The long-awaited K-drama “The Silent Sea” (고요의 바다) is set to premiere on streaming giant Netflix this week, and fans are already excited to witness Gong Yoo making his return to the small screen following his epic cameo appearance in “Squid Game”. To make it more interesting, this also marks the 42-year-old’s comeback since his leading role in the 2016 series “Goblin”!
Aside from the seasoned actor, the star-studded lineup of cast include Bae Doo Na, idol-turn-actor Lee Joon (former member of the group MBLAQ), among others. Set in the near future, it follows an elite team on a special mission to an abandoned research base on the moon, as resource depletion has devastated the Earth.
(P.s: You can check out our special feature on the science fiction series here).
Ahead of the premier of the thriller series, we’ve listed down things that all of you need to know about “The Silent Sea”. Check them out:
1. The series is based on a short film by the same director
#TheSilentSea is based on my graduation work. There were a lot of movies that depict outer space but are not specific to the moon. Thus, I wanted to create a story about the moon.
– Director #ChoiHangYong pic.twitter.com/tZ4dZBb1Cr
— kdramadiary (@kdramadiarylogs) December 22, 2021
According to director Choi Hang Yong, “‘The Silent Sea’ is actually based on my graduation work. When I was back in school, and immediately before graduation, I really wanted to create something that was true to my passion, something that I really wanted to create, and there were a lot of movies that depict outer space, but not something that was literally and physically on the moon.”
He added by saying, “I wanted to create a story with the backdrop being the surface of the moon, and during the research, I found out that even though the moon is the closest to us, there’s not much that has been revealed to us. And that’s how I came about creating the story, about the moon.”
2. Actor Jung Woo Sung serves as executive producer for “The Silent Sea”
The 48-year-old is famous among fans for his roles in box-office movies such as “A Moment To Remember”, “Scarlet Innocence”, “The King” as well as the K-drama “Athena: Goddess Of War”. During the press con, the MC Park Kyung Lim pointed out that Woo Sung was immediately mesmerised after seeing the original short film.
He said, “When you look at the setup of a story that really makes or breaks the entire film, and this very unique setup of the story, I just fell in love. And while there are a lot of sci-fi films out there, we really didn’t think to create something like that of our own in Korea. In this very smartly created setup, I felt like we could really create something special here. I think I have quite the eye.”
3. Was the director set on Gong Yoo, Bae Doo Na & Lee Joon?
“‘Who would be a fitting protagonist in Korea’s first sci-fi series set on the moon?’ This was my first concern when deciding on the character Jian,” Director Choi said during a press conference for the series. “Not only has Bae Doo Na established herself in a wide spectrum of works, but I also think she has the right image for a space sci-fi series. When we first fit her in a spacesuit, she was the spitting image of Rei in ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion'”
He added, “For the role of Yun Jae, I wanted a skilled, experienced actor who could assume the mantle of leadership on set. Gong Yoo has a varied filmography under his belt, from ‘The Suspect’, ‘A Man and a Woman’ and ‘Train to Busan’ to ‘The Age of Shadows’ and ‘Guardian: The Lonely and Great God’. In him I found an actor who could express the many facets of Yun Jae.”
“Finally, the character Tae Suk had to be portrayed by someone with an upright, honest image. Lee Joon fit the role and also added a certain unique rawness to the performance,” the director was quoted as saying.
4. What prompted Gong Yoo to participate in the project?
As we mentioned earlier, this drama marks Gong Yoo’s drama comeback in five years. Curious as to why he would choose to take part in the series, the 42-year-old explained that “it’s because I had always wanted to challenge myself to play a role in a genre drama.”
“There was no particular reason to not join the production. I want to take on a new challenge. I am someone who looks at diversity often and there were a lot of times when I felt we could do better to have a diverse range of content coming from Korea. We hear a lot of stories within the same genre and so as an actor I always thought of expanding that horizon.” the Hallyu star added.
