Drama Casting & News
Jang Ok-jung chooses its leading men
by | January 22, 2013 | 59 Comments

One of these confirmed additions to Jang Ok-jung, Live For Love is as we expected—reports that Yoo Ah-in (Fashion King) was considering the role have been out for a while—but the other is a nice surprise with Jae Hee (May Queen) also signing on. Both will be romancing lead actress Jang Ok-jung (Kim Tae-hee) at different stages in her life… although perhaps also concurrently, if I’m reading the hints right.

Jae Hee comes first in the romantic timeline as Ok-jung’s first love, before she becomes the royal concubine Lady Jang. His character is named Hyun Chi-soo, born into an aristocratic family, and their young romance comes to an end once she enters the palace as a court lady. After their separation, he heads to China and builds power there, returning to Joseon to become something of a Daddy Long Legs figure to Ok-jung. And I’m wondering… while she’s the king’s consort? You are either really ballsy or you have a death wish. I suppose incredibly stupid is also an option, but he probably didn’t get to where he is by being stupid.

Yoo Ah-in, on the other hand, plays King Sukjong, whose wife is Queen In-hyun (very likely to be played by Hong Soo-hyun) when he makes Ok-jung his concubine. Historically, Ok-jung had such influence over the king that she was able to get him to cast aside his wife and make her his queen, though karma came around and bit her in the ass with another reversal later down the line. She was also older than the king in real life, which is reflected in the actors’ ages (Kim is 32, Yoo is 26).

I’m curious to know how all of that famous history will work with the Joseon-era fashion-designing and cosmetic-producing that this drama purports to feature in its reinterpretation of the story. I’m all for reimagined narratives, but with one as juicy as this one I can’t help but want more killing and plotting, less makeup and clothing. Well, I mean less clothing in the way of emphasis on fashion, but I’m fine with the other meaning too.

Other famous actresses who have played the famous Lady Jang in numerous adaptations include Kim Jimi, Yoon Yeo-jung, Lee Mi-sook, Jeon In-hwa, and Kim Hye-soo. Kim Tae-hee may be as famous as they were, but she doesn’t have the killer instinct that the others possess. I’m hoping this is a factor of the reinterpretation, and not just blind faith that she’ll pull out an electric performance as the femme fatale.

On the other hand, I’m pretty sure the boys are up for the task. They’ve both done sageuk roles before, and they’re both fully capable of charged, emotional, and also comical acting. Man, now I just want them to steal the limelight and run off into the sunset. It doesn’t even have to be in a slashfic-y way. They could be platonic best friends! Who hang out together, talk literature, and maybe hug a lot. Hey, if you get to make a notorious bloodthirsty backstabber your heroine, I’m going to say historical accuracy really isn’t your priority.

Jang Ok-jung will air on Mondays and Tuesdays beginning in March.

Via Star News, Star News


59 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. bebeswtz

    Hmmmm…. it’s a a story about Jang Ok Jung (with bits of Queen In- Hyun)…. but I’m wondering if they’re gonna fit bits of Dong Yi as a character in all of this as well? Or does that sound like making things a bit too complicated and should not even be something touched upon??

    • 1.1 Annie

      Dong Yi aka Consort Suk was made a concubine in 1693 and Jang hee bin was deposed in 1694 and executed in 1701 so there’s definitely room for a brief mention near the end of the drama. Props to the producers if they can get Han Hyo Joo to cameo.

      • 1.1.1 Annie

        Thanks wikipedia 🙂

    • 1.2 JIW_sobangnim

      Complicated is why make it into modern-day-fairytale.
      Keep it a Saguk and I’m INVESTED.

