After what seems like an eternity, Director Lee Joon-ik’s much anticipated movie Sado (English title The Throne) has finally confirmed its premiere month. Set to hit the big screens of South Korea this September. Aside from the director, whose past works include the award-winning Wish (2013) and The King and the Clown (2005), the historical movie boasts star-studded cast, led by Chungmuro veteran, Song Kang-ho and Yoo Ah-in.
Adapting one of the most tragic happenings in Joseon, Sado retells the history of the royal family during King Yeongjo’s reign. The king was known as a wise ruler, but one will associate his name with the tragedy happened to his second son and the heir to the throne at that time, Crown Prince Sado. The Crown Prince, born Yi Seon, was locked in a rice chest and died from asphyxiation eight days later after he wrecked havoc in the palace due to his mental illness. The details of the happenings prior to his death remained vague since the records had been erased from the Annals and Diary of the Royal Secretariat under Yeongjo’s royal edict by Jeongjo’s request when he was still the Crown Princw, and the only surviving record was the autobiography penned by Sado’s wife Lady Hyegyeong (Queen Heongyeong), Memoirs of Lady Hyegyeong.
If you have watched the dramas and movies featuring Yeongjo, Crown Prince Sado, or Sado’s son Jeongjo, you might be familiar with the plot, but I really look forward to the movie. The reason I want to see how they will portray the tragedy in a way people would want to see it, instead of playing it safe (Secret Door, I am looking at YOU!). Judging from the early list of characters, it can be assumed that the movie will be focusing on the family conflicts, i.e. the discord between the father and the son, and also the fall of Sado as witnessed by people closest to him. If it will be like watching Memoirs of Lady Hyegyeong come alive, then I can’t be more grateful. Bring. It. On!
When Yoo Ah-in was first confirmed to join the production as the titular Sado, the media was abuzz with the coincidence that his co-star in the drama Fashion King, Lee Je-hoon, also signed up to play the character in Secret Door. That was one interesting thing, and I have been looking forward to Sado since then. Song Kang-ho is a name which needs no introduction when it comes to Chungmuro actors. His advancement into the international market through Snowpiercer (2013) and his recent projects like The Attorney (2013) and The Face Reader (2013), has proved that his acting have been receiving praises not only within South Korea, but also the international audience. I find it amusing that Song Kang-ho had also acted alongside Secret Door’s Yeongjo, Han Suk-kyu, in Shiri (1999). The world is small, indeed!
Well, those two names are enough to reel? in my excitement, but if you need more reasons to check out Sado, just take a look at the list of cast: Moon Geun-young as Sado’s wife Lady Hyegyeong; Kim Hae-sook as Yeongjo’s adopted mother Queen Inwon (who was also Sukjong’s third queen); Park Won-sang as Lady Hyegyeong’s father Hong Bong-han; Jin Ji-hee as Sado’s stepsister Princess Hwawan; Jeon Hye-jin as Sado’s birth mother Lady Yi youngbin; Seo Ye-ji as Yeongjo’s second queen consort Queen Jeongsun; and Park So-dam as Yeongjo’s concubine Lady Mun sowon. I guess it’s not a spoiler since the news is everywhere: So Ji-sub will be making a cameo as the grown up Jeongjo.
Check out the first trailer, which was released last week alongside the teaser poster and the recently released stills. The Throne is set for September premiere, although the exact date remains unknown.
Time to dust off my copy of Memoirs of Lady Hyegyeong and refresh my memory about the events in the biography while waiting for more stills, especially Moon Geun-young’s!
(Stills and poster credit to NAVER 영화 )