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Kim Eun-hee: the woman behind the zombie drama ‘Kingdom’

By: Ruth L. Navarra

You have Kim Eun-hee to thank if you love the zombie drama “Kingdom”.  She is the scriptwriter and show creator. The goddess who can make a character live or die with the push of a pen.  

Kim Eun-hee "Kingdom"
“Kingdom” writer Kim Eun-hee Photo courtesy of Netflix

“Just like the universe was created first with the sun and then the planets and then Earth, this was all the master plan of the great writer Kim Eun-hee,” Director Kim Seong-hun said during the video conference with the Philippine press last Thursday.

He added that the writer is so talented she can manage to surprise the audience for 10 more seasons.  Eun-hee blushed and laughed at the words of the director. “Kingdom” is based on her 2014 webtoon “Land of the Gods”.  Netflix picked her material up and the rest, as they say, is history.  

Every plot, twist, and side story is credited to her.  This includes the reason why people became zombies, how the virus mutated and the way they react to temperature changes.

The writer said that she enjoyed working for Netflix because it allowed her the freedom that she did not enjoy before.  She said that she did not have to worry about weekly ratings and immediate feedback from the viewers. This allowed her to stay true to her story without making revisions to her script to satisfy the viewers.  

Freedom of expression

“There’s, of course, the freedom of expression. So things like decapitation, for example, will never be able to air Korean TV.  Even if you are just holding a knife, it has to be blurred. So that is a big difference,” said Eun-hee.

“Kingdom” writer Kim Eun-hee Photo courtesy of Netflix

She shared how she came up with the idea for the show.  A confessed lover of history and zombies, she says that it was only natural that she writes a sageuk (historical) drama and the undead.   She faced difficulties, of course.  

Her previous works like “Signal,” “Three Days,” and “Phantom” were crime dramas.  The difficulty in writing such dramas is how to use technology such as CCTV and phones in solving crimes.  She had the exact opposite problem with “Kingdom”.

READ: Ju Ji-hoon rises to his role as crown prince in the second trailer of ‘Kingdom’

“There’s absolutely no technology.  I had to figure out how we could escape the zombies without it,” she said.  

Eun-hee said that there is no difference for her when it comes to writing for a 16-episode drama versus a two-season one.  

 “It’s all about carrying a continuum of an entertaining story. And if you really look at it, it’s only 12 episodes. So I think it was actually more fun for me to work on,” she said.  

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READ: LOOK: ‘Kingdom 2’ character posters dropped