5. Gong Yoo tanned his skin & got a neck tattoo for this role
“Since Yun Jae used to be a soldier, I tried to express his tanned appearance that shows he has been through a lot of hardships”, Gong Yoo revealed during the event, “I also got a tattoo on my neck”. He then clarified, “I didn’t make myself look tough on purpose. I only tried to get rid of the ‘romantic’ image (as seen in my past projects). I think I will show you something that you haven’t seen before.”
6. Jung Woo Sung put a lot of effort in casting Bae Doo Na in the series
Here’s what the actor revealed during the press con:
“At the time, Doona had just wrapped up a production, and she was taking a break. I remember her being overseas, taking some time off, so I contacted her and sent her this script and said, “While you have some time on your hands, please go ahead and read it.” I know it was quite a big favour to ask of someone who is on a vacation. But I wanted to take it easy and wait for her answer, and I think it was in Paris, right?
So I had to actually visit Paris on business, and Doona was there by coincidence, at a restaurant that I had made a reservation for dinner. And she was actually there waiting for me. So we met there, talked about the script. Then I was scheduled to fly to Switzerland, and I think Doona had to go to London after that. We then parted ways to different countries, but we continued to send messages about the prospects of the project, and Doona was quite positive and she said, ‘I think there might be something there.’
So it was a casting process that took place all around the world, literally. So it was quite a special experience.”
7. Bae Doo Na & Lee Joon share their experience shooting in zero gravity
Here’s what the “Kingdom” actress revealed:
“During pre-production, I underwent training for low gravity and zero gravity. Beyond the basic wire training, there was also a choreographer who taught me how to look like I’m spacewalking in low gravity. The sets impressed me too. The surface of the moon was so realistic, I felt like I was stepping on the real thing!
And the hallways of the Balhae Lunar Research Station were so beautiful I wanted to take them with me; if only I had a space large enough to fit them all. Most interesting, though, was the spacesuit. This was the first time where a costume posed such a challenge for me. When I wore the full set, from helmet to shoes, it was really heavy.
A physical coach on set taught me a lot. Finally, the breaks I took with my co-stars at the rest area for astronauts brought us closer, as we shared difficulties and decompressed together.”
Meanwhile, Joon shared, “Before filming, a choreographer helped me work on my movement, and it was a lot harder than I expected. I looked up videos taken on the moon to get a sense of what it’s really like. The choreographer told me, “You’re coordinated, you’ll get it down quickly,” but it still wasn’t easy. It took me a long time to understand the principle behind the movement.”
The 33-year-old added by saying, “Defying gravity was challenging. It took practice. And more practice, even while filming. I continued practicing in the hallway. It was hard conveying low gravity without the wire and with real gravity to contend with. Acting against gravity was the most difficult part.”
8. Interesting moments with the cast members behind the scene
“I don’t think I’ve ever had this much fun on set. It was almost like we were in a Bollywood movie. We were really dancing all the time,” the “My Father Is Strange” actor revealed. “We were wearing the heavy spacesuits, with even the backpacks. I mean, it’s really heavy.”
When asked on whether viewers can expect for a director’s cut version of the series to be released, Director Choi replied, “Yeah, I think we can do that,” to which Joon chimed in, “Yes, because it has to be in there in the behind-the-scenes clips because we really danced a lot.”
9. The message behind “The Silent Sea”
“This is a story about survival. Facing mortality, humans are often seized by a strong desire to live. At times, this leads to horrific situations rarely observed in our everyday lives. The Silent Sea believes in human integrity. Instead of dramatising a conflict between good and evil, I wanted the characters to keep traces of their humanity, even in the direst situations,” Director Choi revealed.
He added by saying, “On one level, ‘The Silent Sea’ is a life-and-death story of crew members imperiled on an abandoned base on the moon, but on another level, it is a story about survival of the human race and our planet. To survive is to adapt, evolve and endure. I believe ‘The Silent Sea’ gives us an idea of how humankind should proceed in order to survive the future.”
“The Silent Sea” is set to debut on Netflix this Friday (24th December). Watch the trailer here:
Images courtesy of Netflix.