Upcoming Korean mystery drama “Jirisan” took centre stage internationally on the afternoon of 13th October 2021, in a global press conference that featured writer Kim Eun-hee, director of photography Choi Sang-mook, together with stars Jun Ji-hyun, Ju Ji Hoon, Oh Jung-se and Cho Han-Cheul. Opening with a highlight video of “Jirisan”, the sneak preview showcased Jirisan peak in its glory through the four seasons. The actors star as national park rangers who face typhoons, fires, floods and untold dangers without fear in their search and rescue missions. Lying in wait are not only mysteries and suspense, but also heartwarming stories that viewers can look forward to.
“Jirisan” follows the team of national park rangers who are responsible for search and rescue on Jirisan. Experienced ranger (played by Jun Ji-hyun) and rookie ranger (played by Ju Ji-hoon) are set to unravel the secrets of the peak. The iQiyi Original K-series will exclusively simulcast with Korea on October 23rd on iQiyi International app or iQ.com worldwide.
Seo Yi-gang (Jun Ji-hyun) is Jirisan National Park’s top ranger who has vast experience in navigation, making her knowledgeable when it comes to tracking down lost individuals. One day, she becomes the partner of Kang Hyun-jo (Ju Ji-hoon), a rookie park ranger who is a military academy graduate and an ex-lieutenant, but experienced a horrific incident on Jirisan that led him to become a ranger. The drama is centered around a mystery surrounding the mountain’s many visitors; those who come to kill, and those who come to end their lives.
Here are some of the key takeaways from Jirisan’s press conference:
Jirisan National Park’s star ranger Jun Ji-hyun and rookie ranger Ju Ji-hoon are in a ‘senior-junior’ relationship and spending long hours together led to amazing transformations of their relationship. Speaking of the time together and chemistry in their first ever collaboration, Jun said, “It was a very good partnership, we were at ease.” Ju joked, “I’ve been a fan of Jun Ji-hyun ‘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.”
In addition to the on-screen chemistry between the male and female leads, Jun, Oh Jung-se and Cho Han-cheul are also teammates of the Haidong Branch rangers. The moments of hilarity and bickering among the trio in the series are not to be missed. Jun Ji-hyun shared, “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!’.” Oh Jung-se added, “there was once Jun Ji-hyun 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. In embarrassment, Jun replied, “I wanted to be serious then, but could not stop myself from laughing, I am really sorry.”
Kim Eun-hee shared that she wrote a story previously with a police officer in the lead and was focused on finding the cause of a murder after it occurred. But for Jirisan, she shared that park rangers would be trying to prevent incidents. Smiling, Jun said, “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.” Ju added, “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.” Ju and Kim both expressed hope to continue working together in the future.
“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.”– Jun Ji-hyun on her role as a park ranger
From her elegant, goddess-like image in previous romance comedies, Jun Ji-hyun showcases a new side of strength and skill in Jirisan. She also felt that the filming process was not too tough, “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.” In fact, Jun feels that the production process has improved her physical health. Screenwriter Kim also praises Jun for growing from strength to strength, just as her iconic character in the box office hit film, My Sassy Girl, Jun replied, “Thank you to everyone for your praises, I think there are some humorous parts in there.”
Ju Ji-hoon plays rookie ranger Kang Hyun-jo who seems to bring the element of mystery into the series. He shared his thoughts on his character and revealed how he went about bringing it to life—prior to production, he would discuss with writer Kim and listen to her analysis of his role. He revealed that he enjoyed climbing from a young age and expressed enthusiasm to climb Jirisan in the future. Ju shared that it took a lot of energy to shoot this series, especially when ascending the peak and his legs had to hold still. The shoot was about 3 – 4 times more demanding than shooting on even ground, he quipped, “That’s why I run to keep fit.”
16-episode Korean drama series “Jirisan” premieres globally from 23 October 2021, 8PM SGT on iQiyi International app or iQ.com across 191 territories, simulcast with South Korea, with new episodes on Saturdays and Sundays.