Mr Sunshine the next hit K-drama?

Mr Sunshine stars (from far left) Byun Yo Han, Lee Byung Hun, Kim Tae Ri, Kim Min Jung and Yoo Yeon Seok.
Mr Sunshine stars (from far left) Byun Yo Han, Lee Byung Hun, Kim Tae Ri, Kim Min Jung and Yoo Yeon Seok.PHOTO: NETFLIX

SEOUL • Will the highly anticipated K-drama Mr Sunshine be the next Descendants Of The Sun?

The fantasy-romance series has 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 2016 hit series Descendants Of The Sun and Goblin. Their previous works were greatly loved in and out of South Korea, making them very profitable as well.

Descendants starred Song Hye Kyo and Song Joong Ki, who married in real life last year after making waves as an on-screen couple in the mega-hit series.

Goblin - which starred Gong Yoo, of Train To Busan (2016) fame, and Kim Go Eun - has reportedly the second-highest drama rating in South Korean cable TV history.

Mr Sunshine's story is set in Korea in the early 1900s, as it is on the verge of being colonised 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 in Seoul on Tuesday.

Veteran actor Lee Byung Hun, who has starred in Hollywood films, and rookie actress Kim Tae Ri are the main leads.

Lee, 47, is to play Eugene Choi, who travels to the United States in the 1870s and returns as an American soldier. It is the first time in nine years that Lee will feature in a drama series.

Kim Eun Sook's dramas are often appreciated for romantic, catchy lines. Gong, Song Joong Ki, Lee Jong Suk and Lee Min Ho rose to "national heart-throbs" after starring in her dramas as male leads.

Kim Tae Ri, 28, plays Ko Ae Shin, the daughter of a rich and noble family. At night, she turns into a rebel, assassinating those who betray the country for Japan. The drama marks her first small-screen production.

She rose to movie stardom after winning several newcomer awards for her role in the erotic psychological film, The Handmaiden (2016).

She said that she was not daunted by the 20-year age gap between her and Lee Byung Hun.

"Luckily, I have had experience working with veteran actors. I am overwhelmed that I might not be able to follow 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 drama will premiere exclusively on Netflix on July 7.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2018, with the headline 'Mr Sunshine the next hit K-drama?'. Subscribe