Some actors and actresses are iconic for their roles that if ever their face flashes on your screen, you’d first think of their most renowned character. Song Joong Ki is notable for his role as Yoo Si Jin in “Descendants of the Sun,” whilst Shin Min Ah as the ethereal nine-tailed fox in “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho” remains her most unforgettable small screen character. But did you know that their roles were supposed to be for someone else?
Here are the actors and actresses who were first offered but turned down the lead roles in some of the most successful K-dramas of all time.
SBS legal-romance series “Hyena” starred none other than the prominent celebrity Kim Hye Soo. But did you know? Her character as the fierce elite lawyer Jung Geum Ja was, in fact, first offered to Song Hye Kyo!
Though it might have been a big project for her, the “Descendants of the Sun” star rejected the offer due to a conflict of schedule. It has been said that Hye Kyo was filming a movie, which overlapped with the drama’s scheduled production.
Originally, the fantasy-romance series “A Korean Odyssey,” also known as “Hwayugi,” offered the lead role Son Oh Gong, a powerful immortal, to Park Bo Gum.
However, he declined the offer, so it was given to Lee Seung Gi. It became his comeback drama following his military discharge in 2017.
CNBLUE leader and multifaceted actor Jung Yong Hwa was first offered to play the role of Choi Young Do in “The Heirs.” Though he would have been perfect for the character, the idol-actor refused because, according to him at that time, he didn’t want to play another student role anymore.
Kim Woo Bin eventually took his position.
It could have been his third drama reunion with actress Park Shin Hye, with whom he worked with in “He’s Beautiful” and “Heartstrings.”
“Pinocchio,” starring Park Shin Hye and Lee Jong Suk, was a hit romantic-comedy drama in 2014.
But initially, the male lead role Kim Ha Myung was first offered to Kim Woo Bin!
However, he declined because of conflict of schedules during that year. Hence, the throne was passed to actor and his real-life friend, Lee Jong Suk.
KBS’ “Descendants of the Sun” remains one of the most popular Korean dramas of all time, thanks to its amazing storyline, astounding cinematography, and the lead stars Song Hye Kyo and Song Joong Ki’s extreme chemistry.
However, little do people know that the casting for the male lead role wasn’t that smooth. Four actors declined the offer before Song Joong Ki was finally cast for the character of Yoo Si Jin.
Gong Yoo was the first artist to receive the offer, followed by Jo In Sung, Kim Woo Bin, and Won Bin, but all of them rejected the project due to conflict of schedules.
It was Jo In Sung who made the advise to cast his friend, Song Joong Ki – and the latter did so, so well that his character as Captain Yoo continues to be associated with his name.
Jun Ji Hyun was the perfect candidate to play the role of Mi Ho in the 2010 SBS fantasy-romance drama. However, she declined the offer because she was not ready to make her small screen comeback at that time.
Eventually, Shin Min Ah took the offer and made an amazing character transformation as a beautiful gumiho.
Song Joong Ki is one of the biggest names in South Korean entertainment industry, so it’s not surprising he receives tons of roles… and also declined quite a lot of them, too. After all, he can’t possibly play multiple roles at once.
Song Joong Ki declined to lead the would-be megahit historical drama “Moon Embracing the Sun,” because he already played the same role before and he wanted to new characters.
Hence, Kim Soo Hyun took over, and the drama caused his biggest break that it landed him to more lead roles after it concluded.
Lee Chang in “Kingdom,” the first Korean zombie-themed series to premiere on Netflix, was first given to Song Joong Ki as well. He turned down the offer, too, because he was busy preparing for his wedding with Song Hye Kyo at the time.
The role was then given to Ju Ji Hoon.
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Shai Collins reported this.
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