Lee Yeon-hee up for historical palace melodrama
With Dae Jang Geum 2 dead in the water (Or is it? Will MBC ever let Dae Jang Geum die?) the network is scooping up Lee Yeon-hee (Miss Korea) to headline their next historical drama, called Splendid Politics. It’s funny how a few years ago, this would’ve been reason enough for me not to watch this drama, but after Gu Family Book and Miss Korea, Lee Yeon-hee has turned over a new leaf and now I actually look forward to her projects.
The new MBC fantasy historical melodrama is set in Joseon, during the reigns of King Seonjo and Gwanghaegun. Er, they do know that’s the same story over on KBS with The King’s Face, right? I get that Gwanghae is popular, but sometimes I’m like, There are 26 others to choose from in one dynasty! In this drama, the twist is that illegitimate son Gwanghae is the villain of the story, and the legitimate heirs of Seonjo are the wronged protagonists.
Lee Yeon-hee has been cast as Princess Jeongmyeong, sister of Seonjo’s (late-born) legitimate heir, Grand Prince Yeongchang. He’s only two years old at the time when Seonjo has to pass the regency to one of his heirs knowing that he’s about to die, and thus the throne ultimately goes to Gwanghae. The political factions are split amongst the heirs, and after failing in an attempt to usurp Gwanghae with his older brother, they try again with Yeongchang, who ends up exiled and then murdered.
As a result, the rightful queen and her daughter, Princess Jeongmyeong, get ousted from the palace to live as commoners and fall to slave status. The drama will follow the princess’s tragic life, which must make the title ironic — politics is what destroyed her family as factions pitted royals against one another leading to their successive deaths.
What I don’t know is why it’s called a fantasy drama, since nothing in the description sounds remotely fantastical. I’d actually rather they do a straight sageuk, since The King’s Face is already doing the fusion angle on the same time period. Directing is PD Kim Sang-ho of Arang and the Magistrate, When a Man Loves, and Can You Hear My Heart. Writing is Kim Yi-young of classic sageuks Dong Yi and Yi San, and also Horse Doctor.
Splendid Politics will follow Shine or Go Crazy (which comes after Pride and Prejudice), so that puts the premiere sometime in the spring.
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