Drama Casting & News
Empress Ki gathers its cast for script rehearsals
by | September 26, 2013 | 60 Comments

MBC’s upcoming sageuk drama Empress Ki (formerly titled Hwatu) is gearing up for its long run (50 episodes), and assembled its cast earlier this month for script rehearsals.

It’s a pretty robust cast, at that, which is enough to stir anticipation: Ha Ji-won has had great success in sageuk roles in the past (Hwang Jini, Damo) and takes on the title role of a Goryeo woman who marries into the Yuan Dynasty at a time when Goryeo struggled to assert its independence. Joo Jin-mo will play the Goryeo king who loves her, and Ji Chang-wook plays the Yuan emperor who also loves her. Something tells me this won’t end well. As if a love triangle weren’t bad enough, this one’s got to come with all sorts of political implications too.

Also in the cast: Jin Yi-han (Dr. Jin), Jung Woong-in (I Hear Your Voice), Kwon Oh-joong (Arang and the Magistrate), Lee Won-jong (Mandate of Heaven), Kim Seo-hyung (History of the Salaryman), and Lee Moon-shik (The Great Seer). Like I said, robust lineup. And while Faith was hardly a drama I’d look to for historical accuracy (uhhh, with the time traveling and all), having seen it gives us the B-side to the setting in Empress Ki, as she was the sister to Ki Chul, who was the ridiculous villain of Faith. And that drama was all about the Goryeo king’s struggle to free the nation from Yuan’s oppressive influence, playing with some of the same themes. I don’t expect too much similarity between the shows themselves, but the history overlaps and I’d be interested to see how the portrayals differ.

The drama will take up Mondays and Tuesdays through the rest of the year, following Goddess of Fire Jung-yi. With that drama being pushed a week, Empress Ki’s premiere will be likewise pushed from October 21 to October 28… unless Goddess of Fire were to get cut? Which it could do. It might actually want to consider that.



60 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. snow_white

    Sageuk + 50 episodes is a combination I can never watch…..

    • 1.1 Yoori

      +1. I’m also wondering if HJW is being typecast or she’s just simply choosing the same type of roles over and over again. I think she’s a great actress but I’d like to see her in something different.

      • 1.1.1 dubidu

        what type cast you are talking about?

        she never act as an Empress/Queen before, how can that typecast just because she play in saeguk…

        • Joy

          She’s probably was talking about her recent roles which Ha Ji Won did play action roles back to back. As far as Saeguk drama, the last time she played/acted in a Historical drama was 2006 Hwang Jin Yi, however, she also recently starred in a Saeguk (action) which has not been aired yet The Huntress. That’s probably why she said that. Maybe she loves the action role. I for one would love to see her in a darker/sexy character in the future. πŸ™‚

          • mywhiteyasmin

            But if I not wrong, in history they kinda paint Empress Ki as a villain who betray their country. If it’s true, isn’t Ha Jiwon will played some anti hero here? Or the writer will paint Empress Ki differently
            y like in Jang Ok Jung Live in Love?

          • dubidu

            but… we don’t know if she will did action scene or not

            from what i have seen queen/empress in drama don’t need to play action, she has all men around her to be used

        • Rossa E

          Homaigodddd !!! I just watched 8 episodes of this drama, boy it was so addicted and I never thought I like period drama ! I just randomly watched it because I don’t know what to do during one of my lonely weekend. HJW is so great in this drama and other actresses turned out being so blehh after I watched this drama. I am currently watching The Heirs, Bel Ami, Golden Rainbow and Married him if you dare at the same time. Try it and you know what I am talking about. I can felt a lot of emotion in this drama, HJW daebakkkk !!!

      • 1.1.2 KDaddict

        Yes, wonder what type cast you r talking about.
        Do we actually know at this point how this char will be written, or portrayed?
        If you are referring to her action roles, do we have info that this princess will be a sword carrying sort?
        If you mean her previous sageuks, not all sageuk roles r created the same.
        It’s more prudent to reserve judgement until you have actually seen the show, sau for a few eps.

        • Kiara

          I think she is talking about her action roles. It’s hard to figure out her character beforehand because the writer is clearly going the opposite direction of what was written in the history books especially with King Chunghye.

          Queen Noguk was a sword wielding princess in Shin Don but very fitting because she was a Mongolian princess.
          There is a small chance that she might do action during her early years. This is a 50eps sageuk and she has got to be more than just a pretty face. I’d rather see her wield a sword than get involved in the boring politics.

    • 1.2 tokkioncrack

      But it’s ha ji won and joo jin moo and IHYV villain.
      I love them.
      What to do.
      And since it’s a 50 episode sageuk I have no hopes of even finding recaps to satisfy my curiosity.
      Why are they doing this to us

      • 1.2.1 Kiara

        Yes it will be hard to find recaps but I’m positive that there will be subs.

