SBS Confirms June 2015 Premiere for New Kim Eun Sook Overseas Pre-produced Drama Descendants of the Sun

Only with its most high profile cash cow screenwriter will SBS make an official big announcement as to the confirmation of a time slot for her next drama. Kim Eun Sook is still riding high off the success of Heirs, less as a quality piece and more of a “raking in the dough” project. If it was her only success then she might not deliver again but Heirs was merely the latest in a looooooong line of Kim Eun Sook dramas that got the ratings and the profit for the network. SBS has announced that Kim Eun Sook’s next drama is scheduled to air next June in 2015 and will be almost completely pre-filmed. The drama is tentatively called Descendants of the Sun and was supposed to air in early 2015 when the news first came out earlier this year. But due to its pre-filmed nature, and the fact that casting hasn’t even started, it’s not surprising that the premiere date is being pushed back to the middle of 2015.

This drama will be a HUGE production, make no bones about it, with reportedly over 80% of the drama being overseas shoots. Considering how I laugh at all the overseas portion of Kim Eun Sook dramas including the ridiculousness of Heirs in Los Angeles, this does not bode well for me. Co-producing this sucker will be movie house Barunson which has the acclaimed movies Mother and The Good, The Bad, The Weird under its belt along with drama production Hwa & Dam Pictures that has worked with Kim Eun Sook before in producing Heirs, A Gentleman’s Dignity, and Secret Garden. The drama is described as an uplifting humanist story about people who work in dangerous disaster zones and love blossoms for the two leads through helping those in need and looking after each other. Sounds…..different, I guess?

There are some big names (obviously) bandied about for the leads including a feeler sent out to Kim Soo Hyun as well as long percolating rumors that Kim Eun Sook wants Hyun Bin for the drama. Neither name surprises me and honestly with her clout it’s going to be an A-lister at this point. I won’t be surprised if she manages to land movie stars who don’t do dramas like Kang Dong Won or even Won Bin.

The budget for this drama is purportedly one of the biggest ever for any K-drama due to the extensive overseas shoot and the disaster zone setting. The drama getting pushed back is not due to Kim Eun Sook’s script not being done but purely on the financial planning aspects as the PPL is going to be insane in order to fund this drama’s huge advanced overhead costs. Unlike Heirs and the random high school setting, Descendants of the Sun will go back to the more mature age bracket of Kim Eun Sook’s drama leads. I’m just begging for another City Hall but feel like that’s such a pipe dream. Sigh.


SBS Confirms June 2015 Premiere for New Kim Eun Sook Overseas Pre-produced Drama Descendants of the Sun — 60 Comments

    • Barunson spun out its management company into a separate entity MS Team Entertainment. The three biggest name actresses it reps are Son Ye Jin, Lee Min Jung, and Moon Chae Won. It could be one of them.

      The other big name in the mix is Kim Tae Hee.

      I say high chance its either Son Ye Jin or Kim Tae Hee. I have no problem with either lady as the lead.

      • Ah, I was thinking Yoon Eun Hye would be a good choice but that sounds unlikely now…

      • Ok, I might be in minority here – I don’t really get Son ye-jin’s acting accolades. I have seen her only in Personal Taste and (just a wee bit of) Shark, so that could be why. But she doesn’t intrigue me at all from the very shallow appearance’s perspective.

        Of the 3 big names, I would so totally vote for Moon Chae-won. She’s got it and she’s improving and changing things up in each of her dramas. Love her!!

      • Ohhhh kang dong won!
        I wish that happens, but in his recent interview he has mentioned of not really wanting drama production as compared to movie but I guess it depends on how awesome the character is that would make KDW come back to drama land…

        I hope they get Moon Chae Won. or Park Bo Young…
        Not really into Lee Mi Jung or Kim taeh hee…

    • No thank you. I love Moon Chae Won and don’t want her to suffer the fate of all Kim Eun Sook’s female leads. She could do better in my opinion. And given her tendency to pick strong female leads, I doubt she will accept it.

