“Mr. Sunshine” is about a boy who left Korea for the United States and returned as an American soldier to his homeland in 1871, a period when Korea was undergoing much change. It has been a highly anticipated drama, with a star-studded cast and created by writer Kim Eun Sook and director Lee Eung Bok, who previously collaborated on hit dramas such as “Descendants of the Sun” and “Goblin.”
To make the year 1871 come to life, the drama has poured much of its resources into creating the setting. Not only have they created never-before-seen sets to portray the historical aspects of the drama, they also traveled far distances to film and hired countless extras to capture life in the Joseon era. Here are four ways the production of “Mr. Sunshine” has surpassed other dramas.
1. Capturing the four seasons of Korea
In order to recreate the setting of this era, filming began in September of 2017 and has continued until today. The drama will show the beautiful scenery of the four seasons of Korea. In addition, it will also use computer graphics to add special effects and other post-production edits to properly portray the era.
2. Filming in all nooks and crannies of Korea
The setting of “Mr. Sunshine” is 1871, when three American ships invaded South Korea, and in 1900, the beginning of modern history in Korea. In order to be accurate historically, the production staff filmed at the actual locations where the historical events happened. This included visiting many major cities such as Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, and Incheon, as well as many areas in the countryside such as the North and South Gyeongsang, Jeolla, and Chungcheong provinces, spanning over 40,000 km (approximately 24,800 miles). The production staff particularly paid attention to recreating the historical event in 1871 when three American ships invaded Korea, using special equipment and effects.
3. Pouring resources into countless extras and costumes
The time period the drama covers is when Joseon is introduced to Western influences and experiences new cultural shock. To express this accurately, the production staff even recreated scenes from the Spanish-American war, and hired many foreign extras to film the war scenes. Overall, the production team had over 10,000 extras working on the scenes, and outfitted them all accordingly to the time period.
4. An enormous set of over 8,000 pyong (approximately 285,000 sq ft)
“Mr. Sunshine” also invested quite a lot of their resources into creating a set on a never-before-seen scale. In Nonsan, Chungcheongnam province, the production staff designed an outdoor set to show what the Korean empire and Japanese colonialism looked like during the early 1900s. The expansive set included buildings as well as transportation during the era such as streetcars, bridges, and city walls. Their studio in Daejeon was just as expansive, stretching over 2,000 pyong (approximately 70,000 sq ft) which included the set for Hotel Glory and the office of the American embassy.
A source from the production staff stated, “‘Mr. Sunshine’ aims to show a historical background and a story that hasn’t been told before in dramas. We have prepared a lot before filming. We have done our best to make it even better. We hope that viewers will be able to empathize with that era’s story.”
“Mr. Sunshine” will air on July 7 at 9 p.m. KST.