New period drama aims for lighthearted entertainment

August 18, 2016

SEOUL, Aug. 18 (Yonhap) — “Love in the Moonlight,” a new period drama on KBS TV, will be a romantic comedy more than anything else, its director said Thursday, asking viewers to simply enjoy the show.

The 18-part series, starring rising actors Park Bo-gum and Kim You-jung, is a TV adaptation of a popular web novel based on the life of Crown Prince Hyomyeong. The prince, whose real name was Lee Yeong, ruled during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) from 1827-1830 as his father King Sunjo’s health deteriorated. A genius in literature and the arts, the prince is known to have pursued various political reforms before dying at the young age of 21.

In the Monday-Tuesday series, he falls in love with the fictional character Hong Ra-on (Kim), a poor but clever girl who disguises herself as a eunuch offering counseling in the royal courts.

Park Bo-gum (L) and Kim You-jung pose for a photo during a promotional press conference at Times Square in Seoul on Aug. 18, 2016.

Park Bo-gum (L) and Kim You-jung pose for a photo during a promotional press conference at Times Square in Seoul on Aug. 18, 2016.

“Our focus was on creating a romance that’s pretty and charming but also sad,” Kim Sung-yoon, the director, said during a promotional press conference held at Times Square in western Seoul. “I’d like you to have fun watching it. There’s no grand metaphor.”

Kim admitted that the producers were intimidated at first by the prospect of portraying a historical figure. But they soon agreed to focus on delivering a more contemporary message through the series, he said.

“We’d like viewers to be able to identify with the emotions displayed,” the director stressed. “Rather than unveiling a political message, we focused on telling a story that’s easy to identify with, through emotions such as motherly love and fatherly love.”

Park, who gained fame and recognition after playing a go prodigy in the hit TV series “Reply 1988″ early this year, described his character as a reckless punk of a crown prince, saying he wanted the role as soon as he read the script.

“I’ve wanted to be in a period drama for some time,” said the 23-year-old. “When I was chosen for the role, I was really grateful but also worried that I wouldn’t be able to meet expectations. Then I realized that I’m not in it alone, but working together with the writers, staff, and all the other actors, who are all protagonists.”

Park added that he has been shooting the series with the hope that viewers can find comfort and healing in the story.

For 16-year-old Kim You-jung, the main motivation for choosing the drama was also the script.

“I thought viewers could take away a lot of positive energy from it,” she said. Giggling bashfully, she added, “I was so happy to hear that I would be working with Bo-gum. Sometimes, I find him so handsome that I space out.”

Playing a girl who disguises herself as a man was not easy, not least because the “man” is also a eunuch, she said. To help her acting, Kim said she watched other dramas starring women disguised as men, including the popular 2007 series “Coffee Prince.”

“Ra-on is such a lovable and cute character that I thought hard about how to come across as someone that cute and loveable. That was difficult sometimes,” she said, appearing as if she had it figured out.

“Love in the Moonlight” will premiere on Monday at 10 p.m.

The cast of "Love in the Moonlight" pose for a photo during a promotional press conference at Times Square in Seoul on Aug. 18, 2016.

The cast of “Love in the Moonlight” pose for a photo during a promotional press conference at Times Square in Seoul on Aug. 18, 2016.



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