    • Yes, but I don’t think it’s happening as a co-writing anymore because I don’t hear the other screenwriter being mentioned in all the latest news.

    • Queen’s classroom was a such an excellent and yet sorely underrated show. I would’ve liked to see something co-written between these too rather than watch the usual Kim Eun Sook romantic drama.

  1. I was wondering why no news lately and tada! Summer drama then.
    Just want for this one to erase the infamy of her previous drama (I’ll put this fail on a rom-com burn out for her & also on an inexperienced coproducer, bad cast, bad director etc…).

  2. The writer is a hit and miss for me. I laughed at Heirs and indifferent about Secret Garden, but I loved A Gentleman’s Dignity.I am actually looking forward to this production for 1) the mature sounding and quite unique (for K-drama) premise 2) the pre-production. I hope this won’t disappoint and become a overhyped joke like Heirs. As for the male lead, I am hoping for So ji-sub. I can see him shine in these types of settings.

  3. I just hope that the writer will properly research the location, culture, and people that they will be shooting at. And actual disasters. Especially since there have been so many disasters lately, natural or not. I still have that nightmare of the “Americans” from Heirs and a lot of Kdramas. Wouldn’t want them to be insensitive to the topic and the people/culture.

  4. I’m really hoping for a Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won reunion.

    If not, I am fine with SYJ and LMJ. However, since it a big production, most likely they will not choose LMJ or MCW as the female lead. For male lead, my other choice will be Kang Dong Won.

    I do prefer pre-filmed. The plot will not be affected by the rating / fans preferences. Can’t wait for more news.

  5. I totally don’t get why her dramas are so popular. Of the dramas I watched, only City Hall was worth the time spent. Gentleman’s Dignity and Secret Garden were ok. Heirs was a crapper. Color me confused. Watching good looking men is not enough of an incentive anymore.

    • hahaha… I second you!
      I love City hall and Secret garden.
      I also love love Lovers in Prague. But i think it was all because of Jeon Do Yeon, Ha Jung Woo and Kim JooHyuk (and young Jang Geun Sook, before he became weird in my opinion) who played their parts so awesomely. The ending was just sooooo bad. but thank goodness for that drama I found out about those four awesome actors.
      Gentlemen’s Dignity was okay.
      Heirs and Lover in Paris should be buried six feet under!

  6. Descendants of the Sun… sounds like an awful title to me, but kind of echoing the super-huge budget.

    The idea of a humanist story in a disaster zone sounds interesting, but thinking of any kdrama I have ever seen, I have no trust that they can make it into some good – and with that I mean well-researched, realistic and without any k-drama tropes because anything else I would find too far-fetched and a mockery. No, this is the sort of story I would want in the hands of a top jdrama writer, or, otherwise, one of Korea’s best filmmakers.

    I also have no trust in this writer, I’m afraid, Heirs was atrocious. Secret Garden I found fascinating but not always in a good way – some of it made no sense at all. It was one of the earliest k-dramas I watched and I remember thinking that some of their dialogues… were just mind-boggling. Nowadays I would probably just drop it half-way through out of frustration….

    She’ll never get Kang Dong-won. He is not going to be lured back to dramaland (he can pick and choose his projects), and he is pretty good at picking solid projects. And with that I don’t mean ratings winners, but things that are well done and actually interesting and worth watching.

    • Writer Kim was spotted having lunch with Kang Dong Won recently near SBS studios. I agree she will probably NOT end up landing KDW, especially if KDW feels like he’s her second choice since the ball has been in HB’s court this entire time.

      • If it’s mostly pre-produced I suppose there is a chance, but I hope he watches Heirs and then decides that’s not the kind of risk he wants to take.

    • @alua, it’s not just about the pre-production, but also the romance and melo parts. Kang Dong Won has said he dislikes romance and finds drama plots too melodramatic.

      The only way this would happen is if they paid him a loooot of money, but given he is already a movie star, I doubt they can pay enough to lure him into something he dislikes and an industry that has pretty much nothing to offer someone who has already made it to the top like he has.

