Supporting Male Leads of Moon Lovers Gets Their Specific Princely Casting Assignments

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A day after the leads of soon-to-start-filming period K-drama Moon Lovers confirmed final casting in Lee Jun Ki and IU, now the rest of the cast is also locked down and more importantly got specific character assignments. This is good news even if fans of the original work in novel and C-drama Bu Bu Jing Xin have issues with the K-version casting, at least there is more certainty around the proceedings now. First off, the K-drama name is going to be Bobogyungsim: Ryeo, which adds the word Splendor behind the Chinese title of Bu Bu Jing Xin, so not sure why the English version is Moon Lovers.

In the K-version, we’re going down one prince apparently, or more accurately one of the main lead prince characters is getting swapped with another. In the C-version there was actually more than 6 princes, those were just the main ones and actually more than 10 show up in the drama. Lee Jun Ki plays 4th Prince Wang So, IU’s female lead is named Hae Soo, Hong Jong Hyun plays 3rd Prince Wang Yo (the one who starts off being Crown Prince, and in the C-version was 2nd Prince), Kang Ha Neul is 8th Prince Wang Wook, Baekhyun is 10th Prince Wang Hyun, Nam Joo Hyuk is 13th Prince Wang Yoo, and Ji Soo is maknae 14th Prince Wang Jung. Whew, that was quite a mouthful to compile.

The drama is basically mashing together 2nd Prince and 9th Prince into Hong Jong Hyun’s 3rd Prince, which is fine by me, though 9 really had his own super sad arc as the drama wound down. Nam Joo Hyuk as 13 was what I guessed and honestly his acting will have to improve by leaps and bounds to even touch what Yuan Hong created. If I got to cast, I would switch Nam Joo Hyuk and Ji Soo’s role, with Ji Soo playing 13 and Nam Joo Hyuk playing 14. I adore 14 but he’s really a giant golden retriever, and doesn’t require all that much acting nuance to play him. 13 is an incredible role and HOMG can we all just close our eyes and imagine Ji Soo angsting, especially after the court confrontation scene and he’s sentenced to exile. Umph to the nth degree.

10th Prince is harmless and Baekhyun will do just fine, be cute and have his own bickering romance with his own second female lead off to the side. I’m having the most problem imaging Kang Ha Neul as 8th Prince, because that role requires him to be equal in intensity, power, and presence as Lee Jun Ki’s 4th Prince, and I really can’t picture it right now. Nicky Wu and Kevin Cheng were equals in every way, their ages being the same at slightly over 40 years old when they filmed the drama was just perfect. Lee Jun Ki is 33 and Kang Ha Neul is a young 25, he actually feels young to me onscreen, which isn’t a bad thing except when he’s asked to play older. Then I think it’ll be a visual stretch. Despite all the initial maybes, I’m still optimistic this won’t turn out a trainwreck.

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Supporting Male Leads of Moon Lovers Gets Their Specific Princely Casting Assignments — 34 Comments

  1. Nam JooHyuk’s acting so so stiff. I wish Jisoo got the 13th prince’s role instead. He’s so good in Angry Mom and Sassy go go… T_T

  2. They would have auditioned the actors before handing out the roles. There must be a reason Nam Ju Hyuk got the 13th prince part beating out the competition to land it. Lets trust in the director. He’s done some really good dramas in the past and I doubt casting will be able to get past him to put the respective actors in the roles.

    I for one think Kang Hanuel will do fine. He does look older than 25 and his demeanor always feels late twenties maybe 27/28? From 4th Prince to 8th, not a draw to have 5-6 years gap in between. he’s also a pretty decent actor.

    Would have preferred Park Min Young as the lead to be honest as I can’t imagine IU in period garb. Some girls just look prettier in ancient dress up (Shin Se Kyung who is very pretty in 6 Flying Dragons now) and PMY is one of those who looks equally good in both. She’s also very spritely and her personality really shines through into her acting so I can totally see guys falling for her in the throws.

    IU’s acting for me has also been so-so in the past but still willing to give this drama a shot as I do like the ensemble thus far (except for Baekhyun which I have only seen in EXO music videos. then again look how D.O turned out). Hope they tweak the story and give it a better ending. The author has a masochistic streak in writing. Someone always needs to die… very annoying.

    • Ditto to Jisoo being perfect as the 14th. I can also see KHN as 13th although I don’t think he would do badly as 8th. He might unveil more acting chops. LJK should be the Crown Prince, how can they cast Hong Jong Hyun as the 3rd Prince/Crown Prince character and then Lee Jun Ki as 4th? JK look 10 years older than HJH and it will be made worse by their characters’ personalities. I suspect they cast Lee Jun Ki first, maybe promised him the role of 4th Prince since he’s got to be the lead, you know. Then they went to cast all these youngsters.