    • 1.3 girlatsea

      It’s actually not that hard if the drama is good.

      • 1.3.1 Kiara

        It is with a 50 eps sageuk.

  2. Sabah

    She’s just so lovely and looking so beautiful.

    • 2.1 Fralilia

      I agree ! She’s such a beauty *.* And I love that she’s got long hair.

      Ji Chang-wook and Joo Jin-mo as the main male leads… this is going to be interesting πŸ˜€
      Plus Ha Ji-won on top of it OMG this is definitely going to be interesting πŸ˜€

      As a Sageuk lover I don’t care how many eps there will be, I’m just happy. haha
      Though I’ve got to admit I’m glad it’s only 2 episodes a week format (not 5 a week like upcoming Soo Baek Hyang for example – no way I can watch this) otherwise I could not never keep up the pace with all the other dramas to watch too…

      • 2.1.1 kanz

        She’s just so lovely and beautiful..
        And the two male leads… OMG, Joo Jin Mo looks macho and hot and Ji Chang Wook!! Can’t resist them!
        If I were Empress Ki I will happily cross borders everyday just to see 2 emperors loving me.. Hahhaha

      • 2.1.2 Sabah

        I love her long hair too. Her skin more, she’s glowing!

        Ha Ji Won in a Sageuk always makes me happy. I agree that 2 episodes per week is something I can handle and especially in regards sageuks because there more to take in and digest.

        I’m still not decided on the leads but I think I hop on your enthusiasm and be excited. : ) hehe

  3. kellie

    Thanks for the photos. I’m trusting these writers (Giant/Salaryman/Incarn. of Money) to give us something Queen Seon Deok-y in quality. I liked the comic moments & dark, funny characters in QSD a lot. This team is also pretty good at twisting a clever plot & keeping things interesting. There hasn’t been a top-quality sageuk since QSD so here’s hoping.

    • 3.1 Kiara

      QSD was fun to watch and it was a rating hit (the last conventional sageuk with a national drama status) but
      Cruel Palace: War of the Flowers and Queen In-soo were miles better in quality imo.

      I love writer Jang Young-Chull’s past projects, Giant especially. Jang is no sageuk noobie , he wrote Dae Jo Yeong (pre-Goryeo).
      I’m not interested in this part of K-history and have judged this project unfairly based on it but it’s hard not to check it out for a solid writer like him.

      • 3.1.1 anais

        Cruel Palace – I haven’t had the guts to actually watch all of it, but it looked fantastic.

  4. kdj

    gaah… HJW is so pretty!! but somehow she looked different. no makeup? or a little “touch up” perhaps? either way.. she’s gorgeous!!

    • 4.1 Yanny

      I think it’s her hair. She looks Fabulous! No more bowl cuts please

  5. Nilechoclat

    I love her confidence and really she is the queen πŸ˜€

  6. Carole McDonnell

    hoping it’s good. I could maybe commit. thanks for the pics

  7. cherkell

    MBC is well-known for their hacking-and-slashing of dramas. I betcha they’re waiting for the ratings to come in for next week’s delayed shows before making a decision. I’ve been watching bits and pieces, and I would not be surprised if they took the shortened route. (Sorry to the cast members, though…)

    I’m amused how they sandwiched in Ji Chang-wook’s picture, because the group shots are from the first script reading in late August, and his picture was taken at the cast read of Episode 3 from last week. Oh those wacky PR Minions over at MBC!

    And I do understand that My Precious needed to protect his hairstyle for his performance in “JTR” later that evening, but that fugly hat has got to go. I humbly volunteer to remove it for him. πŸ˜€


  8. Arhazivory

    I think I’ll download this and save it for a future marathon. I love epic sageuks but I can’t watch them as they air. -_-‘

  9. JYYJC

    I want to watch for Ji chang wook but…why it gotta be 50 episodes? T__T

    • 9.1 eny

      I like the cast,it’s promising in acting, I’m not sure about the story n my biggest problem is 50 episode drama, it’s too long. for family drama with many story 50 eps is make sense, but for historical??????i’m not sure

      • 9.1.1 Kiara

        Historical dramas are known for very long episodes. It’s shorter now but back in the days it could run for as long as 100 to 300 episodes.

  10. 10 Joy

    Wow! Pretty Jiwonie. I can’t wait to see this drama and see what she has to offer as far acting. Am curios as to how she’s going to evolve her character?

  11. 11 alisa

    No way i`m watching this. Fifty episodes of sageuk drama is not my thing at all. Sorry Han Ji Won but not even you can make me go trough this suffering.

