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Lee Seung-gi says he did not quit shows for new drama

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Published : March 8, 2012 - 16:33

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Actor-singer says stepping down from variety shows was a mere coincidence

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.

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. 
 

Ha Ji-won and Lee Seung-ggi Ha Ji-won and Lee Seung-ggi

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 (oh_jean@heraldcorp.com)



<한글 기사>

이승기ㆍ하지원 키스 "어색하지 않았다"


MBC의 새 수목드라마 더 킹 투하츠에 대한 관심과 소문이 무성하다. 그 만큼 배우와 제작진의 어깨가 무거울 것이다.

하지원과 이승기가 남녀 주인공으로 등장하고 최근 종영한 ‘해를 품은 달’을 이은 작품이라 부담은 두 배가 될 수 있다.

이승기는 최근 KBS의 ‘1박 2일’과 SBS의 ‘강심장’을 하차했기 때문에 드라마에 집중하기 위한 것이 아닌가 하는 질문을 자주 받는다.

오늘 드라마 제작 발표회에 참석한 이승기는 1박 2일은 이미 하차가 결정되어 있던 것이었고 강심장은 원래 계획했던 것 보다 더 오래 진행을 했다고 밝혔다.

"'아직 배울 점도 많은 내가 혼자 이끌어나갈 프로그램은 아닌 것 같다고 생각해왔다"고 하며 "드라마 시작과 맞물려 공교롭게 예능을 그만두게 되었다"라고 말했다.

드라마 주인공은 이번이 3번째이다. 이전의 '찬란한 유산'과 '내 여자친구는 구미호'에서 부자집 아들로 나왔는데 이번에도 크게 다르지 않다고 말했다. 이번 드라마에서는 한국의 왕제로 북한의 특수부대 교관과 사랑에 빠지게 되는 내용이다. 

이승기 보다 나이가 8살 연상인 하지원은 "나이 차가 많이 나는 것은 사실이지만 나이 차이에 신경을 쓰고 있으면 연기를 못할 것 같다"고 말했다.

더 킹 투하츠의 이재규 감독은 최근 촬영한 이승기와 하지원의 키쓰신이 "전혀 어색하지 않았다" 밝혔다.

더 킹 투하츠는 3월 21일부터 매주 수요일과 목요일 9시 55분에 방영된다.