Now that Queen In-hyun’s Man, the tvN time-traveling romance drama, has begun filming, here are some of the stills and behind-the-scenes shots that are starting to trickle out.
This is a drama that has been looking more and more interesting the more we hear about it — and its trailers and posters went a long way toward piquing my interest — so I’ve got my eye on it, despite the fact that we’re quickly approaching time-skip-sageuk saturation point. Or are we already there? It’s hard to tell what’s funny ’cause it’s funny, and what’s funny ’cause it’s become so old that it’s new again, like that neverending rake joke.
Up top, we have series leads Ji Hyun-woo and Yoo Inna busily discussing the script in preparation for shoots. Ji has ditched the Joseon-era hanbok and is dressed in modernwear, so presumably he’s been here (as in, modernity) for a while. At least for a long enough time to know how to wear a hoodie and a beanie without going all Rooftop Prince with the crazy mix-n-match fashion bin. (Ah, dignified scholars in nightclub sequins and acid wash. You can’t not laugh.)
The drama also has a second lead in Kim Jin-woo, a musical actor turned TV actor from dramas Twelve Men in a Year, Smile Mom, and Road No. 1. He’ll play Yoo Inna’s ex-boyfriend and current Hallyu star Han Dong-min.
Dong-min is a playboy character with a list of romantic scandals a mile long, with lots of other celebs from the acting and pop music worlds. He plays the king, Sukjong, in the drama-within-the-drama New Jang Heebin; in Dong Yi, the role was played by Ji Jin-hee. Sukjong was the husband to Queen In-hyun whose concubine, Jang heebin, plotted to raise her own status and was rumored to have poisoned the queen.
Naturally things are a little weird when the womanizing actor is paired with the girlfriend he dumped, Yoo Inna, when she’s cast as Queen In-hyun. Awkward! And then the love triangle gets going in earnest when Ji Hyun-woo flies into the picture once he gets dropped into the 21st century from the 17th. Where, coincidentally, he supported the real Queen In-hyun in her attempt to regain her standing.
A K-drama isn’t a K-drama with only one love triangle, so on the other side we have Jin Ye-sol (New Gisaeng Story) playing Yoo Inna’s rival for Ji Hyun-woo’s affections. Her character comes from the Joseon era and starts out as a household slave to a nobleman’s family, who loves Ji Hyun-woo from afar. After his family is wiped out in a conspiracy, she runs away and turns to an entertainer’s life (having few options as a former slave).
Interestingly, she is described as a gisaeng who watches Ji Hyun-woo traveling back and forth between the two times, which makes me wonder if this will be more Operation Proposal than Rooftop Prince — in structure as well as tone. Since Ji begins falling for Yoo Inna in the 21st century, the gisaeng can’t help but be jealous of her… but it’s an interesting twist that she can’t see the rival for herself. I’m intrigued by the setup.
But wait, there’s another rival! This one’s from the heroine’s own time zone, and is more of the traditional villainness/antagonist role, played by Park Young-rin (Birdie Buddy). She’ll hate and harass Yoo Inna despite her beloved “nation’s fairy” image (as in, cute and approachable). So while she’s the popular star compared to Yoo Inna’s no-name rookie actress-dom, she isn’t above belittling or mistreating her. I’m thinking UEE in You’re Beautiful.
My favorite photo of the bunch has to be the one at the very bottom, which comes from the same scene as the first photo. It’s got a scroll-down appeal in that it looks pretty normal — boring, even — until you get to Ji’s Joseon-era hat, dangling from his backpack like it’s a normal, everyday accoutrement to daily life. What, this ole thing? It’s just my Confucian scholar’s hat, like everyone else’s.
Queen In-hyun’s Man premieres on April 18 on tvN.
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