Im Shi wan as a young prince for MBC’s The King Loves

Im Shi wan as a young prince for MBC’s The King Loves Here’s a first look at stills from Im Shi-wan’s (Misaeng) new sageuk romance melodrama The King Loves, in which he plays a Goryeo prince, Wang Won (later King Chungseon), right around the turn of the 14th century. His character is described as Janus-like—two-faced, ambitious, power-hungry—which will take Im Shi-wan out of his established image as sweet-faced and kind-hearted as he goes dark and duplicitous to play an antihero. I’m looking forward to seeing him expand his range; I think he has it in him to portray a hidden coldness behind the pretty facade, and hope the project offers a lot of meaty development for him to work with.

Im Shi wan as a young prince for MBC’s The King LovesBased on a novel of the same name, The King Loves takes a fictional twist on the history and a “passionate melo” approach to the love triangle at the center of the story, which pits our prince against his former best friend, played by Hong Jong-hyun (Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo). Yoon-ah (The K2) is the daughter of a wealthy and ambitious aristocrat with whom both men will fall in love, tearing apart their friendship. Also cast are Jung Bo-seok (Monster) as Wang Won’s cold-hearted father, King Chungryeol, while Jang Young-nam (Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju) plays Won’s mother, a Yuan emperor’s daughter and Goryeo queen. Familiar dramaland ajusshi Lee Ki-young (Mrs. Cop, Masked Prosecutor) will play Yoon-ah’s father, who discovers that his wife’s sudden death was no accident but the result of a conspiracy, and that spurs him to make a big decision on behalf of his only daughter. Oh Min-seok (Misaeng) takes on a villain’s role, meanwhile, as an ambitious politician who presents fierce opposition to the king. I’m getting the sense that ambition is a common thread running through most of these characters’ lives…

The King Loves held its initial script reading in late December, then began shooting in early January. The drama comes from PD Kim Sang-hyub, the director of melodrama Dazzling Temptation and weekend drama Mama, as well as being second PD on sageuk hit Dong Yi. The drama will air on MBC later this year; it doesn’t yet have an airdate, but will be 100 percent pre-produced.