The buzz behind MBC’s new Wednesday and Thursday night series, “The King 2Hearts,” might be laying the pressure on thick for its cast and crew.
The upcoming drama not only boasts two hit-making stars, Ha Ji-won and Lee Seung-gi, but is also following on the heels of MBC’s blockbuster period piece “Moon Embracing The Sun.”
Furthermore, actor-singer-entertainer Lee recently stepped down from KBS’ popular reality show “Two Days and One Night” and is also stepping down from his role as host for SBS talk show “Strong Heart.”
His work in “Two Days and One Night” played a crucial role in molding Lee into a media darling, while his time spent co-hosting “Strong Heart” with Kang Ho-dong, before he unexpectedly found himself flying solo, boosted his credibility in the realm of entertainment.
Actor Lee Seung-gi (right) and actress Ha Ji-won attend the press conference for MBC’s “The King 2Hearts” at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Seoul, Thursday. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)
The departure from both shows so close to this drama’s airdate might leave critics wondering if “The King 2Hearts” played a decisive role in his stepping down.
At the drama’s press conference in Seoul on Thursday, Lee revealed that leaving “Two Days and One Night” was decided in advance, while with “Strong Heart” he actually extended his time spent hosting the show to longer than he had originally intended.
“I thought I still had a lot to learn in the realm of entertainment so I felt it would be a bit tough for me to carry the show off on my own,” said the 25-year old star. “This all ended up coinciding with this drama, so people might think I quit because of this series but that is not the case.”
As for plans to serve military duty, Lee said it was too early to set a specific date.
This represents Lee’s third major role as a protagonist in a drama. To date his work has been largely successful, beginning with SBS’ “Brilliant Legacy” in 2009.
In both “Brilliant Legacy” and SBS’ “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho” he played a rich brat, and his latest role proves no exception.
“This role does seem similar to past characters,” said Lee, who admitted that his hero, this time a South Korean prince who finds himself in an arranged marriage with a North Korean Special Operations Force drill sergeant (Ha Ji-won), is, yet again, an immature punk.
Co-star Ha, 33, admitted that the eight-year age gap between her and co-star Lee is bigger than the age differences between her and previous co-stars.
“Working with him on set, though, put me at ease because he does not act that young, sometimes he even feels like an older brother to me,” she said. “It is more comfortable than expected.”
“The King 2Hearts” co-director Lee Jae-gyu added that Ha and Lee filmed a kiss scene recently and “it wasn’t awkward at all.”
The King 2Hearts” starts airing March 21 on Wednesday and Thursday nights at 9:55 p.m. on MBC.
By Jean Oh (email@example.com