Drama Casting & News
Lee Dong-wook up for fugitive-thriller sageuk drama
by | February 18, 2013 | 60 Comments

We’ve had vague, noncommittal rumblings of these casting possibilities, but now the production of sageuk drama Mandate of Heaven is swinging into action with a bevy of official press releases. None of these castings is finalized, but we do have confirmation that Lee Dong-wook (Scent of a Woman), Song Ji-hyo (Crime Squad), and Yoon Jin-yi (A Gentleman’s Dignity) are strong contenders for the roles. (KBS is currently awaiting their replies.)

It’s a historical series infused with a thriller vibe; the show’s being dubbed a “Joseon-era Taken” and “Joseon Ajusshi.” Set during the reign of King Injong, who only ruled for a short period due to illness, our hero (Lee Dong-wook’s potential character) is a royal physician desperate to cure his ailing daughter. He becomes a fugitive when he gets entangled in an assassination plot to poison the king, and fights to save both his daughter’s life and his own.

Song Ji-hyo’s character is the royal nurse who falls in love with our hero. I really wish they’d give more info on her since she’s an actress capable of being dynamic and interesting; let’s hope she gets some meaty character details to work with. Yoon Jin-yi, a fresh face who earned some name recognition playing Meahri in A Gentleman’s Dignity, will play the daughter of a bandit who ends up on the run with the hero. This oughtta be a nice change of pace for her, taking her from Meahri’s privileged whiny princess to simple-minded village tomboy. Thank goodness.

The drama will be rife with court intrigue and political machinations, which makes this tonally a curious departure for our production team. Writer Choi Min-ki and PD Lee Jin-seo have worked together a couple times, but their credits point to much lighter, brighter projects. They both worked on the comedic Birth of the Rich, while the PD also has the workplace rom-com Baby-Faced Beauty on his resumΓ©. He does also have a Joseon-era sageuk to his name… but it’s the wacky and often-unintentionally hilarious Strongest Chil-woo, which I’m not sure is the most ringing endorsement.

Mandate of Heaven is a KBS Wednesday-Thursday offering set for 24 episodes and will air after IRIS 2. That puts its premiere in April, and filming begins in March. With the script reading slated for later this week, I expect these castings to finalize very soon (despite the wave of “They’re still considering! No confirmations yet!” statements that were issued at the last minute).

Via Mk.co.kr, TV Report


60 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. joey

    im all up for this couple seeing as i just watched them in running man together literally an hour before seeing rhis article. they both seem like really down to earth people who’ll have great chemistry together. just hope our monday bf doesnt get jealous!! and p.s. i dont know if its just me but lee dong wook always looked part western to me so i cant even imagine him in sageuk gear… especially the mane of glory!

    • 1.1 pepperandice

      i know right! the episode totally changed my impression of him, never understood why people thought he was swoonworthy, dramas kinda meh, dont think hes particularly funny on strong heart. but hes so easygoing and cute on the macau episode that i would love love love to see him and mong ji in a show together

    • 1.2 Jade

      Haha same here. Ah I wonder what he will be like in sageuk. Hmm I’ve just seen the latest RM episode too!! I can’t wait to see them in a drama πŸ˜€

      Feels like ages since I saw scent of a woman and my girl!! I miss Dong Wook.

      Not too excited about Ji Hyo though. I like her on RM and all, but not too sure about her acting. Didn’t like the jackal movie.

      Anyway drama, please don’t let me down!!

      • 1.2.1 Carmensitta

        Agree with the impression on Lee Donk Wook, but you have to go and watch Frozen Flower and other movies of our Song Ji Hyo though, she no Mong over there, girl can act and kick ass!

        • Jade

          Watched frozen flower too. She was ok, but the king’s acting in that was more memorable than hers. She hardly had any lines.

          Maybe bad choice of projects?

    • 1.3 damianna

      he once said in strong heart that maybe in sageuk he could only play a dutch missionary or something along that line. he really doesn’t look like a typical korean. pan-asian-ish? but all the best for both of them. i am reeeaaaally liking this. so very much

  2. apple

    Oh oh oh, Lee Dong wook and Song Ji hyo in a Drama together?!!! Please Drama-God make this true!!!

    They clicked it off in the recent RM episode.

    Call me in. I would watch just for the both of them even though I am no sageuk fan.

  3. Maricel

    What a huge head o.O … {the third pic is kind of weird)

    I like Lee Dong Wook, i’m fed up with royal phisician though…

    • 3.1 Dominique

      Exactly my thought when I first saw it. Her publicist would allow a picture like this to get out? Someone is napping on the job.

      I, too, wonder how Lee Dong Wook will look in period costume. I’ve given as a gift traditional Korean garbs, incuding head gears, to my Caucasian friends. In general, hanbok works great on Caucasian girls and boys. But I’ve found that some Caucasian boys look really amazing in hanbok. The head pieces bring out their 3D-profile and flatters their deepset eyes.

      So I am optimistic that Lee Dong Wook in period costume might similarly look wondrous though different from other Korean male actors.

      The two actresses mentioned, on the other hand … Yawn.

