KBS Picks Na In Woo, the Actor Equivalent of a Constipated Wet Noodle, to Replace Ji Soo in River Where the Moon Rises

OMG I can’t believe I get another chance to roast Na In Woo, what with Queen Cheorin (Mr. Queen) ended already and I was hoping he would disappear into the woodworks and then pick ONLY dramas I have zero interest in watching so I never have to write about him again. Alas the drama fates are cruel indeed, to me and the cast of KBS sageuk River Where the Moon Rises, as the production has picked him to replace Ji Soo as male lead Ondal after Ji Soo was removed due to his huge downfall after being revealed as a school era bully and sexual assaulter. I’m going to assume there are no (2) 20-something decent actors available on such short notice, and/or (2) willing to step into a hot mess and play a character that supports the female lead-centric story. But really?!? Na In Woo?

He was so epically bad in Queen Cheorin, like so bad there were zero viewers who liked either his douchey second male lead or his wooden pinchy performance. He always looked like he was holding in a fart (his version of holier than thou) and spent the entire drama pining for a woman who showed no romantic interest in him whatsoever but he decided she needed saving from the husband she loved. Sure Jan. I was so happy to see him die in the end and upset he got such a long death scene full of tears and snot and redemption, ugh. The only good thing I can say with this casting is that presumably he’s a decent human being in real life unlike Ji Soo and he’s also super tall, but goodness now I’m going to wait until River ends and just marathon the bits with Lee Ji Hoon. Sorry Kim So Hyun, love you but you’re going to have tons of Ondal scenes and I rather spork my eyes out then suffer through another Na In Woo sageuk “performance”.


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KBS Picks Na In Woo, the Actor Equivalent of a Constipated Wet Noodle, to Replace Ji Soo in River Where the Moon Rises — 87 Comments

  1. Pingback: KBS Picks Na In Woo, the Actor Equivalent of a Constipated Wet Noodle, to Replace Ji Soo in River Where the Moon Rises - Kpopnchill - All About K-pop News

  2. Reminds me of Alan Yu who is coincidentally the second male lead in the Chinese version of Queen Cheorin, and also a wooden actor. But at least he looks better than Ji Soo.

  3. It is the right thing that they ousted the original actor, but is it bad if I wished they got a better replacement actor? Seo Young-joo is close to Kim So-hyun’s age (and award-winning child actor background) and has a similar facial type. Shin Jae-ha also worked with Kim So-hyun in “Page Turner.” Is it possible to bring back Oh Jae-moo?

      • Glad I wasn’t the only one thinking of Lee Tae Ri. Guy is basically overdue for a lead role. Or even a second lead role I would be so happy since he seems so stuck in supporting roles. I have no opinion of Na In Woo (I haven’t seen him yet in anything), but why couldn’t they give Lee Tae Ri a chance as a lead? Wasn’t he good enough in Moon Embracing the Sun? Unfortunately among the child actors of the four main characters of that dramas poster, he’s the only one who is underrated and unappreciated.I even get so annoyed when most new kdrama fans only associate him with the actors of Extraordinary You (I have no problem with them, but he’s basically a veteran compared to even the lead actors of that drama) but I wish he would be more associated with his successful Moon Embracing Sun costars.
        That is why I’m especially annoyed by this J*soo scandal, he only started acting around between 2012-2015 (if I’m correct) and he got into major roles fast, even getting a lead role in a Goguryeo sageuk, only to be revealed as a disgusting person. Just give underrated actors more chances please. Sorry for sounding like a Tae Ri fangirl but I feel so sad that he’s been sideline so much while newer actors with less sageuk experience (especially this J*soo guy) get more attention.

    • What about Lee Taesun? He was good in both timelines in “Hotel Del Luna”, and his Yeonwoo fits the image of Ondal.

  4. He has done well in Mr Queen….maybe back to back 3 sageuks isn’t a good idea? I would rather he did a drama based on modern timeline. I think he is a great replacement given his rising popularity and he acts well.

  5. @Dakchigo Even I was thinking the same. There are so many child actors who still haven’t got recognition and this could be their opportunity. Oh jae moo has even worked with sohyun before.There is also lee tae ri. I honestly want sso to work with 96 or 97 liner someday.

