Kang Ha Neul the First Male Lead to Join Moon Lovers, the K-drama Version of Bu Bu Jing Xin

Now this is what I call a promising first step in drama casting. Even without a network or time slot secured yet, PD Kim Kyu Tae‘s upcoming K-drama Moon Lovers slated for 2016 has gotten a lot of attention for being the K-drama adaptation of Chinese period novel Bu Bu Jing Xin. Most know the story from the C-drama adaptation starring now married stars Nicky Wu and Liu Shi Shi, but the C-version was itself adapted from the source novel by writer Tong Hua.

PD Kim is no slouch in his own name recognition department, having directed It’s Okay, It’s Love and That Winter, the Winter Blows among many of his popular works, so having him adapt BBJX to a K-drama is as promising a pick as any. The drama now has the first acting name attached to the project – rising movie and drama actor Kang Ha Neul is in talks for one of the male leads. A scant two years ago his name as a big drama lead would cause consternation since he was such an unknown, but since then his star power has risen astronomically and he did five movies this year alone.

Moon Lovers has secured the first ever US production company co-funding, and currently has a screenwriter lined up in Jo Yoon Young who is best known for writing Hallyu classic Save the Last Dance for Me, which is stupid as all out but is the drama vehicle that introduced now married stars Ji Sung and Lee Bo Young so I remember that drama fondly. As seen above, BBJX the story has six male leads and five female leads, all critically important to the overall story line, so if PD Kim plans to keep the adaptation the same in scope then Kang Ha Neul is a good first addition but he will have to continue picking acting talent as solid as Kang Ha Neul.


Kang Ha Neul the First Male Lead to Join Moon Lovers, the K-drama Version of Bu Bu Jing Xin — 49 Comments

    • The story focuses on the royal family, the imperial court, and the fight for the throne, so there are multiple leads of course. Because of everything, the storyline is a bit complicated, but I’ll try to somewhat simplify it.

      Due to an accident, a girl from today travels back in time to the Qing Dynasty during Emperor Kangxi’s rule. She finds herself with the identity of Ma’ertai Ruoxi, the younger sister of the second wife of the Eighth Prince. She tries to return to modern times, but stops when her attempts don’t work, and chooses to focus on surviving, despite her different views and values. Due to her status, she meets the princes: the cold, yet caring Fourth Prince; the calm and calculating Eighth Prince; the loyal and brave Thirteenth Prince; the mean and vicious Ninth Prince; the funny and block-headed Tenth Prince; and the warm and nice Fourteenth Prince.
      Seeing the distance between her sister Ruolan and the Eighth Prince, she tries to help her sister win his affection, causing conflict with the Eighth Prince’s first wife Minghui and the first wife’s younger sister Mingyu. After entering the palace and working her way up, she becomes acquainted with Emperor Kangxi as well. While on a trip out with Emperor Kangxi and the princes, Ruoxi meets Mongolian Princess Minmin, whom falls in love with the Thirteenth Prince.
      Because she knows the futures of each prince, Ruoxi tries to not offend them, especially the Fourth Prince, who will be the next emperor. But despite her knowledge, Ruoxi finds herself caught in a love triangle between the Eighth Prince and the Fourth Prince and in their struggle for power.

      There are a lot of details that I left out, but hopefully that is good enough.

  1. Very excited since we know the remake or adaptation seem always failed in k-dramas’s hands. Kang Ha Neul is a good choice. I wonder what kinda role he’ll play. And I’m sure this drama will have loads of eye candies too. I hope they’ll cast actors that can act, no matter idols or original actors.

  2. so it’s gonna be on Joseon Dynasty or something? I don’t think it’s going to be as good as the original. Plus, when it comes to politic and princes fighting for the thrown, Chinese dynasties are the best and most interesting.

      • I think Joseon dynasty as a setting is definitely inferior to Qing. And I really do prefer watching all the political maneuvers to watching the romance. Then again I didn’t think that BBJX had much political intrigue anyway.

      • That’s too bad. I grew up watching political dramas and loved them because that taught me history, culture, and strategy. And I don’t mean the “political intrigue” dramas that popped up the past decade that are really ridiculous romance stories set in palaces that barely touch upon politics. Very few of these dramas can compare to the great historical dramas such as Tale of Three Kingdoms, Empress of Northern Wei, etc.

        Unfortunately, these dramas rarely get subbed and almost never promoted because they don’t star idol actors. Hopefully, with this year’s Nirvana in Fire, a trend for quality and true political intrigue ancient dramas will start to happen with “idol” actors.

    • I’m not well-versed in korean history so the only timeline in Joseon period which have a similar setting that I can think of is Yi Seong Gye and his sons. It seems to me that Joseon has stricter regulations on their king’s successor. Unless there’s external strife or the Queen is unable to produce a heir, the crown prince must be the son of the Queen. Whereas in the chinese dynasties, it is common for princes born from royal concubines to succeed the throne.

