Renowned actor Lee Byeong-heon (이병헌) has announced his intention to star in a Korean adaptation of ‘The Prince and the Pauper.’
As reported by Korean Film Biz and Korea Joongang Daily, the incredibly popular star will play both the King of Joseon as well as a pauper who, after discovering they look alike, exchange places. This will be Lee Byeong-heon’s first foray into a period drama, and marks a departure from his usual action role as exemplified with A Bittersweet Life (달콤한 인생) and I Saw the Devil (악마를 보았다). It will be some time before production begins however, as Lee Byeong-heon is currently filming G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation in America before embarking on a tour of Japan.
Additionally, Old Boy scribe Hwang Jo-yoon (황조윤) will write the screenplay whilst Late Blossom (그대를 사랑합니다) director Choo Chang-min (추창민) will helm the production. According to Korean Film Biz, filming will begin early next year with a budget of $8 million/£5.1 million.
In another testament to the star’s influence, 10 Asia has reported (here) that Lee Byeon-heon is set to receive a presidential citation for his role in the development and expansion of Korean cinema. The accolade marks the recognition of the actor’s contributions, as he has starred in some of the most prominent films that have emerged from Korea during the past 10 years and has also appeared in Hollywood action films.