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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.

Via Hankook Ilbo, Newsis, Herald Pop, Osen

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The plot sounds interesting but personally I am not a big fan of KES. I liked goblin, mainly the humor and bromance but I did have trouble with the flow of the story and other than Goblin I have never seen another project from her. To each their own. Now in terms of the main actor I think he will be the major reason why I will have to pass on this one. I have only watched him in "The good the bad and the weird", and"Masquerade" and yeah it is undeniable that he is an excellent actor. I admire that he was able to break into Hollywood that he has represented Korean talent in America but I am not a big fan of him as a person. I read about his reputation, but what left a really bad taste was what he did to Lee Ming Jung especially that he did that when she was pregnant. She forgave him, that's on her she had her reasons. Ever since then I just try to avoid him.

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Kim Eun sook has her moments, so I can't help but have expectations for her upcoming drama. Lee Byung Hun is such a charismatic actor. I could already see him in his role. He does well in melo and romantic dramas. Now I wonder who will be cast as the female lead, I hope it's not someone too young. Lee byung hun is over 45 years.

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I'm so new I don't know anything about anything on this feed, but wildly entertained by all the downvotes people are getting for having an opinion?. I think this comment might get me my first downvotes. ??

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Haha I'm entertained too. Honestly I actually agree with a lot of the down-voted comments.

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Trolls are everywhere lol.

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Actually, I don't think these are trolls, just people who hate this actor and want you to know it! Lol!

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I'm the one who hates him too, and I was talking about the people who downvoted me, even when my reason for disliking him came from an honest concern for his wife and my post clearly mentioned that. If you see that clip where he's hugging and kissing a woman when his wife just sat next to her. This is still maybe negligible, but not the scandals regarding the two women, who were sent to jail. He gets to stay free and enjoy the luxury of movies and dramas, while those girls are being punished cause they raised finger at him. Geez.

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It's no wonder. When given the power for it, they will abuse it.

I wonder why dramabeans enable this downvote feature again?
There is no right or wrong when it comes to personal opinions that deserves to be downvoted.. as long ad they are not throwing insults, swearing pr any kind of offensive comment

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I am not giving downvotes. And i dont care if he is acting in 2 hours long movie but 16 hours of romance with his dirty mind. Pass. Now i just hope my fav actresses wont cast in.

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The drama is 2 sides of a coin, either very successful or a flop. The actress who will be approached needs to consider it very carefully. Lol. If the actress is a well-liked and established one, beautiful and charismatic, the drama may be a success. But cannot help thinking of his many scandals.

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just hoping that the lead actress will be someone close to his age with as much clout as he does. if it's someone as powerful as him, i don't think he'll dare to do anything sleazy. however, if it's someone young and impressionable... i shudder at the thought.

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I thank this ahjunna for bringing Reaper to life -contradictory but yeah!- and letting me actually like LDW when I previously was lile meh about him after watching wild romance but I dont think she would change my opinion again with this guy. Even before the Lee Santa mess, his acting wasnt my cup of tea and I doubt that would change now and in a romcom no less... I know ppl think hes a great actor and all but Its like with Kim go eun to me... shes an award winning actress but I couldnt warm up to her in Goblin... not even once...

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Honestly don't understand why Kim Eun-sook's dramas are always so popular. Yeah Secret Garden and Descendants of the Sun were pretty good, but there are other dramas that are better than them in my opinion but aren't popular (like Chicago Typewriter). Also, while Goblin started out good, I was really disappointed with the ending.

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Meh, I think I only watched Goblin for Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook's epic bromance and the mythos so Imma sit this one out...DOTS was super boring for me, I seriously couldn't get through it even with my Song Joong Ki AND Song Hye Kyo bias.

Also, it low key annoys me that she only ever uses megastars and doesn't use her massive popularity to bring an underrated star out of the woodwork. It seems like the big names are her crutch. Like I get it, there's pressure and money at stake, but there definitely are writers and directors that create careers for lesser known stars and vice versa. I guess it's just my ideal of what art should be like, but she just seems super elitist and kind of shallow, cause to me she's basically using the actor's brand.

