Before Kim Soo Hyun was cast, it was this actor who was offered the part.
“Moon Embracing the Sun” is one of the most successful historical K-dramas. Taking on the role of crown prince Lee Hwon, Kim Soo Hyun shot to fame and became one of the most sought-after actors in the industry. Since he was so perfect for the part, few people knew that Kim Soo Hyun was actually not the first choice when the production crew of “Moon Embracing the Sun” was looking for an actor to lead the drama.
In fact, it was Song Joong Ki who was originally offered to play Kim Soo Hyun’s character. At the time, Song Joong Ki was enjoying great popularity after he starred in two historical dramas, “Sungkyunkwan Scandal” and “Deep Rooted Tree”. For unknown reasons, Song Joong Ki regrettably rejected the offer to join the cast of “Moon Embracing the Sun”. Some viewers believed that Song Joong Ki turned it down because if he accepted, his character’s image in “Moon Embracing the Sun” and “Deep Rooted Tree” would be overlapping. In addition, most viewers also feel relieved that Kim Soo Hyun was eventually cast because he was one of the biggest reasons why “Moon Embracing the Sun” became a hit.
Currently, both Song Joong Ki and Kim Soo Hyun are labeled A-list actors. Their reputations are on par with each other, but Kim Soo Hyun remains the most paid Korean actor, outranking Song Joong Ki.
Besides “Moon Embracing the Sun”, in his career, Song Joong Ki also turned down the offer to lead another historical hit, Netflix’s original series “Kingdom”. Rumors had it that he wanted to focus on preparations for his wedding with Song Hye Kyo at the time.