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Why Park Shin Hye and Lee Min Ho Filmed In The U.S.

BY Joan MacDonald | Oct 08, 2013 10:38 AM EDT

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Not only did Lee Min Ho and Park Shin Hye film some scenes from "The Heirs" in California but the drama is more American than you might imagine.

"The Heirs" is the first kdrama to be co-produced by an American company. It's a co-production between Hwa & Dam Pictures and the American online distributor of much kdrama magic, DramaFever.

"We came onboard as a co-producer because we helped the production find and secure financing, and our involvement did indeed have something to do with the shoot in LA," said Martina Lee of DramaFever.

The series will premiere this week in the U.S., Canada and Latin America only on DramaFever. The first episode will premiere internationally on SBS on Oct. 9. Each following week SBS and DramaFever will air two consecutive episodes for a total of 10 weeks.

Kdrama lovers may be seeing more co-productions in the future.

"In the coming months, and certainly into 2014, we'll be developing and co-producing more original made-for-web and broadcast-level programming," said Suk Park, DramaFever's co-founder and co-CEO.  "We're thrilled to be partnering with such a prominent international production team like Hwa & Dam Pictures on our first move into original content."

Does more American involvement in kdramas mean American fans will see more of the actors?

It's possible. While the actors are currently filming in Korea and don't have immediate plans to return to the U.S., a future promotional appearance is possible.

"We may have a surprise or two up our sleeves," said Martina Lee.

In the drama about the wealthy students of an elite school, rich heir Lee Min Ho falls for a poor girl played by Park Shin Hye. The cast also includes f(x)'s Krystal, Kang Min Hyuk, Kim Ji Won, Choi Jin Hyuk, Im Joo Eun, Kang Ha Neul and Park Hyung Sik. Kim Eun Sook, who wrote "Secret Garden" and "Gentleman's Dignity," is the screenwriter. Kang Hyo Shin, who directed "Tazza" and "Midas" is the director.

Lee Hong Ki of F.T. Island recently signed up to sing on the OST and more stars are sure to join in.

If an American company were ever going to co-produce a drama, this would definitely be a great one to start with. Interest is already so high. And DramaFever is well known to American fans. It has found a devoted audience abroad, with fans no less passionate than those in Korea. A diverse group of viewers, 85 percent of whom are of non-Asian descent, these international fans have discovered Korean dramas in part thanks to increased availability of dramas and their fan communities online.

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