The Korea Herald


'Captivating the King' to capture love-hate relationship between king and spy

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : Jan. 17, 2024 - 14:01

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A scene from A scene from "Captivating the King," starring Jo Jung-suk (tvN)

Sparks are set to fly as South Korean actors Jo Jung-suk and Shin Se-kyung star in tvN's new historical romance drama "Captivating the King," in which they will portray a love-hate relationship between a king and a spy.

The 16-part drama series centers around the relationship between Lee In (played by Jo Jung-suk), who rises to the position of king of Joseon, and Kang Hee-soo (played by Shin Se-kyung), a spy who approaches him seeking revenge.

"Although it is a fusion historical drama, I did not think of it or write it as such," said Kim Sun-duk, the main screenwriter for the drama series, during a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday. Fusion historical dramas take place in a historical time period but do not necessarily adhere to historical accuracy.

"Because the drama series takes place during the Joseon period, although the characters are fictional, I tried to write (the scenario) by imagining and reinterpreting the history of the Joseon Dynasty that I love," she said.

"I think those who enjoy historical dramas can watch ("Captivating the King") while thinking, 'this episode is based on this historical event,' and '(this event) is referring to this era,'" she added.

Jo Jung-suk said he was honored to have been able to play a king in the series for the first time since debuting on screen 20 years ago.

"(Acting as a king) can be both an advantage and a privilege for an actor," said Jo during the press conference.

"In the movie 'The Face Reader,' I almost appeared half-naked in the beginning," he said. In the 2013 historical film "The Face Reader," Jo played a poor brother-in-law of a son of a disgraced noble family and a talented face reader played by actor Song Kang-ho.

"I remembered that moment, and it was such an honor to be able to wear a king's robe and act. Personally, I think (this drama series) might be more memorable for me because of that," he said.

A scene from A scene from "Captivating the King," starring Shin Se-kyung (tvN)

Shin Se-kyung said the role of Kang Hee-soo was a difficult challenge, considering the psychological changes the character goes through as the story unfolds.

"Despite being a resilient character who always achieves what she desires, the character faces crises upon encountering Lee In," said Shin.

"Toward the latter part of the drama, Hee-soo is in a state of constant emotional conflict and there are many scenes where her emotions contrast with her outward expressions," she said.

"I think this drama series is one of the works that encapsulate my personal growth (as an actor)," she added.

Helmed by Jo Nam-gook, who directed two seasons of the crime drama "Model Detective" (2020), with the screenplay by Kim Sun-deok, the writer of tvN's historical drama 'The Crowned Clown' (2019), the first episode of "Captivating the King" will be broadcast on tvN Sunday.

Actors Jo Jung-suk (left) and Shin Se-kyung pose for a photo during a press conference held in Seoul, Tuesday. (Yonhap) Actors Jo Jung-suk (left) and Shin Se-kyung pose for a photo during a press conference held in Seoul, Tuesday. (Yonhap)