Kim Jung Hyun turns 34; Decoding King of ad-libs’ character in comedy drama Mr. Queen

Kim Jung Hyun turns 34 today on April 5. To celebrate his birthday, let’s revisit his iconic character in the popular comedy-drama Mr. Queen.

Updated on Apr 05, 2024  |  01:11 PM IST |  109.7K
Kim Jung Hyun in Mr. Queen: tvN
Kim Jung Hyun in Mr. Queen: tvN

Kim Jung Hyun is one of those actors in the Korean TV industry who can excel in any kind of role. His versatility also contributes to his mastery of expressions on screen. Marking his small-screen debut in 2016, the actor rapidly witnessed his popularity through an array of commendable performances in momentous dramas like Kokdu: Season of Deity (2023), Mr. Queen (2020), Crash Landing on You (2019), Welcome to Waikiki (2018), School 2017 (2017), and more.

But amongst his roles, his ability to emote even the most micro expressions in Mr. Queen left a remarkable mark in viewers’ minds. Today, as he turns 34, let’s celebrate his special day by decoding his character in the comedy-drama.


Mr. Queen's plot synopsis and cast lineup

Before diving deeper into Kim Jung Hyun’s character in the drama, let’s have a wrap-up about some details of Mr. Queen. This tvN drama aired its first episode on December 12, 2020, and concluded its run on February 14, 2021. 

Starring Kim Jung Hyun, Shin Hye Sun, Na In Woo, Seol In Ah, and more stars, the gender-bender drama follows a time-slip concept that transcends beyond the modern age.

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When a haughty chef Bong Hwan (played by Choi Jin Hyuk) serves a bad meal to an elite politician, he is chased by the police in his apartment and accidentally falls into a pool. But in a mysterious turn of events, he wakes up in a body of a woman, who lives in the Joseon era. 

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Just when he is trying to fathom his newfound body and identity, to his surprise, the woman is none other than the queen-to-be (played by Shin Hye Sun) to King Cheoljeong (played by Kim Jung Hyun). As he tries his best to act womanly, concealing his actual identity, chaos ensues in the royal court. 

Meet Kim Jung Hyun as Mr. Queen's two-faced king Cheoljong

When Mr, Queen sets on a journey of its hilarious storytelling combined with history, romance, and fantasy, King Cheoljeong appears to be a puppet king under Grand Queen Empress Dowager (Queen of a late king). He seems uninterested in the state’s affairs and indulges in reading explicit graphic books about intimacy, rather than learning the skills a king needs to have. 

Deemed as a weak king by everyone in the palace, he looked accustomed to the grand queen’s orders, rather than forming his own. 

However, it was just all a front act for the audience, when the king was actually looking for ledgers that would help him take over the corrupted court members of the two clans who ruled and also help him register his true power. 

Queen Dowager only chose him because she wanted a foolish king to sit on the throne, while she ruled as a regent. King Cheoljeong was secretly planning to ruin the plan of the grand queen. 

Every night, when the royal guards seemed relaxed and his attendants seemed to believe that he was resting, the king quickly changed his royal attire and caught up with his two loyal friends in a nearby guesthouse. While concealing their faces, they engaged in discussing their next steps. 

The king continued maintaining his two polar opposite demeanors day and night until he could announce his true power.



Kim Jung Hyun's character King Cheoljong's love-hate relationship with Queen Cheorin

When Queen Cheorin (Shin Hye Sun) was first introduced to King Cheoljeong, he was head over heels with his first love lady, Hwa Jin, a lord's daughter. He despised the queen in doubt of being planted by the grand queen to keep him in check. However, he kept at his sham and made everyone believe he liked the queen.

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But gradually through the episode, it was revealed how the queen loved him even before the accident of body switching took place!

However, the modern-day chef in Queen’s form made King Cheoljeong fall in love with Cheorin. Their interactions became cozy, silly, and full of jokes that one can imagine, making the drama one of the most hilarious K-dramas out there.

The king’s brewing love for the queen was exhibited when he started writing a dictionary for all the new words (from the modern age) he learned from the queen.

Kim Jung Hyun absolutely excels at portraying this side of King Cheoljeong. From making silly jokes to being befuddled with the queen’s vocabulary- the different emotional layers are captured brilliantly by the actor, so much so, at one point, someone would think that Kim Jung Hyun is King Cheoljeong himself and we agree! Perhaps, no one could have done it better.


Kim Jung Hyun- the king of ad-libs

During a past interview about his character in Mr. Queen, Kim Jung Hyun said, “I think I focused on how the dynamic unfolded between Cheoljeong and others around him, rather than trying to act in a certain way”, and it is reflected through his portrayal. 

In many pivotal scenes, he went with his ad-libs that delivered a whole new level to the narrative. For example, in a scene from the drama that sparked considerable attention, when the king expressed the memory of spending the night with the Queen. 

Despite being a popular moment in the drama, it wasn’t initially penned in the script but added spontaneously by Kim Jung Hyun, and thanks to his artistic brilliance, we could get a glimpse of it.

Pinkvilla wishes Kim Jung Hyun a very Happy Birthday!

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ALSO READ: 10 Korean shows like Alchemy of Souls; Hotel Del Luna, Goblin, and more

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