"I knew it was a success the moment I saw Song Joong-ki in uniform", "The ending is a secret, even to my wife"
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"Descendants of the Sun" has an accumulated number of 1.1 billion views in China. The rights to the drama has been sold to over 32 countries including America, England and France, and even a remake is being discussed.
The drama cost 13 billion won to make and it was all pre-produced. It broke the frame of typical dramas and it was produced by Investment Distribution Company, NEW. It is known as the Power Man of Chungmuro and is responsible for the success of "Taegukgi", "The Host", "Miracle in Cell No.7", "The Attorney" and more. We met the director in charge of NEW, Kim Woo-taek. He smiled and said, "I didn't know it was going to be this successful".
Q: How did you get around to start this drama?
A: It was very coincidental. I heard about a drama made by a friend and decided it had enough humanism, love, sacrifice and such to start producing.
Q: The script didn't have soldiers at first.
A: The original by writer Kim Won-seok-II was actually about doctors on the scene. After we took over and writer Kim Eun-sook was added, there was mellow in the drama. Soldiers were added in the process of dramatization and stories of chaos in a different country made the drama thicker. I read until the fourth episode and thought it was great.
Q: Was casting easy?
A: I had candidates for the male role but many felt pressured by the fact that it's a pre-produced drama and it required long-term residence abroad. Song Joong-ki who was about to finish with the military eagerly came forward. As for Song Hye-kyo it appealed to me that she was a popular star in the Chinese region. Song Joong-ki was going to have to try a character that was different from his usual image but I guessed that was going to fantasy instead. It was an act of god, casting those two".
Q: Why did you decide to have this drama pre-made?
A: I wanted to try a different method as I am a second mover in the drama market. Also I needed the drama to be 100% pre-made because the Chinese internet broadcasting requires pre-censorship. So to broadcast the drama in China and Korea together, I had to have the drama all and ready. We could increase the completion of the drama by adding more computer graphics and such. Even movie makers were added to the drama production.
Q; Wasn't it a risk to raise the total production cost?
A: No one wants to invest in a movie company that wants to make a drama. In addition, the drama is going to be pre-produced and the broadcasting companies only want to give rights to televising. Everyone said I was crazy. However, I was confident about the contents of the drama and planned out what was in my head. Even before the first episode was even released, I had broken even with foreign copyrights, rights to televising and PPL. Even with KBS, it didn't just end with televising rights but they offered to invest. This was the result of KBS waiting a long time for us. We were brave and braveness brought about good results.
Q: Some say the military life in the drama is unrealistic and that it propagandizes patriotism
Q: Many people are wondering about the ending.
A: My wife says someone might die but I didn't tell her. One thing that's for sure is that the story becomes more and more dynamic. So will the romance between the couples.
Q: The movies from NEW these days haven't been so successful
A: That's why "Descendants of the Sun" feels like rain in drought. It's a matter of survival. Not every single movie can be successful but this year I think "Train to Busan", "An Inmate's Letter" and "The King" will help to restore the pride of NEW.