Joo Ji Hyun was flawlessly cast in Kingdom, however, Crown Prince Lee Chang was actually almost played by another actor.
Kingdom is one of the first Netflix original Korean shows with great global success. Not only contributing to promoting the zombie genre on the Korean screen, the series also marks the impressive comeback of Joo Ji Hoon after many years of struggling due to scandal. Joo Ji Hoon’s excellent performance as Crown Prince Lee Chang helped him once again enter the lineup of A-list stars and all his past controversies were forgotten by the audience.
With his amazing portrayal, Joo Ji Hoon makes the viewers think that he was the first choice to play Crown Prince Lee Chang, but that is actually not the case. In fact, before Joo Ji Hoon was brought in, Kingdom’s producers offered the part to another A-list actor, Song Joong Ki. When Kingdom season 1 was about to start filming, Song Joong Ki’s popularity was at its peak thanks to the remarkable success of Descendants of the Sun and his famous real-life romance with ex-wife Song Hye Kyo. So it comes as no surprise that he was first considered by Netflix to play the male lead. But not only Kingdom, Song Joong Ki turned down many roles during the time, because he wanted to focus on preparing for the wedding with Song Hye Kyo.
Song Joong Ki rejecting the role in Kingdom obviously caused much regret, but objectively, Joo Ji Hoon has proved that he is perfect for the part. Since Song Joong Ki has a trademark baby face, many viewers think he probably would not be able to flawlessly portray Crown Prince Lee Chang like Joo Ji Hoon. Moreover, Lee Ji Hoon undeniably plays a huge part in the success of Kingdom, the longest-running Korean series on Netflix.