The Man Who Became King confirms main pairing Yeo Jin-gu, Lee Se-young
The drama remake of multi-million dollar grossing film Gwanghae, The Man Who Became King (also known as Masquerade) has confirmed Yeo Jin-gu (Reunited Worlds) in the titular role, with Lee Se-young (Hwayugi) as his queen. After wavering between drama title names (Gwanghae, The Queen’s Man), it looks like they’ve settled on The Man Who Became King.
If you haven’t seen the movie yet (you should go see it, I highly recommend it), it’s essentially an eloquent prince-and-pauper story set in Joseon. In the drama, Yeo Jin-gu will play the dual roles of King Yi Heon (later known as Gwanghae) and peasant clown Ha-sun. After having lived his life constantly paranoid and on guard against palace intrigue and assassinations, Yi Heon will trade places with Ha-sun who looks exactly like him when a poisoning attempt goes too far (which varies from the plot of the film).
Ha-sun is an orphan who lost his biological parents to a plague, and he begged and wandered the country with his adopted sister, until they were almost at death’s door from starvation. An acting troupe saved them, and ever since then, he’s been a clown-actor who fears nothing on the stage. By a series of circumstances, he ends up as a fake king on the Jade Throne, and despite his best efforts, he falls for the king’s wife, Queen So-woon, played by Lee Se-young.
Yi Heon, who had never known love from his parents, found peace when he married So-woon. However, due to his paranoia and the constant palace deceit, his relationship with her deteriorated. So when he and Ha-sun trade places, he’ll be placed in a position where he’s envious of his alter ego as So-woon (who knows nothing about the switcheroo) begins falling in love with this new side of her estranged “husband.”
The drama production team has revealed that they want to tell this story in a new way—showing the perspective that the throne is not a place to wield power selfishly and absolutely, but rather, it is a lonely place of sacrifice for the people. Already I’m getting the heart-wrenching feels!
No doubt Yeo Jin-gu will be excellent as always, and Lee Se-young is no stranger to sageuks (The King’s Dream, Dae Jang Geum) so I have high hopes. Because they’re both well-known child stars, I thought they may have crossed paths earlier. They do have I Miss You on both their filmographies, but Yeo Jin-gu was only in the childhood scenes, while Lee Se-young had a supporting role in the present-day scenes. So it looks like this will be the first time they’ll be acting with each other.
The Man Who Became King is set to air on tvN early next year.
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