      PLUS, Kim Tae Hee HAS rocked the painintheass role in Stairway to Heaven (eye acting LOL)

      Hope this goes well!
      2013 needs to show potential (Busy thinking of LEE SEUNG GI and SUZY 😛 -CANT WAIT <3 )

      • 1.2.1 Rachel

        I just had to lol at the eye acting mention lol But I really hope Jae Hee doesn’t get the sub role. In May Queen I died a little inside every time he was in pain, which was literally every time he was in the scene after he broke up with Han Ji Hye. Plus, is it just me or is he gettin smokin hotter by day? *heart shaped eyes shooting hearts*

  2. browncoat_78

    I’m sorry but with male leads like those guys, who gives a crap about the ladies?! The unfortunate thing is that the ladies, it seems, will be the focus, but really, who cares? Is there a way we can make them both drink poison half way through and just make the rest of the drama about Yoo Ah In and Jae Hee? YUM!

  3. pabo ceo reom

    Jae-hee! *squeal*

    Ok back to your regular programming.

  4. Annie

    I like how a 2 year difference blows up into 6. That’s drama math for you. Anywhoo, I was thinking about this drama earlier and I just don’t get how this ‘reimagining’ works unless they start shifting historical blame. I can kind of see why China’s SARFT rules are so strict about historical dramas (not saying I agree with censorship – far from it) being accurate to source material.

    Team In-Hyun if I ever get around to watching this.

  5. Alex

    I loved Lee So Yeon’s interpretation of Hang Hee Bin in Dong Yi.

    • 5.1 moosie

      THIS. 😀

    • 5.2 Nia

      ME TOO!!!
      she portrays the character very well that i hate her…the character i mean…but yes! Lee So Yeon nailed it 🙂

  6. Francesca

    “They could be platonic best friends! Who hang out together, talk literature, and maybe HUG a lot.”

    Omo! Can we get the bromance pweeaaase?

  7. jennie

    just really excited for Kim Tae Hee as lead♥
    i love that girl and I’d say she got some meat as a wicked woman too since she did so well in (Stairway to Heaven).
    anyways idk about Yoo Ah In and Jae Hee, but i am keeping things in positive light and wishing the best for this drama.
    wish time would come quicker since i really want to see this drama now!

    • 7.1 saranga

      i remember KTH in stairway to heaven too—she has the eyes for evil! haha which is ironic since she has such an angelic image. there’s a good chunk of me that is looking forward to her performance, based on stairway to heaven alone.

  8. Rashell

    And just like that another drama to watch. Yoo Ah In and Jae Hee? WOW! I don’t even care about the ladies or the story. I’m watching purely for the eye candy. Anything else is a bonus.

  9. Bear

    So this is where the “This-is-going-to-have-Bu Bu Jing Xin-feel” is coming from..

    So basically, Jae-hee is playing someone similiar to 8th prince, and I suppose Yoo Ah-in is going to be our 4th prince? Huh..

    • 9.1 addylovesbwood

      yup!! seems like it.

    • 9.2 HaibaraChristie

      Oooooohhhhh. Okay, but what about the 14th (or was it 13th?) Prince-esque character? And wasn’t Ruo Xi accepted by the queen?

      Maybe I’m drawing too many parallels…

  10. 10 Eulaliee

    I’m just excited for the two main male leads!! Not so much for Kim tae hee, sorry.

  11. 11 Kiara

    I’m rooting for the girls to do well because the story is more about them. I like both characters, total opposite of each other in every way.
    Although I’m not a fan of KTH I hope that she will own it.

  12. 12 mellisa

    i like kim tae hee! i know she’s not the best actress out there but i still find her very engaging, except in stairway to heaven where her eyes scared me off the drama… hahaha

    i am gonna check out this drama for her, and for hong soo hyun, if she joins.

  13. 13 malta

    Kim Tae Hee is 32?!