      And given Kim’s plots and past series, I seriously doubt it.

      • Orion, that’s good to hear (haha, I really don’t want him to take a role in a KES drama).

        I hope he doesn’t get bought out, I want to believe that some actors stick to their beliefs and do the projects they truly enjoy, i.e. that KDW would do an indie film over a mega-drama like this. Of course, he can do mega-films, like the record-breaking Kundo currently, every now and then… just not be sucked into the world of badly written dramas.

        I’m just surprised his name came up at all.

      • @alua, actors still need to make a living. I don’t expect everyone to always choose what is professionally and artistically rewarding, as I find it would be unfair to do so. Sometimes, you just need the money too and you need to compromise, to a degree.

        But since his movie career is doing well, he does not really need to compromise at this point. So unless he sees promise in this or receives way too much (which I doubt Dramaland can pay), it pretty much looks like his nightmare project.

  7. I cannot for the life of me understand why she’s the biggest drama screen writer in Korea right now. I’m all about mainstream dramas and generally enjoy what everyone else does but her shows are the exception. They can be funny and entertaining sometimes and she knows how to pick her leads but nothing about her dialogue and the way she spins out her stories feel right to me. The premise for this sounds really interesting but it would probably end up having the same romantic dynamic as her previous shows. That said this drama is probably going to be a big hit regardless and I wouldn’t be surprised if Kim Soo Hyun lands the lead. He is on some insane track record right now but personally I’m having a hard time connecting with any of his projects since Dream High despite liking his performances in all of them. I doubt Hyun Bin will make a drama comeback soon, I was under the impression that his trying to build up his film career. Also don’t think there will be any luck with Kang Dong Won or Won Bin. I think I remember reading somewhere that Kang Dong Won doesn’t really like filming dramas. Won Bin seems to pick projects only once ever blue moon. However,who knows since she did manage to bring Jang Dong Gun back to dramas. I think it will most likely be someone like Lee Byung Hoon.

    • The reason is actually easy to pin-point: Secret Garden. It was such a Pan-Asian phenomenon that her subsequent dramas have all been “big things”. And being “big things” she has been able to cast big names, which of course further elevates the notoriety of her dramas, and so on, and so forth…

      • Kang dong woooon! Won Biiiiiin!

        I really want to see them back in my small screen for like 16 and more episodes so I can gaze them like there’s no tomorrow and other day. And Kim Eun Sok is a heavy weight name writer even way before Secret Garden and after Secret Garden, with her name only I think she can lure a famous actor/actress even without script.

        But this is Kang Dong Won and Won Bin we’re talking about. Kang Dong Won is not only picky, he himself already said that he prefers movie way of shooting with long preparation in studying script and character. So its a small chance he’ll back except Kim Eun Sok can give what Kang Dong Won’s wants.
        And for Won Bin… Well, like D said, once in every blue moon :'(

      • I think you’re correct.Sega had bee a great hit until now people are still talking about it.I do love the dialogue in Sega or I should say the actors did a great job.It’s not everyone ‘s cup of tea but it was a phenomenon.

    • She’s had her hits and misses…I either loved or hated her dramas. I think part of her success is being able to get A-listers…as a writer I think she is just ok…

    • I don’t understand it much either… I think piggybackrider is right when saying its the post-Secret Garden effect, plus I get the feeling that everyone decided her dramas are “big” because her name is attached and even when they are crap people still perceive them like that.

      For me, they are too contrived, too unreal and I don’t like the characters much – they can be just too cliché. Too many chaebols and penniless damsels. And all the forced love -hand grabs, kisses, etc.

  8. Please NO Lee Min Jung!!!! I can’t stand her acting, she tries too hard to play her characters and her voice is annoying.

    I hope it will be Yoon Eun Hye and Hyun Bin. I so want this pairing!!!

  9. As long as KES doesn’t drag Kim Soo-hyun in this potential hot mess, I’m good. I still harbor a grudge against her for putting Lee Min-ho in Heirs which I stopped watching early on because it SUCKED. I have a pretty high tolerance for crap plots as long as I can enjoy the pretty but Heirs was just ugh. I didn’t even bother reading the recaps. That’s much I loathed the story and characters. Plus LMH’s fashion there was beyond atrocious. IMO only Kang Min-hyuk was any good.

