Chinese remake ‘Moon Lovers’ to premiere

The actors of SBS' new epic fantasy romance drama "Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo" pose during a press conference at Imperial Palace Hotel in southern Seoul, last Wednesday. From left are Hong Jong-hyun, Jisoo, Baek-hyun of EXO, Kang Ha-neul, Lee Joon-gi, Nam Joo-hyuk, Kim San-ho and Yoon Sun-woo. / Courtesy of CJ E&M

SBS new epic fantasy romance drama “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo,” a remake of China’s 2011 smash hit drama series “Scarlet Heart,” will premier its first episode on Monday.

On top of solid plot that has been made to see its second sequel aired in 2014, following the first 35-episode 2011 sequel which wrapped up with great success on China’s Hunan Broadcasting System (HBS), the romantic fantasy brings in time slip and too-good-to-be-true cast of eight princes that almost feels like a gift bag for female audiences.

The drama devoted two special shows on Friday and Saturday to drama-making clips, aiming to make the mood for the 10 billion won budget drama.

Set in Goryeo Kingdom (‎918-1392), “Moon Lovers,” directed by Kim Kyu-tae, tells the story of 21st century woman Ha Jin, played by singer-songwriter Lee Ji-eun, better known as IU, who gets transported back in time to the Goryeo as teenage girl Hae Soo and meets King Taejo’s fourth prince Wang So, played by star actor Lee Joon-gi.

Apart from splendid male cast and actor Lee, who has built his outstanding presence in epic series, including the film “The King and the Crown (2005)” and tv series “Arang and the Magistrate” and “Joseon Gunman,” the upcoming drama stood in the middle of enough media attention, since the show has been the great end product of three countries ― Korea’s direction, China’s original scenario and American entertainment giant’s budget.

For the first NBCUniversal invested Asian drama, director Kim who has been credited with movie-like beautiful scenes in his previous works in romance drama “That Winter, The Wind Blows” and spy action series “IRIS,” took the helm.

“On top of typically seriously-told epic dramas, I wanted to introduce the visual imagery that K-dramas are strong for. I think it will give an edge from traditional epic dramas,” said director Kim during the press conference last week. “With the help of 4K camera, viewers can see scenes that show off texture of high resolution that people have seen in small screen.”

The drams started filming in January and finished on June 30. It has been exported to Youku, China’s biggest streaming site, for over $400,000 per episode, higher than the latest KBS mega hit series “Descendants of the Sun,” which was sold for $250,000 per episode.

“Taejo’s eight princes’ love story and their fight for the throne will be featured dynamically. Historical background research on that period, visional elements and imagination promises it to be a unique, heart-touching and addictive piece,” Kim added.

Through the drama, its heroin of the “Moon Lovers” IU, a stage name for K-pop diva who also solidified her place in acting with “The Producers” last year, has put her real name Lee Ji-eun upfront, beginning her second acting career, ditching her stage name.

It also features idol stars such as Baek-hyun of the boy band EXO and Seohyun of the girl group Girls’ Generation.

By Park Jin-hai

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