time someone mentions it, he clears his throat and changes the subject. Pffft.

  32. 32 pam

    omg.. yeo jin gooo!!! I have falled HARD to him since iljimae. what a performance! and his acting in giant n baek dong soo n now moon sun is getting better n better. I initially watch moonsun solely for him, and never regret it, he grown so much ^^ i couldnt believe he still 14, he looks tall for his age.
    noona waiting for you Jin goo-ah ^^
    its funny how jang hyuk gunned on him to play his child counterpart.. since I always got a jang hyuk-vibe from jin goo, especially in his Giant days. his eyes! aah.. please grow fast jin goo-ah!!

    • 32.1 pam

      omg.. i just realize.. 14!! i couldnt believe how deep i fall in VICOMYB…

  33. 33 Joo

    Have been commenting a bit too actively recently thanks to my MoonSunRainCloud addiction >.< Still am going to say, like what I've been saying in my previous comments, Yeo Jin-gu is a fabulous and charismatic actor!! I've only watched him in Sad Movie and Iljimae (and I remember dropping Iljimae an episode after the child cast exited because Yeo Jin-gu played the role of Iljimae so well that I couldn't make the connection when Lee Jun-ki stepped in :/) but now am going to find Giant and Warrior Baek Dong-soo to watch the child cast parts πŸ˜›

    Really sad that the child cast are exiting MoonEmbracesSun! Will miss them and hope to see them in other dramas soon!

    • 33.1 pam

      yes, just recently I watch Giant, and i’m very recommend it for you. Jin goo’s acting in there is just awesome!! full 8 episode of Jin Goo awesomeness!! in Giant, he paired with Nam Ji Hyun, the child counterpart of Queen Seondeok. Kim Sohyun also there, playing older bro for Jin Goo ^^

  34. 34 asianromance

    Yeo Jin gu is growing up fast! he was so small in iljimae! I really liked Lee Min Ho in SKKS and am glad he’s getting more recognition here for this drama!

  35. 35 Shena

    These young actors are so freaking amazing that it breaks my heart to say goodbye. Lee Min Ho did make my heart flutter x) I really hope to see him in more projects. There was not one flaw in the acting considering Siwan is an idol. He totally was perfect and played the part superbly. Sigh~ it’s really goodbye Thursday for them and Hello Thursday for the older actors.

  36. 36 Cam

    Oh my !! I’ve always admired this adorable actor Yeo Jin Gu aloooot (since I first saw him in Iljiame), woot woot! I can’t believe that Yeo Jin Gu is growing up sooo fast ~ he’s currently 14 yrs old now (15 is Korean age)

    GEEZ…..Our time flies by!!! Aiyhoo…aiyhooo.

    Honestly, I will always looking forward to Yeo Jin Gu’s acting in his future ~ ! ! ! (Gosh, I love both of Yeo Jin Gu pictures at last)

    • 36.1 Zoya

      Yes! I agreed with you — Yeo Jin Gu and Lee Min Ho still have an briiiiighter future when they will be famous (like other older actors) someday! Gosh, all of younger casts (actors & actresses) did a GREAAT job at this MoonSuns drama ~ Bravoooo. πŸ˜‰

  37. 37 Shoesrgreatrite


    • 37.1 bubbletea

      That’s exactly what I’ve been telling myself! ^5.

  38. 38 Jiya

    I’ve been admiring Yeo Jin Gu for a while now. Its in Princess JaMyung Go where he acted the role as a (cheeky) prince where he captivated me with his cuteness & superb performance. He’s really doing well along with the other young lead cast in Moon. I don’t blame the jealousy on & off screen! hahhaha. They’re all so cute & adorable. Best wishes also to Lee Min ho with his studies & career. I look forward to see more of them (young actors) after Moon…

    Thank you for the enjoyable recap of Moon That embraces The Sun. I will miss the young cast whose doing a good job…so well that its really got me hooked.

  39. 39 Keylye

    Yeo Jin-gu is adorable. I can’t wait to seen him in more roles as he gets older. He’s definitely one of the child stars I hope transitions well into adult roles.

  40. 40 Lady Seoul

    Lee Min Ho super handsome. The next f4 Lee Min Ho. ha.

  41. 41 Unnursvana

    Yeo Jin Gu is so cute. I think he is a really good actor and I can’t wait to see him grow up and get the main lead role. He really did blow me away in Warrior Baek Dong Soo and I hope he does the same thing in this show.

  42. 42 dapinaymrs

    *sigh* and to think Lee Min Ho is the same age as Yoo Seung Ho. I hope this kid will be able to get the attention he deserves for his great acting.

    Ahaha, he actually felt jealous of Yoo-jung and Jin-gu!

    I also wish there were interviews for those 3 cute girls. They were having so much fun laughing in their pretty little hanboks. ^-^

  43. 43 KDrama Fan

    Crikey! I didn’t know Jin-gu was so young and Lee Min Ho so ‘old’. Really enjoyed this post-nice to see Jin-gu’s hair-even though it made me feel like an ajumma rather than a noona:) Would love to know more about the 4th in the cute boy quartet-he’s the one that caught my eye in the looks department…

  44. 44 Missthiri

    Was yeo jin gu in time between dog and wolf as younger lee junki?

  45. 45 Sojuboy

    I just watched EP5 live. It was so sad. πŸ™


    • 45.1 loveyoumomo

      the trailer looked quite sad, hearing you say that, i need to steel my heart and have tissues alongside me when i watch it then!!

  46. 46 cukaeshin

    wow I think yeo jin gu looks like lee min ki, especialy the last 2 photos

  47. 47 Fab

    Lovely actors, I am going to miss them!!

    Lee Min Ho is so likeable. Must be the name…

    First time seeing Lee Won-geun (Woon). <3

  48. 48 sam

    love them. so much more talented than some adult actors??? cough cough.. i wanna cry… their roles are almost over..

  49. 49 Heelie

    They amaze me with their acting skills! Can’t wait for all of them to grow up!

  50. 50 Viki

    I feel like a pedo-noona…Yeo Jin Gu is so adorable! I can’t believe he’s still so young hehehe…but he did grew up pretty fast. XD

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