  6. Yeah I’m going to drop this drama. It barely hook me in before Jisoo’s scandal dropped, with Kim So Hyun as my only saving grace, but I’m really not in the mood to watch another acting performance by Na In Woo

    • Honestly this drama is a wash, thank goodness Kim Sohyun has another drama coming out this year (Love Alarm 2) so this won’t be the only thing to remember her 2021 by.

  7. This guy is so bad at acting. Idk how he keeps getting good roles in dramas like this. Did he have connections or big agency behind him?
    This is the disaster now.

  8. But he was ok in Mr Queen… Honestly he and his character were fine. I actually think he’s a better than Ji Soo ever was so.

  9. In Mr.Queen, I skipped all his scenes. Not because of the character, the way he played the role was boring and wooden. I don’t find him handsome too.
    We don’t need a famous one for replacement, just an actor who can really act like Kawk Dong Yeon. So Hyun deserves better than this guy.

    • Dunno about lee hyun woo, but kwak dongyeon currently in vincenzo. I wish we can get yeo jin goo but he’s in another drama as well

      • All of these guys are good. Probably they all don’t want to touch this mess.
        So, we got this guy instead. I don’t know how to say anymore.

  10. Like what most have mentioned, why not Kwak Dongyeon? or if not Kwak Dongyeon, what about Lee Hyunwoo (it has been so long since I’ve seen him in anything…)?

  11. I know people keep mentioning names of people they think should have gotten the role, but I think @Koala is right and actors don’t want to touch this now. So I guess I think it is Option #2. He’s doing the production a solid and maybe he’ll be able to prove himself at the same time.

    • Exactly! Beggars can’t be choosers, and everyone that was mentioned are normally quite selective with their roles/script. I don’t know why people think this is still a good lead role, it’s now a replacement role for a sexual assault offender who made the production messy.

  12. I expected this. Which established actor will agree to be in this mess? It is already a tainted role. K-netizens said On Dal is a curse, because actor who played as On Dal before in another drama, Lee Jong Hyun and now Ji Soo, both were trash who caught in a big scandal.
    So, actors we all want such as Kawk Dong Yeon, Kim Min Jae, Lee Jae Wook, Lee Hyun Woo,etc will avoid this.
    This guy was horrible in mr.queen. Hopefully he will improve. At least he is a upgrade of Ji Soo.

  13. OMG koala I lol-ed so much witH your comment!🤣🤣🤣
    I haven’t watched Mr Queen yet so I’m not familiar with him. But based from your caps I might have to agree. Too bad I won’t drop this drama.
    Can they spill the tale and let GG and Ga Jin the end game atleast?

    • I’m re-reading and still laughing OMG! 🤣

      This is probably my fave KSH related article on your blog.
      I couldn’t even get myself to feel sad that you’re deciding to stop watching lmao.

      Very funny article koala!

  14. Me too,Koala. After mr.queen, I decided not to watch another drama of this guy again. It was painful to see his same reaction all the time.
    People saying he is upgrade of Ji Soo. He may be much upgrade of a person than Ji Soo. But, he is worse actor than Ji Soo. Probably, KBS has no choice, but to cast an actor like him.

    • Me too. I don’t want So Hyun to suffer again in this mess anymore. Imagine she was the one who had most scenes with on dal. Now, she is gonna reshoot again with the new actor.
      Not just her, On dal’s mom, Ghost Valley People, etc…
      I don’t like this new actor too. He was the worst actor in the whole Mr.Queen cast.
      Why So Hyun has to go through all of this mess??
      It’s better to start working on a new drama.

  15. Is it only me who wished the ml to be replaced by Kim Min Jae??..The royal couple from Goblin was my favourite apart from Lee Dong Wook and Yoo In Na.. Thanks to them I was able to finish the drama.
    Too bad So Hyun and Min Jae had very little screentime.
    I will be waiting for another reunion of them.

    • I love Kim Min Jae too. Too bad, they all probably don’t want to touch this mess.
      It would be much better we could be So Hyun and Min Jae together again in a whole new drama.