      • 3.1.1 AnotherFan

        Okay, just curious – what do you guys see as a problem in that third picture? As far as I see it, it’s just a nice little picture of a smiling Yoon Jin-yi…

        • Annie

          She kind of looks like a bobble head – compare the breadth of her shoulders with how big her skull looks. Just a bad angle I guess.

          • AnotherFan

            Ah thanks. Think I see it too now…

  4. fw

    wonder if this will affect ji hyo’s appearance in running man

  5. Annie

    Unless her character is too ridiculous, I suspect I’ll end up shipping Lee Dong Wook’s character with Yoon Jin Yi’s instead. The character description sounds kind of fun.

    I’m a little disappointed that Song Ji Hyo will be the main lead – she’s awesome, funny, etc. but has never moved me as an actress.

    • 5.1 danteee

      Same here, she just doesn’t do it for me. I’ve watched a lot of drama/films with her in it and she never really stood out among the other cast members… I’m not sure why…

  6. Lilian

    Sounds like a fresh pairing! Hope it gets the confirmation soon!

    Honestly, for Joong Ki, leaving RM was probably a good choice as it allowed him to expand his acting portfolio . Somehow Kwang Soo’s persona is so strong in RM as a comedian, that I cannot imagine him in a serious role. Maybe someday he will have a breakthrough! =)

  7. Katie

    YAYYY! I’m so excited! I love both of the actors individually so I can’t wait to see them together.

  8. M

    Another medical sageuk? oh it seems this genre being quite popular in Korea nowadays ;D

  9. jandoe

    My favorite man is back on my screen again YAY!

  10. 10 jandoe

    My favorite man is back on my screen again YAY! Can’t wait πŸ˜€

  11. 11 thil28

    IKR???!! was just wondering what happened to dear wookie, thought he wanted to get back into acting again..and then this news appears! YAY!! btw, if he does really do this, i guess he got his wish to act in a sageuk which came up in some interview i saw/read somewhere.

  12. 12 JC

    I haven’t seen Lee Dong Wook in a while, and I’m in the middle of watching him and Song Jihyo together in Running Man.
    I totally ship them as leads. <3

  13. 13 pogo

    I can get behind this pairing, I like both actors and they could be great to watch together.

  14. 14 Bu Young

    Miss Mong!!!!
    I’ll check it out for her and Lee Dong Wook is HAWT.
    And their in running man together this week…is this a sign?

  15. 15 canxi

    Aww Lee Dong Wook’s wish of starring in a Saeguk might actually come true! I remember him talking about such roles on his episode of Healing Camp and how people told him he’d only get foreigner roles if he were to be in one because he doesn’t look too Korean, lol.

    And I really like Song Ji Hyo, too. The only down side is that I have not met a saeguk that has got me into it yet, so I wonder if I’ll be able to get into this even if I give it a try.

  16. 16 MariD

    ‘Mmmmmmm… Add a couple of shower scenes with him and I’m in… Yes.. That’s my shallow comment of the day…

    • 16.1 AnotherFan

      Oh me too – I am all ready for a couple (or MORE) of shower scenes starring LDW! πŸ˜‰

    • 16.2 roji

      thats exactly what ive been thinking too…really miss those shower scenes from SOW >=<
      but ill watch it even if theres none of them, ill be satisfied by just looking at his beautiful face <3
      ….just hoping that they dont change the cast at the last minute :/

  17. 17 AnotherFan

    Oh, Lee Dong Wook!!! It’s about time that he shows up on my screen in a drama now. Really really missed him. Such a gorgeous man with very very adequate acting skills.

    And the premise of the drama sounds pretty interesting, with a “modern” touch albeit the Saeguk genre. I hope the industry could finally prove themselves capable of producing good “Saeguks with a twist” – it is about time after the various trials and failures of the time-travel/fusion/fantasy Saeguks in 2012…

  18. 18 Whatup

    Omg!!! I loved meahri in AGD!! I was really hoping she would be lucky and get a Leading role but this is just fine!!! Lee Dong Wook is amazing too!!! This news just made my day!!!!

    • 18.1 emma


  19. 19 aznative

    Interesting. I saw that Lee Dong-wook will be appearing on this week’s Running Man.

  20. 20 Syaza

    Lee Dong Wook & Mongji in a sageuk?!? Be still my heart! Just saw them in the latest of Running Man and can totally see this pairing work!!!

  21. 21 anvesha

    I’m not sure about Ji Hyo. I like her in RM but the only drama with her I’ve seen was Goong where she was so annoying…

    I loved Me Ah Ri in AGD! I’m glad to see her back.

    And Dong Wook!!! I’m not sure about saeguk but I’ll love to see him onscreen.

    • 21.1 Aqidah

      She was supposed to be annoying in Goong.. LOL πŸ˜€

  22. 22 anna

    Ah, strangely enough I like Ji-hyo a lot on Running Man. She’s the true JJANG on that show imo. She bungee jumped without any hesitation. Hero!

