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Lee Young-ae and Song Seung-heon’s first stills for Saimdang

Cameras have technically been rolling since August, but here’s our first real peek at Saimdang, the Herstory, the new SBS biopic sageuk starring Lee Young-ae (Dae Jang Geum) in her long-awaited drama comeback as Shim Saimdang and Song Seung-heon (When a Man Loves) as the man who’s singularly devoted to her. It’s not much, but the first stills are beautiful.

The drama will tell the life story of Shin Saimdang, a famous 16th-century Joseon artist, writer, and calligrapher who’s considered a genius artist and celebrated as a paragon of Confucian ideals. She was a highly educated woman who later became the mother of Confucian scholar Yulgok, and was known as Wise Mother. In the drama, Lee Young-ae will play Saimdang and also a present-day art historian who discovers Saimdang’s lost journal and delves into mysteries in her life and untold love story.

Song Seung-heon will be playing a fictional character invented for the drama — he’s a nobleman with an unusually free spirit who feels suffocated by his strict upbringing and dour household full of stern elders and servants. He’s an upright young man with conviction who never compromises his morals, who speaks frankly even to the king. On one fateful day Saimdang will hop over his wall, and from that moment on, he will love her for the rest of his life. He’s described as a Joseon-era Gatsby, with a noble and unfailing love for one woman with whom he shares an artistic soul.

The drama from PD Yoon Sang-ho (Bride of the Century) and writer Park Eun-ryung (Women Next Door) will be 100% pre-produced before it hits the air. There are reportedly plans to have it broadcast simultaneously in Korea and China, and rights have already been sold all over Asia. I hope for the drama’s sake that it lives up to the Dae Jang Geum expectations — it’s great for the pre-sell, but that’s a lot to deliver on, even if you’ve got Lee Young-ae.

Saimdang will air sometime in 2016.

Via TV Report

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Beautiful posters! Love SSH dearly but recognise his acting limitations. Hope he delivers!

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I love him dearly too. I'm not that worry about his limiting acting skills I'm sure he'll deliver. Already in love with his character. I'm a sucker for a man who loves a woman this way. My worry is that it's not going to be a happy ending. Is it possible for the writer to write a fictional happy ending for my man? I'm still wounded by When a Man in Love. Can't bear to see him end up alone.

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Gorgeous stills. I like historical stories based on real women from the, so it sounds interesting. Though Song Seung-Heon is an... interesting choice to me.

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I am not planning to watch it but it's gorgeous. I would buy paintings or prints of it.

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There are millions out there including me who will watch anything with these two in it.
I certainly have high expectations of it. Hope it will be good.

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Lee Young Ae is so beautiful. I don't care about SSH but I will watch for her alone.

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Never thought of LYA as a striking beauty, but her side profile is near flawless in those posters.

Beautiful stills and posters.

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saimdang.,goodbye mr black,.& ar. fond...are the next hits drama for next year..i can't wait!!

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..and Cheese in the Trap <3 I trust Park Hae Jin and Kim Go Eun

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ooooh that poster is GORGEOUS

and I really, really wish Kam Woo-sung had taken the lead, SSH may be handsome but has all the acting range of a teaspoon.

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Kam would have been great. I'm a sageuk fan but I don't about this. Doctor Jin meets Painter of the Wind.

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I agree, if SBS wanted to really make a quality production out of this one, they wouldn't be casting him. I mean, seriously, are there no other actors in Korea?! From Kam Woo-sung to SSH, that's how we want to go?

I doubt I'll be able to look at him in this role without thinking of Kam Woo-sung and what could have been.

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Hey! Why malign an innocent teaspoon like that? Saw SSH on Korean talk show... OMO! He is even worse without scripted lines. Plus, he's rather... petite. So again, please don't malign innocent teaspoons, they have a purpose. They don't look like teaspoons, but are really smaller, like some actors who look like men, but are really... well... you get it.

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JB and GF, don't know where to tell u this, but everytime I go to your website (which is often), my safari or firefox always ends up crashing. I use OS X Yosemite veraion 10.10.5. The sad thing is...your website is the best thing I found since kdrama...hik...help...

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I have experienced the same thing as well. I started to think it was my mac but it only crashes on dramabeans.

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@Nomad

Have you tried dropping them an email regarding your issue? Navigating up to the header and clicking "Contact" is the easiest way.

Good luck.

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@Nomad, it's probably the ads. :( I think they don't have direct control over that. But let's hope someone sees your comment.

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Such a gorgeous stills. Love both actors, but hoping SSH won't disappoint me here. Can't wait for 2016 to come..

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Beautiful but saeguk is not my kind of genre ? so wont be watching this.

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Wow, the stills are gorgeous!! Can't wait for this!!

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Beautiful stills.. I love LYA but i have a certain allergy to SSH so I will only watch until it all finished and proven to receive good review. I hope this time SSH would deliver good perf and finally cure my allergy to him..