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So true...she's merely a tactician who relies greatly on stars. Bad of me,sorry,But I would like to see her manouvers not working this time :-)

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I never really thought about it, but the star power thing is true. Not that I blame her; if you can get the big names you do I guess. However, I actually was a little discouraged when I heard how hard LDW had to try for the Reaper role in Goblin and he ends up being what so many people actually liked. I do think her secondary actors are allowed to shine sometimes (Oska, 2nd leads on DOTS, Reaper and Sunny etc)

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Yes about LDW. I remember reading that and feeling bad for him. It's a good thing that it worked on his favor.

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Yeah, I get that if you can get big names go for it but she does it every single time and refuses to "risk it"on a lesser ranked actor. Like I feel LBH's draw is unnecessarily huge because she obviously doesn't need it. I'm not saying she should pick unknowns (that would be crazy) but she gets like AAA grade stars when she could be making A grade stars AAA grade stars.

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I was so looking forward to this drama. Severely and sorely disappointed in the choice of male lead. I may be biased and influenced by news reports about LBH but I personally also cannot warm up to him even if i hadn't known about his scandals. He comes across as cold and arrogant to me after seeing him at awards shows and interviews. I get the feeling he feels superior to the other actors simply because he's made a name for himself in Hollywood.

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ikr, i dont personally think he is better actor than drama actors or korean movie based actors.

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This is a brilliant casting to me as I can see how he would fit the role perfectly. This will be my first Kim Eun Seok as I had never watched any of previous drama. But I would be keen to watch it now for Lee Byung Hun.

I had speculated in the previous article here that it could be Lee Byung Hun in the midst of others speculating that Park Bo Gum, Won Bin, Lee Jin Ki etc would be great! I think Kim Eun Seok had already Lee Byung Hun in mind when she planned her story. When I read the synopsis of the story, it struck me why she made the male lead to be so mature, at least mid to late thirties or even forties when the characters in her dramas are usually much younger.

Say what you want, he is a very talented and charismatic actor. I have watched his dramas, All in, Beautiful Days and Iris, which are all hits and he was great in them. However, the demographics of the people who watch him would be older males and females, quite different from the typical young female drama watching population. I remembered my Korean colleague telling me how he was eagerly chasing Iris at that time when he normally would not watch any dramas at all. So I agree with some that it is a risk on the part of Kim Eun Seok.

There are many here who had issues on his private life. I feel that his private life issues are between him and his wife to resolve between themselves and not for outsiders to comment unless he has committed a crime like murder or something.

I am sure I am going to get a lot of downvotes but if having different views is going to get downvoted, so be it as I never bother about such things as downvotes anyway.

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i missed intensed LBH in dramaland. I haven't watched Descendants & Goblin but no way I'm skipping this one.
I was hoping to catch him in Park Kyungsoo drama but this is unexpectedly awesome.

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I agree. Great she is giving over 40 actors a chance to be lead again. Hope she chooses a mature actress too.

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I agree with everything. The fact that is quite simple here is, the guy is talented and charismatic. So, KES chose him for right reasons. His scandal was cheating and his wife chose to forgive and forget, who the heck am I to judge? And some of the name suggested are people loved perhaps by International audience. They are all good actors but to compare​ the star power to his is a bit far-fetched. I mean the show will air for domestic audience first and foremost. The general audience in itself in home ground has no problem with the guy, made him who he is despite the scandal so I know netizens will cry foul but I doubt it'll have any real negative effect.

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This is a sad lonely voice calling out for someone to cast my Oppa, Park Hae jin as Mr Sunshine...hello, anyone out there listening? Hello? Hello?

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I upvoted myself. That's how sad I am.

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lol you're super funny. I actually upvoted my comments once or twice 'cause they looked so sad with the number 0 placed next to the thumb-up button.

