Yeo Jin-gu up to star in drama version of Gwanghae, The Man Who Became King
Come on, let’s be real. You had me at Yeo Jin-gu (Reunited Worlds, Circle) playing a king. There’s a drama adaptation in the works at tvN for the hit movie Gwanghae, The Man Who Became King, also known internationally as Masquerade, and an offer is out to Yeo Jin-gu to headline in the dual role as King Gwanghae and the clown who will take his place on the throne.
The 2012 film by Choo Chang-min was a massive box office and critical success, and is still the ninth-highest grossing domestic film in Korea with over 12.3 million tickets sold. Lee Byung-heon starred in the eerie historical melodrama as a paranoid Gwanghae who knew that his opponents were trying to poison him, and tasks his trusted advisor to find a double who will act as his stand-in and protect him from assassination. They find a clown who is the spitting image of the king, and when an assassination attempt nearly takes the king’s life, the clown must assume the throne while the king recovers. The problem is that he might be a better king than the real king, and a man that the queen could actually love.
Obviously the drama adaptation plans to age down Gwanghae and the clown if Yeo Jin-gu is up to play the lead. He’s already played this specific king in the film Warriors of the Dawn, but that version of Gwanghae was idealistic and heroic, while this one will be shrewd and twisted. The clown is really the heart of this story, as the commoner with a natural warmth who breathes life into the previously cold and frightening palace. His character is described as a survivor who was abandoned as a child and became a traveling clown, and he’ll come to enjoy his time masquerading as a king.
The drama will feature a love triangle between the king, the clown, and the queen, and is about a love that transcends class and the law. I’m sure it’ll draw comparisons to Ruler–Master of the Mask, but hopefully the associations end at the prince and pauper premise, because that drama was disappointing in so many ways. This one has a successful film as its backbone, so it already has a leg up. Directing will be PD Kim Hee-won of Warm and Cozy, Dazzling Temptation, and Money Flower.
Gwanghae, The Man Who Became King is being planned for a January 2019 broadcast on tvN.