Promising young actress Kim So-hyun has taken on the female lead role that was initially offered to Crash Landing on You star Son Ye-jin in the upcoming historical drama River Where the Moon Rises, according to Korean media reports published on October 5.
River Where the Moon Rises is set to depict a reimagination of Korea’s widely known folktale about a weeping princess who steered away from customary royal practices when she fell in love and married a hunchbacked commoner. Adding a twist to the original plotline is the representation of the princess as a selfish lady who takes advantage of the people’s devotion to gain control over the entire kingdom.
Kim So-hyun has signed up to portray Princess Pyeonggang, an ambitious royal who aspires to become the first female ruler of Goguryeo. On her course towards redeeming the status of the collapsing kingdom, she meets the hunchbacked commoner named Pabo Ondal or “Ondal the Fool” (“pabo” is the Korean word for “fool”). With him, she eventually feels overwhelmed by unfamiliar emotions and new experiences that are beginning to distract her from her goals.
After making her television debut as a child actress, Kim So-hyun had a remarkable transition from playing younger versions of the female protagonists, such as in Padam Padam (2011–2012), The Moon Embracing the Sun (2012), and I Miss You (2012–2013), to portraying her first-ever lead character in Who Are You: School 2015. Since then, she has acquired solid acting skills that allowed her to headline numerous popular dramas, including Bring It on, Ghost (2016), Radio Romance (2018), The Tale of Nokdu (2019), and the Netflix Korean original series franchise Love Alarm (2019, 2021).
Although no specific details were released yet about Ondal’s character, urban legends describe him as an ugly yet good-hearted hunchbacked man whose kind nature and brevity transformed him into a reputable general. His inspiring story has been a traditional reference for Koreans when they talk about an atypical man’s rise from destitution to distinction. In the upcoming drama, Ondal is said to make a great sacrifice for love. Award-winning actor Kang Ha-neul (When the Camellia Blooms) was previously tapped to play the role, but he later turned it down due to conflicting schedules and decided to appear as Ondal’s father, General Onhyup, instead. With that, viewers’ anticipation is building up for the actor who will officially take on the challenging role.
The production crew behind the series remarked, “Kim So-hyun, who has strong acting abilities, has taken a step closer to leading a spectacular drama by confirming her appearance as Pyeonggang. Known for adding her own color to every part she plays, we have high expectations on how Kim would breathe life to an appealing role. We are confident that Pyeonggang will become her most distinctive character yet, so we hope the viewers will look forward to it.”
River Where the Moon Rises, also known as Pyeonggang, Cut by the Heart, will be helmed by PD Yoon Sang-ho, director of King Maker: The Change of Destiny (2020), and penned by screenwriter Han Ji-hoon of Woman of 9.9 Billion (2019–2020). It targets to broadcast in the first half of 2021.