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[Replay the Classic] Kim Tae Ri in ‘Mr. Sunshine’ Wanted to Save Joseon Over Her Spaceship 

Edited by Jeon Gyeong Ju
Translated by Kim Yoo Hyang

Credit: tvN, Netflix

The Sci-Fi masterpiece Space Sweepers starring Song Joong Ki and Kim Ta Ri is on a roll like the spaceship’s name, ‘Victory’. After being released on Netflix on the 5th, Space Sweepers topped Netflix’s popular movie list within 16 different countries including Korea. And this is from only a day after its release. There were concerns before its release that Yoo Hae Jin’s robot acting would be the only thing worth watching, compared to its astronomical production costs. However, after its release, the works seem to be more than that. Among the various cast members in space, Kim Tae Ri’s aura as Captain Jang especially shined through. If you’re already stanning the actress for her refreshing and ambitious acting, or if you have just fell for her, let us have a look at Kim Tae Ri’s charm all the way back from when she made her debut to TV series with Mr. Sunshine.

Mr. Sunshine is a period drama depicting the love and growth of Go Ae Shin (Kim Tae Ri) who was born into Joseon’s top four families and became a part of the righteous army, and Eugene Choi (Lee Byun Hun) who is a United States Marine Corps soldier born from a Korean slave’s household. The show is set in the mid-1900s when Japan and Western powers made blatant invasions to Joseon. Emotions of pity and empathy arise as characters keep each other in check. These characters include Goo Dong Mae (Yoo Yeon Seok) who became an idler in Japan after fleeing from Korea because of the discrimination, Kim Hee Sung (Byun Yo Han) who was a part of a greedy landowner’s family but awakens as a journalist through Ae Shin, and Kudo Hina (Kim Min Jung), the daughter of a pro-Japanese group who secretly moves around as she shares goals with Ae Shin. As they get involved with a number of people including those from the righteous army, the U.S. legation and Marine Corps, the pro-Japanese group, and the Japanese military, they get swept by the torrent of the era, half by their own will and the other half by the others’.

 

  1. The “Miss” that dramatically expanded Kim Tae Ri’s acting skills

Mr. Sunshine’s Ae Shin and Kim Tae Ri’s Soo Hee in The Handmaiden are coincidentally at opposite ends. Regardless of whether Japan dominates Joseon or exploits it, Sook Hee remains as the epitome of individualism, obsessed with the simple idea of leaving the country after grabbing some fortune with her. After playing such a provocative main character in her debut film, Kim Tae Ri once again proved that she is a versatile actress who is not limited to genres nor environments through Mr. Sunshine, in which she was the first lead character for a TV series. She was the little Miss who continued to focus on English studies even while being looked down on by people for missing the ‘appropriate age for marriage,’ walks the path of a righteous army soldier for her country, and gets confused by the unexpected ‘love’ that finds her. The number one contributor to Mr. Sunshine’s success is undoubtedly Kim Tae Ri, the one who can permeate into every genre and era.

 

  1. Kim Eun Sook’s love story which met the Korean independence movement

Previous romance works of screenwriter Kim Eun Sook were criticized as much as praised for, because of their certain immaturity. However, the romance in Mr. Sunshine is exceptionally favored. While concerns were surrounding the age difference between Kim Tae Ri and Lee Byung Hun at first as they questioned whether viewers would be able to get “properly immersed” into the drama, the show soon soaked the hearts and eyes of viewers with professional and excellent performances.  Mr. Sunshine established itself as a masterpiece that exceeded all expectations, as the five people (Ae Shin, Eugene, Dong Mae, Hee Sung, and Hina)’s complex struggle to understand and protect each other naturally extended into the fierce independent movement. Eugene’s sacrifice on the train sending Ae Shin away, and the ending scene in which Ae Shin smiles as she arrives in Manchuria to raise an army, makes viewers think deeply about young people who must have sacrificed for their romance each in their own way in such turbulent times.

 

  1. Evidence that ‘the people are the nation’: The Joseon which protected the Miss

Ae Shin has been at a crossroads of life and death since she decided to save the country as a part of the righteous army, instead of being hung up on her high status as an esteemed daughter from a prestigious family. After Ae Shin lost Haman-daek in front of her eyes and was put in danger of being killed by the Japanese army, the ones who saved her were neither Eugene nor Dong Mae, but it was the Joseon people whose names were unknown. Koreans who surrounded Ae Shin were arm-in-arm with each other even when they were shedding tears against Japanese officers who were threatening with guns. They clearly demonstrated why Joseon and the current Republic of Korea have managed to survive. The people who revealed their sorrowful potentials in the face of despair as Joseon was disappearing, are Mr. Sunshine’s subject matter themselves. They also constantly remind the basic principle of today’s democracy, that a country exists as long as those who are the most powerful – the people – do.  

Editor Jeon Gyeong Ju: A natural-born media geek who is physically Korean and mentally multinational. All dramatic stories are my favorite sweets for life. TVs and streaming platforms are not only the playgrounds but also the weapons.

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