Lee Jun Ki Declines Male Lead in Rom-com Drama Link Opposite Moon Ga Young and Dripping with Model Vibes in New Waves Pictorial

I’m always so curious about what K-actor Lee Jun Ki would do next in his acting journey and I hope it will be in a genre he hasn’t done in years. He’s been offered the male lead in summer 2021 K-drama Link, which has the leading lady Moon Ga Young. The drama has had other male leads rumored including Kim Sun Ho and Lee Jae Wook (both awesome) and what’s funny is that any of these talented actors would totally play the same character differently lol. Sadly soon after the casting news came out his agency confirmed that he received the offer but has declined. Bummer.

Lee Jun Ki has been a fave of mine for nearly two decades and his transformation has been nothing short of impeccably done. Despite having the normal share of hits and misses, he’s never gotten flack because he’s always giving his all. Last year’s thriller melodrama Flower of Evil was a total package of great writing, acting and directing, and gave him the chance to stretch yet again with a mysterious role. The drama was popular around greater Asia as well and this month Lee Jun Ki has multiples pages showcasing his modeling range for the Chinese magazine Waves. It’s funny that when he debuted he was considered so exotic and he really did pave the way for many flower boy actors after him by showing that looks did not limit his breadth.


Lee Jun Ki Declines Male Lead in Rom-com Drama Link Opposite Moon Ga Young and Dripping with Model Vibes in New Waves Pictorial — 46 Comments

  1. Read this on Twitter earlier. Is the script so bad that the drama is having trouble landing a male lead? Or is it all just mediaplay? Glad he declined. A LJK-MGY romance pairing? Some might not mind the age gap but it’s just not it for me.

    • Checked out the writer’s past work and she wrote Protect The Boss (which I liked), Hello Monster (haven’t seen) and Suspicious Partner (haven’t seen but reviews are mixed).

      • Really? Wow! This is a must for me then! Hello Monster is one of my top favorite kdramas which I absolutely adore; I liked Suspicions Partner very much and I enjoyed Protect The Boss. I’ll keep my eye on one.

      • then this drama will be good. hello monster was really good and that’s the first time i noticed park bo gum’s acting talent and i think it’s still his best eventhough he is just a supporting in that drama his bromance with Seo In Guk was amazing. Suspicious Partner is good as well, Nam Ji Hyun and Ji Chang wook chemistry is so hot you might say they are really dating in real life. Protect the boss was funny and I can say Ji Sung was really perfect for the drama. All the writers drama the male and female lead has great chemistry so I think LINK will be a good drama as well as long as the actors can do their role right.

      • Agree with jljlljwee 100%. I don’t care if no big names attached to this project. If the actors/actresses are good, then no problem for me. Like Adal, I love Hello Monster and Suspicious Partners. I can’t see anyone else playing the lead roles now. Ratings wise also not that important. Suspicious Partners created so many JiJi fans that still think Wookie and Nam Ji Hyun are dating until today. Many fans also think Park Bo Gum’s best role is in Hello Monster which I wholeheartedly agree. Sometimes destiny plays an important role. Whatever will be will be.

  2. I am relieved he didnt take on this drama for several reasons. So many wrong things about this casting news. One, the timing. The hype around Flower of Evil hasnt completely dies down yet. It seems like a long time but its really just been three months since the last broadcast. More International broadcast stations are picking it up and it will start airing on Netflix this coming Sunday. If he had taken on the role. It would mess with the immersion of the new viewers because it would be overshadowed by news and updates of the new drama.

    • Second, I could be wrong on this but the plot feels a little juvenile and a bit shallow(?). They are describing the male lead as a “sexy” chef. This tells me they are banking on the male lead’s looks as a selling point of the drama. Anyone who has followed LJK’s acting career and had an interest on his thought will tell you he runs away from roles that require him to bank on his looks. He says he knows he isnt the classic handsome and its not his comfort zone. Its the reason why he hasnt done romance heavy drama or accept “flower boy” roles since my girl drama. In his recent interviews(there are many) he said he wants to be in works that only appeal to his huge fanbase but also the public (I assume he means more Korean audiences). In my opinion, for that to happen, he needs to star in works that are rich in plot. This link drama doesnt seem to offer that.

