SEOUL—Director Lee Eung-Bok is more grateful than burdened of the expectations that his latest collaboration with scriptwriter Kim Eun-Sook brings. The two are the creative minds behind the hit shows “Descendants of the Sun” and “Goblin.”
“Mr. Sunshine” is the latest drama series that the power duo is working on. The much anticipated drama will be streamed on Netflix on the same day it will be shown in Korea starting July 7. It stars Lee Byung-hun as Eugene Choi, Kim Tae-Ri as Go Ae-Shin, Yoo Yeon-seok as Go Dong-mae, Kim Min-Jung as Kudo Hina and Byun Yo-han as Kim Hee-Sung.
The drama is set in the late 19th century during the Shinmiyangyo or the US expedition to Korea. It follows the story of a 9-year-old house slave whose parents were killed by their master. The boy ran away from Joseon (the dynasty that ruled Korea) to return to the country as Eugene Choi, a US marine officer. He falls in love with an aristocrat’s daughter.
One of the challenges of making this drama was how to create the proper architecture to set the mood for the period. There are only a few existing buildings used from the Joseon period and most are protected sites. Director Lee said that they had to go to different regions of South Korea to shoot. It was important for them to deliver not only an aesthetically pleasing drama, but also to be as historically accurate as possible.
“We know that it’s going to take a lot to make. We know it is going to take a lot of money to produce. Our previous success allowed us to deal with a subject that other people will not be doing. We have all done our best for this drama,” said director Lee in a press event in Seoul.
He further said that the story drama features Korean history, international audience will be able to relate to its theme. Most countries have a long history of colonization, resistance, and fighting for sovereignty.
“This is a story about people. Of course, this is a historical drama, but its focus is the relationships of the people in it,” said actor Byung-hun whose previous works include playing Storm Shadow in the “G.I Joe” series and Han Cho Bai in “Red 2.”
The actor also praised the scriptwriter for drama saying that Eun-Sook has a unique way of telling a story and creating great lives onscreen. He said that as an actor, he always had to ask himself what was the writer’s intent on why she wrote the lines.
Besides “Goblin” and “Descendants,” Eun-Sook also wrote well-loved dramas including “Lovers in Paris,” “Secret Garden,” “A Gentleman’s Dignity,” and “The Heirs.”
“Mr. Sunshine” has a total of 24 episodes each. There will be new episodes every Saturday and Sunday. To watch, visit netflix.com/mrsunshine.