Lee Min-ho (left) and Kim Go-eun pose for photos during a press conference for new SBS drama series “The King: Eternal Monarch” on Thursday. (SBS)
Lee Min-ho is returning to the small screen for the first time in three years through SBS’ “The King: Eternal Monarch,” which starts airing Friday night.
Lee, in his first role since completing his military service in April 2019, partners with Kim Go-eun, who is also returning to the screen three years after the hugely popular “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God.”
Kim Eun-sook, the scriptwriter behind several major hit Korean TV dramas, including tvN’s “Guardian” and “Mr. Sunshine” (2018) and KBS2’s “Descendants of the Sun” (2016), as well as “The Heirs” (2013) starring Lee, is in charge of the script for “The King.”
The romance fantasy tells the story of people who exist in two parallel universes of a fictional Korean empire, and a modern world similar to today’s South Korea.
Lee, 32, plays the role of Emperor Lee Gon, who tries to shut the doors between the two worlds to save his people. Lee Gon, the Korean empire’s third emperor, is a multifaceted character, skilled at both sports and mathematics.
Actress Kim plays two roles -- Jung Tae-eul, a modern-day detective who travels between the two worlds to help Lee, and Luna, living in the past.
“It’s like a pretty fairy tale. While the drama portrays a warm feeling overall, it is built on a concrete story with seemingly alive characters breathing inside it,” Lee Min-ho said during a press conference livestreamed online Thursday.
A scene from “The King: Eternal Monarch” (SBS)
Lee, who said he is both anxious and excited to finally return to television, added that the last three years have been a time for him to look back on his life and overcome his shortcomings as an actor.
“Entering my 30s, I think I’ve come to see what is the most fundamentally essential, whether in work or relationships with people,” Lee said.
Woo Do-hwan plays two very contrasting characters living in the two different worlds. Appearing as a solemn and faithful imperial bodyguard, Woo’s modern-world character Jo Eun-seob is a joyful and bubbly character.
Rising actress Jung Eun-chae plays the charismatic Prime Minister Goo Seo-ryung in the past, while Kim Kyung-nam takes up the role of detective Kang Shin-jae, Tae-eul’s friend.
Veteran actor Lee Jung-jin plays a key role as the villain Lee Rim, Emperor Lee Gon’s uncle, who opens the gateway between the two universes.
The 16-episode series will air at 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
By Choi Ji-won (email@example.com