Seo Kang-joon up for first lead role romancing Lee Yeon-hee
Seo Kang-joon, one of the It Boys of 2014 (for appearances in Sly and Single Again, Roommate, and What’s With This Family), looks to be expanding his repertoire with sageuk with MBC’s upcoming drama Hwajeong, which was once titled Splendid Politics before it switched to Princess Jeongmyeong. Hwajeong is a shortened form of the term that means Splendid Politics, but for whatever reason they aren’t going with that full title, so let’s just call it Hwajeong and be done with it.
This is the drama that takes a twist on the usual interpretation of Prince Gwanghae (dogged by his status in being born to a concubine, but considered a good king), painting him as the bad guy who usurped the crown and displaced the rightful bloodline. Lee Yeon-hee plays the only princess of that ousted direct line who suffers at the hands of Gwanghae’s political ambitions, while Cha Seung-won takes on the role of Gwanghae (who is also her half-brother). Now that oughtta be exciting.
Seo Kang-joon (who is in the final negotiation stages) has been offered a leading role, the eldest son of a prominent aristocratic family who has a loveline with Lee Yeon-hee’s Princess Jeongmyeong character… although betrayal is also in their future. Lee Sung-min (Misaeng) has also been cast.
I’m surprised to see Seo Kang-joon graduating to leading roles already; even though his isn’t the main lead, he’s still one of the primary cast members, and he’s still so new on the scene—he debuted in 2013 in a web drama and his first role in a full-length series was as a tertiary character in last year’s Suspicious Housekeeper. The thing is, if he were a sparkling acting talent I could understand him bursting on the scene and shooting to leading status, but Seo Kang-joon is… not sparkling acting talent.
I do think he has quite a lot of natural charm that does translate onscreen, but I fear that he’s just relying on that charm, because my impression of him from Housekeeper and Sly and Single Again is that he was coasting. And in a dramatic sageuk opposite Cha Seung-won, man, I fear for that imbalance. Plus with Lee Yeon-hee showing such a dramatic and recent improvement, I’d really like to see her stretch herself with a more experienced co-star.
Ah, well. I won’t write Seo Kang-joon off entirely based on a couple middling roles; he’s still young and worse actors than him have become better over time. Hwajeong will be a Monday-Tuesday drama that premieres in the spring, after Shine or Go Crazy (which replaces Pride and Prejudice).
- Cha Seung-won courted to join Lee Yeon-hee in MBC sageuk
- Lee Yeon-hee up for historical palace melodrama
- Park Hyung-shik, Seo Kang-joon, Nam Ji-hyun courted for What’s With This Family
- Seo Kang-joon to make movie debut in My Love, My Bride
- Sly and Single Again: Episode 1
- Suspicious Housekeeper: Episode 1