Drama Casting & News
First look at KBS’s Mandate of Heaven
by | March 4, 2013 | 47 Comments

The first stills are out for sageuk thriller drama Mandate of Heaven, which began shooting this past week in Suwon, Kyunggi-do. Although we’re only given the briefest of looks at the show, I do think Lee Dong-wook and Song Ji-hyo are looking good. He plays Choi Won, the royal physician and doting father turned fugitive (thanks, conspiracy plot) who’s out to clear his name and save his daughter. Song plays his assistant Hong Da-in, whose description merely describes her as having a proud personality. I can totally see that.

Song Ji-hyo looks so at home in sageuk โ€” and she’s got a lot of experience on that front, with projects like Jumong, Frozen Flower, and Gye Baek โ€” and I have faith she’ll pull out strong performances here. Lee Dong-wook strikes me as having a vaguely modern look, but then I wonder if that’s because it looks like he’s just wearing his normal facial hair, having changed nothing to go sageuk. If ever a star wanted to use a drama as an excuse to grow out his ‘stache, somehow I feel like Lee Dong-wook would dig it.

I’m not sure how much of the show will fixate on the medical aspect, given that our main characters are physicians at court and the king becomes the target for poisoning. On the other hand, I haven’t heard this being described as a medical sageuk (not like, say, Dr. Jin was) so I hope it’ll be more of a mystery-conspiracy-thriller than anything. And I wouldn’t say no to a little romance either. Ahem.

Other cast members include Yoon Jin-yi (A Gentleman’s Dignity) playing the bright-natured adn tomboyish daughter of a bandit, Im Seul-ong (Personal Taste) as the young crown prince “who lives day by day amid an uneasy life,” Philip Choi (Empress) as our hero’s childhood friend and another physician, and Song Jong-ho (Answer Me, 1997) as the detective who’s out to chase down our hero.

Mandate of Heaven airs after IRIS 2, and premieres in April.

Via TV Report


47 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. branwen

    So this is what Lee Dong Wook looks like in a sageuk drama. I always wonder how someone with that kind of boyish looks can pull off such a role. But then Lee Jun Ki totally pulled off his role as the Magistrate. I guess I just need to see this to believe it.

    And Song Ji Hyo, how I miss seeing her in a drama. I’m totally watching this one just for her.

    • 1.1 pogo

      well, boyish looks didn’t hurt Song Joong-ki and Yoo Ah-in in the sageuk department either, though to be fair to them, they were playing boys.

      • 1.1.1 AnotherFan

        Hmmm, but I don’t see LDW’s look at “boyish”…

    • 1.2 Dominique

      From the photo above, which may or may not be enough to render our final verdict on this issue, I suspect that the key ingredient in Lee Dong Wook’s beautiful face is his hair and that the head piece of his period costume, which all but obliterates his hair from his face, renders his face rather ordinary and plain. He does not look bad. It is just that all the glamour seems to have been taken away from his face.

      Stay tuned.

    • 1.3 branwen

      How to explain this… I guess he has boyish charms, that’s why they need him to grow a mustache/goatee so he can look much older than his actual age. He strikes me as someone who has an unadulterated sex appeal rather than a guy who oozes with a masculine sexual presence. Well, that’s just me.

  2. houstontwin

    Photos never do Lee Dong Wook credit. He is much more attractive when he is acting and reacting.

    • 2.1 pogo

      yes, 100 times more beautiful in motion.

      I’m not the most discerning of sageuk viewers, but as along as the actor doesn’t have a historical anomalous REALLY OBVIOUS plastic surgery face, I’m good with the look.

      (oh, and body language. That matters too)

    • 2.2 AnotherFan

      Agreeeee!! I forget where I read this but I remembered and also really like this quote about LDW: he has an easy charm and quite charisma about him. And I think that really comes through when he’s “in motion”

    • 2.3 kit

      ugh yes a+

      you know he’s an actor because he looks much more beautiful in motion. he has the most expressive eyes ;;;;;

      • 2.3.1 Lilian

        wow! You just reminded me of his electrifying eyes. Loved his gaze in Scent of a Woman!

  3. snow_white

    Well, I think I’m excited for this one: mystery-conspiracy-thriller and Lee Dong Wook ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have seen Song Ji Hyo in only Goong, which was a pretty modern role so can’t imagine her in a sageuk….and I just laughed at my ignorance when I read “Song Ji-hyo looks so at home in sageuk” ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. LangitBiru

    I so can’t see this. Song Ji Hyo-saguek-FrozenFlower. kkk. still fresh in my mind.

    Seulong tweet on Saturday. Poor boy:
    ” Yesterday I went for my first riding practise to ride on a horse in the drama. Today morning, i had experienced a great amount of muscle pain all over my body ;; I canโ€™t get a grip of myself when I was lying down on the bed for an hour. Itโ€™s really a tiring sport ใ… ”

    • 4.1 TS

      Yes, it is. I go every Sunday and it hurts for at least 2 days after.

  5. merry

    Shades of Les Miserables? Relentless pursuit by a detective on the hero? Are they breaking out into a song?

    • 5.1 Lynnnnn

      HAHAHA. 24601? Plus both Lee Dong Wook and Jean Valjean have daughters. Ooooohh~ Lol.

      And is LDW’s ‘stache real? Including the goatee?

