KBS drama being filmed in the NorthA drama produced in North Korea may be aired on South Korean television as early as August next year.
KBS announced on Aug. 4 that it commissioned North Korea’s Korean Central Broadcasting Station to produce 24 70-minute episodes of “Sayuksin,” a historical drama about six minions who unsuccessfully tried to restore King Danjong to the Joseon throne after he was ousted by his uncle, King Sejo.
KBS has been negotiating with the Korean Central Broadcasting Commission since September 2003 for the production of the show, and a final agreement was reached in January of this year. In April, screenwriters from both Koreas met for nine days to produce the script, and in June the production staff met to finish discussing details of costume design, makeup, art direction, visual effects and lighting.
The first shooting took place on July 26 with about 170 North Korean actors and actresses on sets at the Korean Central Broadcasting Station in Pyongyang.
All roles will be played by North Koreans, while the production budget and broadcasting equipment will be provided by KBS. The two sides agreed that KBS will maintain the copyright for the drama while the Korean Central Broadcasting Commission will hold the broadcasting rights within North Korea, leaving the possibility that the drama will be aired in both Koreas.
“The production was advanced to vitalize inter-Korean exchanges,” said Kim Yong-gi of the KBS inter-Korean exchange and cooperation team. “Since all the starring characters will speak in the North Korean dialect and the streets of Pyongyang will appear as the background, the viewers will have a good opportunity to observe North Korean culture,” Mr. Kim said.
Regarding production costs, Mr. Kim only commented that they would be “less than the average production cost of South Korean dramas.” “Sayuksin” will be filmed in various locations such as Pyongyang, Kaesong and Mount Myohyang, over a one-year period.
The role of Sung Sam-mun, the main character, will be played by North Korean actor Pak Seong-uk and the role of his lover Jung So-yeon will be played by Kim Ryeon-hwa. The North Korean dancer Cho Myeong-ae, known in the South because of her appearance in a cell phone commercial, will star as Sol-mae, the adopted daughter of one of the minions. The drama will be directed by Jang Yeong-bok, whose work “Lim Ggeok-jeong” has appeared in the South.
by Lee Ji-young