Ha Ji Won Confirmed for 60-episode MBC Anniversary Sageuk Hwatu

I seriously cannot recall a year in K-dramas where there are so many sageuks in every shape and form, from primetime 24-episoders to daily dramas to cable thrillers. MBC especially is really stacking its line up with an unending line up of sageuks in the Mon-Tues timeslot – starting with the anniversary 50 episode sageuk Horse Doctor which premiered in late 2012 and continued all the way through the first quarter of 2013, which led to Gu Family Book, which paves the way for Goddess of Fire Jeongi. This sageuk chain looks to continue into 2014 now that Ha Ji Won has been confirmed as the lead in the upcoming mega-sageuk Hwatu. When I say mega, I mean mega at a whopping 60 episodes! MBC anniversary dramas are always long, Horse Doctor was on the short side with 50 episodes, but Queen Seon Deok ended at 62 episodes while Lights and Shadow went for 64 episodes. And who can ever forget slogging through 81 episodes of Jumong, I swear when I emerged for air I thought a new decade had dawned since when I started watching. Writing will be the duo behind History of the Salaryman, Incarnation of Money, and Giant, which was a 50-some episode anniversary drama on SBS and hands down their best work ever. Directing is the shitastic hack PD who did Personal Taste and Dr. Jin. The drama centers around the legendary historical person of Empress Ki of the Yuan Dynasty, a Goryeo high-born woman who was forced to marry the Yuan Emperor and ended up becoming a powerful figure in the Yuan court. This sounds so much like Queen Seon Deok, and I still remember what a crack drama that was (not great but addicting). Now the million dollar question is – who is A-list enough and available and age-appropriate to play her leading man when this drama starts filming in August for an October premiere? My picks are below.

Jang Hyuk. He was the original lead of Secret Garden so this has been a pairing I’ve been dying for since SG got cast. Plus Jang Hyuk in a sageuk (see Chuno) is gold.

Joo Jin Mo. Do I even need to explain. He was fantastic as the gay King in A Frozen Flower.

Lee Bum Soo. So he can erase Dr. Jin and IRIS 2 from his memory. And if he gets cast, it’ll be the third time he works with this writing team.

Strongest Chil Woo isn’t exactly a proper sageuk, Eric can bring it if he wants to.

Kang Ji Hwan. He lost Faith after the cast re-shuffling but he would have been fantastic in it, not to mention its been years since he’s done another sageuk after Hong Gil Dong.

Bae Soo Bin. His cross-dressing consigliere in Jumong was memorable and scene-stealing, he’s totally due to return to sageuk splendor.

Cha Seung Won. Come back to dramas, dude!

Jumong proves he has the stamina for long long LONG sageuks but it’s kinda been there-done that for Song Il Gook when you also add in Kingdom of the Wind.

Jo In Sung. I will never give up trying to pair them together again. A sageuk would be the coolest option.

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Ha Ji Won Confirmed for 60-episode MBC Anniversary Sageuk Hwatu — 54 Comments

  1. I’m guessing that the male lead would play the Yuan emperor and the centre of the story will take place in Yuan dynasty rather than Koryo?

  2. My pick would be Cha Seong Won, Joo Jin Moo or Bae Soo Bin. If any of them sign on, I’d be a happy camper no matter how long this is…

  3. Cha Seung Won or Song Il Guk pleaseeee
    i’m currently watching Emperor of the Sea and SIK is great in it, i think i’m gonna follow with Jumong when it ends
    CSW was great in Blades of Blood… those fighting scenes were amazing

  4. I would love to see her paired with any of them! Though I would also love it if Won Bin decided to return to dramaland (I mean 11 years is really TOO LONG!), they could be an awesome pairing! Plus he’s badass enough he could do anything 🙂 and he really needs to get back to work! I mean its been THREE YEARS since he’s been in anything he needs to get over his bout of lazy Bins!

    She and Kang Ji Hwan could be a winning pair as well though, and I love Joo Jin Mo and Cha Seung Won in almost anything so I would dig that as well!

    Jo Hyun Jae could fit the bill too, help get over the disastrous Ad Genius Lee Tae Baek.

    Also maybe not as the lead, though it would be awesome and really I am just excited to see him in anything is Kim Jae Wook he has sageuk experience in Kingdom of the Winds.

  5. Jang Hyuk! like koala i also looking forward to this pairing. not really like HJW but i agree she is one of the best actress. actually i’m dying to know what is your thought miss K when this news broke in another blog before about her leading man. hehehe.

  6. Bae Soo Bin!! But I’m so tired of saeguks and it’s not one of my favorite genres. I am so starved of regular rom-coms that I will jump on the next rom com ship!

  7. I would love to see HJW with jo in sung together again because I love memories of Bali. Their chemistry is awesome!
    But I think Joo Jin moo is the other great option for that role.