    • As much as I want him to work with sso but I don’t want it to be this one. They should work together iñ a college romance someday.

  16. Many of Kim So Hyun’s previous leads would work:

    Taec – he’s basically the modern day RL version of Ondal. XD
    Yook Sung Jae – they would burn up the screen.
    Yoo Seung Ho – acting perfection do-over
    Kim Min Jae – chemistry would be there but he’s not Ondal at all

    Sigh, a lot of newbies would be even better than Na In Woo but then again this isn’t a coveted re-casting so I don’t think people are lining up for the role.

    • I wish for a reunion with Sso and Yoo Seung Ho. They have a lot of chemistry Uri ShyShy couple. But probably not in this drama. A modern drama would be good.

      • I’m actually thinking of Lee Do Hyun. He’s a good actor and I always wonder what if Sso and him work together. Just my thoughts 🤞

    • You’re right. Anyone of these would work. I also agree other choices like Lee Hyun Woo, Kwak Dong Yeon, Lee Jae Wook.
      But, why him of all these actors? I can’t see him as Ondal at all. I can even see Kim Min Jae as Ondal.

    • But I don’t know if Taec is fit for sageuk.
      Sung jae still in the military.
      I still have trauma from last shyshy’s sageuk. So as much as I want them to reunite, I’ll wait for a modern one.
      Min jae, I agree with you

    • I know wuri Sung Jae is in the army. Miss him my boo.

      Taec can’t act his way out of a sageuk tent but still he’s just adorbs in effort 110%!

      Lee Do Hyun is filming a new drama Youth of May, not available otherwise he would be my top pick. I see him translating the intensity from Hotel Del Luna here. He’s better suited as Go Geun but as Ondal his acting will carrying him there.

    • Taec is charming, but I don’t know if I want to see him in a sageuk. I’ve actually only seen him in Dream High, so I might be being really unfair here lol. Yook Sung Jae would be a dream and a good way to ease my forever sls in School 2015. Too bad he’s in the army sigh. As for Yoo Seung Ho and Kim Min Jae, I think they’re too big to be cast as a replacement lead.

      • I think Taec would work – he’s much older than KSY but somehow their chemistry in their previous drama was good ( I was skeptical at first and was proven wrong) and yeah Taec is like Ondal LOL
        Then again he’s doing the double agent thing in Vincenzo. I have a feeling no one will want to step up for this. It’s a bad choice – couldn’t they just let it run and kill off his character?

    • OMG eventho I dont watch this drama, but ur comment suddenly makes me reaally want Taec as Ondal, lol. Just remember KSH x Taec in that ghost drama and their banter was cuuutee..

  17. I was shocked seeing how this guy is casted. He is not Ondal at all. He has very tall model figure, which could be completely different from Ondal. I watched him in mr.queen. He lacks of talents and charisma. Not a lead material yet.

    • Speculations of Na Inwoo’s casting came as a surprise to me as well since he doesn’t have the rough appearance of Ondal’s character in both the folk legend and the source novel.
      I’m thinking the crew of “The River Where the Moon Rises” is considering him because he has received some attention due to “Mr. Queen” and casting a much more high profile actor requires a lot of negotiations, time and money.

  18. Koala’s comments are truly funny here. I didn’t watch Mr. Queen but I can very well imagine her anguish.

    Like I say before, they should have just let the drama complete as it is. I would be very surprised if they could get anyone decent, those on the wishlist here have been Male Leads before and will not downgrade to be a stand-in.

    The only strategy that could possibly work now, will be to get a minor replacement, but rewrite to minimize the role, maximize the Second Lead, since the second lead was way better anyway.

  19. I don’t understand there are so many child actors who has worked with sso before so why not them? This could boost their career.Most of the child actors who were popular before are still struggling to get a lead role. If I have to name a few they would be lee tae ri,oh jae moo, park ji bin, park gun tae and baek seung hwan. I am sure any of them would be available.

