Due to conflicting schedules, award-winning actor Kang Ha-neul has reportedly taken a pass on the lead-role offer that he received for the upcoming historical drama Pyeonggang, Cut by the Heart.
Set to depict one of South Korea’s highly preserved traditional tales, Pyeonggang, Cut by the Heart will tell the tragic love story of Princess Pyeonggang, the “weeping princess,” and Pabo Ondal, a hunchbacked commoner. The plotline appears to present an exciting twist and slightly steers away from the original narrative as the drama describes Princess Pyeonggang to be an ambitious royal who takes advantage of Ondal’s faithful devotion for her to gain control over the entire kingdom.
Previous reports revealed that Kang Ha-neul (When the Camellia Blooms) initially received a proposal to play the male protagonist Ondal. However, representatives from his agency TH Company stated that the filming schedule for the series would have clashed with that of an upcoming movie Kang is currently preparing for. One media outlet further shared that the actor still wished to contribute to the new series despite his unbending schedule, so he accepted to portray a supporting role instead. He is now on to act as Ondal’s father, General Onhyup, who is said to play an integral part during the early episodes of the drama.
According to the legend that has been passed down across countless generations, Pabo Ondal or “Ondal the Fool” (“pabo” is the Korean word for “fool”) is an ugly yet good-hearted hunchbacked man. Through Princess Pyeonggang’s help and unwavering insistence on their marriage, Ondal and his mother overcame their unfortunate lives. The princess taught him how to fight, and he soon became an excellent soldier. His courage and loyalty to the kingdom were made known when he bravely fought and defeated enemies. He eventually became recognized as a heroic general and got acknowledged by the king as his son-in-law.
Meanwhile, Crash Landing on You actress Son Ye-jin has been courted to portray Princess Pyeonggang, daughter of King Pyeongwon of Goguryeo. Old wives’ tales describe her as a stubborn young royal who repeatedly cries her eyes out until she gets things done her way. One day, she got on her father’s nerves, which pushed him to declare that if she does not straighten up, he will marry her off to Ondal, the town’s famous fool. When King Pyeongwon attempted to betroth the princess to the son of a nobleman, she put up fierce resistance and demanded that the king keep his promise of having her wed Ondal. After the king’s confession of having only made empty threats was met by her relentless determination, a falling-out ensued, and the princess left the palace to roam the streets, looking for her husband-to-be. Son’s side has not yet released an official statement regarding the actress’ decision on the offered role.
Pyeonggang, Cut by the Heart will be helmed by PD Yoon Sang-ho, director of King Maker: The Change of Destiny (2020) and aims to air in 2021.