Joo Ji-hoon‘s first project out of army duty was supposed to be the musical Dr. Zhivago, but he backed out due to health reasons. (Rehearsal strained his vocal cords; he was replaced by Jo Seung-woo.) After a bit of rest, he’s announced that he’s on a sageuk film instead, called I Am the King.
(Seriously, movie-title-deciders? We have Lee Byung-heon’s I Am the Joseon King, Ha Ji-won’s The King, and now this?)
The movie centers around a fictionalization of the youth of King Sejong the Great, in the years before he was king. The plot depicts him swapping places with a beggar (a literal prince and pauper scenario) in order to experience life as a commoner firsthand. The role will have him playing two roles, although justifying running across a beggar who just happens to look exactly like you (in the absence of birth secrets and hidden babies) will probably require some hefty suspension of disbelief.
Presumably Sejong’s travails make up the experiences that would shape him as he later ruled as one of Korea’s most well-regarded monarchs. King Sejong is always a popular figure in literature and film, but the recent popularity of Tree With Deep Roots, which followed his work in inventing the hangul alphabet, ought to add interest to this project.
This’ll be Joo Ji-hoon’s first project since 2009′s Naked Kitchen, after which he was busted for drug use (ketamine and ecstasy), dropped like a hot potato from his upcoming projects, and went into the army to spend a quiet two years. And behold the cleansing powers of army duty — one stint and all is well again. (In that regard, he’s lucky he hadn’t done it yet; had he already fulfilled the service requirement, it’s likely he would’ve found his path to image rehab much rockier. But the army has an interesting equalizing effect that, in Joo’s case, means a blessing and a second chance.)
I Am the King plans to finish casting soon, and will begin filming shortly.
Via Star News
- Joo Ji-hoon signs with Keyeast
- Stills from Joo Ji-hoon and Lee Jun-ki’s army musical
- Lee Jun-ki and Joo Ji-hoon in army musical
- Joo Ji-hoon begins military service
- Enlistment date set for Joo Ji-hoon
- Joo Ji-hoon closes homepage and fan club
- Joo Ji-hoon busted for drug use