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5 Korean actors who turned down major movie and TV roles (ft. Gong Yoo, Song Joong Ki, and more)

The following actors turn out to be the original choices for the male leads in famous movies and dramas. 

Korean hit movies and TV series all have male leads portrayed by famous actors. But in some cases, they are not the first picks for their roles. Let’s take a look at 5 actors that were supposed to be cast in the following well-known productions in the first place but unfortunately rejected.

1. Gong Yoo and Song Joong Ki

Initially, the production crew of the hit drama “Descendants of the Sun” wanted Gong Yoo for the role of Captain Yoo Shi Jin. Unfortunately, with the long time of filming overseas, mandatory short hairstyle, and other pre-production requirements, the character was difficult to cast. Besides Gong Yoo, other A-list actors such as Won Bin, Jo In Sung, and Kim Woo Bin were all offered to take on the role but turned it down.

Won Bin and Ha Jung Woo

As for the actual male lead Song Joong Ki, his popularity across Asia was taken to a new level after the success of “Descendants of the Sun”. He acted alongside Song Hye Kyo and created a stir when announcing his marriage to the co-star not long after the drama ended. Sadly, the two divorced after 20 months of marriage.

2. Won Bin and Ha Jung Woo

Originally, Won Bin, Gong Yoo and Kim Woo Bin were all considered for the character of Grim Reaper Gangrim in the blockbuster “Along with the Gods”. Won Bin turned down this role because of the movie’s fantasy genre and he wanted to make a comeback with a lighter film.

Won Bin and Ha Jung Woo

Eventually, “box office king” Ha Jung Woo accepted the offer to play Gangrim and help “Along with the Gods” become the first movie to hit the 10 million audience mark in 2018.

Won Bin and Ha Jung Woo

3. Park Bo Gum and Lee Seung Gi

“A Korean Odyssey” attracted much attention because it was Lee Seung Gi’s first drama after he was discharged from the military. However, Lee Seung Gi’s character Sun Wukong was originally meant to be given to Park Bo Gum. After Park Bo Gum turned down the offer, Lee Seung Gi’s appearance was confirmed.

Lee Seung Gi used “A Korean Odyssey” as a stepping stone for success after a 2-year absence from the small screen. Unfortunately, the drama was involved in many issues such as broadcast mishaps, production staff’s accident that led to heated controversy among Korean viewers and caused ratings to drop significantly.

4. Kim Soo Hyun and Yoo Ah In

Initially, actor Kim Soo Hyun was considered for the role of Crown Prince Sado in the historical movie The Throne.  When Kim Soo Hyun declined the invitation, Yoo Ah In took this role.

Kim Soo Hyun and Yoo Ah In
영화 ‘사도’

With passionate acting as well as the most famous, controversial storyline, The Throne has been a huge hit and is now available on Netflix.

5. Song Joong Ki and Joo Ji Hoon

Kingdom is Netflix’s second Korean original series to air. Song Joong Ki was considered for the male lead role in this historical zombie thriller. However, he declined the role because his schedule did not permit it and he needed to prepare for his wedding with Song Hye Kyo at the time. The role was then accepted by actor Joo Ji Hoon.

Song Joong Ki and Joo Ji Hoon

Kingdom received critical acclaim upon its release. And despite the controversies that occurred during its production, two seasons with a spin-off starring Jeon Ji Hyun have been released. 

Song Joong Ki and Joo Ji Hoon

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