  14. 14 Katie

    Why is Jae Hee always second lead? Can’t he win the girl once? Color of Woman doesn’t count because that storyline was just crazy. GAH. But I’m excited regardless 😀

    • 14.1 kfangurl

      He was an adorable lead in Delightful Girl Choon Hyang! If you haven’t seen that, u should totally check it out! ^^

      • 14.1.1 Katie

        Haha I tried watching that but couldn’t get into the story although he was cute in it. I just am annoyed after May Queen and feel like a lot of my fav couples lately have been with the second lead male. Thanks though!

        • addylovesbwood

          I totally hated May Queen. I felt Jae Hee was the true lead man and deserved to end up with the girl he dated for 15yrs but no… Kim Jae Won stole the girl and the award for best actor…bleh

          I’m on board with this drama. Love Kim Tae Hee !! but I want to see Jae Hee as the main male lead…

    • 14.2 Super Cool

      Watch “Delightful Girl Chun-Hyun”(with Han Chae-Young, One of my favorite drama of all time,I highly recommend it!!) , Witch Yoo-hee(with Han Ga-In) & One Mon,Three Dads(with Eugene)!! Lovely Rom-coms won’t give you headache like “May Queen” does…..And Jae-Hee is gorgeous in all of the three!! 🙂

    • 14.3 Super Cool

      Watch “Delightful Girl Chun-Hyun”(with Han Chae-Young, One of my favorite dramas of all time,I highly recommend it!!) , Witch Yoo-hee(with Han Ga-In) & One Mon,Three Dads(with Eugene)!! Lovely Rom-coms won’t give you headache like “May Queen” does…..And Jae-Hee is gorgeous in all of the three!! 🙂

  15. 15 Melmax

    love the cast, yahoo…. looks like fun, I hope it’s not too much melodrama… thank you.. YAI, JH, KTH!!!!

  16. 16 canxi

    So, basically any viewer who tunes in to this drama may most likely see Kim Tae Hee get out-acted twice over by her love interests.

    I hope she’s working hard…

    • 16.1 kfangurl

      Yep. So far, she’s looking like the weakest link among the 4 leads. I would be nervous if I were her 😛

  17. 17 snow_white

    yay for JAE HEE 😀 😀

    • 17.1 snow_white

      now i’m definitely gonna watch this…

  18. 18 Christy

    Jae Hee? Okay, I’m in 🙂

    • 18.1 Christy

      But story wise, I’m really hoping this isn’t another reverse-Cinderella story, but a nitty-gritty femme fatale one like Miss Ripley, but with way more bite. One can dream, right?

  19. 19 Makoto

    Jae Hee is pretty handsome in hanbok. It’s the first time I see him in that clothes.
    What happens in dramaland anyway? I think it’s full of ambitious woman and daddy long leg alike guy who’s able to sacrifice anything recently. I miss those light hearted drama like Full House or Oh My Lady. 😀

  20. 20 Makoto

    Btw I like Ji Hyun Woo on the header of this blog. Thank you dramabeans for the eyecandy. 🙂

    • 20.1 Rovi

      Reference to QIM, anyone??? XD

  21. 21 fishy2love

    Wow, what a promising cast, I just hope that the writing will be good too! Looking forward to the drama!

  22. 22 exquisitemelody

    ooohhhh I’m excited for this. I’ll watch for Jae Hee 😀 😀

  23. 23 janine


  24. 24 magnus

    I’m watching this solely because Yoo Ah-in is in it. Love him in saeguk’s, what can I say? but if it starts tanking I’m abandoning ship. Don’t want another Fashion King happening.

    Also I’m cool with minimal clothes.On the guys. Specifically Ah-in. Y’know for fashion reasons…don’t look at me that way.

  25. 25 jandoe

    On one hand I am SUPER EXCITED at the casting (KTH excluded, because HSH will just blaze her way through as she did in TPM where she was ON FIRE) but on the other… fashion + Yoo Ah In = HOMG NO. Just… no. *shudders*

    I hope this will be way, way better in execution.