      • Third, most of his roles are usually written and offered to him when the writer/director have in mind as the number 1 choice i.e Two Weeks, Flower of Evil, Lawless Lawyer, Time Between Dog and Wolf. It also turns out these dramas have good reviews/ratings.

        Fourth, I do think LJK shines the best when working with veteran acting ensembles. I mean he always delivers in his roles but we all know for a drama to succeed you need leads and supporting actors that match in chemistry and acting level as well as engaging script. Thats what made dramas like CLOY, IONTBO AND FoE a success. On the flip side, “Entertainer” and “Two Cops” by Jisung and Jo Jung Suk respectively flopped so hard primarily because one the script was weak and two there was a mismatch in age and skill with the co-lead.

  3. At this rate the script must be really bad. Imagine that the same role offered to Kim Seon Ho (a 34-year old), Lee Jun Ki (a 38-year old), and Lee Jae Wook ( only a 22-year old). I know LJW looks older than his real age. But this is still insane just like how Son Ye Jin and Kim So Hyun also got offered for the same role.

    • Lee Jae Wook has played a 30’s age guy in Search WWW. Which is very funny, b/c while he may look a bit older than his age. By no means does he look like 30s to me, nor does he fit with the guys listed above. Seriously, how in the world is Seon Ho and Lee Jun Ki on the same level looks wise or career wise? What is the PD smoking lol?

      • I like jun ki and i like seon ho. Both are talented and looks great. Jun ki has been in drama/film industry for 20 yrs. Seon Ho has been in threatre play for over 10 years and only started doing drama like 4 years ago.

        His play are always sold out very fast and he is considered “idol in threatre”, where fans would gather to see him, they are with him for 10 over years. In threatre play, audiences are people who enjoys live performance and there are also pd, production crew, celebrities, writers, professional who had done play during their school days, these people give instant approval or critic to the actors or actresses. Seon Ho himself said he is always learning for his play and drama industry.

        Hence it would be nice not to judge another actor on what level cos most of them started differently and they worked hard for whatever role the are in.

        As for LJW he has great potential and he looks great.

        Age is a figure, if any actors or actresses can pull it off in play/drama/film, it is their credit.

      • @Oto Oh I’m not looking down on Seon Ho at all! Just saying that in terms of the Korean industry, he’s only been at it for 3 yrs vs. Lee Joon Gi’s whose been at it for about 20 yrs. So I just found it strange that LJG was given second fiddle after KSH declined the role. In fact, shouldn’t it have been LJG first offered the role, then KSH lol?

        His play work is commendable, but in the Korean industry, there’s so many talented actors who do both musicals and theatre so he wouldn’t be the first guy that comes from that background to succeed. But in the Korean industry, they measure it based on their work thus far in the business, and KSH is just getting started.

      • No one is judging anyone. Link is a drama, not a play so KSH’s theatre background doesn’t count here. He might have been acting in dramas for 4 years but most people didn’t know him until Start-Up whereas LJK has been in the drama/film industry for 20 years like you yourself wrote. They are not on the same level and that’s a fact, jack.

      • @Pam Correct me if I am wrong, Namoo said he was offered early on & decided not to do it. Maybe someone wants to give the drama some boost, thus the announcement. Considering LJG’s agent didn’t even wait another day to refute the announcement so he must been offered long time ago.

      • @pam n @ smash, did i say anything wrong? I wrote like both of them jun ki and seon ho. And i did not say anything bad about both of them. And did not think or write one is better than the other. You have misunderstood and misinterpreted.

      • @Oto

        “Hence it would be nice not to judge another actor on what level cos most of them started differently and they worked hard for whatever role the are in.“

        Isn’t this word-for-word quoted part in your earlier comment you misunderstanding and misinterpreting @Pam’s comment about both actors not being on the same level? I like both actors too but I understood what she meant by it. And I agreed with her. No one said you said anything wrong. And no one said you said anything bad.

