Jang Hee Jin Offered Second Female Lead in Scholar Who Walks the Night

If I wasn’t writing about dramas then I would go into hibernation mode with Scholar Who Walks the Night and have someone else wake up me when the casting is finally FINALLY finalized. It’s now bordering on the theater of the absurd with this drama’s inability to find female leads, and that includes both the first and second leading ladies. There is a new name in the mix and this time it’s clear which role she’s up for. Jang Hee Jin is in talks to join Scholar as the second female lead, who also becomes the female antagonist of the story in the second half.

If she’s confirmed for the role, she would have a lot of scenes opposite leading man Lee Jun Ki, harboring a great love for him that isn’t reciprocated. Her character is a top gisaeng in the city who was raised since childhood by Lee Jun Ki’s vampire scholar after he finds her near death. I haven’t watched Jang Hee Jin all the way through a drama since Big in 2012 but since then she’s done weekend dramas Thrice Married Woman and My Daughter Seo Young. Her acting is just alright but looks and aura wise she definitely fits this particular part suitably. I’m cool if she ends up as the spurned angry gisaeng, it’s a meaty enough part she could steal the thunder of the leading lady.

It sounds like Lee Yoo Bi and Kim So Eun remain in consideration for this drama, and both now appear to be vying for the leading lady role what with Jang Hee Jin in talks for the second female lead. My personal preference between Lee Yoo Bi and Kim So Eun, for this particular role, leans towards Kim So Eun. She has an overall vibe that I think fits the fallen noble woman cross-dressing as a male bookseller, not to mention I just have a harder time picture Lee Yoo Bi romancing Lee Jun Ki.


Jang Hee Jin Offered Second Female Lead in Scholar Who Walks the Night — 25 Comments

  1. As much as I want to get my LYB fix, I concur that KSE seems to be the better fit for the role too. Casting them both opposite each other seems counterproductive, as they essentially project the same vibe. The gisaeng role would have been awkward to be given in either of them. At least this time this casting call sticks.

  2. Come to think of it, LYB already played a similar role before. Suzy was the “androgynous” female lead who was romancing a supernatural being while she is the gisaeng who was the childhood friend. Wait, come to think of it, this is very GFB.

    • Probably just a whole lot worse than GFB. That drama may have had a horrific ending but it had really high ratings and was pretty well received. This one is a disaster right from the word go.

      • GFB was equally a mess in the writing front, the best received parts were actually Choi Jin Hyuk’s (which is how he was able to build a 2 episode +some scenes cameo into a breakout role). And ironically, Lee Yoo Bi’s role as the gisaeng.

        This one will only be a disaster if they cast wrong for the leads. Lee Jun Ki has a good track record when it comes to choosing scripts so I am not ready to write this one off as a ‘mess’ without even seeing a single frame or a confirmed lead pair. If Kim So Eun and Lee Yoo Bi really are the candidates, I’ll be equally happy with either one of them since they have some acting ability and showed it before.

      • I found GFB pretty good until the ending screwed that over. But you are obviously referring to ifans with the ‘well received’ part. Because it is a known fact that LSG and Suzy’s pairing as well as the drama was very very well received in Korea, starting a huge trend with the red bracelets, being The most searched drama of 2013 in Daum and rating high consistently. It got great reviews and if you visit older articles in na we the consensus was pretty unanimous.

        This drama sounds like a mess from the boring premise and the casting woes that isn’t ready to go away. After it got rejected by both KSH and PHJ (who makes great drama choices IMO), I think this is potentially a train wreck worse than Nightwatchman’s Journal. But if it’s not, good for whoever’s interested, ofcourse

      • @Xxx The rating doesn’t always based on quality, and vice versa. And, KSH wasn’t courted for lead role since the beginning as the reps denied it as soon as the rumours spread. It was because this drama is produced by keyeast.

        For PHJ, he is an actor starred in weekend family dramas before YWCFS. Calling him doing great choices who was also 2nd lead in doctor stranger (which many ifans thought it as your beloved word “train wreck” despite the rating), compared to LJK, is just an exaggeration. PHJ is still a newbie to be a main lead for the major networks, like Han groo. He might be a victim like her rejected by the pd team, to get LJK.
        Now seeing the scripts for female lead role to 3 actresses (JSY, KSE, LYB) simultaneously is like exposing the truth behind all these rumours that the pd team rejecting the actors, instead of the actors rejecting the offers.

