By Kim Tae-jong
Lee Duk-hwa, first from left, as former president Chun Doo-hwan in a scene from the upcoming television dram "The Fifth Republic."
A group of politicians from the regime of former President Chun Doo-hwan have recently requested the producers of an upcoming television drama to change some parts of its script.
The people working on the MBC TV drama "The Fifth Republic" said that a total of 17 former politicians, key aides to the president from the 1980s, have recently sent them a statement to call for changes in the story because it is different from the real events.
"We don't agree with them since we are now making the series based on historical records and information that we have collected for years", said Theo Yim, producer of the TV series in a phone interview with The Korea Times.
"Unless we find any distortion in the depiction of the real figures or situations, we will keep doing what we have planned", Yim said.
The title "The Fifth Republic", which stands for the period that Chun was in power as president, depicts how he assumed power through a military coup and he was forced to resign after a series of democratic movements. The drama has been filming since January and the first show is slated for April 23.
As the drama will use the names of actual people who were involved in the real incidents, some of them have tried to stop them from producing the series from the pre-production stage and threatened to take legal action if they didn't change their script, Yim said.
The former politicians who submitted the statement include Chang Se-dong, formerly chief secretary to Chun; Hur Hwa-pyong, key aide to the former president and former lawmaker; Chung Ho-yong, former Army Chief of Staff; and Lee Hak-bong, former vice director of the Korea Central Intelligence Agency.
Although there are still many politicians from the 1970s and '80s who are uncomfortable with talking openly about the politically and socially turbulent period in the past, the makers of the drama seem more conscious about how audiences see their attempt.
"We have discussed this project for the past three years. Actually we had a difficult time in deciding the production of the political drama since many people are now indifferent toward politics or hate it", said Shin Ho-kyun, chief producer of the program. "We hope that the series can give a chance for the older generation to think about it and for the younger generation to learn about it".
Shin also said he does not see the politicians' action as a threat or pressure because they also have a right to say what they think is right. "But what we expect from them is strong evidence that proves we are wrong".
Although the program's producers say that they don't intend to create a sensation, the series is expected to cause a dispute between the former politicians and people who believe in freedom of expression as other political movies and dramas have done in the past.