      • @SmashLandingOnYou Thanks! I meant no harm lol! Just stating both actors, and how they’re different in career level/looks/aura. It’s really on the Link PD/writers for not landing a ML yet, so they are just seeing what fits at this point. You understood my comment, thanks for the encouragement <3

        @Oto I see. Anyways, I'll just say KSH is a rising star, and he's def. one to watch/keep an eye for this year and the incoming years!

        @MistyEyes in Early Nov, Link PD/writer offered KSH the ML. But he was filming Start Up, so SALT said he'll read the script later. Cut back to now, LJG has now been offered the ML, and he later declined it. So it seems now, the writer/PD/tvN want to build more attention on Link. As it'll be shooting in May, it needs to lock down an available Male actor soon so its a way to build up interest. Seems like KSH declined a while back, and now with MGY attached officially as the FL, they went for a bigger name to gauge eyeballs on it. No word if he was offered early on, as KSH's name was the first attached talent to Link back in Early Nov.

      • The fact that it only take less than an hour for an agency to announce his refusal to appear in the drama, do it means the drama was probably offered to LJG awhile back.

      • @Misty

        It’s possible LJK got the offer first but we never heard about it at whatever time that was. KSH and LJW were the ones whose offers made it to the news while LJK being attached to the project came out only a day or so ago after those two had allegedly declined. So it comes across like the production is settling for LJK after the first and second choices passed. I feel like the speedy rejection by his agency (which came as soon as it was reported he’d been cast as male lead) was to disassociate LJK from any mediaplay attempts to boost the drama. It’s good he declined. The whole thing looks too messy at this point, from the plot to the production.

    • Ikr? These 3 guys in the same character do not make any sense. All are very different and far away from each other. LJK has always been a super star for almost 20 years.
      KSH has been in this industry for many years, but only now when he is 35, he finally made it.
      LJW is a super rookie with great talents and a lot of potentials to be next top star.

  4. So many sageuks announced this year, so here I am, wishing and hoping to see him in sageuk again.

    I am glad that he is being very picky these days. He is a very talented and dedicated actor and all I want for him is a very good project that is worthy of his time and effort.

    Best luck and won’t mind to wait, Ju Ki.

  5. When I look at Hwang In Yeop, I see traces of LJK. I think it’s the eyes. Both men are very pleasing to look at. All the best to LJK on whichever project he picks next. Rooting for him.

    • Same thoughts! First time I saw HIY was in Tale of Nokdu, and he instantly reminded me of LJK! Glad I’m not the only one lol

  6. I really liked Suspicious Partner. The FL was not the innocent usual girl and was strong but stupid. But the chemistry between NJH and JCW was clearly the best part!

    I’m curious who will be the finalist of the list of actors :p

  7. What is going on with Link? First time in a while, since I seen a show’s casting be so messy. Seems like Link’s script or Male Lead’s role is hard to sell on-screen? I assume since Moon Ga Young wants to do a mature role again, she’ll most likely accept the FL. Now the ML is the hardest part, if Kim Seon Ho and Lee Joon Gi both declined. Don’t know who else will be the ML for this show. Hmm…doesn’t bode well for this show since there’s no big names attached to it.

  8. Lee Jun Ki is my favorite Korean actor and has been since the first time I saw him. I am also glad he turned this role down as I don’t think it would properly showcase his talents. Frankly, I am hoping for a Sageuk next. Looks like Sageuks or at least fusion Sageuks are seeing a little resurgence and he hasn’t done one in a while even though he is the king of Sageuks if you ask me. I just hope that when he does do one again he gets a leading lady to match.

  9. Many dramas go through the casting merry-go-round. In fact, most do and we just don’t know about it since it’s never made public. This drama tho, has zero restraint. They’ve been releasing so many names of actors they’ve offered the role to. Bad version of media play definitely.

    I do love Moon Ga Young tho, so I’m glad LJK didn’t take this up. Hopefully LJW will say yes.

  10. I would credit LJK as the first flower boy. Still remember when he made it big with The King and the Clown, his face and delicate features were considered almost surreal. Now this has become the defacto look for flower boys. Still amazing that LJK is still at the top with his looks, charisma, acting.

