13 Korean actors and actresses who regret turning down roles in popular dramas
Choosing to accept or reject a drama role is definitely not an easy decision for Korean actors and actresses. One role can make or break you career, and choosing the right one is a decision that cannot be taken lightly. But every K-drama actor or actress has at least one role they passed up that continues to haunt them!
Below are 13 actors who turned down a role in a popular drama that possibly could have made their career. We will never know if the popular dramas below would have enjoyed the same success with a different lead, but it's fun to think about!
1. Hyun Bin
There was much debate and excitement surrounding what Hyun Bin would choose as his comeback drama after his military service. He was originally thinking about taking the lead role in Kill Me, Heal Me but decided to do Hyde, Jekyll, and I. Ji Sung ended up taking the role in Kill Me, Heal Me, and the drama killed it in the ratings while Hyde, Jekyll, and I fell disappointingly short.
Chun Jung Myung doesn’t need to be told that turning down the lead role in Coffee Prince was a mistake. In a recent interview the actor came clean about his regret, admitting that rejecting Coffee Prince “is something I will regret all my life. I apologize to Gong Yoo, but I am just stating how I feel.”
Can you imagine Full House starring anyone other than Rain? Well, it almost did! Both Jung Woo Sung and Lee Jung Jae were originally considered for the role opposite Song Hye Kyo. Full House was massively successful, maintaining the first spot in the ratings with a whopping 40%!
4. Jeon Ji Hyun
Believe it or not, Jeon Ji Hyun was initially considered as the lead in My Girlfriend is a Nine Tailed Fox! While I love Jeon Ji Hyun, after recently rewatching the drama, I truly believe the role was made for Shin Min Ah. What do you think?
Boys Over Flowers fans might be surprised to know that the role of Gu Jun Pyo was originally offered to Jang Geun Suk. However, he turned it down to do Beethoven Virus, and Lee Min Ho was cast. The role of F4’s leader skyrocketed Lee Min Ho to Hallyu fame, but Jang Geun Suk still did pretty well with Beethoven Virus, which averaged 19.1% in ratings and earned Geun Suk an MBC Drama Award.
6. Jang Hyuk
The adorable and talented Moon Geun young has turned down many roles in recent years, including The Scholar Who Walks the Night, High Society, and The Moon That Embraces the Sun. I, for one, am still waiting for her comeback drama! Hopefully turning down such amazing roles will work out for Moon Geun Young and she will choose a great comeback project.
After a lot of debate, Song Joong Ki turned down the role of King Lee Hwon in The Moon That Embraces the Sun. Interestingly enough, the role was also rejected by Park Shi Hoo and Park Yoo Chun before it eventually went to Kim Soo Hyun.
10. Lee Joon Ki
While the iconic role of Lee Dae Gil in Chuno eventually went to Jang Hyuk, it was originally turned down by Lee Joon Ki. While I love Lee Joon Ki, I cannot picture any other actor in that role. Jang Hyuk was perfect for it. Go Soo and Kang Ji Hwan also turned down the role.
11. Kim Hee Sun
If you thought that Moon Geun Young has turned down a lot of roles recently, Kim Hee Sun definitely has her beat. The actress has turned down lead roles in dramas such as Autumn in my Heart, My Girl, I'm Sorry I Love You, and Lovers in Paris.
12. Kim Ah Joong
Sometimes stars turn down roles for the strangest reasons. That is definitely the case with Kim Ah Joong and Coffee Prince. It was reported that the star turned down the role of Go Eun Chan because she didn’t want to cut her hair due to a shampoo promotion she was doing. Shampoo commercial versus lead role in Coffee Prince...if it were me, there would be no competition! Cut off all my hair!
13. Kim Woo Bin
Kim Woo Bin, who has been focusing on his film career with hits like The Technicians and Twenty, turned down some pretty big drama roles such as the lead in Pinocchio and Jeju Island Gatsby. Do you think Kim Woo Bin regrets not taking the Jeju Island Gatsby role because he didn’t get to kiss Kang Sora like this?
Bonus (the one that almost wasn't): Jeon Ji Hyun
Jeon Ji Hyun initially turned down the role of Cheon Song Yi in My Love From Another Star; however, the show's director and Kim Soo Hyun refused to give up and eventually convinced her that the role would be perfect for her. Thank God she agreed! My Love From Another Star would not have been the same without her!
Were you surprised by any roles turned down by these actors? What do you think your favorite drama would have been like with a different lead actor? Comment down below!
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KD Bonbon loves dogs and enjoys listening to K-pop and watching Korean dramas in her spare time. Whenever she’s not working her 9-5 corporate job, she’s writing for DramaFever News.