        This is certainly not due to the script. We know, right? The actors’ choices are not all about the scripts, a reality for k-dramas.

      • @pinkhudson

        Firstly I never claimed ratings to always be based on quality. But for GFB’s case, I very clearly said I liked it, which means I felt that the ratings it got was very well deserved.

        Secondly, KSH’s agency never denied his casting, they said it was too early to be talking about it because he was still filming/focusing for YFAS when the news came out. Considering that Keyeast is producing it, it would have most likely been offered to him and he didn’t take it up. I’ll trust his judgment – he’s KSH after all.

        Now onto PHJ. The last weekender he did was the very fabulous and critically acclaimed My Daughter is Seo Young. Not only did it rate brilliantly, it was also very loved in Korea and was of high quality. He also did YFAS and Bad Boys both of which were great dramas and again – well received and/or rated. PHJ’s casting for this drama was lauded by knetz so the thought that he was rejected by MBC is just hilarious. He rejected them, that’s pretty obvious to me. As for the actresses, these are all newbies and/or badly received people. If MBC can’t attract a bigger name it’s either they aren’t interested in one (unlikely) or they can’t get one to do it (very likely).

        My “beloved word: train wreck” is exactly what I see this to be. I’ll repeat myself, if it’s not – good for those who are interested. I’m here for the casting shenanigans which is lotsa fun.

      • @Xxx As for Keayeast, KSH isn’t their only lead actor. They still doesn’t put any of their actors from the start to date is the answer for it.

        Bad boys was a cable drama, and PHJ hasn’t done any lead role for prime-time slots. Undeniably, k-media wouldn’t write bad reviews esp. to good-rating drama. The individual viewers will have different opinions. So, it’s not the right to say GFB rating was well-deserved because you like it. Hmm, you left to mention about PHJ’s choice for doctor stranger though.

        You thought the thought of PHJ being rejected was hilarious. However, the BTS story of pd team is not meant to be MBC, but the bonds between Keyeast, Namooactors, SM and Sidus HQ for this drama. LYB seemed received both scripts like the rumours, and the School 2015 role went to her same agency Kim Sohyun after her rejection.

        About actresses, JSY may be badly received in overseas, she doesn’t as bad domestically though.

        Since LJK’s dramas are used to be well-received but are too male-eccentric, it is natural the teams didn’t search bigger name actresses. Because they might end up like what happened to the role of big-name SMA in AATM with LJK or not having enough screen-time. This is the only reason.

        The most importance for a drama is the acting, directing, and the writing instead of big names. One big name plus not famous but good cast is enough for a potential drama with male or female-centered plots. Star-studded cast can’t save a badly written drama.

      • @Xxx Aww, one of those who still believing about actors’s decisions on k-dramas are based on scripts, and arrogant for their biases. It’s just luck, guys.
        The evidence was just recently been seen in Hyun Bin’s choice for HJM vs. KMHM.

      • It’s funny to see those roaring they trusting their biases’ decisions, etc.. etc..
        The k-drama scripts are live-written. Usually they start off so-good, just those which continued to be awesome till the end are rare. Many big-name actors even can’t avoid always of the drawbacks of this live-shooting system.
        The actors just need to be lucky to meet the good writers for their decisions.

  3. Oh you have got to be kidding me! Just pick someone already!
    On another note, an drama that IS capable of casting, Descendants of the sun, is on its way to cast another character. Well other dramas aren’t, so might as well…The actor up for the part is not exactly an actor, but more of an idol: Onew from Shinee. I have no idea how he acts, but I thought people here would like to hear this piece of news.

    • I hope Onew is at least a better actor than Minho.

      I have no problem with dramas taking some time to cast, we have almost 3 months to go before this starts airing. And even Warm & Cozy which is the drama that precedes this, went through several rounds of lead role rejection by potential leading men and didn’t lock down a cast until like 6-7 weeks before first airing, but no one seems to think that will be a mess. And Heirs cast like 6 months in advance and still sucked.