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Yeah, his performances in 'My Princess' and 'When A Man Loves' turned me off him as an actor even though he is beautiful to look at. I'll read the articles and follow the online buzz on this drama, though I doubt I'll be watching it. Pre-production seems to be the new way to go. I am sure that it'll have an effect on the drama's quality.

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Interesting considering that SSH's performance in MP was generally considered pretty decent (to which I concur) as he just had to be the charming "straight" leading man in a romcom as KTH did the heavy lifting (both comedically and emotionally).

Not that I have seen too much of SSH's acting - but he can be decent/passable but at the same time, can be downright awful ("Dr. Jin").

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The truth is SSH is quite limited as an actor which is even more noticeable since he comes from a generation of artists who simultaneously did an amazing job in box-office hits and arthouse projects.
However, we must agree that he should teach a lesson or two to all those semi-(un)talented actors or/and idol-turned-actors on how they should choose projects with far better actors than themselves and let them act their hearts out (as long as they're the most handsome of them all on screen). That's an admirable quality and, frankly, quite rare among younger actors these days...

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I don’t think it is possible to hide one's lack of talent behind brilliant co-stars, no matter how good they are. Otherwise SSH would've had rave reviews on dramabeans or other sites where kdramas are critically examined, but we all agree he is pretty, but lacking talent. I would say he is fortunate or lucky to be popular in a country that doesn't care about his limited range in his generation. He kind of reminds me of a Chuck Norris or Steven Seagal (without the martial arts, of course). There's a market for their movies even though they suck as actors.

As for idols -turned-actors, my policy is to take them on a case by case basis. Some can act circles around regular actors, some are fair to middling in their performance and some suck. It depends on the person, not their previous or alternate occupation.

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I agree with Kalel on that. Everywhere in the world there actors with LONG careers based solely on their looks. The majority of whom are the big stars of their country and some of them are now even winners Oscars or other cinematographic awards.
The longetivity of a star is based on one's talent. And by talent I do not mean just one's acting skills but the dexterity to choose the right projects and the right collaborations (directors, productions,co-stars). So in that sense SSH is quite skilled.
On the other hand, the problem with the idols in general, and the contrary is just an exception, is that I get the sense that some manager is counting the scenes of the idol demanding more and more scenes and more camera time, regardless of the idol's actual capability, creating the ridiculous stuff we've seen in some dramas.
PS Chuck Norris is no SSH. He had excelled in his "craft" being Bruce Lee's student and the fair comparison would be people like Gina Carano, Johnny Weissmuller, Esther Williams, Mario Lanza (ok, don't hit me I just mean he wasn't an acting god). They were recruited in the movies initiallly to do what they did best.

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I wish you have seen his latest movie, The three way of love. He has improved a lot. It takes me by surpise.

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My point exactly. Thank you...

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I don't consider myself more than a casual viewer who happens to watch cinema and TV programmes from various countries and therefore I'm nowhere near those who "critically examine" dramas and performances. I just add my two cents without claiming the title of a "connoisseur" by any means just as I thought most of us do. We're international fans with zero influence on K-dramas exchanging personal PoVs on DB as well as on other English-speaking blogs, aren't we? As far as idols are concerned, @korini pretty much said it all - idols who can and want to act usually give up on their previous occupation in order to focus more on their current one.

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Actually, playing across great actors often makes a mediocre actor look that much worse.

SSH can be decent/passable in the right role (doesn't do the heavy lifting when it comes to emotional scenes) which has good writing and a talented PD who can wring out the best performance from the actors.

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You're right. Mediocre actors who do insist on displaying their mediocre acting opposite their talented co-stars end up the laughing stock. SSH, however, lets his partners do the "heavy lifting" and all the other artistic sports included while he tries his best not to ruin their scenes by being as decent as possible; for a well-known actor that's a rare trait indeed.

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Beautiful, absolutely gorgeous stills!
Whoever the cinematographer and the director they surely can deliver the pretty!
It's almost like paintings.

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Blooming...
Stunning.
So delicate and subtle and soft but then also bleak and slightly melancholy.

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The only problem with this drama and sore eye is SSH. Who in his right mind think he should have been paired with LYE?

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Just saw....why haven't you guys given a rating for Plus Nine Boys? On the ratings page

Didn't know where to post this....sorry for hijacking!

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They have been filming since August but the drama will only be on air summer next year? That's a lot of filming in advance for Korean dramas right? I thought they usually only start filming 1-2 months before airing?

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That's why it's called a 100% pre-produced drama. No live shooting, all filming is done before it airs.

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That's because they have to wait for censorship approval by the Chinese government (which usually takes several months) before airing in Korea, China, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and several other countries simultaneously in September. The Chinese market being so huge, and the new Chinese policy of airing Korean shows only after approval of whole projects, in effect since next year, means that more Korean shows will be pre-produced in the future. THe casting of Song also has the CHinese market in mind, as traditional Korean dramas are not that popular in China and they need a popular name there, much more than an actor who has little household appeal in China or with the younger audience.

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OMG LEE YOUNG-AE!!! Has it been 12 years! Good Heavens thank you for this fantastic treat! Lee Young-ae's last project was Han Ji-min's DEBUT drama. It was that long.