    • yes, she did him a total disservice…Heirs – it’s a piece of crap and it’s the only lee min ho drama I was not able to watch all the way through…

  10. I’m calling Son Ye Jin and Hyun Bin for this one. Since the actress will 100% be Barunson management, my dream pair for this one would be Moon Chae Won and So Ji Sub.

    • I’m calling Son Ye Jin for this as well. After her cameo at the end of SG, everyone and their mother knew it was merely a matter of time and the right project before she did her KES drama. Word on the street is that she turned down My Spring Days to leave room for this drama since it’s all pre-filmed with extensive overseas shoots.

      MCW and SJS? Nice and intriguing pair though I would love to see them reuniting with Lee Kyung Hee. So far only LKH has really ever pulled out their full potential.

      • Great point about MCW and SJS’s reuniting with LKH. I can’t undo that image/anticipation from my head now that you bring forth that idea!!

      • I think MCW was her best in Princess Man. But I would love a LKH reunion..albeit a different male lead *ahem SJK*

  11. Kang Dong Won/Ha Ji Won reunion, perhaps? Just kidding. With HJW off to Hollywood after shooting her new movie it will probably be some time before we see her in a Korean project again. But it would be awesome!

  12. If she’s going to put foreigns in this drama, then she better pick actual actors, not some random person that she found on the streets!

  13. Never impressed with KES’s projects before, just watch till 2-3 episodes than dropped it by nature…

    But if Kang dong won or Lee byung hun joins this drama, i will try my best to tune in…

  14. Yoon eun hye instantly came into my mind when the news for this drama came out few months back but it’s probably gonna be son ye jin, I like son ye jin so I’m definitely ok with this. The story sounds good too. I’m all in for hyun bin or kim soo hyun (although kim soo hyun and son ye jin pairing will be a little weird) I doubt so ji sub has a chance )-: I would love to see so ji sub and son ye jin

  15. the only thing that will make me watch this if she cast Jang Hyuk. but, i think it’s hard after the last time incident in Sega. 🙁 but, JH already do a disaster premise movie, The Flu before and i don’t think he’ll do another look alike project. *sigh

  16. Reading all of this makes my blood pressure go up.
    After AGD, I swore off all of her dramas because of the way the OTP were written.
    Heirs did not change my mind.
    I can see why she gets the bucks since she gets the ratings, but the pace, the stories, the non-ending moments of stares are bad bad bad.

  17. After all these years, Secret Garden is still my number one. Its not perfect but its extremely entertaining. I think Hyun Bin’s interest now is in films. Hope he is not pressurized into going into this. Thanks to The King of Drama, ive learnt something about behind the scene manipulations to get things done. KSH could be a good lead. Of all actors in his age group, he is my fav.

    • I respectfully disagree. KSH’s acting is every exaggerated and he plays pretty much the same constipated characters over and over again :p

      • Not a problem you disagree – to each his own. Its his exaggerated acting tt I really like.

    • Son Ye Jin did a cameo for Sega and Joo Jin Mo was considered to be part of AGD when Jang Dong Gun wasn’t sure… so it’s about time KES cast them together…

  18. Without Lee min ho the drama won’t succeed in China. Lee min ho is a brand name in himself in China and of course also the most popular Korean Wave star in Asia. Simply put Lee min ho craze>>>Korean drama craze in China.

    • I’m pretty sure people were shocked to see how well received “You who came from the stars” was in china. Things can turn hot at any moment so they dont need him to be successful.

  19. I can honestly see Gong Yoo and ha ji won being the leads for this drama. I think they need someone rugged to play the male lead and GY is both manly looking and boyish. For the female lead, they need someone who will not be afraid to look unpretty and she is the best choice. It’s a plus that they make a really hot couple and have never worked together before. I think people will watch this hot pairing 🙂

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