  20. Haven’t watched him in anything, so can’t comment on his acting yet. Is he that bad?
    Too bad all the actors I have in mind are either already cast in other dramas or currently in the military/will enlist soon (Yoo Seung Ho, Jang Dong Yoon, Seo Kang Joon, Kwak Dong Yeon, Do Ji Han, Shin Jae Ha, Jung Ga Ram). Sigh..
    Kim So Hyun is so talented and hardworking, why did she do to be in this mess? Thank goodness, we have Love Alarm season 2 this month.

      • That’s… not very reassuring lol
        But I’ll keep an open mind and give him a chance. Who knows, maybe he’ll surprise me.
        I’m watching this for KSH (and Lee Ji Hoon) anyway..

  21. I lasted only 2 (or 3?) episodes in Mr. Queen, but I didn’t find him bad at all. I actually quite liked him lol. Anyway, I doubt that any high-profile actor would have taken this considering the controversy and the short notice (and for something as taxing as a sageuk too). So it’s better to get someone less popular. I would have preferred Kwak Dong Yeon who is yet to be a lead and is good in sageuks, but he’s already in Vincenzo. I think it’s beneficial for the drama that Na In Woo is coming after the ratings success of Mr. Queen.

    • @Guest

      Fully agree with your comment. The i-fans whining now will change their tune fast if/when his association with hit K-viewer favorite Mr. Queen boosts the average ratings of RWTMR. It’ll be almost as fast as how the fans who were squeeing over the Jisoo-Sohyun pairing way before the scandal are now backtracking and swearing they never liked him. The mob is fickle, indeed. LOL.

      • I remember those fans too. They fought and branded anyone who didn’t approve of Jisoo’s casting as Ondal as a hater. Now they say they never liked him at all.

      • @SMH If I recall correctly, it was only one or two toxic “fans” who fought everyone who expressed dislike over Ji Soo’s casting, and most KSH fans called them out on it. In fact, most KSH fans weren’t exactly happy with Ji Soo’s casting but watched the drama anyway for KSH.

      • I remembered those fans and nowhere did I see them here or on the other articles saying “I never like him (JiSoo) at all”. But @SMH (with a username @EW! on the other article) and @LMFAO you guys are still here with the same issues LOL. Everybody here knows you’re trolls who dislike RWTMR.

  22. Is he really that bad? I’ve never watched any of his works but super majority of commentators online are liking this casting news?

  23. I don’t understand with the dislike.. the reception of inetz is totally different witk knetz.. knetz is very anticipating with this news.. his article alone trending at 1, and got soooo many likes. thank god the drama’s performance isn’t affected by inetz reception

    • It’s probably because he is coming out fresh from the hit sageuk Mr. Queen..Acting doesn’t matter for them as long as they would get to see him in a sageuk again.

      • Exactly, Val. Him coming from a a huge hit sageuk beloved by the K-audience could actually benefit the so-so ratings of RWTMR. Enough with the belly-aching. He might not be a powerhouse in acting or charisma but given that better actors don’t want to touch this “tainted“ drama, some might say he’s doing them a favor? I’m really surprised he signed on.

      • 9-10% are high ratings and the only reason KBS agreed to recast and keep airing. They know they’ll make back all the extra expense and the quick actions of the production company is giving the drama tons of positive feedback. Posts about RWTMR on online forums are flooded with positive comments on all forums.

      • @Jee agree with you. RWTMR is doing pretty good and not so-so, for a Monday-Tuesday drama and pretty late slot.

      • I agree with @Jee and @Dan, I don’t think the ratings are so-so. In fact, it’s the leading drama ratings-wise on its timeslot. If it has less impressive ratings, I think KBS would’ve definitely dropped it

    • Yes, I also keep reading all knetz responses and comments in Naver. They look enthusiastic and excited again with this actor replacement. It looks like a fresh breeze is blowing again for this drama.

  24. I liked him. He had a good chemistry with Shin Hye Sun on screen and behind scenes. After all, he was the only character who really loved the original queen, when the King never loved her.

    • I did like his character for the same reason. I am curious as
      how they will shoot his scenes.

      The drama would probably focus on the princess for a while.

      I suddenly was reminded of the Last Empress. Choi Jin Hyuk was unavailable for the 4 episode extension.

