Netflix's 'Kingdom' brings back Ju Ji-hoon's talent to the TV screen after 3 years

Season 1 of 'Kingdom' premieres on Netflix on January 25, 2019 and will feature Ji-hoon for the first time in a drama series since his 2015 hit show, 'Mask.'

                            Netflix's 'Kingdom' brings back Ju Ji-hoon's talent to the TV screen after 3 years

As the release of Netflix's upcoming period drama 'Kingdom' draws nearer, anticipation builds up about the zombie horror set in medieval South Korea.

With gritty politics, thrilling plot twists, and of course the undead rising against the living, this comes off as the perfect compact drama to look out for around the end of January 2019.

But that's not all that's exciting about the show, as along with its refreshing, unique take on zombies, 'Kingdom' will also feature South Korean actor Ju Ji-hoon, in what is being considered his big comeback in television drama, after three long years.

At 36, Ji-hoon has been in the South Korean entertainment industry for over a decade now. His fame only took off with the 2006 hit romantic comedy 'Princess Hours' - which earned him awards, recognition, and massive popularity - even though he had been appearing in bits and parts on several shows prior to that.

His other notable work was in 'The Devil' - the KBS2 revenge drama for which he also won national awards, and following that, he went on to make his film debut in 2008 with 'Antique.'

Ji-hoon's other more recent works include 'Mask', 'Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds' and also its sequel, including 'The Spy Gone North' and Dark Figure of Crime' but most of these arrived after the drug-scandal he was caught up in back in 2009, and also him getting enlisted in the Republic of Korea Army to serve his mandatory military service for five weeks of basic training in 2010. 

The drug scandal was a big restraining factor for his career which had peaked right around the time he got embroiled in it. On April 27, 2009, Ji-hoon got arrested by the Seoul Metropolitan Police on drug charges. Along with 15 other people and an actress identified as Yoon, Ji-hoon was arrested on suspicion of supplying ecstasy.

Ji-hoon pleaded guilty to drug use of ecstasy and ketamine on June 23, 2009, and was sentenced to six months of jail time. He was also suspended for a year and ordered 120 hours of community service, and a fine of ₩360,000 ($322)

At the time, the judge had explained, "The nature of the crime is by no means light. However, he has reflected deeply on the crime and has not taken any drugs since the time a year and two months ago. Also, many fans from within the country and from overseas have appealed for an appropriate handling of the matter and sent petitions."

Ju's lawyer also stated, "Of course he must accept the price of his crime, but wrong information kept coming out and exaggerated him as a habitual user, and some of it was unfair."

This impacted Ji-hoon's career severely as he was banned from appearing on broadcast stations KBS and MBC both. It also led to him being dropped from the latest drama he was to be featured in, and even had to cancel the birthday fan-meeting for the year. The bans got canceled after a while. and soon Ji-hoon was making a resurgence in his career. From 2011 to 2015, he starred in shows like 'Five Fingers', 'Medical Top Team,' and also 'Mask.'

But while his works in thrillers continued steady, Ji-hoon stayed away from appearing on TV-shows, especially drama.

His last TV show appearance was back in 2015, where he played Choi Min-woo on the SBS show 'Mask.' But considering how invested in thrillers like 'Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds,' 'The Spy Gone North,' and 'Dark Figure of Crime' he had been, this sure steered the path clear for him to make an equally riveting appearance in the upcoming 'Kingdom' by Netflix.

For starters, if there has been one distinct genre that has become exceedingly popular especially on streaming networks, it is South Korean thrillers. And after Netflix's own 'Okja' from Bong Joon-ho managed to leave people speechless and earn rave reviews worldwide, to top things off, for the South Korean zombie horror 'Kingdom,' Netflix is collaborating with 'The Tunnel' and 'A Hard Day' director Kim Seong-hun.

As the plot synopsis reads: "In a kingdom defeated by corruption and famine, a mysterious rumor of the king’s death spreads, as does a strange plague that renders the infected immune to death and hungry for flesh. The crown prince (Ji-hoon), has fallen victim to a conspiracy, sets out on a journey to unveil the evil scheme and save his people."

This is every bit the plot that Ji-hoon deserves to kick-start his TV-drama career with and considering the fresh take on horror, royalty, conspiracies, and most importantly zombies that 'Kingdom's trailer promises, fans couldn't be more stoked for Ji-hoon!

With a heavy cast bragging of top Korean A-listers like Ju Ji-hoon ('Dark Figure of Crime'), Bae Doona ('Cloud Atlas'), Ryu Seung-ryong ('Miracle in Cell No. 7'), Kim Sang-ho ('The Witness'), Heo Joon-ho ('Sovereign Default'), and Jeon Seok-ho ('Miss Baek'), Season 1 of 'Kingdom' premieres on Netflix this coming January 25, 2019.

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