An imperial wedding for An Empress’s Dignity
One more week left until SBS’s An Empress’s Dignity airs. Judging by the newly released teaser, the tone is much darker and suspenseful than I thought it would be. Jang Nara (Go Back Spouses) stars as a cheerful musical actress named Oh Sunny, whose entire life changes when she marries into the royal family of Korea in this alternate reality where the nation is governed by a constitutional monarchy. However, everything is not as it seems, and she soon discovers there’s a mystery afoot, when the dowager empress suddenly dies under suspicious circumstances.
Photos of the beautiful traditional marriage ceremony have been released, and a bit of it can also be seen in the teaser below. Jang Nara and her husband, the emperor played by Shin Sung-rok (Return) look gorgeous in their wedding hanbok. Apparently, many of the props such as the decorations and food were custom-made for this shoot because of the unique setting, which is a reimagining of a modern-day Joseon empire. Although they could have populated the crowd via CG, they got 300-plus extras to be part of the wedding ceremony. The production team really pulled out all the stops on this—even the fireworks are 100% real!
An Empress’s Dignity hooked me with its elegant traditional wedding photos, but it really got me salivating with the stills of Choi Jin-hyuk’s (Devilish Joy) biceps. Dang, he looks good… He’s playing a royal bodyguard who is seeking revenge for the death of his mother. In the teaser, there’s multiple shots of him fighting others in order to uncover the truth behind his mother’s death.
The teaser begins with the wedding ceremony, and Sunny (Jang Nara) introduces herself as the empress of Korea as she walks down the aisle. But soon it cuts to scenes of violence and murder, introducing Choi Jin-hyuk’s character. A copy flashes onscreen: “The start of a bloody revenge against the royal family.” And the teaser continues, showing that the emperor is not who he seems, and neither is the dowager empress, played by Shin Eun-kyung (Village: Secret of Achiara).
A desperate narrator says that there’s someone to kill amongst the royal bodyguards, and another warns that everyone is being deceived by the emperor. The dowager empress kicks away a girl who grovels by her feet, saying that she’s pathetic and low. A more determined narrator concludes that the only way to take revenge is to destroy everything, and a second copy flashes that says “Destroy the fallen, corrupt empire.”
Interspersed are quick scenes of Choi Jin-hyuk and Jang Nara’s first meeting, and cuts of the wedding going terribly awry. A corpse with a lavish sapphire and diamond necklace is found, and it’s shown that it’s Jang Nara’s necklace. The teaser ends with her voiceover: “I don’t know anything anymore, the emperor or the royal palace.”
Wow, much more spooky than I thought it would be. When I heard Jang Nara would be playing a musical actress in a mystery-murder plot, my mind went straight to About Time and Mystery Queen, but An Empress’s Dignity seems much darker in tone with all the foreboding language about corruption and betrayal.
You know who wasn’t in the teaser? Lee Elijah (Miss Hammurabi). She’s playing the haughty official royal press secretary, who overcame much competition and a rigorous exam to rise to that rank in the palace. Stills have been released of her character during her student days. Although she looks gentle in the photos, the character description given says she’s a ruthlessly ambitious woman whose goal is to make the emperor her man and attain the highest social status.
Wednesday-Thursday drama An Empress’s Dignity, written by Kim Soon-ok (Temptation of Wife) and directed by PD Joo Dong-min (Return), will begin airing on SBS on November 21.
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