Drama Casting & News
Thriller sageuk Mandate of Heaven adds to its cast
by | March 1, 2013 | 31 Comments

More cast additions have been named for Lee Dong-wook’s sageuk thriller Mandate of Heaven, co-starring Song Ji-hyo. It’s a drama that sounds promising based on its premise, which takes a royal physician and puts him on the run when he’s caught up in an assassination plot to kill the king. He’s also desperately seeking a cure to save his daughter from illness, invoking comparisons to Won Bin’s hard-edged thriller film Ajusshi.

Song Jong-ho last played sweet, good-natured Big Bro Tae-woong in Answer Me, 1997, but his role here sounds a lot more intense: He joins the cast as part of the euigeumbu, the Joseon-era government bureau that investigated serious crimes. His character is the best detective around (natch) and skilled with the sword, which ought to be familiar territory since Song played a police officer in another Joseon-era sageuk, The Princess’s Man. Let’s just hope he doesn’t go crazy with jealous infatuation this time around.

As the guy pursuing our fugitive hero, Song Jong-ho takes on an adversarial role, but something tells me he won’t be playing a simple villain since he’s acting as an agent of the law. Aw, I love these relationships where both chaser and chased are good guys, although they believe they’re on opposite sides. (Some of my favorite examples: Rain and Lee Jung-jin in Runaway Plan B (so hot, that duo) and more recently, Cha Tae-hyun and Hong Jong-hyun in Jeon Woo-chi.) Plus, Song Jong-ho does blazing intensity so well.

Another addition is Philip Choi, who was in cable drama Empress and thriller movie Blind but to me will forever be the well-meaning but spineless Philip from Soulmate. He plays a childhood friend of Lee Dong-wook and also a colleague. He’s a promising physician whose career is on the rise, though a forbidden love tangles up the works…

Idol-turned-actor Im Seul-ong (of 2AM, 26 Years, and Personal Taste) takes on a prince character, the son of King Jungjong. Not much is given about his role in the story and he’s definitely one of the least experienced actors in the cast, but since the plot to poison the king is a central driving force I expect him to play a somewhat important supporting role.

One thing that does give me pause is that the writer-PD duo previously worked together on Birth of the Rich, which was a contemporary comedy. I’m not going to write them off merely because the genre is so different, but it does make me wonder what to expect. Still, I think the story sounds strong and there’s the potential for a gripping story. We hope.

Mandate of Heaven follows IRIS 2 as a Wednesday-Thursday drama, and premieres in April.

Via Joy News, Newsen

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31 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. PollyRose

    I’m not usually a sageuk watcher, typically my exceptions are the fusion or fantasy kind like Arang and the Magistrate (love!), but I really like Song Ji Hyo, so I think I might check this out.

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  2. aly

    Not sure if this show is my thing but I liked him in answer me 1997 so much that I’m just happy that he’s getting another chance to shine.

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  3. Abbie

    I’d watch this for Lee Dong-wook and Song Ji-hyo. I actually find Lee Dong-wook’s character’s storyline far more interesting than any of the others so far.

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    • 3.1 AnotherFan

      I second that. I am not a big sageuk person either but the story and the premise does seem to be gripping and intriguing enough. I’d turn away if it’s another time traveling doctor…

      Or I probably wouldn’t if Lee Dong Wook’s in it :-) I didn’t like My Girl or him in it but I became a huge fan after his Scent of a Woman and La Dolce Vita. A very very solid actor with lots of nuances and a gorgeous face, and post military body of course ;-)

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      • 3.1.1 Lilian

        I didn’t think much of My Girl too but I loved him in Scent of a Woman. That drama made me cry buckets and the ending was so beautiful.

        I am hoping this drama will be light-hearted? if that is possible =)

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  4. browncoat_78

    For some reason this just sounds really good to me. And although Lee Dong Wook hasn’t done sageuk before, there is something about him that tells me he will pull it off with aplomb (but alas, sageuk means no broody shower scenes, waaaaaaah :( ).

    I too love the relationship when the chaser and the chasee are both good guys, A LOT! (Other notable ones include Return of Iljimae and City Hunter.)

    I’d say that these kind of shorter fusion sageuks are probably my favorite genre of Kdrama (like the Iljimaes, Tree with Deep Roots, Painter of the Wind, Warrior Baek Dong Soo, Arang & the Magistrate, etc…). I love sageuk but the epic ones are often too long, so I wish there were more in this format and I can’t wait!

