MBC is bringing the tale of Korea’s first reigning Queen Seondeok to the small screen through its new drama “The Great Queen Seondeok” next week.
Queen Seondeok was the firs female to rule the nation, and the broadcaster of previous successful lineups, including “My Wife is a Superwoman,” and “Beethoven Virus,” will bring the life and struggle of the queen to viewers.
As the drama takes place during the Silla Kingdom (668-935), the drama crew set their eyes on Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, one of the most famous historical sites during the era in Korea.
“It is the first time to bring a drama based on the Silla Kingdom, and we will strive to bring historical facts and stories that have never been shown through dramas,” Park Hong-gyun, the producer, said at the press conference held at Gyeongju last week.
Indeed, the franchise will use 25 billion won on production and almost half of it in the art department, from costumes and sets to props. Being the first drama to depict the royalty of the Silla Kingdom, Gyeongju city also offered full support through a memorandum of understanding (MOU), and already promised back up of 2 billion won.
Born as one of the twin princesses of the Silla Kingdom, Seondeok grows as a bright young woman but her life takes a turn as Mi-shil, a royal concubine, tries to win the crown by putting her husband Sejong forward for the throne. Queen Seondeok was not only well known as the first queen to rule, but also for her leadership and a keen eye for choosing her forces. Thanks to her foresight, she contributed to the rich culture Silla held and also laid the foundations for the unification of the Three Kingdoms.
The cast of the new television series made headlines, as actresses Lee Yo-won, playing Queen Seondeok, and Ko Hyun-joung, appearing as Mi-shil, will show off their charisma and charm to viewers.
“Personally, it’s nice to see that there are many period dramas that depict the lives of women. Our drama will show how Queen Seondeok grows as a woman and finally a queen, and the episodes will be distinctive and very different in terms of detail,” Lee said.
Ko will appear as Mi-shil, who dreams of becoming the queen herself, but fails when her plans take a turn with the rise of Seondeok. It was later revealed that instead of the main role of Seondeok, Ko herself chose to be the femme fatale Mi-shil. It is the first time for Ko to appear in a historical drama in her 20-year acting career.
“I thought acting a very clear character in such a drama would be better for me. I’m breaking out of my original roles, which were balanced and had a certain rhythm. It’s a fun experience,” Ko told reporters at the press event.
Another reason many fans are raising their hopes is because of the actual drama makers. The writer Kim Young-hyun worked on the hit hallyu drama “Jewel in the Palace,” also known as “Daejanggeum” here, and brought a new dimension to historical dramas with female characters. Along with producer Park, Kim Geun-hong who worked on “Jewel” and “Lee San, Wind of the Palace,” will also lead the drama with strong hopes of success.
“The Great Queen Seondeok” starts at 9:55 p.m. on May 25 on MBC. (Korea Times)
Here’s an interview by MBC America with “Family Outing” star Park Ye-jin on her being cast in the drama:
Princess Cheon-myeong is a calm and collected person. She is Princess Deok-man’s twin sister, but they are different in many ways. She is a character who is determined to protect her family as well as her love. And though she doesn’t appear so on the exterior, she has a womanly strength that will be revealed later.
I didn’t get to rest, but I’m doing fine. Since I’m juggling a variety show and this drama, my body really feels it, but whenever I get on set, I feel energized. Acting must be in my blood. [Queen Seon-deok] is a drama I really want to do, and I try to only think about doing well. I’m really analyzing my character. And since this is a historical period piece, I’m brushing up on the history as well as the relationships between all the characters. I’m a little disappointed that I don’t have sufficient time, but I’m trying my best to work well with the other actors and give the audience a great production.
3) This isn’t your first historical period piece, so as a veteran, what would you say is attractive about doing this genre?
Historical period pieces are more difficult in many ways, especially in terms of costume, hair and the outdoor shoots. But as hard as it can be, you can learn a lot, too. Since there are a lot of older, more experienced actors on set, it’s a chance to learn more from them and you tend to approach everything more seriously. It’s a great opportunity for any actor.
4) Do you have any jinxes before a new drama, or did any unusual happenings occur?
Well, there haven’t been any unusual happenings yet, but I got a good feeling about the production when I read the script and saw the staff and actors.
5) Anything you want to say to the future viewers?
It will really mean a lot to us if you enjoy our drama. I will try my best to help make it a drama you’ll never forget.