Jang Geun-seok, Im Ji-yeon, Yeo Jin-gu for Joseon gambling drama
A gambling drama set in Joseon? Well it’s not the same old, same old, I’ll give it that. SBS has a new series in the works called Jackpot (Daebak), a fusion sageuk described as a “Joseon All In” about a card shark prince who dreams of revenge and risks everything to go up against the king and reclaim the throne. Jang Geun-seok (Pretty Man) is being courted for the leading role, after a year spent on hiatus from the industry following a tax evasion scandal. It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen Jang Geun-seok in a drama (and a REALLY long time since he’s been in a good drama), so I hope this’ll be a turning point for him if he signs on.
The new series comes from PD Nam Gun of Mask and writer Kwon Son-gyu of Goddess of Fire Jung-yi and Warrior Baek Dong-soo, and plans to take great liberties with history in telling the story of a prince-turned-commoner and a king, who put the throne on the line in their battle against each other. Um, that’s not really how the monarchy works (you can’t just, yunno, win the throne in a card game), but I’m sure it’ll be a little more nuanced than that.
Jang Geun-seok is up for the lead role as Joseon’s greatest tazza, or card shark, a man with a longstanding grudge in his heart. He’s a prince by bloodline, but forced to live a tragic life as a peasant, and uses his sharp brain to become a master at tujeon, the card game you always see in sageuks with the long skinny sticks.
Yeo Jin-gu (Orange Marmalade) is considering an offer to play a young King Yeongjo, which is really hard to wrap my mind around. Yeongjo is a king portrayed in so many dramas and films, but he’s almost always old because we’re used to seeing him as Crown Prince Sado’s father or Jeongjo’s grandfather in most stories. Yeo Jin-gu would be portraying him as a proud, competitive, vicious young man who never caved to his father’s scolding or bowed to anyone without just cause. I suppose this makes him the villain, but how am I not supposed to root for Yeo Jin-gu?
Also up for a leading role is Im Ji-yeon (High Society), who’s been cast as a character who lives solely to kill the king. She has a deep grudge against the royal family, and slowly takes steps to get closer to the palace. She has no interest in men or anything else outside of her single-minded focus on revenge, which frankly makes me more interested in her character.
The rivalry will build to an ultimate bet with the throne and all of Joseon on the line… which may have been a better plot with a fictional king as an opponent? ‘Cause, not to burst any bubbles, but Yeongjo ruled till he was a grandpa in his eighties. Just sayin’.
Jackpot follows Six Flying Dragons on Mondays and Tuesdays beginning in late March.
- Sung Joon and Yeo Jin-gu courted for new film
- High Society: Episode 1
- Orange Marmalade: Episode 1
- Yeo Jin-gu falls in love with vampire for Orange Marmalade
- Jang Geun-seok leaves Three Meals a Day in wake of tax evasion scandal
- Song Seung-heon’s anguished love affair in Obsessed
- Pretty Man: Episode 1
- Jang Geun-seok: “Just Crazy”