‘Descendants of the Sun’ writer says pre-production raised drama’s quality

(From Yonhap)

The co-writer of Descendants of the Sun said the pre-production system contributed to raising the quality of the mega-hit Korean TV drama, but feedbacks from audience may have helped him to do better with the scripts in some parts.

Kim Won-seok

Kim Won-seok

The KBS 2TV series starring actor Song Joong-ki and actress Song Hye-kyo captivated audiences in South Korea and China, where the show premiered simultanousely from Feb. 24 to April 14.

The military romance saga was hailed as a well-made drama as all the episodes of the show were shot and edited before they were shown to viewers.

Still, Kim Won-seok (Kim Won Suk), the drama’s co-writer, said there were some parts he could have fine-tuned if the show had been shot as it was being aired, per local industry norm.

“I think there were many lacking parts in the script despite the time to make the quality show through pre-production,” Kim said.

“I think I could have paid more attention to the script such as emotional lines of the characters,” Kim said, stressing that he could have listened to feedback from the viewers.

Song Joong-ki did a good job despite a serious injury from filming heavy action scenes

Kim says Song Joong-ki did a good job despite a serious injury from filming heavy action scenes


The writer particularly thanked Song for doing an excellent job despite a serious injury from filming heavy action scenes, which left him with a fracture in his right wrist and damage to the knee just before the show was aired.

“I could not fix or do anything about the script,” Kim said, adding that the actor had to return to work after just days of treatment.

The season finale of the show concluded with 38.8% of viewers in South Korea last week. The result was just 1.2 percentage points shy of the much anticipated 40% mark. Reaching it would have made the show the first week-night series to do so in the country since Moon Embracing the Sun in 2012.

KBS plans sequel

KBS says it is having an internal discussion over the production of a sequel to ‘Descendants’.

“We are creating the second ‘Descendants of the Sun,'” Jung Sung-hyo, head of KBS’s drama department, said, adding the goal is to have it out by 2017.

Jung said the state broadcaster is in talks with the original’s writer Kim Eun-sook and main cast. Although “nothing has been set in stone,” he said their interactions have so far been “positive.”

“We can’t say they are in for certain because actors don’t make such decisions until they read the script,” he said.

But it is not yet clear whether the “second ‘Descendants of the Sun'” will be a second season or an entirely different show inspired by the original, he said.

The plans were announced unexpectedly and were made to “give back to the support of fans both at home and abroad.”

“‘Descendants of the Sun’ rewrote history by rekindling ‘hallyu,’ so I’m sure our upcoming project will receive critical acclaim domestically and internationally, too,” Jung said.

Producers of the show have agreed that the second half of the original left much to be desired, with some saying they wished they had prolonged the filming period in Greece, where the fictional country of Uruk is set.

“We went through lots of struggles and accumulated know-how from pre-producing this show, and we are going to write a book for future reference,” he added.

Bae Kyung-soo, a chief producer at KBS, said the staff has benefited much from filming and editing the entire show prior to its premiere date.

“Pre-production helped raise the quality of our videos and allowed us time to think things through many times,” Bae said. “‘Descendants of the Sun’ was possible because it was produced in advance. I believe there are more advantages than disadvantages in early production.”

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