    I will watch Marry Him If You Dare cause i love Yoon Eun Hye, and than i guess i`l watch whatever comes after ( i think Prime Minister and I).

  12. 12 misch

    Hmm.. HJW indeed looks very different here… but in a good way πŸ™‚
    Fighting Empress Ki!!!

  13. 13 ilikemangos

    well, this is gonna be a sexy pairing!

  14. 14 Yep

    Correct me if I’m wrong – is this the remarkably sexy King from A Frozen Flower?

    • 14.1 Joy

      Yup! He sure is.

  15. 15 The Real CZ

    I’d be all over this drama like white on rice if the PD for this drama didn’t suck so much ass. I’ll probably catch a few episodes to test it out, hoping the cast and writers can overcome an incompetent director.

    • 15.1 Kiara

      Ikr? I’m in this for the writer and this cast are more than capable but this PD…Wae?

  16. 16 Nicole

    EVEN MY LOVE FOR JOO JIN MO WILL NOT PERSUADE ME TO WATCH THIS. But seriously, he is such an attractive man. I hope he & Ha Ji-won make a sexy pining pair.

  17. 17 LOVE HS&SH


  18. 18 zhill

    WOW! she looks great and looking younger too. 50 episodes just fine with me. It’s not like I’m going to watch it in one day, so 2 episodes per week is no big deal. It will be over before we know it. I just hope for a well written character and more romance than political conflict.

  19. 19 sophia

    Am i crazy or wasn’t she supposed to be in a Joseon “charlies angel’s” drama with Ga-in? Did I miss that?

    • 19.1 Mawiie

      That was a movie. It’s done shooting already πŸ™‚

  20. 20 Tata

    After I saw the total number of ep, I wasn’t feeling it, coz I think they will drag a lot, however I love the cast, HJW is so pretty, how can she become prettier in every drama? I will def check it out

  21. 21 hotshotlover30

    Can’t wait!!

  22. 22 anais

    Joo Jin Mo back on the small screen. Hells yeah!

  23. 23 John

    Ha Ji-won ! . I’ll watch. 50 or 150 episodes.

  24. 24 niKai

    This one actually looks interesting, mainly because of the cast, but also because of some overlapping of hostroical figures as in Faith. 50 episodes, but I will probably be tuning in like next year? Just bcoz I will hella busy for the rest of this year and cant commit. But who knows. Curiosity might just lead me to it anyhow.

  25. 25 UZ

    hwaaaaa… i’m so excited!! can’t wait for this!!

  26. 26 datsun

    I would love to see her do another “Closer to heaven” type role.

  27. 27 Cam

    Woaaah, I am a BIG fan of Ha Ji Won & I really looove Lee Moon Shik since I first saw him in that drama….uhhhh….geez, I’ve forgotten that drama title….ekk!! (O_o)

    Anyway, I will look forward to this, ofc. πŸ˜‰ <3

  28. 28 J.

    Woooo Joo Jin-mo!
    He makes one fine king in A Frozen Flower; can’t wait to see him reprise the role of a Goryeo king again!

  29. 29 mΓΌge

    I just LUV her!!!!! I’ve a girl crush on her. how beautiful she is! however, I’ve seen her with a really serious and cold face for the first time and wrote my own scandalous scenario that she is not happy with the co-stars or something else about the drama.
    omg! I must have been really bored. what an imagination, right???

  30. 30 Carinne

    LOL! I notice HJW’s executive chair is the tallest of ’em all. I wonder why she picked that spot out of all places. XD

  31. 31 Lilian

    yeah..totally agree. They should maybe cut a few episodes of Goddess of Fire. it is pretty boring. I only try to watch if I am too bored =P

  32. 32 aX

    I am SO excited for this! Finally, it’s not infested with freaking idols and a lead pairing that I approve of!!! CANNOT WAIT! Too bad I’d have to wait until it finishes airing to watch it…ahh, my patience! lol

  33. 33 Pete

    Cant wait to beautiful Ha Ji Won as the EMPRESS!!! Something new…good ahhhhhhhhh!!!

  34. 34 Pete

    Sorry… Cant wait to seeeeeeeeeee beautiful……

  35. 35 Anonymous

    Can’t wait for the empress. I love HJW.

  36. 36 Lilian Chang

    Wow! Beautiful n multi talented Ha Ji Won is gracing the screen with a new character as Empress Ki, she always has full of surprises to please her fans! HJW n JJM pairing is perfect, they rock…Bravo!

  37. 37 cherrie

    I’ve been addicted to this series the moment I’d watch it, but I can’t move on with the ending why does the emperor has to die? πŸ™

Add a Comment

Stay civil, don't spoil, and don't feed the trolls! Read the commenting policy here.

 characters available. Comments will be truncated at the word limit.