  8. I accept Jo In Sung!! Koala,you’re just like me,,never tired to pair these two together again..their chemistry is beyond word in WHIB..

  9. It would be nice to see Joo Jin Mo in a drama again that does not suck also I’d like to see a production that for once casts the aweome Bae Soo Bin as a lead

  10. im not a fan of saguek dramas but i would love to see HJW to be paired in this drama with GONG YOO!!!! i wish drama Gods will listen to me..hehehe..i could sense that both will have an amazing chemistry! i really hope the production team, writer, and director will choose Gong Yoo as the male lead..

  11. I love Ha Ji Won and think she brings the chemistry no matter who her male lead is. But if I have to choose for this project and her, my order of preference would be: Jang Hyuk, Kang Ji Hwan, Bae Soon Bin, and Cha Seung Won. I love Jo In Sung, and I love him with HJW, but something about 60 ep Goryeo era sageuk just doesn’t say Jo In Sung to me. I don’t have an opinion on Joo Jin Mo or Erik, and while I love Kim Beom Soo, I just don’t get a pairing of him with HJW, doesn’t work for me visually.

    Truthfully, there is no actor alive I’d rather watch in a sageuk that Song Il Kook. He is pure sageuk crack to me. But I think he might be starting to look too old to work believably with HJW, which makes me sad because I would like them together, but I just don’t see him dedicating himself to a 60 ep sageuk anymore now that he has 3 babies. But if I’m wrong, I won’t complain! No matter how it goes down, I’m dying to see this and hope it is readily available with English subs, but I won’t hold my breath.

    • … Song Il Gook does not look too old for Ha Ji Won (who is also starting to show her age) and even if he did that’s the right dynamic for sageuks in particular. It sure beats being paired up with baby faced little boys.

  12. I’m so excited already!!! I would really love if it’s anyone among Kang Ji Hwan, Jo In Sung or Song Il Gook. Or I can be totally delusional and hope for the kdrama gods to pair her up again with Hyun Bin (After all he’s doing a sageuk movie, so why not a sageuk drama, too!)

  13. Joo Jin Mo! Please! I need to see him on my screen weekly. Also he hasn’t done a decent drama for years! Films don’t give me enough time with him. He totally rocked it in A Frozen Flower and he could do the same here if given the chance. Musa the Warrior was pretty good as well.
    I guess chemistry wise it doesn’t matter who the male lead is as Ha Ji Won manages to make all her on screen partnerships work, no matter how dubious we were when casting was announced.

  14. Eric was horrible in Strongest Chilwoo so I hope he isn’t chosen. I like Jang Hyuk, Song il Gook, Bae Soo Bin, Lee Bum Soo but I will be over the moon if they cast Lee Seo Jin and this time they have a happy ending!!!!!! I’m still scarred from Damo.

    • I. Can’t. Even. Chae Ok and her Doronim. T_____T

      I don’t think Lee Seo Jin will be in a sageuk where he’s not the headlining character. This one is female-lead centric, and his last sageuk was Gyebaek.

  15. Oh my. All your picks sent shivers down my spine. They all have the acting prowness. If the writing and directing proves up to par- it will really be epic.

    If they put Jo In Sung with HJW the screen will combust. He was hotness personified in A Frozen Flower.

  16. OMG! OMG! OMG!

    HJW’s back!!!!!!! Thank you, drama gods ! *bows*

    My pick would be among Kang Ji Hwan, Cha Seung Wo, Jo Jin Mo or Jang Hyuk ( I’d also add Uhm Tae Wong). In this long list of fine dudes they are the only ones who posses the required acting talent and masculine gravitas to do sageuk properly. I believe all the others are fine actors but somehow don’t fit the image of a proper sageuk actor in my head. Very often they cast pretty boys/men in roles which require maturity and a very powerfull aura. The end result is something like a special thematic edition of a Barbie (Ken?) doll – you get the super accurate pretty costumes and settings but all you see is a gorgeous, wodden figure which fails to move you and make you sympatize.

    And besides, their leading lady will be Ha Ji Won. She can crush you with a wave of powerfull feelings with a single look in her eyes. At the very least, she deserves the same level of skills and talent from her leading man.

    I am a bit ambivalent about Jo In Sung. I, just like most of you, would love to see them together again, but where can they fit his favourite brand of crazy, neurotic leading man in a sageuk narrative?!

  17. Hmm, my choice of leadingman for Ha Ji Won is a bachelor actor… since this is a 60 plus episodes… i would also want Ha Ji Won to find Love in her drama… who might be that actor?

