de Lily Alice, Janeiro 9, 2024

The past month has buzzed with excitement surrounding the release of Netflix's Gyeongseong Creature. As the K-drama graced the screens, fans' excitement found its fulfillment.

Helmed by Jung Dong Yoon and scripted by Kang Eun Kyung, and featuring a star-studded cast including Park Seo JoonHan So HeeKim Su HyunKim Hae SookJo Han Chul, and Wi Ha Joon, among others, Gyeongseong Creature impresses with its story, plot, setting, and the seamless integration of emotion, action, and fantasy. 

To bring it all together, needless to say, the team behind the K-drama left no stone unturned, striving to give the best experience to the audience. Exploring what happened behind the scenes, the process of making the drama, and more, we bring you some of the some of the most interesting facts about this Netflix original. 

So, without further ado, let's dive in. 

Note: This article does not intend to degrade the integrity of any individual, organization, or state. 

1. Gyeongseong Creature's Reference to Unit 731 

Gyeongseong Creature is set against the backdrop of colonial Korea when the reigns of authority were in the hands of the Japanese. Given this setting, a dive into the past was obviously necessary. And to say the least, the K-drama really dug its roots well.

Setting aside the fictional characters, the setting of a secret Japanese research lab established in Gyeonseong, and a lab-created creature, you might actually be surprised by how much the show stays true to the reality of Korea's colonial past and the atrocities committed by the Japanese colonial forces. 

Among the most important aspects accurately referenced or not fictionalized in the drama, are the aim and activities of the secret project of the Imperial Japanese Army, Unit 731, which was, in reality, located near Harbin in Japanese-occupied Manchuria.

A quick Google search reveals that Unit 731, one of the other such Japanese research labs, was notorious for its barbaric experiments on captured men, women, children, and even infants. Being a biological and chemical warfare research and development unit, it strived to study, develop, and deploy biological and chemical warfare weapons capable of mass destruction. 

Experiments such as vivisection (often without anesthesia), frostbite testing, and infecting test subjects (prisoners) with contagious agents to study the spread and effect of diseases, among such, took place on prisoners of war and even civilians, forcibly.

Unit 731 remains a dark chapter in history due to the severe human rights violations committed in the name of scientific research and warfare. 

Gyeongseong Creature, in this setting, incorporates a fictional creature born from the experiments. 

Though the creature itself is not real, the K-drama strived to portray the horrors of Unit 731 vividly. This included depicting how the test subjects were people of all ages, how they became objects of experiments forcibly, and even the detail of storing the test subjects' body parts in jars (as reported by The New York Times, which interviewed a former member of Unit 731). 

Unit 731 in Gyeongseong Creature was a learning experience not only for global viewers but also for the Japanese. 

On January 5, Professor Seo Gyeong Deok of Sungshin Women's University, Seoul, made a social media post about the reactions of Japanese netizens to Gyeongseong Creature.

Professor Seo wrote, "In particular, there were quite a lot of Japanese netizens recognizing the historical facts of Unit 731 with comments such as 'It was my first time learning about Unit 731,' 'The opportunity to learn about Unit 731,' and 'Unit 731 was real.'"

He said, "I believe it holds significant importance that historical facts, such as Unit 731 and experiments [it conducted] on humans, which were rarely covered in Japanese education, were well conveyed to Japanese netizens [thanks to Netflix's Gyeongseong Creature]."

Moreover, Gyeongseong Creature also entered Japan's Netflix list of Top 10 TV Shows. 

2Gyeongseong Creature Joins the Ranks of Most Expensive K-dramas

Entering the league alongside Moving and Arthdal Chronicles, among others, Gyeongseong Creature now marks its name among the priciest K-dramas of all time. 

Sources reveal that this K-drama cost Netflix a whopping 70 Billion KRW ($54 million). 

This might not be surprising for some, as it is no secret that Netflix is investing big in Korean content. Back in April 2023, Netflix confirmed that it "will invest USD 2.5 billion in Korea including the creation of Korean series, films, and unscripted shows over the next four years."

Taking from Netflix's investment, Gyeongseong Creature, for its CGI, grand sets, and star power, cost the OTT streaming service millions. 

