Joo Jin Mo Joins Ha Ji Won in Hwatu While Jang Geun Seok Turns Down the Other Male Lead

Ho ho, what have we here? I dig this casting, I dig it very much. Ha Ji Won has been cast to headline the epic 50-episode (!) sageuk Hwatu (same name as the playing card game) for two months now. The drama premieres in October on MBC following Goddess of Fire, which means it has very very small shoes to fill. When I wrote about Ha Ji Won’s potential leading man, I went down a list of fantastic male actors in their 30s that would be suitable to co-star with her and one of the guys was Joo Jin Mo. So to hear that he’s been cast is a great relief and much happiness, because now I don’t have to worry that a sucky actor will get tapped and thus significantly decrease my potential enjoyment of this drama. Joo Jin Mo is no stranger to sagueks, he won a Baeksang Best Actor in Film award for his turn as the gay possessive King in A Frozen Flower opposite Jo In Sung, who coincidentally was Ha Ji Won’s famous leading man from What Happened in Bali. Ha, I can make a threesome joke easily but shall refrain. Funnily enough, in the movie Joo Jin Mo played a fictional take on the real life King Gongmin of Goryeo dynasty who married a mongolian princess from the Yuan dynasty, and in Hwatu he’ll again be playing a Goryeo King.

In Hwatu, the drama centers around the life of Empress Ki (also pronounced Qi) of the Yuan dynasty, who was born Ki Ja Oh, a Goryeo noblewoman. She is forced by political alliance to marry the Yuan Emperor Soon Jae (born Toghun Temür Khan) and she rose through the ranks of the Yuan dynasty from Consort to Empress and gave birth to the next Emperor. In this fictional account of the life of Empress Ki, Joo Jin Mo is cast as the Goryeo King Chunghye and grew up with Ki Ja Oh. There is a long drawn out and passionate love triangle between King Chunghye, Empress Ki, and her husband the Yuan Emperor Soon Jae. Good lord does this woman aim high to toggle two men. Today there was also news that Jang Geun Seok was offered the role of the other male lead, the future Yuan Emperor who is a prince that got his crown stolen by his younger brother so he is sent into exile in Goryeo where he meets and befriends both King Chunghye and Ki Ja Oh. Originally it was confirmed he accepted and then quickly his agency said he turned it down because he’s already signed on to Beautiful Man.

This is actually a fantastic casting of Joo Jin Mo for yet another reason. He was originally signed on to do Damo, the seminal fusion sageuk from 2003 starring Ha Ji Won, but he had to turn it down due to scheduling conflict. He’s always lamented passing on that fantastic drama and also wanting to work with Ha Ji Won. Now he’ll finally get his chance. If Jang Geun Seok had accepted, he would be reuniting with Ha Ji Won from having played her first love in the sageuk Hwang Jin Yi. The leads will all be going to China later this month to start filming so folks might get some star sightings. The supporting roles have quietly been cast as well and its sprawling – Kim Gab Soo, Jin Yi Han, Kwon Oh Joong, Kim Sung Oh, Choi Moo Sang, just to name a few. Expect a humongous production that sounds like the next Queen Seon Deok. Writing will be the team behind Giant, History of the Salaryman, and Incarnation of Money. If I didn’t love Kim Bum in GoF so much I would gladly pay someone to put that drama out of its misery so Hwatu can air earlier.


Joo Jin Mo Joins Ha Ji Won in Hwatu While Jang Geun Seok Turns Down the Other Male Lead — 29 Comments

  1. Funny, I was just lamenting that Joo Jin Moo has been absent from kdramaland for awhile. Don’t tell me that the drama gods are actually listening?

    Should I also add Hyun Bin to that list?

  2. Jo Jin Moo is awesome any day of the week… but Jang Geun Suk? As a Yuan emperor? Too young and too effeminate. What are these people smoking????

  3. Why oh why Jang Geun Seok? This sounds like a better project than the one he’s signed on to. And isn’t this a good opportunity to actually turn away from those flower boy roles that he took on for so many times already? Quite disappointing.

    Buuuut Joo Jin Mo..such a good news! Two really good actors in a sageuk drama. Will be watching out for this.

  4. -___-… No way to sugar coat this, but Jang Geunsuk just keeps falling. This sounds way better than that narcissistic drama he picked. (If the drama aint bad, i’ll eat my words) With all the young talented actors nowadays, if he continues on like this, his only hope is to be Japan’s drag queen.