      It will be hard to beat the C-drama in terms of story because that followed history as closely as they could. There’s something different about watching a drama and knowing that a lot of those things actually happened. Anyway, I don’t think that’s their focus, this K version will be more of a love story than a historical saeguk.

    • I think LJK, KHN & JS would be perfect as 4th, 8th and 14th. They are the best actors in this bunch.

      Based on the storyline, they would never cast LJK as Crown Prince cuz that’s just a minor supporting role behind 4th, 8th, 14th, 13th, 9th & 10th. It seems like they are combining 2nd & 9th together, so HJH is probably cast as 9th’s character, which is a more interesting story arc than the Crown Prince’s, who was forgettable. I also find HJH to look quite mature for his age. All they need to do is give him a beard and he would look older than the other princes. And no, LJK does not look 10 years older than HJH based on his recent photos. Anyway, the 4th prince’s personality was really mature & serious, so LJK would be fine. The production usually cast the main leads first, in this case KHN & LJK, and LJK was obviously offered the role of 4th Prince since if he’s not going to be one of the main leads, they won’t approach him in the first place.

      Since the rest of the princes are supposed to be younger that the 4th prince, they went to cast the younger actors, who imo could really pass as brothers in looks. especially their eyes.

    • Since this is a kdrama set in the Goryeo era, it will be following Korean rather than Chinese history. Just like watching BBJX and knowing that a lot of those things actually happened in Chinese history, we would be watching ML and knowing that a lot of the things happened in Korean history. It would be boring to watch an exact duplicate of BBJX, might as well watch the original.

      Anyway, Tong Hua’s stories have always focused more on the love & romance rather than historical political intrigue.

  3. Too many pretty faces. I wonder how it will turn. Hopefully they get acting chops too. Except Lee Jun Ki, all of them counted as rookie actors.Good luck for the casts.

  4. Hi Koala, could you help do a comparison chart.of the characters between the k and the original version. Confused with the Prince roles haha. I can only remember 4th and the 8th Prince. Thank you!

    • Not sure about the K version, but here’s the C version:
      There are a lot of princes, but 3 main camps
      4th, supported by 13th
      8th, supported by 9th, 10th, and 14th (though he shares the same birth mother as 4th, and there is a rumor in Chinese history that the King intended for 14th to inherit the crown at the end, but 4th changed it to himself)
      2nd – original crown prince, who was “supported” by 4th and 13th at first, because he seemed to be the lesser opponent

  5. ms. koala you have the best and perfect description of 13th Prince.. and i also hope that it’s jisoo instead… as much as i like nam joohyuk, i don’t know if he can bring 13th prince alive.

  6. Ok since I don’t know the actors- the idol ones. Who is the skinny one in the extreme left 2nd row? And who is he playing again? I think I am going to watch it but hard to imagine them having the acting chops. And this is moi- who is normally a Kdrama fan. I just happen to think BBJX was beautifully filmed and helped immensely by the acting.

    • not very familiar too but i think that’s what Koala mentioned Baekhyun.

      you’re are so right. i still love BBJX! the acting front was great, on all princes and the main leads did awesome. that is why i am having doubts on the cast. well if we gonna compare it with the original, that is.

    • Yup. The far left one is Baekhyun. He fits 10th prince though, I mean he’s exactly like 10th prince in real life. Bright, talkactive, etc. Not exactly his fans, but I think he will fits 10th just fine. I don’t know about the romance part, never saw him acting in romance scenes. But I’m more worried in how he looks in sageuk. Kekeke