  18. I pick Joo Jin Mo. I think he’d be pretty awesome with ha ji won. Of course, I would sooo love to see hjw and lee seo jin again in a sageuk but I agree with koala that he wouldn’t take it unless he was the titular role. I couldn’t get enough of them (so sad) in damo. One of the sageuk duos where I liked both halves. 🙂

  19. ohhhh. As much as I love Jang Hyuk, I think I have to go with preferring Joo Jin Mo or Bae Soo Bin. Of course, I’m also stuck thinking of how well Kim Hye Ri played the Empress in Shin Don.

  20. Oh God please let it be Cha Seung Won! I can already imagine him as the hot Yuan emperor. I think she matches hjw well.

  21. Ha Ji Won is alright… she looks great in pictorials but her visuals on motion screen are a bit lacking. All her facial flaws are shown in HD. But she is a great actress with great skills and chemistry. I would like to see her with Jang Hyuk, Lee Bum Soo or Joo Jin Mo. Those 3 are my favorites.

    • That’s what I love about her, I’ve noticed that she doesn’t mind being dirty, full of oil, or wear a sack of clothing and even having less make-up…so long as she delivers her acting skills. 🙂 I love to see her partner with Jung Woo Sung. (highly unlikely since I haven’t seen him do a Saguek)a girl can wish.

      • No, I was talking about the usual, you know, when people grow older, they get wrinkles and stuff. I see a lot of wrinkles and pores when I see her dramas in HD and her skin tone is darker than what is shown on pictorials. But yes, she is an amazing actress with top-notch acting skills.

  22. I love Ji-won. So no matter who the male lead is, I am still watching it!! So excited!

    Somehow, I had a feeling the male lead does not play a big role here, so may not require A-list actor. Hopefully, I am wrong though!

    • Your intuition is correct. No A list actor would want to be cast in a production that is clearly a star vehicle for the female lead.

      I’m thinking we’ll be seeing someone like Bae Soo Bin or Kim Min Joon.

      • Omg! Now that you’ve mention Kim Min Joon, YES! They both have a fiery chemistry in Damo. 🙂

  23. Oh we’re was waiting HJW appearance again! Anyway because she is an excellent & good actress, SHE’s suitable to any of our current HUNK (six pack) KOREAN actor. We truly adore her so much! Thanks KOALA!

  24. Ha Ji Won, Yay! Happy to see her on screen again 🙂
    I would love for her to be paired up with…

    Jung Woo Sung
    Gong Yoo
    Goo Soo
    Oh Ji Ho

    Japanese/Chinese Actor – Takashe Kaneshiro – that would make a lovely pair don’t you think?

  25. hahaha love all the comments given .I love Ha Ji Won in Hwang Jini…but the other dramas just so so…can’t wait for the choice of leading man…will wait and see..like the idea of Takeshi Kaneshiro…

  26. I would die to see her pair up with my Kim Nam Gil! My dream pairing of Bidam-Damo Chae Ok! That would be daebak! But KNG is supeeerrbusy to have an upcoming May27 drama Shark and a Running Backwards movie and another Pirate movie on the talks this year.

  27. I would like HJW to be paired with Jumong, JIS,KJW and JJM. She has great chemistry with all her co-actors even with young actors.I just hope that they will change the PD although I enjoyed watching Personal Taste.

  28. HA ji Won and Jo IN sung!!! Obcourse;) Love pair up started from memories in bali… CHEMISTRY IS THERE!!! Eye candy mi amore jo in sung!! Love seeing them again together…. Me chuwa!!! Lol but if not… Cha seung Won would do it good!!!!or hyun bin!!! Lol

  29. Love to see Jo In Sung again, but since it is a female-centric IDK if this pairing will work for this drama. But I kinda feel this drama is going to be political, in which case, the guy shouldn’t matter unless they all go QSD to boost the ratings:) How about JKS again?^^

  30. HJW is so beautiful,young with gorgeous complexion! Pairing multi talented HJW with Jo In Sung again will be perfect another high rating pts drama….Cheers! Poor JIS and Song in that recent drama dit not strike off…sigh!

  31. first time comment here^^
    well can’t wait for HJW comeback in dramaland^^
    my choices would be Joo Jin Moo, Cha Seung Won or Song Il Gook

  32. I want Ha Ji-Won to be paired up with single/unattached lead actors, who knows they might fall in love while shooting “HWATU”. Kidding aside, I’ve always wanted to see Ha Ji-Won act again with her “DAMO” lead actors Lee Seo-Jin & Kim Min-Joon. They all look good together on screen and they are great actors. It’s been 10 years since they worked on “DAMO” & it would be great to see them again in “HWATU” as their REUNION project 🙂

    • yeah! Damo cast reunion with a happy ending this time. Jo In Sung, Jang Hyuk or Cha Seung Won are my other choices. Oh, & just like you, I also want jiwonnie to fall in love…kekeke.

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