Han Groo Out for Scholar Who Walks the Night, MBC Searches For New Female Lead

With the amount of positive and negative buzz around the potential casting of rising young actress Han Groo as the female lead for upcoming vampire sageuk Scholar Who Walks the Night, there’s going to be split reaction now that it’s confirmed she won’t be doing this drama. An update has been released on the casting of Night Scholar and sources confirm that Han Groo has declined the offer to be the cross-dressing Joseon heroine in love with a scholarly vampire.

To say she declined is likely the diplomatic way to save face, the unofficial reason is that MBC basically rescinded the offer on her and is looking for a bigger name female lead. The news of her casting hasn’t been as positively received by K-netizens, it appears she’s better liked among international fans but in Korea is still considered a stretch to cast as a leading lady of a prime time drama. Casting ups and downs appear to be the norm these days, and MBC has been mired in one casting problem after another, having just secured the leads for the Hong sisters drama Feeling Good and Warm, which will air before Night Scholar.

The two male leads in discussion for this drama remain Lee Jun Ki as the male lead titular vampire scholar and Changmin of DBSK as the Crown Prince second male lead. Industry sources say these two actors are basically confirmed and the news won’t come out until the new female lead is in place. I’ve heard some actress names being floated around for the female lead now that Han Groo is out and all are in their twenties.

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Han Groo Out for Scholar Who Walks the Night, MBC Searches For New Female Lead — 58 Comments

  1. That’s a bummer! I really loved her in Marriage Not Dating. She’s still young and talented. Maybe she’ll land something even better, I would really love to see her back on screen.

      • I agree with the k public on this one. If Lee Junki takes the lead, he should be matched with someone of his caliber. She hasn’t proven herself to the korean public on her acting and because she’s not an idol, she doesn’t come with the ready-made fan base. She’s just gonna have to work her way up.

      • Of course, we don’t know what really went down behind the scenes. For all we know, she really did decline the drama.

    • SO agree! And the fact that they signed on crappy actor Changmin and then turned around and decided Han Groo wasn’t good enough…! I hope this tanks big time, it would serve them right for casting by fanservice rather than talent.

    • Highly unlikely.

      C-netz wants Lee Da Hae desperately, her chemistry with Lee Jun Ki in My Girl was exceptional. Plus all the rumors that they dated back then but broke up nicely so are still chill with each other.

      DC K-netz claim MBC is talking with Lee Yoo Bi, Jin Se Yeon, and Baek Jin Hee. Take it with a grain of salt as usual.

      • So they rescinded the offer to Han Groo because the netizen reactions were mixed….but want to offer one to Jin Se Yeon who gets torn a new one every time news of her in a drama comes out because hr acting is so bad?

        I really hope it goes to one of the other two, they are better actresses.

      • OMG Jin Se Yeon, hell noooooooooo. Lee Jun Ki deserves better!
        Baek Jin Hee not a bad choice.

      • I hope they get Jin Se Yeon and Junki drops out so that I can forget this drama exists and see Junki in something I want to watch.

      • Ji Se yeon…. how does she keeping getting all these roles. I have seen her in many dramas,but each performance of hers is a blur,nothing stands out.Its like she walks out of one drama set to the other.
        TBH i don’t think she’s that terrible of an actor,she’s just….basic. She does the job,but she never seems brilliant at it.
        As for this drama,I vote for Moon Chae Won.

    • Me too! I don’T buy MBC’s reason for dropping Han Groo, after all she’s a proven talent and can hardly be worse than Ko Sung-hee and Seo Ye ji, two inexperienced actresses who did The Nightwatchman Journal, and neither one of them acted in a lead role before that drama, either.

      • I was okay about the whole article until I read the part that says MBC backed out and is hunting for more popular face. She is talented, that should be enough. Fans will always have this opinion or that, this girl can act way better than some really popular overrated faces, why is that not enough??

    • Kim Soo Hyun, Park Hae Jin, and Han Groo all rejected the offer to star in Scholar Who Walks the Night…Perhaps the script is bad.

      • After several actors and actresses declined Kill Me Heal me, I used just won’t judge the drama’s script until I’ve seen it.

  2. If MBC took her out of the running because of Knetz’s reaction, then that’s simply frustrating. Everyone’s gonna have to start somewhere. People in Korea don’t think she’s leading material yet but the doubt doesn’t stem from her lack of ability from previous projects but rather just skeptical of her being able to step it up on the big stage.

    Anyway, I don’t believe for a moment MBC gave her the boot. She probably has a better offer somewhere and isn’t ready for a sageuk yet. Plus with Changmin confirmed and LJK still just considering, I’d say it’s risky when she has other options.

    • if Lee Yoo Bi is one of the names in consideration for this role, it might be why she turned down the School 2015 lead role she was offered, to try out for this one.

      • @ Gina…

        But Lee YoBi is going to look like LJK’s daughter…she doesn’t look past 15….

        And Jin Se Yeon over Han Gro? Duhhhhh…are the producers of this drama on crack or what?