    • Totally second that..he was willing to sacrifice everything for her..and I felt his role was a stoic one..one that didn’t allow for overflowing emotions everywhere unlike the FL…it’d would been weird af for me if both of them were too “crazy” and emotional like that…also…the queen had to be extra careful w the king initially but that kind of restraint didn’t show between na in woo and her..

      imo…his “holdin’ in” emotions for me felt as if he was keeping in a reservoir of deep-seated emotions for FL…it’s kinda like being so madly in love with the FL but cos of positions and family relations and all couldn’t come to pass…lots of repressed feelings..but of course..we are the minority in this…

  25. I think everyone have their own preference in acting. I watch Mr. Queen and I found his acting fits with his character. His brooding are too much sometimes but overall he was good actor than JS who made me skip his scenes in RWTMR tbh even before the scandal issue. Ji Hoon always steal the spotlight on his appearance as Go Geon having chemistry with both Pyeonggang and Hae Mo Young. On Mr. Queen, I hate Byeong In to the bones but made me switch fast when he died protecting So Young that was how much Na In Woo’s acting impacted on me.

    • I agree with your comments on Byeong In…maybe his acting was ‘in’ with the direction the drama was takin…his brooding may be done on purpose to confuse viewers whether he would still be on the queen’s side at the end…

      I actually hated the king’s character…he treated the ori queen (the real queen) so badly that he practically had a hand in her suicide attempt and I can’t imagine forgiving someone or anyone who pushed you that far..or even looking at them the same way…ugghhh..let alone fall madly in love w such a person but in kdramaland anything’s possible I suppose…it’s just very toxic in real life vs reel life to stay w someone like that…

      I think the only time I disliked BI was during the kiss scene when she was so vulnerable and the cliff scene…but he’s the only one besides the two loyal servant-ladies who never made her that desperate…

  26. OMG..I started laughing while reading the title. He is bad. So bad that it’s easy to recognize the dramas he was in.

  27. Kim So Hyun is uber talented, popular and just 21 so no matter how many screw ups life and this industry throw at her they can’t hide her from shining. Her level of talent can never be covered up and the fact that she is experiencing countless hardships and learning from them early on basically sets her up for a solid lifelong career. You go girl.

  28. I thought (maybe naively) that they are re-cast this role also with a tall and well-built actor (as the a** who left was tall and well-built) coz of the possibility of just doing CG. As they’ve already completed till ep 18 and difficult to reshoot, hence I assume they would shoot the new actor on green screen and just edit him in with the shot episodes, hence the importance of height and built. Then for the last 2 It would be the traditional shooting.

    As for the wish list, as mentioned by others this is not a coveted role even before due to the weak synopsis (if Seo Kang Joon, Kim min Jae and Lee Jae Wook were offered the role prior to the a**), then what more now with the situation.

    • @J

      There were never offers fo Seo Kang Joon, Kim Min Jae and Lee Jae Wook of the Ondal role. Those are just fans that want to ship these actors with So Hyun. So, you better stop lying. Ondal role is known to be offered to Kang Ha Neul and Ji Soo only.

    • @J
      I have never heard that the role was offered to the actors you have mentioned and as far as I know, these actors are just what fans want to work with KSH (I’ve seen such posts on facebook). Saying it has a weak synopsis might just be your point of view but even Kang Ha Neul cannot give up the drama that he agreed to commit in a small role. 😉

  29. Na In Woo definitely better in acting, sageuk diction, and charisma compared to this previous male lead. The only thing is that he is not yet that much discovered and has only starred in supporting roles. Not going to judge his acting for now all I know is that I loved his style in Mr Queen. Actors act based on their character’s personality and I think he nailed Byeong In well.

  30. As a KSH fan and have watched Mr.Queen, I feel there is no problem with Na In Woo. His role in Mr.Queen was indeed a serious role, so it was covered by the hilarious-serious acting of 2 Leads. I think his acting will be exposed more in the RWTMR drama. I think the production team has chosen for the fastest adaptive actor to replace Jisoo, because there will be a lot of action scenes, and Na In Wo has just finished a lot of action scenes in Mr.Queen. If you use other actor, maybe he still needs time for more training to get used to the sword scenes in the action scene of RWTMR. Let’s think about it from this point of view too. I believe KSH will have good cooperation & chemistry with Na In Woo. Fighting RWTMR !!