3. Han So Hee Allegedly Accused of Being Anti-Japanese

Throughout the series, the Japanese colonial forces are portrayed as exploiting Korea and inflicting injustices on the natives. 

As a result, some Japanese fans have been reluctant to stream the K-drama as it deals with a sensitive historical topic. 

While they have remained hushed since the drama's release, controversy finally arose when actress Han So Hee posted a picture of Korean independence activist An Jung Geun.

In the caption of her post, Han So Hee wrote:

"Not the romance in Gyeongseong, nor the creatures of the Japanese colonial period. It's the story of the people of those brilliant and dark times confronting monsters born in experiments that instrumentalized human beings. It's about the spring of that year when embracing one another in love was the only way to become stronger." 

A flashback in history shows that An Jung Geun assassinated Itō Hirobumi, the first Prime Minister of Japan and the first Japanese Governor General of Korea, at Harbin Station in 1909. 

An Jung Geun was later executed by the Japanese authorities. Recognizing his efforts for Korean independence, the Korean government posthumously awarded him the Order of Merit for National Foundation. 

Itō Hirobumi's activities in Korea, according to Ahn, undermined his country's sovereignty. 

On the other hand, the Japanese proudly identify Itō Hirobumi as the Father of the Japanese Constitution, who had a big hand in building modern Japan. He also became Japan's Prime Minister four times. 

As evident, Ahn and Itō are perceived in starkly contrasting lights in Korea and Japan. Each of them is hailed as a hero in his country but labeled as a terrorist in another.

Han So Hee's Japanese fans found her post quite upsetting for disregarding the feelings of the Japanese. They even went on to call her anti-Japanese. 

The actress replied, "It's sad, but it's the truth. Thank you for taking courage."

On the other hand, Korean fans supported the actress for shedding light on Korea's painful past and slammed the Japanese for labeling Han So Hee anti-Japanese. Moreover, even some Japanese fans agreed with the actress and even supported her for enlightening the Japanese about their country's past.

4. Han So Hee Suffered Facial Injury During Filming of the K-Drama

On August 3, 2022, it was reported that actress Han So Hee suffered a facial injury while filming an action scene for Gyeongseong Creature. The actress was taken to the emergency room, and her injury was reported to not have been serious. 

On August 11, the agency gave an update about Han So Hee's condition and schedule, stating, "Fortunately, she didn't need surgery, and she's being treated with recovery tape. She still has bruises around her eyes."

During the press conference of the K-drama on December 19, 2023, the actress spoke about her experience.

She said, "Injuries in action scenes are not limited to me; the stunt team and other actors involved in the action scenes are also injured... It's fortunate if you don't get hurt, but you can't act in this atmosphere without getting hurt. Everyone is serious about the filming."

She also said, "The fact that I overlooked is that if I distinguished between what I can and cannot do, I think I would have been able to avoid injuries."

Han So Hee once again reassured her fans that she is well and apologized for disrupting the filming schedule. 

5. Grace Kelly Inspired Style for Han So Hee's Character Yoon Chae Ok

Grace Kelly, celebrated as a 20th-century American fashion icon, served as a muse for Han So Hee's character's style, Yoon Chae Ok, in Gyeonseong Creature.

During the entire series (Season 1), Yoon Chae Ok is seen wearing only a handful of different outfits. 

Among them is one in which she dresses in a sky blue dress, a pillbox hat with a netting veil (much popular, especially during the 1950s), white gloves, and her hair styled wavy when going in disguise in Onseong Hospital. 

The look may remind one of Grace Kelly, who was described as the "Girl in White Gloves" when she appeared on the cover of the January 31, 1955, issue of the weekly magazine Time, because she wore "prim and noticeable white gloves," and whose classic wave many try to recreate even today.  

In the Making Of video released by Netflix, Han So Hee said, "We had to show a completely different Chae Ok from the modern days. From what I recall, we paid a lot of extra attention to 'Grace Kelly' style."

In a commentary video by Netflix Korea, discussing behind-the-scenes insights, director Jung Dong Yoon said that because of Chae Ok's background and the nature of her job, they tried to keep her outfits minimal and the color tone as neutral as possible. He also said, "There's one time when she wears an outfit reminiscent of Grace Kelly. My goal then was to make her look as pretty as possible. Ultimately we gave her one pretty outfit and the rest were rag-like."