I love you, Seo Jang-geum. You will always be legendary.

Shucks can dramagods now fix a BIG BIG comeback for Lee Young-ae and Ji Jin-hee?

I am seriously eyeing them as MAIN LEADS for Tyrant. But that writer loves stories including MEN, GREED, MONEY and POWER. I don't want Lee Young-ae to be buried aside coz she a gal. (GIANT is the biggest drama of my heart.) Well, writer wrote Empress Ki, so GALS have hope.

SARANGHAEYO Lee Young-ae unni -- the core root of my kdrama ADDICTION trap -- Seo Jang-geum of Dae Jang Geum!

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If Tyrant is to start filming early next year, I don't think it would be possible at all ? it would definitely great if JJH and LYA reunite ?

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Sigh, Kam Woo-sung, why did you ever reject this? Based on what I am seeing... Song Seung-heon looks HOT as usual. Hot, fit and fab flower boy SSH. But it fits Kam mooooore. Sigh, Kam, this is Lee Young-ae no less. How could u?

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Gorgeous stills! OMG! I like history with a touch of fiction. It makes for a refreshing take on what we already know. I will watch this drama. I have been to Saimdang's house/villa (it's huge!) and I learned a lot about her. This somewhat new take on her story will be interesting.

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Both look fantastic, LYA is everlasting beauty ? since this drama is focusing on female, I don't mind with SSH in here. I can undertand why Kam Woo Sung not accepting this role. Err let's wish he will be offered in Tyrant ?

Can't wait to watch this. ? it looks like our first half of 2016 already filled with lots of dramas ☺

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Hopefully Six Flying Dragons will have finished by the time this starts. Watching 2 50 episode+ dramas at the same time scares me a little...

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Omg Joseon-era Gatsby....not exactly the best literary character you want to live up to as a lover. But then again, maybe this was intentional? Maybe his character is supposed to hold LYA's character up to some impossible pedestal and fall in love with the idea of her and not actually her?

That would really be an interesting take, although I don't expect a K-drama to go that deep...aha...

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I don't think KWS said no to this.
Maybe because he's not popular among I-fans, so they give it to SSH.. .heol! Really SSH ruins my mood even before this start airing. I hope I can watch this peacefully next year LOL

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Sounds boring. Lee Young Ae is overrated, and lets not even talk about Song Seung Heon. His acting gives me cancer.

Who the fuck keeps on casting him. And tbh, he isn't even handsome, as people make it sound.

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Omg, she looks gorgeous! I hope her acting haven't falter since it's been years

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Dont be the death of me please. I love love LYA and i will surely tune in but please please be DJG and more. Why didnt they offer JJH the role of the man that is solely devoted to her??? Pleae be good please be good:)

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In defense of SSH, his acting in When A Man Loves is what sold me on Kdrama. I've always wondered at the ridicule he gets. Heck, I next watched East of Eden and he had me all the way in spite if EVERY character crying EVERY episode. I totally believed his anguish at watching his brother turn against him and I cried with him. I've since backtracked to all his projects. I've seen everything up to and including Obsessed but have not seen the latest two movies (only because they're not available yet). Dr. Jin was the only problem that I had with his acting and found that to be more of a director/editor problem.

The director had a renowned neurosurgeon look horrified at the sight of blood on his hands and the editor held the scene well past the initial unseemly "horror" of it. If a director says "now, ExpertBrainSurgeon, look at the blood on your hands and have a horrified expression" and you do it and he didn't yell "cut" and the editor doesn't cut to the next scene before the ridiculously requested expression begins to look ridiculous...that's not the actor's fault.

(I did find him a bit too reserved in Obsessed but I think the character was supposed to be repressed like that. )

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Couldn't agree more. I find this SSH-trashing on Dramabeans totally hilarious and way too unjustified.

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the stills look breathtakingly beautiful.

i'm a bit out of the loop is this lee young ae's first kdrama since jewel in the palace?? can't be right?

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have these people commenting song seung heon even watched autumn n my heart?! he is a great actor and I loved him in my princess, and most especially East of Eden. I will be looking forward to this drama for both of them, actually her last film was the first ever k-drama I have watched.

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Can't wait for this drama. Will watch any movies/dramas with SSH in there. SSH is the reason I'm still watching K-dramas/movies. He is a brilliant actor and just happens that he is also gorgeous, isn't a bonus? Don't get it, why do people still complain?

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I'll tell you why, I'm guessing the reason why people still complain Jeannie is that they are jealous of this fine, multi-talented actor and his good looks which appeals to especially a lot of the women viewers old and young who follow his films in every country. He manages to keep himself physically fit and able to face any challenges that his film roles command and he seems to meet them every time. I am surprised that he had a bit of a problem with serving his mandatory military service a few years back. Glad to see him continue with his career, keep up with his personal life, and still try to appreciate his public popularity internationally. all we can do is applaud his efforts as an actor, wish him well, good life, good fortune, good times, and good health, hope he is secure and well protected. Aloha from Waikiki

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