      I just hope the final choice is between Kim So Eun and Lee Yoo Bi and MBC doesn’t go running off to anyone else with that lead role now.

      • I have a feeling they will run to several someone else’s before they pick someone tbh. And some may not think all the casting stuff for the other dramas was a mess, but I certainly do. I don’t think writers have ever had so much trouble locking down a cast for so many dramas.
        Oh and imo, for the Heirs, the problem wasn’t with the cast, it was with the writer. Thankfully she’s not writing Descendants of the Sun alone. She’s got a less famous co-writer next to her, but equally important when it comes to writing decisions, so maybe we’ll have an enjoyable drama to gush about this fall.

  4. Yea seriously, the thought of LJK romancing LYB sounds so *cringe* to me. She’ll look like his daughter instead of a romantic interest so whoever it ends up being, I hope LYB is out because LJK is already in.

    This drama feels so much like Nightwatchman’s Journal instead of say, SOGC. I expect it to tank, but who knows?

  5. Yeah I’d rather have Kim So Eun it’s not about acting abilities but Lee Yoo Bi just has too much of a baby face to be starring opposite of Lee Jun Ki… I’m surprised that this is happening though 2 actresses fighting to be the lead in a drama? I thought directors just offers the lead to 1 actress not 2! Unless they’re auditioning or something..

  6. why is everyone behaving as if Lee Yoo Bi is 15 years old and not 25? Lee Jun Ki looks pretty youthful himself, and she already proved she had the potential to look good opposite an even older costar i.e. Lee Pil Mo in Pinocchio. Han Groo was even younger, no one here had a problem with that pairing and anyway hanboks tend to age girls up a little.

    Of course I would like it if Kim So Eun took the role, she is a sageuk veteran and could pull off the androgyny.

  7. Have no problem acting wise between Lee Yoobi and Kim Soeun. So far, both are solid in sageuks. But in terms of face value, KSE wins. Not because LYB is not good looking enough. She is indeed very charming, pretty and cute but I agree that she is so babyfaced to be starring next to Lee Jun Ki. My vote is for KSE but still hoping LYB will be appearing in the drama with a different role.

    • Kim So Eun also has higher public recognition thanks to her earlier dramas and WGM, so it could definitely work in her favour.

  8. This is outta left field, but I really liked Jang Hee Jin in Myung Wol She was the only consistently reliable character in the show. Sure it was a whiny part, but she never missed a step during all the strange plot thingies it did to us. I think I was actually pulling for her for a happy ending.

  9. I am so confused because I thought Kim So Eun was up for the supporting role but maybe they are now considering her for the leading role? I don’t blame them though. She should be considered for the leading role to begin with but that’s just me.

    Oh this is a mess. With that said, if I had to choose my choice would be Kim So Eun. I think she can play the character well and she’ll look good next to Lee Jun Ki. I approve of their pairing!!! 🙂

  10. I’ve seen Big, but I can’t recall Jang Hee Jin in the slightest bit. I think I’ve pushed any recollection of her in the back of my mind and all I’m reminded is how cringe-worthy the drama was. That aside, I think she exudes a powerful aura that can be a good fit for the gisaeng role.

    As for the leading lady, I’m part of the minority. I’d like to give Lee Yoo Bi a chance. She turned down the lead role for School 2015 and as they say, everything has a reason. Maybe this can give her the challenge that she needs to grow as an actress. Besides, I don’t know how Kim So Eun’s schedule will pan out if she accepted this. I was told that her movie with Aaron Yan, which will jump into filming in mid-April, will take more than 40 days to film so I suppose it will end some time in June. Since this will be airing in July, won’t they start filming in June? We’ll see.

  11. she is a decent actress but i remember not liking any of the characters she played. Myung Wol, Whats Up, and whatever she is in Big. i guess its both her characters and acting style that i dont like. i hope we get a different second female lead but it seems unlikely

    watching for LSH and KSE. having LJK gracing my eyes with his fine acting is a bonus. hopefully the writing is solid(a must or else no matter how good the acting are, will drop it like hot potato)

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