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God I would rejoice if she casted Park Hae-jin instead but alas, we are stuck with Lee Santa. This feels so unfair and wrong, but I cannot pass up a Kim Eun-sook drama. And I'm up voting your comment so you don't feel sad.

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Thanks, Ek...*cries even more*

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I certainly wouldn't say no to Park Hae Jin being cast in one of KES dramas but I think it will be tough for this drama. Park Hae Jin has already been cast for a new drama "Four Men" set to air at the end of this year.

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Well I like Lee Byun Hyun as an actor. But never imagine him would be KES leading male but it make sense now. well good luck for that i might just watch 1-2 episode.

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I'm not a fan of either one but I'm aware of their star power in the industry. I wasn't expecting this to be honest. I was hoping for Jo Jung-suk. He can elevate a mediocre script and make it better through his acting. He is also popular enough (not yet at Lee's level in Chungmuro) and well loved by viewers (dramas,films and among musical theatre fans).
I'd take him over Lee any time.

There are underrated talents that could use a boost to their career like DotS did to Song Joong-ki's career.

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I agree. No matter how much I don't like KES, i will be forever grateful to KES for boosting SJK's career. Though it's not like SJK has never been popular though. But dots is just land him to an ultimate stardom. I want her to cast another talent actor to boost their career like Jo Jung Suk, and abit dissapoint she choose the one who already too popular. well it could be worse though.

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Yessss, I love him as an actor. He's one of those actors that acts with eyes too, amazing to watch. Can't wait :-)

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Well, damn. I was gone for a day and this is the first thing I read on DB.

*grabs a bucket of popcorn*

I haven't seen him act in any drama or movie and I can only glean from the earlier comments about his scandal, so I can't pass judgment. I am, however, left with a Chicago Typewriter-sized hole in my heart as well, so right now I'm leaning towards giving it a shot. Ignorance is bliss, I guess.

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Well,this is interesting news.I would like to see how the Korean public will react to LBH and will Kim Eun Sook be able to reap high ratings as before...
I don't either like LBH and KES and her shallow dramas but everybody seems to like them :-)))

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my reaction after reading news about him for this drama:
lol ok bye
i know it makes sense to cast him, but still, no.

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No no no no no no............Let me think about it for a moment??. Yeah it's a Definite NO.

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Sigh, not another overrated drama please. Drop Descendants & Goblin earlier, the writing is just wayyy too shallow. Appreciate their scene & bgm though, anything but writing

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I've been a KES fan since Lovers in Paris. I am probably one of the few people who will admit to liking Heirs. Call me a romantic but I love her leading men because they're all Darcy-like characters with great integrity who will do anything for the woman they love. LBH is the complete antithesis of this. There have been reports of him being contemptuous of women and treating them like playthings for years. A great actor no doubt but I am disappointed in her choice.

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Hi!!!!! Heirs is how I became a fan of Kim Eun-sook. I even wrote a dramaland catnip post about her and sent it in, I hope it gets posted soon. Heirs and Descendants of the Sun are tied for first place in my list of favourite Kim Eun-sook dramas. Finally, someone else I can discuss Heirs with. I'm planning a re-watch soon.

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I love Heir dearly. I am thankful for this drama, becoz it made me Lee Min Ho fan. Those fierce looks, loving EunSang fiercely and that hot kiss scene which left PSH's whole face red and Kim Woo Bin's second lead was hitting all the right notes even he is a bully. I do rewatch from time to time.

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And then after all these actor-with-proficient-in-English debats here and there, Lee Byung-hoon ends up acting alongside an English speaking actor with cringy acting. And we still end up cringed because of their hugh gap in acting talent.

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I've noticed most productions don't put in the time and/or money when casting non-Korean English speaking characters/extras. I still get second hand embarrassment when I think of the extras they hired for the California portion of Heirs lol

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oh no.... what happen to the tagline "In Kim Eun Sook I trust" lets just re watch goblin again than thinking the new drama is coming.... its not going to happen....

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