Lee Byung-heon makes drama comeback with Goblin writer’s Mr. Sunshine
Well, damn. Mr. Sunshine, the next project by star writer Kim Eun-sook, has secured Lee Byung-heon (Single Rider, Master) to star, in what will mark the actor’s drama comeback after 2009’s IRIS. It’s certainly a strong start casting-wise for the upcoming period drama, but I’m not surprised at the caliber this writer-director duo is capable of pulling in since their last two projects together, The Lonely Shining Goblin and Descended From the Sun, were such big hits.
Lee Byung-heon will play a soldier in the “righteous army” at the turn of the twentieth century, when Japan was exerting increasingly aggressive influence over Korea. As a child, his character was taken to the U.S. following the 1871 Shinmiyangyo incident, in which an American diplomatic expedition quickly devolved into an armed conflict with Joseon’s woefully lacking military (the battle ended with over 200 Korean troops dead, and only three American casualties). He returns to Joseon in the dynasty’s turbulent final years and falls in love with an aristocrat’s daughter.
I’m quite excited to see Kim Eun-sook tackle this time period, because I don’t think I recall ever watching a drama or film that deals with the civilian militia called the “righteous army,” which has its origins in Goryeo and was also a predecessor to the independence movement during the Japanese occupation of Korea. I’m hoping Kim Eun-sook includes stories that focus on these commoners-turned-soldiers who sacrificed their lives to fight for their country, because I found the snippets we got of Kim Shin’s loyal lieutenant and the various souls that passed through the teahouse in Goblin very moving. I also have a Chicago Typewriter-sized hole in my heart at the moment that could really use it.
The show hasn’t found a broadcaster yet (though I’m sure they’re lining up their offers), but pre-production has already begun due to the grand scale of the drama and the fact that they’ll have to build all of their own sets. This is why they decided to cast the lead so early as well, and I’m not surprised that they offered the lead role to Lee Byung-heon, since the character will have to have some proficiency in English given his background. He definitely also matches the high standards that Kim Eun-sook seems to have regarding her leading men.
It sounds like the upcoming period drama is aiming for an epic, sweeping love story with a dramatic backdrop, and I’m sure that with this writer and director, it will definitely look the part. Mr. Sunshine is aiming for a premiere sometime in the first half of next year.
- Goblin writer Kim Eun-sook returns with period drama Mr. Sunshine
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- Goblin writer Kim Eun-sook discusses her next project
- The Lonely Shining Goblin: Episode 1
- Lee Byung-heon, Kang Dong-won face off for Kim Woo-bin’s loyalty in Master
- The race is on to catch a legendary con man in crime thriller Master
- Descended From the Sun: Episode 1