SEOUL, April 1 (Korea Bizwire) – The director of ‘Descendants of the Sun‘, the TV drama which is taking Korea and China by storm, recently revealed details about the casting process.
In an interview with China’s Xinhua News Agency in Seoul, director Lee Eung-bok said that Song Joong-ki was not the first choice for the role. “A muscular and tough-guy actor was what we were originally looking for, but Song was eventually chosen because producers decided to change the character’s personality,” he said.
“As we tried to change the original image, Song became more appealing,” Lee continued. “He had just been discharged from his compulsory military service, he was handsome and he loved the script.”
Lee said that the reason Song’s character is popular with viewers is because of his bold and decisive actions, rather than being a large, tough soldier.
The production company was known to have contacted many top stars before Song was discharged from the army. However, they all declined the offer because the role was for a soldier, and the drama was produced 100 percent before being aired.
The show has been aired in both South Korea and China since late last month. Song plays Army captain Yoo Si-jin, who falls in love with a female doctor in a fictional war-torn country named Uruk. In South Korea, the KBS network TV series has reported nationwide viewership of more than 30 percent.
Lee said he did not expect the TV drama to be such a huge success in both Korea and China. “We had many difficulties in the process of producing the drama. Due to the outbreak of MERS, we had to quit shooting for a month, and when we went on location to Greece, we encountered the rainy season,” he recalled.
‘Descendants of the Sun’ is the first TV series jointly produced by South Korean and Chinese firms since Chinese media regulators imposed the condition that foreign TV programs must receive prior approval before being aired in mainland China. Lee emphasized that the coproduction of dramas between two countries should not be limited to only financially investing together. “It’s all about creating a win-win situation by making use of the strengths of each party.”
Although there have been reports of entertainment and commercial media on Xinhua News Agency before, this the first time that the well-refined media which speaks for the Chinese government mentioned the drama. This reflects the high interest in the drama among Chinese viewers.
Other Chinese media are also interested in the phenomenon. From newspaper columns discussing the popularity of the show, to looking into facts about the Korean army, it seems certain that ‘Descendants of the Sun’ has grasped the hearts of Chinese viewers.
By Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)