The Ministry of National Defense on Sunday confirmed plans to produce a Taiwanese version of the popular South Korean military television drama Descendants of the Sun, aimed at improving the military’s image and morale.
Ministry spokesman Major General Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) said that bidding for the NT$12.8 million dollar (US$419,300) series had been completed, and the series, tentatively titled The Best Choice (最好的選擇), would have a total of 16 episodes and would be helmed by award-winning director Liang Hsiu-shen (梁修身).
Liang said he plans to start filming in the middle of next month, with a large opening ceremony being held before filming starts.
While he would not reveal casting specifics, Liang said the male lead would be someone who is in top physical shape, as he is to play the role of a special forces soldier.
Some actors are currently in the military, including female officers in the military’s news agency and political warfare divisions, he said.
“We have created a vivid story that is lively and romantic. It is not a stereotypical drama,” Liang said, adding that he is deeply grateful for the ministry’s support.
Responding to a question from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) at the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee meeting yesterday, Colonel Chen Yu-lin (陳育琳), director of the political warfare department at the Matsu Defense Command in Lienchiang County, said the series would be available for viewing online through the ministry’s Facebook page and other social media sites, in addition to cable and over-the-air TV broadcasts.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) voiced skepticism, saying the military’s problems are rooted in its leadership and discipline, and that the TV series would not be helpful in improving the military’s image.
DPP Legislator Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄), pointing to a photograph of Descendants of the Sun lead Song Joong-ki that he brought to the meeting, asked Minister of National Defense Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬): “Is he more handsome than you were back in the day?”
“Not quite,” Feng answered, eliciting laughter when he responded similarly to another comparison with Taiwanese-Japanese actor Takeshi Kaneshiro (金城武).
Feng later said he was only joking with the legislators.
Chuang said he hoped the series would not turn out to be a “Regret of the Sun,” playing on the Chinese word for “regret” (hou hui, 後悔), which shares a character with the word “descendant” (hou yi, 後裔).