Drama Casting & News
Ji Chang-wook courted to romance Ha Ji-won in Empress Ki
by | September 5, 2013 | 56 Comments

Well, it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it. MBC’s upcoming sageuk epic Empress Ki (formerly called Hwatu and now just named for its heroine, likely because everyone kept thinking the drama would be about gambling) is getting back on the casting bandwagon, after early rumors that Jang Geun-seok might star. Ji Chang-wook (Five Fingers, Warrior Baek Dong-soo) is now being courted to star, with reports ranging from “confirmed” to “favorably considering.”

The 50-episode historical epic will be MBC’s Monday-Tuesday drama for the bulk of fall and winter, and takes place in the Goryeo era. Ha Ji-won stars as as a Goryeo woman who gets taken to Yuan to be a royal consort, later to become Empress Ki of Yuan. Joo Jin-mo stars as King Chunghye of Goryeo, an ambitious ruler determined to free Goryeo from Yuan control.

If he signs on, Ji Chang-wook will play Yuan Emperor Togon-temür, who eventually takes the heroine as his royal concubine. We’ll meet him when he’s a prince, during his exile in Goryeo (banished while the throne went to his uncle and then his own younger brother). It’s as high-stakes as a love triangle can get, with two kings, one nation fighting for its freedom from the other, and one woman caught between them. I was a little worried about who they’d cast as the younger Yuan emperor, but I’m happy about Ji Chang-wook. He’s talented, and knows his way around a sageuk. They keep casting people I like in this drama, and I’m starting to look forward to it despite its monstrous episode count.

The drama comes from the writing team behind Giant, History of the Salaryman, and Incarnation of Money, and the PD of Dr. Jin. It follows Goddess of Fire Jung-yi and premieres in October on MBC.

Via TV Report


56 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. shiku

    I wish they had a better PD because it would have been perfect

    • 1.1 ilikemangos

      Dr. Jin is hard to look past.

      • 1.1.1 news

        Son Hyeong-Seok directed Personal Taste which wasn’t that great, but he’s directing Two Weeks and it’s pretty darn awesome.

        Maybe Han Hee will also improve?

  2. bains

    50 episodes + PD of Dr. Jin= Pass for me

    • 2.1 Jo

      Also, I actually think Ji Chang Wook over acts. When he was a villian…uh…that was terrible.

  3. snow_white

    Not interested because:
    – it has 50 episodes.
    – it’s a sageuk.
    – Dr. Jin connection

  4. Cam

    Ooo, that would be interestingly great! 😉

  5. Trina

    he has new face. That what I read somewhere that he went under the knife.

  6. kumi

    Does it mean he’s gonna shave his head leaving two braids on sides and a blob of hair in front?

    • 6.1 iheartbidam

      hahaha! i was thinking the same thing.. is he going to sport that hairstyle too?

      uh oh!

  7. Kiara

    Great cast and for the first time, I wish I didn’t know anything about the history of this era because I don’t even care for any of these historical figures even the opium Empress Ki.
    I loved Giant and I want to check it for the writers.

    • 7.1 Kiara

      I’m sure there will be plenty of unintentional comedies with this director.

  8. ailee

    wait if JCW is the younger version of Yuan Emperor, who is the older version? is this gonna be like Song Joong Ki in Deep Rooted Trees?

    • 8.1 Kiara

      There is no older version. He is the Yuan Emperor. Historically, he was younger than Empress Ki.

      • 8.1.1 Annie

        Only 5 or so years. I think the age gap here is far too wide.

    • 8.2 Kiara

      I think if the drama will include child actors then there might be a child version of him.

  9. cherkell

    I would be remiss if I did not add…



    Not exactly the first role I would have stuck My Precious’s name upon, but this has the possibility of being pretty monumental… although knowing a tiny bit of the history behind the scenes, those of you looking for any sort of love story should wander off elsewhere. This show ain’t gonna lend itself to a hearts-and-flowers treatment by any means!

    [rant on] AND JCW HAS NOT HAD PLASTIC SURGERY. I have personal knowledge that he’s the same sweet-faced boy with no nips or tucks whatsoever. Geesus, he’s just lost a lot of weight working on three musicals at once and his face finally lost its baby fat! How do these rumours get started anyway? Do any of YOU look the same than you did 1-2-5 years ago? Jealous much, netizens? ARGH. [rant off]

    Oh man. 50 episodes on Mondays/Tuesdays starting 21 October (the same day my multi-million dollar litigation goes to trial). I’m gonna die of exhaustion, ne? Aw hell… I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

    • 9.1 cherkell

      Now how the hell did *that* happen? Apologies for the bold font, peeps. I didn’t purposely add any HTML tags since they’ve been acting wonky here lately… *sheepish look*

    • 9.2 bains

      I guessed who will definitely be there on JCW post 😉
      Who said he has done plastic surgery?

    • 9.3 cimori

      who said about plastic surgery ? this article only said about the drama and the cast. dengggg

      anyway, i will skip this drama becoz the pd is from dr.jin. he created a disaster drama on dr.jin

      sorry ha jiwon onnie.

    • 9.4 YY

      So I was scrolling idly down the posts and thinking, where’s cherkell? and here you are. LOL.

    • 9.5 jiya

      “And JCW has not had a plastic surgery”. Thank you for saying that.

  10. 10 respechae

    PD of Dr. Jin…now why would they use that as a selling point. Should have hidden it from us…

  11. 11 HeadsNo2

    I read through the article, getting more excited by the second. “Ha Ji-won? Ji Chang-wook?! The writers of Salaryman/Giant?!! Sign me up!”