    • Yea…I think that’s a very good point..his previous role in Mr Q had lots of action fight scenes…so he would not need so much training as others…

      I personally found no issue w his acting too…there were enough funny supporting roles around the 2 leads to balance the seriousness of other characters in the sageuk…

  31. I’ve just read KBS’ latest statement regarding this. I’m so happy they aren’t cancelling the show! They did consider it, but thought of us fans of the show and the hard work of everyone that will go to waste. They also said they will remove Ji Soo scenes as much as possible and the new lead actor will appear starting episode 9. On a positive note, that probably means more scenes with Kim So Hyun and Lee Ji Hoon, which is a big yay for me!
    I know the drama is not a favorite on this site, but I love it so much and will keep on supporting it, especially for Kim So Hyun.

  32. I don’t know what people were waiting for ? 1) who with a promising career would want to take over Ji Soo’s mess 2) Some rejected the role as Ji Soo wasn’t their 1st, 2nd or even 3rd choice 3) short time to prepare for the role . So they were lucky to find him and perhaps even promised him a future project Quizas ? Finally we can try to give him a chance as the role is different from Mr Queen . Good luck guy ! You’ll need it !

  33. I used to describe actors like this, esp. in sageuk, as “fenceposts.” For example, Joo Sang-wook in Queen Seon-deok. I know zip about this actor, haven’t watched either Queen C. or River, but this column was very funny. Thanks for the laughs, Koala.

  34. I don’t think this guy was so bad in Mr. Queen. In any case, his role was poorly written, one-dimensional and on the side of the main story, so I don’t think anyone could do much if they were given the same script.

    • Same thought. His role was not deeply explored nor given some sort of complexity. The acting basically bases on the how the script is written. This actor can’t force himself to act something beyond what is given to him.

      His acting for River Where The Moon Rises will also depend on the writer and director. Though I personally think he has better potential than that of the previous actor because he has some spark of being a male lead material. I don’t know maybe he has more impact onscreen? Let’s see.

    • Agreed..I think he did his best given the limited spatial emotions of the role…

      Yet, I think that the role was perfectly written..it’s a period drama..so ppl esp of the upper and noble class during those ancient times were esp restricted..had to exhibit proper manners..dressing…and were so repressed…so he kinda represented the typical man’s man of that time..vs. the king who presented a weak facade…

      idk but BI reminds me of old hollywood heroes…that kind of stoicism…a strong front in face of any kind of trouble..very different from today’s standards where guys are free to express themselves anyway…maybe it’s cos of this difference that ppl dislike his character..

      • Given his ’emotionless’ role, his face during the bathroom scene w SHS was priceless! LOL..esp when SHS aka the queen was staring at his ‘dragon****s’ and getting so jealous!

  35. I suspect due to this sudden replacement. Most actors are booked in advanced. And they have very limited choses. And this drama is already a Hot potato.. It will be hard to find anyone willing to take on a replacement role. Maybe this guy is their current best choice. at least he just finished Mr Queen and not a completely unknown. But I am glad Male Lead is changed. The deeds Ji Soo is accused off is just horrible. The bully is at a very high level..

  36. Well dear koala,for me na in woo has a good strong character,maybe you are already fallin in love with the king at the first time on mr queen
    But na in wo played foolish sad first love with pured heart and manly to protect the queen..he is straight foward n live just only for the queen,yaa i figure out the king has a strong charm too,but not in the mr queen drama,he was material boyfriend with seo ji hye in CLOY,but thats it!i cant see any charm anymore..hehe thats just my opinion
    And i really admire na in woo tan skin in mr queen, so manly and cute

  37. Oh coincidentally this new guy reminds me of Lee Minho who is another constipated wet noodle hmmmmm.. Also has a glimpse of Gongmyung.

  38. Better than nothing. The show has to go on. Feel bad and glad at the same time for KSY. At least she doesn’t have to act along Jisoo anymore. Having an eye to eye contact with him making someone feeling insulted too.

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