  6. YBisTOP

    Whoo hoo! I will watch this drama for sure!! I’m so excited!

  7. Rach^^

    I read Lee Dong Wook’s character name too fast and read it as Choi Yoon. :X

    Never liked Song Ji Hyo and I don’t know why.

    • 7.1 Annie

      Lots of people have good will towards her purely because of Running Man but her acting really is average at best (she’s called the Queen of Sageuk because most of her drama roles were in sageuks, not necessarily because she’s remarkable in them). My thought is that the character is not going to be important other than as a love interest – so the onus is going to be on Lee Dong Wook to make or break this show. We’ll have to see I guess.

      • 7.1.1 tiff2911

        Agree. I’m addicted to running man so i really love ji hyo, but acting wise only saw her in princess hours-not the best acting there. Same deal with lee dong wook- love him more in variety than as an actor…hoping this drama would prove me wrong. Fighting!!

        • Rach^^

          I watched about a dozen episodes of Running Man and I just can’t get into it. I also do not like her in there so…

    • 7.2 Gala

      Well you know, different people with different tastes.

  8. junibacken

    I can’t wait to watch this drama already. I hope it’s great ^^

  9. jessy

    i love both song jihyo and lee dong wook..fighting..cant wait for this drama..

  10. 10 Jushi

    It’s the posture that’s not so sageuk-y about LDW.

    • 10.1 idlehouse

      you are so right, I kept on looking at him thinking “something is not right”

      • 10.1.1 Mystisith

        I just keep thinking he is too tall with caucasian features…

  11. 11 jeans

    i don’t i ill ever see ji hyo in any of her character cuz i will always see her as AC JI HYO..

  12. 12 TS

    Ace Ji Hyo! Love her!

  13. 13 blokkoms

    It’s been a while since I liked Lee Dong-wook in something, here’s hoping this drama will do it for me. But I’ll probably have a bad case of second lead syndrome – I just love Song Jong-ho too damn much, haha.

    • 13.1 tiff2911

      Hahaha i love song jong ho too. Has he ever played the lead? I liked him since surgeon bong dal hee which was like years ago. His characters always had a kind of quiet intensity…hot!

  14. 14 Fun-Lugha

    Aaah…no wonder she was so friendly with LDW on RM, I remember her hitting him and Gary telling them to stop being sissies already! Considering she’s always practically tongue tied whenever most male stars guest, they must really be comfortable with each other! Looking forward to some sizzling chemistry…well as much as sageuk can give us anyways!

    • 14.1 damianna

      as for me, i read the news of them acting together before i watched that ep of RM, so i was kinda expecting to see their rapport. its nice to see ji hyo treating a guest casually. i remember her warming up to joo sang wook after a while in one of RM ep too. ji hyo jjang!

  15. 15 Quiet Thought

    Always good to see a new era of costuming. Song Ji Hyo gets something that suits her forehead.

  16. 16 Gala

    I liked her as Yesoya and do think she suits sageuk well. I do want to see her in a more comedic role, but not as annoying as her character from Crime Squad. She was actually good, imo, in Some. I do think being a popular member of RM -with an established character- is hurting her a bit as an actress. Many viewers just see her as ace ji hyo. She also tends to choose safe-ish drama roles instead of compelling characters. But we’ll see. Maybe this time it’s different and that there’s more to her character.

  17. 17 AnotherFan

    For me, LDW and ‘stache just don’t seem to go together (well). But I love him regardless..

  18. 18 Jae Shin

    It’s so weird to see Mong Ji-hyo in action!!! ^_^

  19. 19 Bu Young

    I’m so gonna check this out for Miss Mong ๐Ÿ™‚
    Running Man helped her promote her drama in the last episode. I didn’t know she accepted it. It’s also cool that she’s with Lee Dong Wook. I think it’s ironic that they’re going to showing the next episode of running man where he starred ๐Ÿ™‚ I like their chemistry there ๐Ÿ™‚
    Fighting guise!

  20. 20 asdjfkl

    Mong and Dong Fighting!!

  21. 21 Meiyih

    i like Song Jihyo, LDW and Song Jong Ho so I’m gonna check this out … also like the usual familiar great supporting actors/actress dats gonna appear in tis show, i hope it’s gonna be a thrillin story

  22. 22 eny

    must watch drama the story and the actor seem interesting

  23. 23 damianna

    two of my fave actors…will definitely watch this just for these two. sageuk every once in a while is good. please be as good as arang.

  24. 24 JO

    Why is Phillip Lee always the physician on the side. lol
    Anyway, I love Song Ji Hyo and it tickles me thinking about how they filmed Running Man together. I hope this sageuk is good (i.e. on the levels of Princess’s Man or something!!!)

  25. 25 Tenshii

    yay bungee couple hahahaha

  26. 26 cinthy

    where does ji hyo find the time to do all of this?? she is awesome

  27. 27 jenna

    I’m IN !! Love Song Ji Hyo..

  28. 28 Oohlala

    I’ll watch it only because I love LDW and SJH soooo much lol
    The last period drama I watched was Deep-rooted Tree so I hope this drama will be as good as that

  29. 29 Beth

    Kinda surprised at the comments about Song Jihyo’s mediocre acting. I watched her in Frozen Flower and Jackal is Coming, and I thought she was great in both.

    Still, will watch in hope that this drama is a good one and that her character will turn out to be complex and intriguing.

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