Lee Byung-hun and Kim Tae-ri at the press conference for "Mr. Sunshine" in Seoul.
South Korean up and coming starlet Kim Tae-ri is the one to watch.
Having made her claim to fame with roles in films like "The Handmaiden" and "1987", Tae-ri is now making the leap to commit to a 24-episode drama called "Mr. Sunshine".
The baby-faced 28-year-old knows that it's not only the pressures of starring in a drama that she has to face, but also going up against a veteran South Korean actor, Lee Byung-hun.
Playing his love interest in the historical epic drama by Kim Eun Sook (writer) and Lee Eung Bok (director), Tae-ri plays Go Ae Shin, the daughter of an aristocrat who leads a double life as an independent fighter during the Joseon era.
"Mr. Sunshine" tells the story of a Korean-born American marine soldier, who returns to Joseon after many years, to find that he still harbours resentment towards his homeland while still navigating his feelings towards a mysterious woman.
Cinema Online recently met up with Kim Tae-ri in Seoul and she told us more about playing the feminist character and learning under the tutelage of Byung-hun.
Cinema Online: This would be your first ever drama series. Did you hesitate when taking on this challenge of committing to shoot for 'TV hours' as you're used to film productions?
Kim Tae-ri: This is the first drama that I'm doing for TV, and yes, I play the lead role. I thought it was a bit of a burden and I made this known to the director as well as the writer, and they're very aware of this. Thankfully they made it as comfortable and easy as possible for me to shoot and to act, so it's been really helpful all around.
Are you worried that "Mr. Sunshine" might remind people of the director and writer's previous works like "Descendants of the Sun" and "Goblin" which are extremely popular with audiences?
It's not only the first time for me to work with the director and writer, this is my first drama. I was lucky to be able to be given this role and it was impossible not to accept it. I think the story is very unique and it's something that viewers will be definitely enthralled by.
Both you and Lee Byung-hun come from different backgrounds. What was it like coming together to film "Mr. Sunshine"? Do you guys already know each other before this?
Working with such great actors was tremendous and I'm very fortunate. My character has the most scenes with Lee Byung-hun and everybody knows he is very experienced as he is a renowned actor. I knew that it might be a bit scary for me, but I just tried to follow his lead. I was able to go about it the way I have always been going about it, and I trusted him and our chemistry.
Kim Tae-ri plays Go Ae Shin, an aristocrat's daughter and also a freedom fighter.
Did you have to undertake any special skill or knowledge in order to successfully play the role of the Go Ae Shin?
I had to learn a lot of technical things. There was a lot of dynamic action that I had to take part with. For instance, horseback riding. I also had to learn how to handle, load, and fire a gun. Besides that, I learned how to use traditional brushes to write calligraphy as I am also the daughter of an aristocrat in the drama, so a bit of elegance had to be portrayed that way. I had tutors on site to help me out and I also studied myself through watching videos.
Personally, what was the biggest difference for you between shooting for film and TV?
Since it is my first drama it is difficult for me to compare, but based on my experience, for films there is a lot more time to discuss before shooting a scene, whereas in our case, "Mr. Sunshine" is a 24-episode drama so there is a lot of shooting that needs to be accomplished in a short timeframe. To tell you for sure, I'll have to shoot more dramas and see what it's like.
What in your opinion is the key standout feature of "Mr. Sunshine"?
There are a lot of cinematographically beautiful scenes, so it's really difficult to pin point on a certain scene, but to me I think the interaction, conflict and tension really stands out.
"Mr Sunshine" is now showing on Netflix in over 90 countries worldwide!