Cable channel tvN is set to air its blockbuster drama series “Mr. Sunshine.”
The fantasy-romance series grabbed the attention of viewers even before its airing, as it will be scriptwriter Kim Eun-sook and director Lee Eung-bok’s third time working together. The famed duo have proven their teamwork through hit series “Descendants of the Sun” and “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God.”
The story is set in Korea in the early 1900s, as it is on the verge of being colonized by Japan.
“Not much drama or film has been made about the early 1900s. Not much history has been told, too,” director Lee said at a press event held Tuesday at Patio 9 in southern Seoul.
Veteran actor Lee Byung-hun and rookie actress Kim Tae-ri are the main leads. Lee is to play Eugene Choi, who travels to the United States in the 1870s and returns as a US soldier. It’s Lee’s first time to feature in a drama series in nine years.
“My character is very unique. He is an American soldier who is also a Korean. But he is not very patriotic about Korea, rather, he wants to have his revenge on the nation,” he said.
Kim Eun-sook’s dramas are often appreciated for romantic, catchy lines. Gong Yoo, Song Joong-ki, Lee Jong-suk and Lee Min-ho rose as “national heartthrobs” after starring in her dramas as male leads.
“She is a beloved scriptwriter. I am learning that there is this ‘Kim Eun-sook language.’ It was awkward and unusual at first for me. But now I fully understand the script, and the meaning behind it,” Lee said.
Kim Tae-ri plays Ko Ae-shin, the daughter of a rich and noble family. But at night, she turns into a rebel, assassinating those who betray the country for Japan. The drama marks Kim Tae-ri’s first small-screen production.
“I didn’t even read the scenario when making the decision to feature in the work,” Kim said. “My character is very ironic. She is defiant, rebellious but also the daughter of a high-class family. She goes through inner conflicts, deciding what to take and what to discard.”
Kim revealed that she isn’t overwhelmed by the 20-year age gap between her and Lee. Rather, she considers herself lucky.
“Luckily, I have had experience working with veteran actors. I am overwhelmed that I might not be able follow to Lee in acting, but not by age. I am so lucky, it is a great opportunity to learn,” she said.
Apart from the lead couple, the cast includes big names such as Yoo Yeon-seok, Kim Min-jung and Byun Yo-han.
The Saturday-Sunday drama series is to air through Netflix, a global streaming service. It holds great anticipation as the scriptwriter and the producer’s previous works were greatly loved in and out of Korea — making them very profitable as well.
“Though I have starred in Hollywood films, it is my first time to be in a Korean production that will be showcased around the world at some time. It’s a thrilling event,” Lee said.
“I think every drama or film is about humans in the end. It is about human relationships,” he said. “Though the series is based on the Korean history, foreign viewers will be able to understand the feelings and emotions through characters and their relationships.”
The 24-part series will air its first episode on July 7 at 9 p.m.
By Im Eun-byel (firstname.lastname@example.org)