Han So Hee was undoubtedly mesmerizing in that lovely Grace Kelly-inspired outfit. And even though she was mostly dressed in "rag-like" outfits at other times, we can agree that she still looked beautiful in those too, don't you think? 

6. Kim Su Hyun Talks About Her Experience Acting in Japanese

Avengers: Age of Ultron actress Kim Su Hyun, aka Claudia Kim, plays the Japanese noblewoman Maeda Yukiko in the Netflix series. She is a character who holds immense power in Gyeongseong. 

Anyone who watched the series knows that Japanese characters in the drama speak in their native language, and actress Kim Su Hyun's character was no exception. 

During the press conference held on December 19, Kim Su Hyun commented about the challenges she faced, saying, "Acting in Japanese was really difficult. I felt the pressure, and since I was the only person who spoke a dialect, there wasn't much help I could get."

Continuing, the actress joked, "Unfortunately, despite studying a lot, I couldn't speak a word in Japanese because I didn't know the standard language."

Nevertheless, we cannot disagree that Kim Su Hyun nailed her role. 

7. Yoon Joong Won is not Chae Ok's Biological Father

In the commentary video by Netflix Korea, director Jung Dong Yoon agreed to the fact that Yoon Joon Won (Jo Han Chul) isn't Chae Ok's (Han So Hee) real father.

Park Seo Joon and Han So Hee also agreed that they heard that he's not her biological father.

Director Jung Dong Yoon said, "Even when we were casting him, he looked young for his age. He looked too young for his character to be her father. When we were casting him, I said, 'He's not her biological father. It shouldn't matter.' We did indeed have that discussion."

8. The Story of Gyeongseong Creature Continues With a Spin-Off Webtoon Series

On January 5, Kakao Entertainment announced that it will release a spin-off webtoon series of Gyeongseong Creature titled Gyeongseong Creature: The Unwithering Flower on January 20. 

According to Kakao Entertainment, this webtoon based on the Netflix series is set in the same K-drama universe as Gyeongseong Creature

The webtoon is set against the backdrop of Manwoldo, where another creature was born through experiments on humans. 

It tells the story of Geum Ran, who rather than transforming into a monster in Manwoldo, mutated into a powerful intelligent being.

While the webtoon introduces a new narrative focused on other characters of the same world, the plot also intersects with the original series and will have the appearance of characters like Chae Ok and Lieutenant Gato (played by Han So Hee and Choi Young Joon, respectively, in the K-drama).

After its domestic launch on January 20, Gyeongseong Creature: The Unwithering Flower is scheduled to be released in North America, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, and other regions through Kakao Entertainment's global platform network.

"Kakao Entertainment plans to actively strengthen its global IP competitiveness, by not only turning webtoon and web novels like MovingThe Uncanny Counter, and The Bequeathed into visual content, but also by putting in continuous and proactive efforts to strengthen its IP value chain cases where stories and the media are connected, like Gyeongseong CreatureBusiness Proposal and Not Others," said the Kakao Entertainment official.

Bonus: Park Seo Joon Jokes about Han So Hee's Shampoo Commercial

In a Netflix Korea commentary video, while watching the scene where Jang Tae Sang (Park Seo Joon) and Yoon Chae Ok (Han So Hee) fight each other, Park Seo Joon and director Jung Dong Yoon recalled that they shot the scene for three days. 

Park Seo Joon, commenting about the shot when Han So Hee's cap falls and her hair hurls in the air after getting hit by Jang, joked, "Let's take a break for a quick shampoo commercial. That should get you a commercial," he said to Han So Hee.  

He also revealed that the scene took hours to complete and Han So Hee said that she ended up with a neck cramp.

"I remember standing by the monitor for over five hours," said Park.

Han also revealed that she did the head movement about 20 times and 20 people were watching the monitor saying, "No, that's not it."

And when she tried whipping her hair, they finally got their perfect shot.

Nevertheless, they agreed that the scene was worth the effort and it came out really pretty.

Which of these facts about Gyeongseong Creature surprised you the most?