    • I admire how Lee Joon Gi went in a different direction after My Girl. He could’ve done more flower boy roles, but he picked up something different. Really like that he pushed himself further as an actor. Such a shame that the blacklisting of him (B/c he starred in a film that depicted Korea’s rise to democracy/protests), led him away from films. Had that not happened, he would’ve been great in both films/drama land.

      Still, its amazing that he’s still working, doing his own thing, and has a solid fanbase still. And he’s still a lovely and gracious guy in rl too. When he thanked all his crew members (adding their names) on Instagram, it spoke volumes about his character. Nice guys really do finish first here!!

    • @Merix – LJK has acted with younger, less experienced actresses, so I’m not quite sure what you mean by ‘not in the same league’. I would think that his refusal of the role would factor in a lot more than who the female lead is. He’s worked with Lee Su Bi in Scholar Who Walks The Night (not an A lister or a very popular actress); with Seo Ye Ji in Lawless Lawyer (way before she hit it big with IOTNBO); IU in Moon Lovers (a drama which heavily contributed to her being taken seriously as an actress; prior to this work, she wasn’t taken very seriously as an actress); Nam Sang Mi in Joseon Gunman and Park Hae Sun in Two Weeks. If anything, most of his leading ladies are actresses who have some experience under their belt; are poised to but have not yet hit it big; which is the same category in which Moon Ga Young is, right now.

  11. This casting merry go round isn’t new. The writer’s past drama Hello Monster also had problems with casting the male lead role Lee Hyun. First, Lee Jin Wook was offered as the ML. He turned it down to star with HJW in The Time We Were Not In Love. Next, it was offered to Lee Sang Yoon who turned it down too as it was thought the criminal profiler role was too close to his previous role as a former psychology professor in Liar Game. In fact Koala wrote a fan-girl post drooling over Lee Sang Yoon potentially as Lee Hyun on this blog on April 15, 2015. The role finally went to Seo In Guk. SIG is very different from Lee Jin Wook and Lee Sang Yoon. Th three of them could have played the same role differently. It was an enjoyable drama for me as the SIG-PBG bromance was born with strong supporting acting from DO and Choi Won Young. So for me personally, the script is not the problem but a matter of timing and personal preferences of actors being offered the role. Just my two cents.

    • This writer of Link seems to have an aura of casting problems. It happened in another of his dramas Suspicious Partners. That time it was the female lead role debacle. The Eun Bong Hee role was offered first to Lee Sung Kyung (WFKBJ) and then to Han Ji Min (source – dramabeans.com/2017/03/han-ji-min considers beware this woman). Finally, it went to Nam Ji Hyun and history was made with her pairing with Ji Chang Wook. Anyhow, with or without Lee Jun Ki, I will give Link a try considering I enjoyed Hello Monster and Suspicious Partners.

  12. It’s pretty embarrassing that news outlets make it seem like he got offered this as a 3rd choice after two rising actors declined. Seems his name brand has really gone down, especially considering similar age and debut actors like Hyun Bin, Ju Ji Hoon, Kim Nam Gil, etc. are only becoming more popular with age.

    • Yeah, it kinda seemed like media play low key. As people said above, it does seem like the Link PD/writer has issues with it, going back with casting. Anyways, LJG is still a big name, but not as big as he used to be. Seems like the blacklist (Which was just awful/on Korea’s government for doing so) kinda dented his career? Also he did more mature roles earlier than his peers, a father role in Two Weeks. FoE seemed to bring him back again? Crazy to believe he’s in the same ball park as HB, JJH, and KNG, and such. I do agree, that those actors more or less have been hitting career strides again in their 2nd prime so to speak.

    • It’s not a big deal since it’s rather normal that one’s popularity decreasing with age. Those names that you mentioned are just simply lucky. Not everyone share the same fair of luck.

    • Lol it’s actually they used his name for media play. That article about his casting got removed already from naver right after his agency came clean that he declined it awhile ago

    • Lol What is embarrassing about it? I can’t believe some people are spiteful and there are others who are snobbish elitist.

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