Making a Filipino version of a Korean drama that’s very famous and well-loved in different countries is a big step and also a risk for the new cast and production. But the Philippine network GMA has accepted the challenge of adapting and creating the Filipino version of the 2016 broadcast hit Descendants of the Sun (DOTS).
Filipino director Dominic Zapata expressed his reactions and thoughts on the show’s premiere. He stated that it’s always very thrilling for him. He got to see the original series and study it really, really closely to understand what made it successful and how he as the Filipino director be able to translate that to a Filipino adaptation. “Technically they are shooting it the same way, with the same equipment that they do,” said the director.
This Filipino version of DOTS stays loyal to the original version. It stays attached securely on the sweet romance between a Special Forces officer and a surgeon amidst the drama, chaos, and excitement happening in the lives of doctors and soldiers in a war.
The GMA network station (also known as Kapuso network) has gathered up its top talents to headline the series. The cast of the Philippine version of “Descendants of the Sun” are Dingdong Dantes playing as alpha team leader, Captain Lucas Manalo and Jennylyn Mercado as the cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Maxine Dela Cruz.
Winnie Hollis-Reyes, executive producer of the show said that the real basis of Descendants of the Sun is a love story between two people from different worlds. “One is protecting the country which means if he has to kill somebody, he will do it to protect the country, and one is saving lives. Both are of different worlds but how will they find common ground?“
Having the approval of the Korean producers the lead cast’s love story expands in the local version to include familial plots. Actor Dingdong explained that the most notable difference between the Filipino version and the original Korean version is we’ve filled in the gaps in the backstories so that people will understand better why the characters are connected that way. They have included the family stories and these will prove to be the big driver in the storytelling. Filipinos always appreciate family stories.
Filipino adaptation doesn’t have a foreign location. Most of the scenes are of the Philippine context, but the action-packed scenes as in the original are still there.
Dingdong Dantes also added that the story is really about soldiers and about doctors, backdropped by a war. It is like we rarely see it in the Philippine drama. And also the fact that these professions are very technical, that means it’s very delicate to interpret you to have to make it right and accurate
Winnie Hollis-Reyes, the executive producer also shared that so far this is the most expensive show of GMA network because this is reality or close to real life. The weapons used are expensive and the cast of the show is mostly superstars of GMA network.