    • 22.1 anna

      I submitted without adding the BUT, I never liked any of the movie/drama that she’s in. I can’t say I don’t like her as an actress, just not the projects she started in. This drama sounds really interesting, but her character doesn’t sound like much other than the pretty female lead who stands behind her man. I hope there’s more to her character, like she doubles as a spy or something πŸ˜€

  23. 23 Cheli

    I hope this doesn’t affect her filming for RM too much…

  24. 24 Abbie

    I love Lee Dong-wook, so I hope he is confirmed. Song Ji-hyo I’m not familiar with. But, Yoon Jin-yi I liked in A Gentleman’s Dignity, despite the character she played, who I liked at first but got tired of later on because she had no growth. But I’ll probably follow this drama for Lee Dong-wook.

  25. 25 Viki

    Well, I love them all! and I have been waiting for Mehari’s acting hehe. she was so awesome in Gentleman’s Dignity

  26. 26 Sajen

    I’m all for young actresses trying different roles to see what they can and can’t do but I wish Yoon Jin-yi and Song Ji Hyo’s roles were reversed cause I know Song Ji Hyo can do the bandit’s daughter role, not so sure about Yoon Jin-yi’s ability to do so.

    • 26.1 Techr

      i agree 100 percent. Song Ji Hyo really needs a better role than a royal nurse\ shes so badass in RM i just dont understand why they always give her such bland roles in dramas and films (apart from Frozen Flower). im hoping her royal nurse is given a good story because as much as i like Yoon Jin-Yi’s Meahri i think its strange she\d get a more kickass role over Song Ji Hyo

  27. 27 zsa

    Wookie in sageuk…looks like his dream came true…I wonder if he’s gonna look as hot as Jo In Sung in period costume since both have rather western resemblance…hehe

  28. 28 Yin

    I am such a fan of Song Ji Hyo, though much of my admiration is from her time with Running Man. I have seen her in Frozen Flower and I thought she did a phenomenal job. Her pain was almost palpable in that movie.

    I also like LDW and I would love to see this pair together for a movie. Okay, really, I just want to see SJH in a new drama.

  29. 29 Lemon

    Wow I’m really excited for this! I hope the actors confirm soon, as I like all 3 of them (even Yoon Jin Yi). πŸ™‚

  30. 30 YY

    I can’t imagine LDW in sageuk….can’t help wishing this were Im Ju Hwan’s role….

    • 30.1 Mystisith

      I guess we have to wait for IJH to grow his hair but I’m with you on this: Better actor and a most suitable look.

  31. 31 Jen

    Lee Dong-wook is so cute. Can’t wait to see him in a sageuk, especially with Mongji.

    Loving them on RM, so I hope this really happens.

  32. 32 neener

    I just hope Mong Ji won’t quit Running Man. T_T I’m just worried but REALLY excited with this pairing!

  33. 33 Tarrasji

    Jihyo, I’ll watch it for her β™₯

  34. 34 Bravehart

    I dont like the plot medical saguek always gets a bad rating maybe Lee Dongwook would pass as a hidden crown prince who doesnt know his a prince and be hidden like in THe Legend and Song Jihyo needs to make her character easy going not like in her pasts saguek shes always serious and being married in saguek dramaland is no good viewer want some Romeo Juliet tag of war love hate love Love Hate chasing and undying cant live without going crazy love of the lead actor to the girl thatssss whattt viewers DIG

  35. 35 Bravehart

    In Frozen Flower shes the second lead the king and Jisung is the main lead.

  36. 36 Joei

    hmm I’m surprised at the comments abt song ji hyo’s acting… first saw her in Jumong and though when she first appeared in the show, I tot she was a little stony but as the show went on, her character really touched me so much so that I sobbed like mad towards the end.. Definitely looking forward to this!

  37. 37 mimi

    SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOo Excited, SJH I love you !

  38. 38 Asabiyet

    The lady in the second picture looks a lot like Jang Geun Suk, for a moment I thought his face is pasted on a female body o_O

  39. 39 Bravehart

    My bad In Sung

  40. 40 Lively

    I love to see them together but As the others said I don’t like medical drama really its sooo serious and boring. Saguek I like it but too much political conspiracy whatever drives me away from them I thought The Great Seer is a great saguek fantasy drama/action but it is for me a total disaster Gosh the drama is sooo long and

  41. 41 kennagee

    Song Ji hyo and Wookie in one drama? Thank you, drama gods!!

    I think the problem with SJH is that she wasn’t able to find good projects, she has the potential to be a great actress but she just needs one good show to prove it.

    Though i’m not really having any high hopes for this drama, but the fact that SJH and LDW has a new drama (may it be a flop or not) makes me still happy.

  42. 42 addylovesbwood

    I will only watch for Yoon Ji Yi. She’s the only actress I’ve fallen in love with ever since i started watching Kdramas. I know she’s brand new but I know she’s lead material. She was amazing in AGD and won me over there…yes she was bit whiny…but i probably wouldn’t hv finished that show if not for her. I’m a little disappointed shes not lead but I know she has to work her way up the ladder. I’ll be cheering her on along the way!!!


    cannot wait!!!!!!

  43. 43 h

    lee dong wook in a saeguk, first time ever.

    how to work in a topless scene> bathing in a pond in a forest, while whipping his long saeguk hair back n forth

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