In a recent interview on March 31, PD Lee Eung Bok shared, “At first, when we were casting for the lead role, Song Joong Ki was not the ideal choice,” mentioning how his pretty image contrasted with the robust and brawny image they were initially looking for. He said, “We were thinking of maybe an image that was different than what the writers had originally planned for when Song Joong Ki was released from the military. Not only is he attractive but he really liked the script as well. You can tell now but what is attractive to the viewers is not the brawny tough guy style but the straightforward personality and his quick and nimble actions.”
According to the writers, before Song Joong Ki came out of the army, many other top actors had been suggested for the drama but many had expressed their discomfort at the role as a soldier as well as the fact that it was fully pre-produced prior to airing.
The PD added, “I had no idea that the drama would be so successful.” When asked about the title of the drama, he said, “Just as how the sun gives light to other people, we decided on the title because the selfless personalities of the main characters is a source of warmth for the people around them.”
He talked about the many difficulties they faced in producing the show, saying that they had to delay the filming for a month due to the MERS outbreak and postpone filming even further in Greece because of the wet season. Regarding Korea-China drama production collaborations, PD Lee expressed that “instead of a mere sharing of resources, it is necessary to complement each other’s strengths in order to create a win-win situation.”
Although it had mentioned related entertainment and commercial media news, it was revealed in the interview that this was the first time that China’s Xinhua News Agency had reported on a drama; evidence of the interest of Chinese viewers and news readers in “Descendants of the Sun.”
The news agency reported in the interview with PD Lee that the drama is “experiencing explosive popularity in both Korea and China, bringing forth a new Hallyu wave” and continued by saying that, “the tenth episode scored a 31.6% rating; surpassing even ‘My Love From the Star.'”
Another Chinese source published a column about the secrets to the popularity of “Descendants of the Sun,” saying that a combination of a growing Chinese Hallyu fanbase, an addicting plot, and beautifully filmed scenes are some of the reasons for the well-deserved popularity of the drama.
Chinese newspaper, Huanqiu, also joined in praising the drama, bringing particular attention to the Korea Special Operations Command, saying that it was a model example for future military movies and dramas.
Watch the first episode of the drama exclusively on Viki below!