      • @sogazelle – she’s two years older than Han Groo and Lee Jun Ki is hardly old looking for his age.

        but yeah, the very idea of thinking that Han Groo was offered a role and then that same role might be offered to cardboard Jin Se Yeon….it’s like being offered chocolate and then having your chocolate taken away and replaced by a turd.

  3. You know what, I actually think she just picked something else. She had an article come out a week ago saying she was also considering Chaebol’s Daughter by Ha Myung Hee who she’s worked with twice in the past. This is probably a good move on her part – she’s got loads of potential but I have trouble seeing her in a sageuk.

    • I agree. I don’t think she’s that suitable for sageuks. Anyway, I’m not sure if it’s MBC backing out too, because from what I hear they are looking at people even less well-known/well-liked than she is. Chaebol’s Daughter is a great choice too. How many young stars get their first leading role in a big network as the female lead in a female-centric drama? The only thing is that she’ll have to bear the pressure of bringing in ratings.

    • I’m sure it’s a mutual decision, but still a decision that MBC also wanted, to look for another female lead. I’m iffy on Han Groo in a sageuk as well, not to mention being a cross-dressing heroine right off the bat. I also heard the heroine isn’t all that immediately likable, it’s going to take some massive onscreen charisma and acting chops to bring her to life.

      • Yunho was in a sageuk. This fact alone makes it hard to look at the “they aren’t talented enough for a sageuk” argument with a straight face.

      • @skelly: Not that she’s not “talented enough for a sageuk”. There’s no such thing. It’s just that she clearly has a modern face (imo).

      • It’s understandable, but really, for me, charisma and acting chops are things that Han Groo has got in spades. I love Lee Yubi and Baek Jin-hee, and could even agree that they might be better suited for a saguek, but I actually think Han Groo could do much more for a character that isn’t immediately likable. To me, she’s just a lot more charming and I feel her emotions more than any other actress her age. And since this is a fusion saguek, I really think she would have done wonderfully in the project.

  4. This is surprising. So she’s not as well-loved domestically as she is internationally? Well that’s interesting. Explains a lot why no matter how many international fans rave about her, she barely scratches mainstream material. This is an excellent case study of why international fans bellyache about the lack of recognition for seemingly unknown 20 something actress all the time. Now people wonder why other “undeserving” actors get casted all the time?

    Primetime drama has not always been the most apt vehicle for displaying how great you are as an actor anyway. The same thing can be observed of US local television. Cables are where actors truly thrive most of the time.

    • I would say that, with the exception of some jTBC dramas, cable dramas are about as mainstream as it gets. There’s just the freshness factor of seeing different actors than the usual crowd of popular people that get mentioned for every.single.role.

    • She drew positive notice for her work in supporting roles on the Big 3 as well as Marriage Not Dating. And all the netizen comments I have seen so far question her suitability for this particular role but acknowledge that she is a decent actress. Marriage Not Dating was quite the ratings success on cable, she’s not a complete unknown.

      and while prime time Big 3 isn’t the best place to display your skill, an actor with any level of ability at all should not suck in one of their weekday dramas. People shine on cable because those networks actually seem to prioritise acting ability over status somewhat. MBC/KBS/SBS…do not.

    • I think major networks need reliable actress that also well known to public since they’re free and the production costs is high, they need sponsor and it’s not easy if people didn’t knew the lead actress.

      Cable on the other hand is subscription so they can manage the cost or reduce the ep without much buzz. People mostly didn’t have high expectation and they have their own sponsor, some of it miss and if the rating is low, people will react normal and not as big if big 3 hit under 4/5%. There are many stories about cable that can’t get much profit but it is understandable with their audience response. When it big hit like reply or misaeng, people react diff and near end, they added the ep legth and PPL as impact or their popularity. But all that hope, sponsor and public attention in big 3 exist since last series ended when their schede is already fixated. So…I think it rational if a company also have consideration on public appeal. Also with recent event that big star power or fresh new hit actor can’t win public heart easily.

      • Seer this is what I don’t get. These top shot networks should already know that a big name doesn’t necessarily mean huge ratings otherwise a lot of the recent dramas would have had unbelievable ratings. And yet they continue to cast them even though knetizens seem to ask for quality dramas more and more. And I highly doubt knetizens complain about someone’s fame status when it comes to this otherwise they would watch those dramas even if the famous actor has no talent whatsoever.

      • @joly but that big name ia also the one that hard to get too,
        So I think it is not always just bad side when a company said something about wanting more popular actress since as much as they supposed to fix that perception, it containts the truth. I think there’s also a well received actress with great talent, ex: lee yu bi or many sec lead that haven’t graduated out there, kim yoo ri etc.
        A rejection also change the drama perception, maybe the script didn’t work great for her or the script is bad, they also not in good position.
        I also think an actress/actor should not much worry-but still can- about the co-star confirmation. In my personal opinion (really personal) if the drama success, it is team work. If one shine but can’t comprehend/match or give extra energy to take out the best with the other, it can’t be a succesfull drama.

