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Big-Budget Zombie Thriller K-Drama 'Kingdom' To Premiere On Netflix This Week

by Jessica Rapir / Jan 22, 2019 04:44 AM EST
Big-budget zombie thriller K-drama 'Kingdom' to finally premiere on Netflix on January 25. Photo by Netflix/Facebook

Netflix will finally release this week its first original Korean drama series, titled Kingdom. The TV series has been creating a lot of buzz since 2017 because of its big budget, the highly-acclaimed creative team as well as the death of a crew member early last year.

Kingdom will only have six episodes and will premiere globally on January 25. It was previously scheduled for release in October 2018 but has been delayed to early this year. Its producers claimed that the series took nearly eight years to produce and it costs 2 billion won (US$1.7 million) per episodes.

The Korean TV series is a zombie mystery thriller that is set during the Joseon period. The story was penned by Korean screenwriter Kim Eun-hee, who is also the author of the popular 2016 TV series Signal. The production was helmed by Tunnel director Kim Seong Hun.

Kim Eun Hee said they have incorporated a detailed zombie story in the show since Netflix has no age limits for content contrary to local TV channels in South Korea. She added that she drew inspiration from a 19th-century royal court document that indicated tens of thousands of deaths in the country's capital due to an outbreak of an unidentified epidemic.

"I started to design this story in 2011. I thought an epidemic would be an interesting subject that could portray the sufferings of that time. In the end, I wanted to talk about hunger... as the desire of people narrows down to the craving to eat as they turn into zombies," Korea Herald quoted Kim as saying during a press conference for the upcoming TV series.

The Kingdom Season 1 will star Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds actor Ju Ji Hoon and Hollywood actress Bae Doo Na. Ju plays the role of Crown Prince Lee Chang, who is accused of treason after the king fell sick from a deadly epidemic and eventually fell into the zombie state.

Driven by his determination to prove his innocence, the Prince goes on a journey amidst the rapid spread of the epidemic. His mission is to find a renowned doctor who holds the key to the mystery illness and a secret medicinal herb that could cure the sickness.

The lead male character was first offered to Korean actor Song Joong Ki. The Descendants Of The Sun star, however, turned down the offer to concentrate on his marriage to Song Hye Kyo.

Kingdom has been produced entirely before its scheduled premiere. Its filming started in October 2017, the same month as the wedding of the Song-Song couple. At the time, Song Joong Ki cannot commit for a year-long TV series production as he is about to start married life.

Bae Doo Na, on the other hand, portrays the role of the doctor's apprentice, Seo-bi. She plays an important role in helping the Prince on his return to the court. The Netflix also stars Ryu Seung Ryong who plays the role of the palace No. 2 person. He has an eye for the King's throne and orchestrated the reason charge against the prince.

Meanwhile, Ju revealed that he suffered a minor bone fracture in his left ankle, pain on his hip, and a minor burn while in filming the TV series. He said the pain are all worthy as he assured Kingdom is something that K-drama fans should not miss. Early last year, the TV series also grabbed the headlines when a member of its art team died apparently due to overwork.

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