Hawaii to be showcased in episode of S. Korean soap opera
BY MAUREEN O'CONNELL
Advertiser Staff Writer
The creators of a South Korean soap opera series promise that O'ahu's scenery and sense of 'ohana will get star billing in an episode to be filmed here next month.
The weeklong shoot of "The Divine Hero," a production of Munhwa Broadcasting Corp., set to start Feb. 16, will mark the first time a K-drama has been filmed in Hawai'i.
"We definitely want to showcase Hawai'i," episode director Lee Hyoung-sun said at a press conference yesterday at the United Korean Association of Hawaii.
David Lim is a Hawai'i partner and executive producer of the project, which has an $8 million budget for 24 episodes.
An estimated $400,000 is earmarked for the first 50-minute episode, which will include horseback riding, skydiving and other action scenes in Hawai'i.
South Korean actor Song Il Kook (of "Jumong") has the leading role, and Jung Ryu Won (of "Autumn Shower") co-stars as the "very ordinary girl" his character falls for during the series, said Lim, who is associated with Beauty Touch Productions and partnering with Plan B Pictures, a South Korea group, in the endeavor.
The script, based on one of South Korea's most popular comic books, follows a "Batman-like" protagonist seeking vengeance for the murder of his parents, and features an Island tie: Born in Korea, lead character Michael Kang-Ta was raised as orphan Michael King in Hawai'i.
"A lot of Hawai'i background will be shown through this character," Lee said, noting that scenes depicting King's upbringing here will feature Hawaiian family members and evoke the "aloha spirit."
A total of 50 to 60 people will work on the episode, including six to eight actors, a production crew of about 30, and local hires.
Lim said plans are in the works for a fan package that will allow K-drama followers into a spectator area during shoots and a finale party scene that will be included in the show.
The series will premiere March 6 in South Korea, Japan and parts of Southeast Asia.
No screenings are scheduled for Hawai'i or elsewhere in the United States at this time.
Pointing out that some 50,000 South Koreans visit Hawai'i each year, Lim said O'ahu's exposure in "The Divine Hero" will likely prompt a boost in tourism.