K-stars Jun Ji-hyun, Ju Ji-hoon talk about their upcoming iQiyi Korean drama ‘Jirisan’

Published October 13, 2021, 6:36 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

Korean stars Jun Ji-hyun, aka Gianna Jun, and Ju Ji-hoon are excited for their upcoming iQiyi Original Korean drama “Jirisan,” which will premiere on Oct. 23.

The two, together with co-stars Oh Jung-se and Cho Han-cheul, famous writer Kim Eun-hee and director of photography Choi Sang-mook, discussed “Jirisan” during a global press conference held Oct. 13.

Jun Ji-hyun and Ju Ji-hoon, and the poster for “Jirisan” (iQiyi International)

“Jirisan” refers to Mount Jiri, the second tallest mountain in South Korea. The Jirisan National Park, with an area of 471.758 sq. km., spreads across one city and four countries in three provinces in South Korea, according to the Korea National Park Service.

“Jirisan has been known as one of the three legendary mountains in Korea, and a hallowed ground of the nation’s faith,” the park service described it.

The 16-episode K-drama “Jirisan” tells the story of a team of national park rangers who are responsible for search and rescue on Jirisan.

Jun Ji-hyun plays the role of Seo Yi-yang, an experienced ranger, while Ju Ji-hoon is Kang Hyun-jo, a newbie ranger.

“Jirisan” is Jun Ji-hyun’s comeback project on TV in South Korea since “Legend of the Blue Sea,” which aired in 2016 to 2017.

This is the first collaboration and Jun Ji-hyun said, “It was a very good partnership, we were at ease.”

“I’ve been a fan of Gianna Jun ‘since young’. 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,” said Ju Ji-hoon.

In the series, Jun Ji-hyun, Ju Ji-hoon, Oh Jung-se and Cho Han-cheul are rangers under the Haidong Branch. Actor Sung Dong-il (“Reply 1988”) previously said that Oh Jung-se can bring laughter and Jun Ji-hyun shared some behind-the-scenes moments.

(From left) “Jirisan” stars Cho Han-cheul, Jun Ji-hyun, Oh Jung-se and Ju Ji-hoon (iQiyi International)

“Actually he just looks funny. 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!’” she said.

Oh Jung-se narrated that “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,” and shared that Jun was very into her character.

Jun Ji-hyun replied, “I wanted to be serious then, but could not stop myself from laughing, I am really sorry.”

(From left) Jun Ji-hyun, writer Kim Eun-hee, Oh Jung-se, director of photography Choi Sang-mook, Cho Han-cheul and Ju Ji-hoon (iQiyi International)

Kim Eun-hee, whose writing credits including “Signal” and “Kingdom,” said she previously wrote a story with a police officer in the lead and was focused on finding the cause of a murder after it occurred. In “Jirisan,” she focused on the work of park rangers.

“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,” said Jun Ji-hyun.

Ju Ji-hoon said, “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.”

About her role in “Jirisan,” Jun Ji-hyun said, “Actually, I didn’t accept the role because I wished to play a strong woman, females today are stronger in character. 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. As I prepared well in mountaineering gear, there were not many difficulties,” she said regarding filming the series.

According to Ju Ji-hoon, he runs to keep fit as shooting “Jirisan” was three to four times more demanding than filming on even ground.

About the series, Oh Jung-se said, “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.”

“Jirisan” will have its global premiere on Oct. 23 on the iQiyi International app or iQ.com across 191 territories, simulcast with South Korea. New episodes will stream every Saturday and Sunday.