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King Gwanghae (Lee Byung-Hun) has been the King for the past 8 years. He now suspects that someone within the royal court is attempting to poison him. In response, King Gwanghae orders his councilor Heo Gyun (Ryoo Seung-Ryong) to find someone that looks like him to sit in his throne.
Heo Gyun then comes across a clown named Ha-Sun (Lee Byung-Hun), who performs lewd shows in front of drunken noblemen. Ha-Sun indeed strongly resembles King Gwanghae and is even able to imitate the way King Gwanghae speaks. Heo Gyun takes Ha-Sun to the royal palace without giving any explanations. At night, Ha-Sun takes the King's seat, while the King slips away to his mistress's home.
A short time later, King Gwanghae collapses and is taken to a safe house. Meanwhile, Ha-Sun continues his ruse as the King until the King can recover. Slowly, Ha-Sun's own personality comes out and the people in the King's inner court notice the changes. The King appears more humane to those around him and far less volatile. While Ha-Sun's true voice comes out, enemies within the King's inner circle plan their next move.
- "The Masquerade King" retells Mark Twain's "The Prince & The Pauper" set in Joseon era South Korea.
- Earliest Korean working title was "Gwanghae" (referring to King Gwanghae 1574–1641) then changed to "Naneun Joseonui Wangyida" ("I am the King of Joseon"). Korean movie title then changed to "Gwanghae: Wangyidoen Namja" ("Ghwanghae: Man Became A King").
- June 9, 2011 - Director Kang Woo-Suk & lead actor Jung Jae-Young dropped out of the project due to differences with production company CJ Entertainment.
- November 14, 2011 - Lee Byung-Hun accepted lead role vacated by Jung Jae-Young.
- Filming began February 12, 2012 at Namyangju Studios in Namyangju City, Gyeonggi Province.
- Filming finished June 14, 2012.
- On October 20, 2012, "Masquerade" passed 10,000,000 million admissions in South Korea, becoming only the 8th film to ever do so. As of October 20, 2012, "Masquerade" has sold a total of 10,041,564 tickets.
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