  26. 26 addylovesbwood


  27. 27 din

    Gah! What to do! I was obsessed with Jae Hee since My Delightful Girl, then with Yoo Ah In since SKKS! O_O

  28. 28 cvang010

    Yoo Ah In! JaeHee! can’t wait for it!

  29. 29 Onees

    Please Jae Hee just get a role for the lead!

  30. 30 Viki

    Interesting, interesting. Hold on, so Yoo Ah In is the main male lead? REALLY???!!! But Jae Hee’s got such a bigger resume!

    and hold on again, Jang concubine? Isn’t she evil? OMG! Evil queen as the main lead, this is a different take! This is totally like the drama in Queen In Hyun’s Man! lol

  31. 31 Jenny

    Oh the cast is so going to overshadow KTH, acting wise.
    And HSH, KTH is over her head this time.
    I wonder are they going to make Lady Jang just a innocent naive girl who just happens to earn the wrath of the Queen. (reverse the story)

  32. 32 bluemoon

    So excited for the two male leads. Can’t wait to watch. Love Jae Hee and Yoo Ah In.

  33. 33 Rovi

    Actually, IDGAF on who’s the leading man, but props up for snagging Jae Hee, whom I’ve missed a ton since DGCH. He’s my first-ever actor bias

    If Jae Hee is Ok-jeong’s first love, it would’ve been nicer if he was a yangban plus a Prince. XD legitimate or illegitemate it may be… Princely line on his bloodline. XD now that’s more like it.
    Though how can one be a Daddy Long Legs figure if she’s the King’s woman first and foremost? Agree, “…either really ballsy, have a death wish, or incredibly stupid”

    My Geol-oh feels~~~! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH~!!! If Queen Inhyeon is Hong Soo-hyun, HURRRAH~!!! Maybe we’d get to see a feisty and bitchy(?) Queen, judging from her previous roles in TPM & LTM. And the fact that she basically was all bitchy with Moon Chae-won’s Yi Se-ryeong but loosened up around Jeong Jong (Lee Min-woo). XD

    “Historically, Ok-jeong had such influence over the king that she was able to get him to cast aside his wife and make her his queen”
    Might I add, this was because Ok-jeong (and her people the Southern Faction, of which FYI in SKKScandal Kim Yoon-hee/shik’s family were part of it) wanted her son (and Sukjong’s firtborn-son) to be the Crown Prince since it was public the Queen had no sons; which led to the Gapsul Hwanguk of which the Western Faction suffered mostly, along with Song Shi-yeol and the Queen’s Yeoheung Min clan, reinterpreted SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MANY TIMES it’s already a given that drama-land has a fetish for Jang Hee-bin. The most recent was in QI’sM.

    “…though karma came around and bit her in the ass with another reversal later down the line.”
    Rumor was Ok-jeong hired a shaman and voodoo doll’d her with arrows, therefore Inhyeon’s mysterious death (tho I dunno where the poison part comes in).

    Ok-jeong was older than Sukjong? Damn…XP

    Joseon-era fashion-designing and cosmetic-producing. Leave that to Gu Yong-ha. XD I’d imagine Kim Tae-hee might watch the disaster that was FK, and maybe Cinderella Man. Maybe she’d be selling knockoffs. XD Or maybe they’d do something like in “Faith”, where Eun-hee made soap. XD