  3. KHN I love so much but I may skip this drama cuz I never ever finished any sageuk drama in my whole life. This one will not be an exception.?

  4. Liu Shi Shi = Lee Bo Young haha.. i wish she would be the female lead but for age-wise, emm.. i dunno. hope they get a good actress.

    Kang Ha Neul.. emm.. i could imagine him as one of the princes. but.. for the main leads such as 4th prince or 8th prince.. emm.. i need to remove the ‘image’ of bbxj first haha

  5. There is many leads in this drama and KHN being casted already tells us that this drama is aiming for something really huge and nobody knows who they are going to go with as the 4th prince which is the really lead male amongst the lead males if you can say that. The female lead is ofcourse the woman who goes into coma and time travells.

    But congrats on whom ever lands the 4th prince cuz that character will be a polarising figure. I have no rumours of who they will end up with as the 4th prince or even the 8th or the female. Just gonna sit on the sidelines until things get confirmed.

    Btw thanks for reporting this Koala

  6. Not really glad about the remake but if kang haneul is in, i’m in as well! He’s been good as supporting characters. Hmm.. my bet is his character would be based on 14th prince. Still waitinf whether they would give us 13th prince character or not, since he’s my favorite 😀

    • I know right. The 4th prince has to be older and mature and can act cold/strict yet loving. I’m thinking Hyun Bin, Gong Yoo, Lee Dong Wook, Jo In Sung, Lee Sang Yoon, Joo Jin Mo, Chun Jung Myung, Kim Nam Gil.etc.. I got 2 many but but Im putting my money on Hyun Bin Hohoho

  7. Isn’t Kang Ha Neul too young to be one of the two male leads (4th and 8th princes)? He looks more like he should be younger than the 14th prince.

  8. Although I’m still hesitant about this remake, I really like this news. Kang Ha Neul has the talent and the looks. I think he would be a great 14th Prince.

  9. i just cant picture a Joseon era. BBJX was too good, but i am looking forward to it! All the Princes are essential character to the story line therefore they will need a good cast of hot men! whoo whoo!

  10. ARGGGGG I still hate reading news about Moon Lovers! I love BBJX so much that no remake can ever be as good LOL I am definitely being biased ^___^
    However I do like Kang Ha Neul but I do not see him as 4th or 8th… possibly 14th? or even 13th?
    I see an idol/actor playing 10th.

  11. My fav in the drama is 13, but i think its going to be hard to adapt a chinese historical drama though, i feel like loads of details are going to change…

  12. Yey.. been waiting forward to oppa’s new drama. Although I never seen the original, I really really hope that this time oppa can be male lead for the first time… TT TT
    Definitely gonna watchin .. Haneul Oppa fighting

  13. Hi Koala,

    This is probably an inappropriate place to post this but I wasn’t sure how to get quality answers for dramas. My dad is starting to watch chinese dramas mainly because he started taking wing chun kung fu classes and anything related to ip man was like crack to him. He had to watch everything about him but after watching the whole 50-episode ip man drama he said he’s willing to watch any drama with some action/fighting scenes. It’s impossible to choose one that will have those scenes and also have a good story. I’m not sure of anyone else to watches these types c-dramas or j-dramas (he’s willing to watch those too) so I thought to turn to you and the people who follow your blog because I’ve seen posts about c-movies and dramas. Is there anything you could recommend?
    …because I would really like to get my dad addicted to dramas like me and my mom. It’d be so nice after all the teasing we got from him when we first started watching dramas. 🙂 Any suggestions would be awesome!

    • @Kauaitone have you or your dad tried watching Donnie Yen’s movies? He has a lot of martial art movies like Ip man, Ip man 2, Dragon, Legend of Fists, Flash point etc. There are a lot of good and high quality martial art movies out there.

      • Thanks! He likes Donnie yen movies. He has seen the Ip man movies but I’ll definitely get him to try the others. He’s in the mass consumption phase of drama watching so I’m not sure how long movies will last. He watched the 50 episode drama in one week by watching it every night after he finished work. Anyways, thanks again for the suggestions!

    • If he is willing to watch long but quality dramas, I would suggest trying all of Zhang Ji Zhong’s reproductions of famous martial arts novels. These include: Laughing in the Wind (2001) Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils 2003, Legend of Condor Heroes 2003, Return of Condor Heroes 2006, Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre 2009.

      Hope this helps.

      • I think he is willing to watch long dramas as long as there is some legit fighting in it. Thank you for the suggestions.

      • These productions are actually the ones that are particularly well choreographed and touch on martial art concepts. Many other drama adaptations focus more on character and plot than executing interesting martial art scenes.

        Due to the above quality, these productions are highly rated by many male audiences, within and outside of China.

  14. Just saying but I think Nam Goong Min would make a great 8th Prince.
    We all know the guy can pull off serene and pretty but low-key deadly and scheming.

  15. I am hoping for Hyun Bin as 4th Prince. He is my favorite and I think he can pull off cold yet lovng 4th Prince. I am also cool with Ji Sung.

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