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  5. snow_white

    hmmm….I can’t say i’m much interested in this drama….but I like the cast…..and really liked Song Jong-ho in answer Me, 1997 :)

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  6. kakashi

    I like

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  7. joybells

    The Princess’ man was what got me into sageuk. This sounds quite intresting and i’m quite liking all the cast.Looking forward to it.

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  8. Hanjae

    I must say it’s still the writer that worries me most. Everything else about this drama screams potential awesome to me at the moment – great cast, great plot, etc. But when the writer’s credits are Only You, The Birth of the Rich (both of which are far from stellar examples of scriptwriting) and a daily drama… well.

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  9. crazedlu

    I really like the premise. Hope it’s good.

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  10. 10 han toe

    i’m an indonesian, the plot is like our own history around Majapahit Kingdom time (500 years ago), the king’s doctor Ra Tanca killed the King : Jayanegara, after the king molested his beautiful wife.

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  11. 11 houstontwin

    Another example where the chaser and chasee were both good guys is City Hunter.

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    • 11.1 JoAnne

      Prosecutor :(

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  12. 12 news

    Yay, I’m Seul-ong! I really liked him after seeing him on Strong Heart where he confessed to Shin Min-ah that she’s his ideal type. So cute. It seems he’s keeping his word to work hard so that he’ll one day get to star in a drama/movie with her.

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  13. 13 LangitBiru

    Since I skip IRIS2, maybe I will watch this drama. Looking forward for Seulong and the rest. Saguek is fine with me as long as the story is good.

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  14. 14 canxi

    I wanna watch this o.o

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  15. 15 Lovebug

    I am going to watch this one! I am not typically a sageuk gal, but Song Jong-ho is in two of my top 5 dramas (the Princess’s man and Answer me) and I really like him. It doesn’t hurt that he is one fine tall drink of water!!

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  16. 16 Jushi

    And the fact that Song Jong-Ho looks extra hot in sageuk garbs. Yummy!

    I had the best time watching him on Princess’ Man. I so wanted to watch this but lately I couldn’t bring myself to watch anything. Hmmm.

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  17. 17 Carmensitta

    This sounds better and better!I Love all the cast! :-O And after seeing most of Faith and a bit of Dr Jin I think it’s quite difficult to screw up as a PD, but possible, let’s hope it’s not the case and the writer does a good job as well.

    I shouldn’t be looking forward to April, when my final year exams are… but oh well…

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  18. 18 Gala

    I thought the casting of LDW and SJH got scratch? There was this write-up that stated KBS wants to re-consider the two actors. Glad they’re still signed on.

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  19. 19 JC

    Aside from Seulong (he’s felt wooden to me even in the 2AM MVs that I’ve seen), this drama sounds awesome!
    Great premise, love the leads, even love most of the supporting cast- hope this turns out nicely. <3

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  20. 20 eny

    lee dong wook n song jong ho good actor i donn’t know the rest

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  21. 21 goldeng

    Song Jong-ho and Seulong… I like… despite jong ho played the perfect man and hyung in answer me 1997, I got the vibe he could pull off intense, badass villain characters. I hope he gets to show that badassery in this role…! im not familiar with Choi’s work so i might have to wait to judge but I hope hes a great addition to the cast.

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  22. 22 llyh

    Love Song Jong-ho! Saw him in ‘Will It Snow For Christmas’ and fell in love with his acting. This is also the first drama that I’m actually more vested in the second than the main leads.

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    • 22.1 dee

      Yes, I like him too in Will It Snow For Christmas. When I think about him, he always did the second lead. Same as Bae Soo Bin.
      Wait, where is Bae Soo Bin, by the way? *OOT, sorry*

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  23. 23 Ennayra

    Let me just say that even though Song Jong-ho’s character went crazy in The Princess’s Man, I loved him the whole time. Song Jong-ho is one of my favorites. I got a really late start on Answer Me, 1997, so I’m just watching it now. I’m beyond thrilled that he’s in it. And now I get to see his face here? Oh this is good news.

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    • 23.1 Jadielaw

      I fell in love with Song Jong Ho in that drama too!

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  24. 24 Carole McDonnell

    waiting to see.

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  25. 25 addylovesbwood

    Is Yoon Jin Yi still a part of this drama? I noticed you left her out. I only plan on watching if shes a part of it.

     (0)


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