Actors Jun Ji-hyun, left, and Ju Ji-hoon pose for pictures during the online press conference of the new series, “Jirisan”, Wednesday. Courtesy of tvN
By Lee Gyu-lee
Actors Jun Ji-hyun and Ju Ji-hoon will become mountain rangers in the new mystery series, “Jirisan,” which is one of the most anticipated series coming this year.
“I never thought that I would play the role of a ranger, and it’s not every day you meet a ranger,” Jun said during the online press conference of the series, Wednesday. “So everything came to me as new when I played the role, and I’m sure viewers will also be amused with the duties rangers carry out and their lives.”
Created and written by star writer Kim Eun-hee, who wrote the hit series, “Kingdom” and “Signal,” tvN’s upcoming series follows two rangers of Jirisan National Park, where Korea’s second-highest mountain is located, on the border between South Gyeongsang Province and the Jeolla provinces.
Seo Yi-gang (Jun) is an experienced ranger who knows the park like the back of her hand. She is partnered with a rookie ranger, Kang Hyun-jo (Ju), who has a deep secret. The two become involved in a mystery as they discover strange accidents occurring around the park.
The series is directed by Lee Eung-bok, who has directed several mega-hit series, like tvN’s “Mr. Sunshine” and “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God,” as well as Netflix’s “Sweet Home.”
Jun said that her time spent around Jirisan to shoot this series has taught her a lot.
“It was my first time visiting the mountain. And as I was shooting the scenes, I came to learn of the power of nature and how insignificant we are compared to nature. It gave me a chance to take a lot of moments to reflect,” she said. “Since the series is about rangers saving people, there’s lots of action for you to look forward to.”
A scene from the series / Courtesy of tvN
Writer Kim expressed that she was pleased to write a story about rangers, whose job is to take care of the mountain and rescue people who get into trouble.
“When I visited Jirisan, I learned that, unlike in the cities where 119 rescue teams respond to accidents, the park’s rangers who know the area take the lead in the search. So I came to choose the mountain ranger as the characters’ profession,” she said. “In my previous works, the professions were those who chase after the truth after someone’s death, like medical examiners and detectives. But this time, I got to talk about those who save people’s lives.”
Adding that she was extremely happy with the casting, she praised the lead actors for their portrayal of the characters.
“I was so thankful that the perfect actors for the roles accepted the job… The character of Yi-gang is like a mountain. There are no other words to describe her. So, I wanted an actor like that, and Jun really fit right into the role,” she said. “Ju has this innocent charm. His character, Hyun-jo, tries to be optimistic and spirited all the time and this really blended well with his image.”
Ju, who had been working with Kim for several years throughout the “Kingdom” seasons, explained that Kim’s work helped him grow as an actor.
“Her scripts are very detailed. For the actors, who bring those words into life, I’m put in the position of portraying delicate acting that crosses complex emotions, so it feels like I’m taking an acting class,” he said.
Adding that he is also pleased to work with Jun, who he has been a fan of for a long time, he noted that she has shown great energy throughout the shooting of the series.
“Even when she might be physically tired from the scenes, she is so energetic. She’s also the fastest runner out of all the cast members, including the males. I loved the high-spirited environment we had while shooting,” he said.
“Jirisan” will air on tvN Oct. 23 at 9 p.m.Internet Explorer Channel Network