    For more info on who played Jang Hee-bin in the past, here’s a good start: http://blutom.tistory.com/16 and Jang Hee-bin‘s Korean wiki article
    1) Kim Ji-mi – “Jang Hee-bin” (film, 1961)
    2) Nam Jeong-im – “Temptress Jang Hee-bin” (Im Kwon-taek film, 1968)
    3) Yoon Yeo-jeong – MBC Weekly/Daily? Drama “Jang Hee-bin” (1971)
    4) Lee Mi-sook – MBC Drama “Lives of Women” ep.1 “Jang Hee-bin” (1982)
    5) Jeon In-hwa – MBC Epic “The 500 Years of the Joseon Dynasty” ep.8 “Queen Inhyeon” (1987-1988)
    6) Jeong Seon-gyeong – SBS Daeha Sageuk “Jang Hee-bin” (1995)
    7) Kim Hye-soo – KBS Special Production “Jang Hee-bin” (2002-2003) -> my most favorite. Hope KBS World would replay this one instead of Kim Tak-gu. Grrr~!
    8) Lee Jae-eun – KBS HDTV 문학관 “서러워라 잊혀진다는 것은” (2005)
    9) Lee So-yeon – MBC’s 49th anniversary Special Production “Dong-yi” (2010)
    10) Choi Woo-ri & (not too technically) Park Yeong-ri – TVN Drama “Queen Inhyeon’s Man” (2012)

    That makes Kim Tae-hee the 11th (12th if you’re too nitpicky and include the actress in QI’sM) actress. She is beautiful, but maybe it’s her killer glare in STH.

    BTW, since this is Jang Hee-bin we’re talking about, shouldn’t we also be worrying about who’s gonna be:
    -Queen Myeongseong (Sukjong’s mom)
    -Queen Jangryeol (Sukjong’s grandma, and Ok-jeong’s employer)
    -Prince Dongpyeong (Sukjong’s cuz and the reason why Ok-jeong entered the palace)
    -Ok-Jeong’s feeble, mentally incapacitated, and sterile son Yi GakGyeongjong (FYI Gwak Jeong-wook played Gyeongjong in 2003)
    -Choi sook-bin, and her son Yeongjo???

  34. 34 mona

    i dont understand why people dont like KTH. she is one of the famous korean acrtress. and seriously who can always stay pretty like her. she had very long resume.

    in the opposite, yoo ah in is a new comer. and i fed up to see his face, especially after watching him in fashion king.

    and too bad, jae hee is again become the second lead. donno what happen to the cast

    • 34.1 Kiara

      Famous for her beauty not her acting. Unfortunately this is not a beauty contest.
      Yoo Ah In is not a new comer, he’s been around doing movies and dramas for 10yrs now.
      Jae Hee is better off playing the fictional first love of Queen Jang. King Sukjong is pretty boring imo even when played by a great actor like Jin Hee-ji.

      • 34.1.1 Kiara

        err Ji Jin Hee.

    • 34.2 Francesca

      YAI has been in showbiz since he was 16 years old. He just mostly prefers indie projects/non mainstreams. And his movies are way better than his dramas.

  35. 35 Mystisith

    Let’s be realistic: Jae Hee wanted to keep his marriage secret cause he knew he would lose opportunities for male lead parts once the fact would be established. I think it’s pretty silly myself: Credibility as an actor doesn’t depend on your marital status (except if your wife is a jealous insecure woman cough*JDG*cough). I certainly won’t stop fantasizing upon an attractive man cause he is married. Netizens… Whatever.

  36. 36 kopytko

    How cruel is that?! To show me Jae Hee first, tell me that he’s going to star in a drama and add the BUT. Namely it’s going to be a sageuk (not for me, sadly), with KTH as the main actress (not my cup of tea either) and let her play a fashion designer (I guess I am developing an allergy to designers).
    Jae Hee is one of my favourites (3 Iron, need I say more?) and I can endure a lot to see him (like 1 Mom 3 Dads) but THAT is simply too much. *goes away to cry and curse*

  37. 37 Miranti

    Right, when will they begin shooting? And will HSH play the role of Queen Inhyeon for real? I’m dying to see the costumes anyway, since the plot and cast seems to be very convincing for a sageuk costumes spree<3 with the YAI factor, I'm not really pinned for KTH in this drama, she's pretty fabulous but I've been always on Queen Inhyeon's side all this time… 😐

  38. 38 Suzan

    I feel as though she will go bad, but the king will save her this time and not sentence her to her death. I hope they make her into the good character that stays with the King.

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