|Actors Park Eun-bin, left, and Rowoon pose for pictures during the online press conference for the series, "The King's Affection," last Friday. Courtesy of KBS|
By Lee Gyu-lee
Actress Park Eun-bin has taken on the role of a woman who disguises herself as a man in KBS's new period series, "The King's Affection," which kicked off on Monday with a 6.2-percent viewership rating.
Based on the comic book of the same name by Lee So-young, the romance series follows the crown prince's twin sister (Park) who was kicked out of the palace. When Prince Lee Hwi is killed, she returns to the palace secretly to keep the family line of succession, by hiding her true identity and pretending to be her twin brother.
"I thought the story about a woman becoming a king in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) was brilliant. I was drawn to the concept of a female sitting on the throne," she said during the online press conference for the series, last Friday. "I felt like I was having a whole new dream when I read the script. I wanted to wear the King's gown and I felt this was the type of story that we would rarely see, so I wanted to accept the challenge."
The period romance drama is directed by Song Hyun-wook, who led the other hit romance series, "Another Miss Oh" and "Beauty Inside."
The director explained that he had been concerned about finding the lead actress, due to the complexity of the character, Lee Hwi.
"I was not sure if any actress would be willing or able to take the role. Then I met Park Eun-bin and she showed such great confidence towards playing the character, which came as a relief," he said.
Song added that the series will feature aspects of various genres.
"The series is about an ill-fated king who has to hide her identity as a woman. Within the palace, which is a tough place, there is a romance that blossoms and tears that are shed," he said. "It's a period romance series, but it features a combination of different genres, including action and comedy."
|Scenes from the series / Courtesy of KBS|
Park expressed that she had a hard time making her role convincing, despite taking on the role with confidence.
"This whole thing started with imagining, 'what if the king were a woman,' because all of the kings (in history) have been male. And as an actor, my biggest challenge was how to make it convincing to viewers... Because there were no previous cases where an actress played a king, it took me some time to get used to," she said.
"Instead of just trying to disguise myself as man, I tried to focus on showing why she has to pretend that she is a man. I also focused on the moments in which she faces doubts and dangers, as her real side slips out and risks are revealed."
Singer and actor Rowoon, who is known as a member of K-pop group SF9, plays the role of Jung Ji-woon, who is the royal family's designated tutor and Lee Hwi's teacher.
The actor expressed excitement in having taken part in the first period drama of his acting career.
"I thought that the series presented many layers. It didn't take long for me to decide to take on the role because I could feel the heartwarming love story in the script," he said, adding that he had wanted to work with Park. "Park has helped me a lot through the filming. I'm just lucky to work with her."
"The King's Affection" airs on KBS Mondays and Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. and is also showing on Netflix.