‘Jang Ok Jung’ Lives as Never Before on ONE HD

Korean history’s most well known royal concubine, Jang Huibin, is infamous for her ruthless pursuit of power. In fact, the Joseon dynasty femme fatale has been brought to life in nine different adaptations of her real life story which allege that she resorted to voodoo-like rituals to invoke death upon the reigning Queen Inhyeon and ill-treated her own son. Yet, the most interesting adaptation with a truly unique perspective of Jang comes to us in this latest Korean drama series that is titled after the concubine’s birth name, Jang Ok Jung.

Premiering on 6 May and airing on Mondays and Tuesdays at 8.55pm first and exclusively on ONE, Jang Ok Jung sets itself apart from previous works by adapting the Korean novel ‘Jang Ok Jung, Live for Love’ by Choi Jung Mi. It downplays the political intrigue surrounding Jang and tells the story of her gift for fashion design and cosmetics of her time, as she ascends from being a seamstress in the palace to the very top of the Korean court as the King’s love.

In Jang Ok Jung, Jang is set to struggle against the stifling caste system of 17th century Korea. It will also trace the romantic relationship between King Sukjong and Jang, amidst the rivalry amongst the Queen and concubines for the monarch’s affections.

Jang Ok Jung features actress-model Kim Tae Hee (Stairway to Heaven, Love Story in Havard) in her first role in a period drama as Jang. The 33 year old, once dubbed ‘South Korea’s most beautiful woman’ by the media, is the perfect candidate to play the historical figure of Jang Huibin who was considered the most beautiful woman of the Joseon dynasty. She caught the eye of King Sukjong who made her his concubine and eventually Queen, and even bore him a son, Gyeongjong, to succeed the throne.

Starring opposite Kim is Yoo Ah In (Fashion King, Punch) who plays a charismatic and romantic King Sukjong, which is a departure from the historically indecisive and weak monarch of past adaptations. No stranger to period dramas, Jang Ok Jung is the third series the 27 year old has taken on in his career thus far. Historically, King Sukjong was younger than Jang, and with Kim being six years older than Yoo, the two lead roles are perfectly and realistically cast, as intended by the series producers.

Fans of female K-pop group ‘KARA’ can look out for Han Seung-yeon in her role as Choi Suk Bin, rival concubine and mother of young future king Yeong-jo. Also members of the key cast are Hong Soo Hyun (Salaryman Cho Han Ji) as Queen Inhyeon and Jae Hee (Witch Yoo Hee, Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang) plays Hyun Chi Soo, Jang’s first love that is determined to win her back.

Helmed by director Boo Sung-cheol of My Girlfriend is Gumiho and Star’s Lover fame, production of Jang Ok Jung commenced in early March 2013, initially at the Hwaseong Haenggung Palace in Suwon, South Korea. Promising lavish sets and elaborate period costumes, the series is also set against the backdrop of flowers blooming in the Korean spring, although the cast is braving the cold during shoots.

With a great cast bringing to life a truly different revisionist tale of Korean history’s most notorious member of royalty, the stage is set for Jang Huibin to be seen as never before in Jang Ok Jung, only on ONE!

Jang Ok Jung premieres on 6 May 2013

Airing on Mondays and Tuesdays at 8.55pm

First and exclusively on ONE (Astro B.yond ch393)

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