    Joo Jinmo!! So excited for this drama! Definitely all hyped up! I crave a good historical drama after so many historical flops this year (looking at you Okjung)… I wonder who would be the other dudes? This production is aiming high, so I’m very curious as to who they’ll sign on.

  5. I loveeeeeeee this is beyond perfect,I had my JJM phase this spring…and I know how good can this be.
    Looking forward, and I’m not a fan of long dramas.

  6. WooHoo! So elated 🙂 Im so looking forward to watching this drama. Of course my Jiwonnie and Joo Jin Mo as the her on screen partner…Heck Yah!

  7. Love this pairing!! they are so on par with each other whether its acting or looks etc..can’t wait!…though admittedly this is a better sounding project than that beautiful man drama and this could have been one helluva and epic reunion between Jang Geun Suk and Ha Ji Won had he picked this show, it would’ve been hard for me to picture him with her in his current form

  8. This is great news. Now, I hope the other male lead that will be playing the emperor is also one of those seasoned actors. I’m looking forward to this drama and may they change the director of the drama or this might be the director’s turning point.How about Hong Gil Dong for the other lead? It will be fantastic.

  9. JGS can turn down any other MALE role, for all I care since he doesn’t look male any longer.
    JJM on the other hand, rraawrr. I’m ready, October, do your worst!

  10. I will always have some residual love for JGS because of You’re Beautiful and Mary Stayed Out All Night; however, I am glad for the production that he was not cast in this becaue I just do not see him any longer on the same level as Ha Ji Won or Joo Jin Mo, which is too bad. I love Ha Ji Won and want her to be in something wonderful. Joo Jin Mo can bring the wonder:)

  11. Yesssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Joo Jin Mo and Ha Ji Won would be perfect for each other! Can’t wait for the sparks to fly!!!!

  12. Thank you for much for the news Capt k. I actually just saw the trailer for JJM’s currently airing cdrama and know its not my cup of tea. But acting opposite hjw in a sageuk… I am on board. I hope it’s good. Please let it be good.

  13. Jang geun suk should have take this role. I want to see manly Jang geun suk back. Why he always takes on “flowers boy role”, that was fun at first. Now i’m just tired of it. Dissapointed. Anyway, i like this cast very much héhé Can’t wait!!

  14. Sigh I know it might seem premature to say this, but judging from the synopsis and the fact that hwatu is a sageuk that will allow him to showcase his gravitas, JGS is making a mistake rejecting it. And part of me is crying at the career he could have had, looking back at the amazing potential he showed in Hwang Jin Yi opposite HJW.

  15. And didn’t JGS say he had a crush on HJW when they were filming Hwanjini? So why oh why does he turn this awesome sounding role down and forgo the opportunity to re-unite with HJW?
    Can JGS’ mother please step in and smack some sense into him? He was so good in Beethoven’s virus that it’s really a shame to see his career choices go downhill (You’re my pet anyone?)

  16. Oh freaking yeah! JJM is one heck of a fine looking man, a great actor also. Perfect for HJW! Can’t wait for them two to burn my screen!

  17. Thanks goodness Jang Geun Seok is not involved, he’s weird, cant stand him! Wow! Sexy Jo Jin Mo is pairing with beautiful n sexy Ha Ji Won…Good news! Perfect pairing…looking forward to see them madly in love…Hahaha

  18. wow the writing team are amazing one…but i still wonder as they never wrote saeguk…its different genre but still I think they can be amazing in this too! I wonder why JGS turned down the role because i’m used to like him but now…urgghh…his drama role keep flopped! I think he just like a role that do well in internationally but not locally…but i think his number of fans keep decreasing too…he should play different role…

  19. I am so excited for this drama. But, seriously if the news is true that JKS was offered a role in this drama, he should accept it. He did so well in Hwang Jin Yi and the other following dramas but after that, he took the wrong road. This could be the only chance to change his image back to how it was used to be but he turned it down instead… How disappointing. He already got so many anti fans but he’s not doing anything to help his current situation. sigh.. I feel really sad for me. Too bad! I can’t wait for Ha Ji Won’s comeback on the screen! How long has it been? DD; And omg Joo Jin Mo acting in saeguk, it’s gonna be awesome!

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