  7. Hi, ms.koala…actually,first time I watched bbjx it’bcoz of your review and recommendation. A big thanks for you and your site. For the Moon Lovers, I have a lil doubt that the script will mix between the story of BBJX and BBJQ (the fail sequel of BBJX) when I knew that KHN will play 8th prince cuz KHN didn’t resemble Kevin Cheng but more similar to Sun YiZhou(the replacement of KC as modern 8th prince). I just hope that my worry won’t be true.
    Besides, I do agree that I can’t picture NJH as 13th, from the appearance to acting skills. For the other cast of princes, let’s just wait and see (I’m only happy now for JiSoo as the cast).
    Even for LJK, he could be 8th, but he doesn’t really have the vibe as 4th, but with his skill,I hope he can pull it out.Same with IU as Ruo Xi.
    My dream cast for the first time:
    Lee Bo Young as Ruo Xi (They look alike) or Park BoYoung or Park Min Young
    Ji Sung as 4th(just like Nicky and Liu Shi Shi they are real hubby wifey at the end) or Ji Jin He (in the term of age,coldness,and charisma as 4th)
    Lee Jun Ki for 8th
    9th will be Yoo Ah In (he’s such badass)
    10th for Ji Chang Wook (silly and cheerful)
    13th Song Joong Ki/Ji Soo / Choi Si Won(he looks like Yuan Hong, and his acting skill is improving though)
    14th Byun Yo Han or Yoon Do Joon
    But that’s just my dream..hahaha..
    Btw, how about the other female casts?? All characters in.BBJX are actually strong in their own way. That’s make BBJX win over the audience. Does someone know about the other female casts? Maertai Ruo Lan, Guo Luo Luo Ming Yu and Ming Hui, Lu Wu, the maids, Ming Ming ge ge, etc. We’ll let’s wait and see what will happen to this show and wait for the complete casts.

    • In all my honesty, that’s a very bad and silly cast arrangement by you, specifically for 9th and 10th princes. Yoo Ah in and Ji Chang Wook are both top actors of their generation now and wouldn’t take minor roles as such.

  8. There will be a crazy loop sided second lead syndrome in this drama. I can already see it for myself. Really bad on the production team to cast KHN as the 8th which means the second lead in the lead order. his such a likable guy compared to LJK and would create a strong underdog second lead syndrome and shippers would ship to death KHN and IU rather then LJK and IU.

    Bad castings from the Production team without looking at the different scenarios out comes from the casting itself. I agree with most KHN as the 13th or otherwise he would steal this show from the 4th and that didn’t happpen in the chinese or the book. Casting Lee Jun Ki to begin with was a huge mistake adding IU and not only that but making KHN LJK’s rival. This director is mess in epic proportions

    • Not much difference from the Cdrama situation, cuz I slso shipped LSS with Kevin rather than Nicky. Kevin was great as the 8th, and I think KHN would be just as good.

      LJK is just as likeable as KHN so the shipping should be even. I think the greatest shipping will be with JS and IU instead. Anyway, we all know who Ruoxi ends up with, so shipping wars won’t be so fervent for this drama, cuz all ships will sink eventually.

      Great casting from the Production team with the strongest actors as 4th, 8th & 14th. Casting LJK and making KHN as his rival is a good move, as the audience can look forward to good acting from the main leads. The production and director were smart to cast LJK cuz they know they can rely on him both acting wise and with his huge fanbase in China, they can sell the drama to China for a good price.

  9. Whoaaa..all of them have monolids!
    I honestly find monolids charming 🙂
    Can’t wait to see these kkot minam in hanbok :’)

  10. Not familiar with these actors except for Kang Ha Neul and Ji Soo. I watched several KHN’s dramas and I believe he can nail the role as the 8th prince. His acting skills actually appear more mature than it should be based on his limited experience. I still hold a hope for lee Jung Ki that he will outperform Nicky Wu. I really don’t like Nicky Wu in the C-version. Perhaps Jung Ki can save me from that bad impression over the King Yong Zen. Well, I was disappointed at Jung Ki’s recent dramas. Still, that could be due to bad scripts.

  11. I really don’t much for this casting and things seem rather mess. But I will be watching this for Kang Ha Neul, Ji Soo and IU.. These are all my biases and loved them from some of there previous shows all three of them

  12. Ji Soo, hmm, he plays so much high school roles that I view him as a kid, when he’s actually older than me and the same age as IU. I think he’s okay as 14th prince because his roles in the past are always hot temper just like 14th prince.

    I couldn’t think of a Korean actress to play Rouxi actually, and I was surprised that IU was casted, but I think she’s okay too.

  13. So it’s really confirmed, huh? Really? No amount of bribing or threatening will change things? Will my love of Ji Soo be enough to sustain me through the horrors that are to come? *Shudders*

    (Oh well, I still have Goodbye Mr. Black to look forward to. That should help considerably.)

  14. until now, my fave prince is 13. soooo… i really hope, kversion gets a great actor to play it. jisoo is great! jisoo juseyooo 😀

    i really really really like bbjx, so, please this one, be good. at least watchable with good acting and chemistry. please! very low expectation which is good cuz high expectation mostly turn into something bad 🙁

  15. I’m having second thoughts on this one, since BBJX was such a masterpiece and I don’t think we can even compare both on them.
    I think I will just see this as another drama because if this go downhill I will be real angry and sad that they even try to make a remake

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