    Then I saw the PD. Whyyyyyyyyyyy.

    • 11.1 pabo ceo reom

      *pats on the back*

      You deserve better. I deserve better. We all deserve better. Who keeps giving this PD work?!

    • 11.2 ilikemangos

      You know better than anyone else the blasphemy that is Dr. Jin since you recapped it to the very bitter(but hilarious) end.

    • 11.3 daktari34

      I love Ha Ji-won which is why I’ll probably tune in regardless of the Dr. Jin connection. Hopefully the PD has learnt his lesson. Hopefully he doesn’t interfere with the writers much.

    • 11.4 Arhazivory

      Well, the most important thing is who the writers are. 😀

      • 11.4.1 eny

        good writer could lost new idea n make bad script, i guess it’s same with the PD. Even sometimes good actor/actress didn’t act as good as they usually do

  12. 12 Rachel

    The story sounds interesting and it’s Ha Ji Won. So sad that the Dr Jin connection is “tainting” the show even before it has been put on air.

  13. 13 crazedlu

    Geh. Was planning to whatev this drama entirely, especially if they had casted Jang Geunseok (eck), but Ji Changwook? For 50 eps? As long as it’s not a “Bachelor’s”, which it just might be, I’m in. I’ve been waiting for a good project from him (boo, “Five Fingers”). I’m fairly certain this won’t be it, but I think this Ji Changwook drought has gone on long enough. I’m ready to see him on screen again. Hope he gets to work his talent on a good project soon.

  14. 14 Valleydale

    Whatever happened to the action/comedy Ha Ji Won was supposed to star in with two other kick ass women? Did anyone even see that? Wasn’t it supposed to premiere in this past spring? Not a peep out of dramaland did we hear. Strange.

    • 14.1 hanie

      I think that one is a movie. I guess it already aired/released since I’ve found the link floating on the net. The title is Joseon Beautiful or something like that. sorry, not that helpful.

    • 14.2 Melted icicle

      It’s a movie and rumor is it will be released either this fall or early next year.

  15. 15 hanie

    I love this community….
    I was reading while saying 50 might be not that bad with HJW & JCW in it and then, bam! Dr. Jin…… wiat… what?
    From this =) to =(
    And look what I’ve found in other comments??? similar feeling….
    Now I think all this ‘awww…really Dr. Jin’s PD….’ vibe is funny.
    Guess a good way to start my day~

  16. 16 Alice20

    Ji Chang Wook!!!!!!!!!!

  17. 17 ZOBear

    I hope Ji Chang Wook is a good guy in this one. He played a bad guy in the last drama I watched him in and it just depressed me. I love his smile and I want to see him play in something where he smiles a lot.

    • 17.1 Kiara

      It’s highly unlikely since Yuan was the enemy to Goryeo. Their frequent invasions and heavy demands on the Goryeo people to pay tribute, not only with their resources but with their women devastated the country.

      On the other hand, if the writers can make a hero out of a terrible king like Chunghye then Togon-temür may end up being a good guy on opium thanks to Empress Ki. I’m sure they’ll be a lot of smiling under the influence lol.

  18. 18 emma

    erm, ha ji won is just not my cup of tea….

    • 18.1 Kiara

      I like her but I wont watch a movie/drama just for her.

  19. 19 DC

    I love Ji Chang Wook, but damn these 50 episode saeguks! =(

    • 19.1 kz

      same here.. it’s just too much of political backstabbing

    • 19.2 bd

      Surprised no one got all over you for that.

  20. 20 TS

    Cruel Palace is coming to a close this weekend. So, I hope this is a good substitute.

    • 20.1 Kiara

      Oh gosh I am looking forward to Cruel Palace going out with a bang.

  21. 21 Leila

    I’m giving this show a chance… but I need to wait for 6 months before I could start watching this.

  22. 22 kz

    MBC really like to burn me on Mon-Tue saguek dramas this year. After made me watching the overrated GFB, they makes me suffer through Goddess of Fire just because MGY and Kim Bum in it. And now, they are really going to kill me by shoving Empress Ki with my favourite actor, Ji Chang Wook in a 50 episodes drama. In one hand, I’ll get to see JCW in 50 ep but on the other hand it really need huge commitment and his character will be second lead again…

  23. 23 jean

    can’t wait until JCW appear on my tv screen again!!!

  24. 24 cherkell

    AND IT’S OFFICIAL! His management just announced that JCW finally accepted the role earlier today. I should get ready and stock up on caffeine pills and other stay-awake aids to get through this one!


  25. 25 kpoppin'

    JCW? In a sageuk? :DDD

    Despite the length of sageuks, I totally dig them. Perhaps I’ll give this a go~

  26. 26 loesje

    Watched all 24 episodes so far.It’s amazingly good!Fabulous acting! Great scenery and costumes.Great plot and storyline…Keep it coming!!!!

  27. 27 sil

    The drama is interesting. Though there are less scenes between SN/WY, the characters are as upbeat as those of SN/TH. As for JCW, he looks good, but just very plastic.

  28. 28 Jennifer

    It would have been nice if most of you that posted such negative comments back in 2013 DID come back with followup after watching this Series. It was absolutely one of the Best K-Dramas I have watched.

  29. 29 tharawon susan machinao

    i wish and pray they both(ji chang wook and ha ji won )were in love in real life

  30. 30 WHO SAID THAT

    I’m telling you, the first two episodes were kinda boring… BUT after that i spent two night without sleep cuz i couldnt stop watching: Episode after Episode after Episode….. Hell it was worth it…

    • 30.1 WHO SAID THAT

      nights* sry xDD

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.