The story of ‘Jirisan’, the much-awaited new Korean drama out on October 23, is all about camaraderie and teamwork; and the cast of the series embodied those qualities during the global press conference held on October 13.
Starring some of the most well-know actors from South Korea — including Gianna Jun (‘Legend of the Blue Sea’), Ju Ji-hoon (‘Kingdom’), Oh Jung-se (‘It’s Okay to Not Be Okay’) and Cho Han-Cheul (‘Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha’) — the show is about a happy bunch of national park rangers who face the elements during their search and rescue missions. During the course of the series, they are faced with the mysteries surrounding the mountain’s many visitors; “those who come to kill, and those who come to end their lives,” according to the official synopsis.
During the press event streamed from South Korea, the cast joked around with each other and raved about their chemistry while working on the show.
“It was a very good partnership, we were at ease,” Ju said about his co-star Jun, according to translations from the press event.
He stars as a rookie who joins Jirisan National Park’s top ranger played by Jun.
“I’ve been a fan of Gianna Jun since young,” the actor said. “Her charm has left me speechless and has always been a role model for me. In our collaboration, she was always trying to feed me, so I am very thankful to her. Jun’s fitness was the best among us and ran the fastest, her physical condition was great.”
Oh and Cho play teammates of the Haidong Branch rangers. Together, they talked about some of the comedic moments they had on set.
“Actually [Ju] just looks funny,” Jun said. “There are many scenes that we had to shoot together and they were all serious ones, but he just made us laugh. And before we burst out laughing the director would shout ‘Cut!’”
Oh added: “There was once Gianna Jun wanted to hit my head, but she burst into laughter before she could do it. After laughing though, she still did hit my head.”
Jun jokingly replied: “I wanted to be serious then, but could not stop myself from laughing, I am really sorry.”
In a preview of the show, the characters can be seen braving storms and rough terrain as they do their death-defying jobs. One of the plot points includes mysterious deaths that need to be investigated. Filming for the series kicked off in September 2020 and was completed in June 2021. It’s the first show to ever be filmed at Jirisan National Park and was made on a budget of 32 billion won (Dh100.1 million).
For Jun, it was refreshing to step away from her usually elegant roles and showcase a more rugged side.
“I didn’t accept the role because I wished to play a strong woman, females today are stronger in character,” Jun said. “I never thought I would play a park ranger, to me this is a brand new experience.”
“I didn’t feel exceptionally tired or cold, I was very happy throughout the filming process,” she added when talking about working on set on a mountain. “As I prepared well in mountaineering gear, there were not many difficulties.”
Screenwriter Kim Eun-hee, best known for her work on hit shows ‘Kingdom’ and ‘Signal’, opened up about the inspiration behind the series.
She shared that she previously wrote a story with a police officer in the lead, who was focused on finding the cause of a murder. But for ‘Jirisan’, she shared that park rangers would be trying to prevent incidents.
Jun, who has worked with Kim before, praised the writer saying: “Few actors have worked with writer Kim consecutively. I am very thankful for that. The charm in her scripts are that details that seem unimportant at the start, turn out to be crucial at the end. I’ve worked with writer Kim for five years. She’s like a relative, someone who I will greet during a festival, and we meet often. Her scripts are extremely detailed.”
Oh opened up about why he chose ‘Jirisan’ as his latest project and the challenges he encountered through production.
“Many are anticipating ‘Jirisan’, one can feel its charm from the show title alone, especially with writer Kim, director Lee Eung-bok and photography director’s Choi Sang-mook behind it. I had no reason not to accept the role,” he said.
Did you know?
BTS member Jin has sung the main theme song for the official soundtrack of ‘Jirisan’. According to reports, the track will be played mid-way through the series.
Don’t miss it!
‘Jirisan’ releases on streaming site iQiyi on October 23. New episodes are released every Saturday and Sunday.