      • I mix my comment
        I mean big star=big buzz also big backlash, nitpicking rate high
        Unpopular star=not much news but may get recognized in halfway if it really good
        A likeable star =steady progression
        Even much better if the stars acted really well

        When big 3 got PPL mostly in beginning production to halfway add or lost something, so they can advertizr while the shows still airs and relevant
        And cable is more flexible, they can add the time for PPL or ep and people usually have + feedback when cable got sponsor (oh finally a profit of them; kind of comment/perception)

    • US local television does not do drama that last for a certain period of time, what we have is tv series that would last for decades if the the viewers like it and most tv series today are crime dramas such as criminal minds,law and order svu that has been airing for years which does not need any good acting to be in that shows.As for cAble the only one who people watch is the walking dead and does not also need good acting to be in it. What actors or actresses do is attend acting workshop to polish their craft and Hollywood is not very interested in watching singers turned actors/actresses good example is Taylor swift movie which nobody watched.

      • The award winning TV shows do come from cable anyway. Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, and the like are all from cable. US doesn’t have idols turned actors–period. That simply ain’t the practice there. Idol-actors are far more common in East Asia, but definitely most prevalent in SK. Simply put, in terms of quality in both acting and production, the local US TV shows don’t exactly fare any better than those produced in SK. US is all about reality shows.

      • GOT and Mad Man got awards not mostly in acting but in scriptwriting, set design and yes peter dinklage won for supporting actor for GOT but he is already a known actor before Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad yes they won awards but Brain Cranston started in movies too and already a established actor. we do also have singers who tried to act but Americans want to see actors act and singers sing. We have reality shows but mostly in cAbles. The only reality show in local channel is survivor but we have almost 200 channels to watch and that includes 7 local so to say that most shows we hAve are reality is not true.

  5. Boo. I was going to check out this drama for Han Groo alone since I’m not a LJK fan. News of Changmin didn’t help either (I’d rather see Taecyeon for eye candy at least). Unless they’d cast Lee Da Hae, Lee Yoo Bi, or Baek Jin Hee, then goodbye show.

  6. Umm what? I don’t understand what is going on. Some say MBC is looking for someone famous, others that they’re looking for someone even more unknown than her or that actresses that seem to be on the same level of fame as Han Groo are being considered. Where’s the truth in all of this? Will we ever know?

  7. I like Han Groo… I am so disappointed… I love the idea of her pairing with Lee Joon-Gi. Hopefully they will do a rom-com together some time in the future… Now lets see who MBC chooses next…

  8. Hmm, I am not sure about casting and the effect before actually watch a drama, since as much as I saw LJK performance, I am sure he did great in Saeguk other than present-time drama so idk if han groo is perfect lead or not.
    Honestly, I really interested in this drama since the author+ilustratror work as the writer, and I found the story is strange fiction that take my interest and my helpless will to always try Saeguk-my fave k drama genre

    They knew best about cast and story, just like when live action actor cast and the manga/anime fans have actual comparison. But since I haven’t read the drama, so I keep my faith on the team. May the best luck on both, mbc and han groo, I do think the decision is mutual cause if she wants it, she already had time to decided.

  9. I guess they wanted a bigger name, wouldn’t be surprised if they would go for a popular idol. She has potential, give her a chance. She should do more projects like Girl K, she’s proved that she’s capable of strong physical roles and can pull it of.
    Jin se yeon, hopefully not her.

  10. Ohhh myyyyyy……seriously I love han groo and was so excited to check out this drama because of her…tsskk…she’s a very good actress and a very cute one too..I do have soft spot for jin se yeon though there are so many people hate her because of her acting. I don’t know why but I see some potential in her acting..she did good job in bridal mask. And I believe she can do better in her future dramas. Though I really missed her on the small screen, I have mixed feelings should this role is offered to her..I’m afraid that she might be bashed again for accepting the role that had been offered to another actress before, just like what had happened when she took the role which was offered to eunjung and eunjung was dropped off because of the controversy with t-ara. Netizens started to hate her starting from that incident and it became worse after she was the one being the 1st female lead of DS instead of kang sora whom already had strong fans base by then. As for baek jin hee, I still don’t really like her ..lee yoo bi is good but she’s a bit too young for lee jun ki. So lee yoo bi might be the best choice among the 3 names rumored. However..I hope there would be another more suitable actress to take this role..

    • i want PARK MIN YOUNG too !!! i love her so much in Sunkyunkwan Scandal, so i really want to see her again in sageuk dramas. i hope the PD will cast her :'( not Jin Se Yeon, please.

  11. I like Han Groo and I’m pretty bummed she dropped the role but at the same time I can’t picture her with Lee Jun Ki so it’s okay, there are probably better projects out there that’ll suit her more. But now that they’re considering other actresses, I think Baek Jin Hee would be the better choice among the names on the list. However, personally I’d want to see maybe Shin Min Ah (again) or Park Min Young (although it’ll be too similar to SKKS).

  12. too bad I like Han Groo I thought she one relatively new actresses who can act. I will give this drama a miss. Now that she is not in the picture, I am getting a vibe Jin Se Yeon might get casted! Good luck to LJK fans. 😀

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