Jirisan” stars Gianna Jun, Ju Ji-hoon, Oh Jung-se, and Cho Han-cheul talked about their chemistry and filming challenges at a press conference for the much anticipated drama. Also present were writer Kim Eun-hee and director of photography Choi Sang-mook. The series, shot in Mt. Jiri, tells the story of the mountain rangers and their quest to solve the mysteries hidden in the mountain.

‘Jirisan’: A Mountain of Secrets

“Jirisan” writer Kim Eun-hee with Gianna Jun and Oh Jung-se. (iQiyi International)

Writer Kim Eun-hee explained why she decided to write about Jirisan at the press conference. “Jirisan is a mountain where people pray for their wishes. Those wishes accumulated. It’s a mysterious mountain with many secrets.”

Director of photography Choi Sang-wook said he wanted to portray both the beauty and the fear elements that come from mother nature. “We had to use helicopters to capture the vastness of the mountain. We used a lot of handheld cameras and moving shots to capture the emotions of the characters.”

Meanwhile, lead stars Gianna Jun and Ju Ji-hoon talked about working again with writer Kim Eun-hee. Both said that they appreciated her very detailed script. Ju Ji-hoon starred in “Kingdom” while Gianna Jun was last seen in its spinoff  “Kingdom: Ashin of the North,” both written by Kim Eun-hee.

According to Gianna, “What sets her script apart is that a lot of scenes I took for granted gave me a lot of hints in the succeeding scenes. It’s the power of the details in her script.”

“I’ve been working with Kim Eun-hee for five years. I feel like she’s an aunt of mine. I always go to her studio. Her script is very detailed. There are a lot of detailed lines for the actors.  There are a lot of challenging scenes for actors but she makes it easy to take in for the viewers,” says Ju Ji-hoon.

‘Jirisan’ Stellar Cast in Press Conference

Gianna Jun, Ju Ji-hoon, Oh Jung-se, and Cho Han-cheul at the “Jirisan” press conference. (iQiyi International)

Kim Eun-hee is all praises for the cast of “Jirisan” during the press conference. She even compared Gianna’s character Seo Yi-kang to a grown-up version of the actress’s role in the classic K-movie “My Sassy Girl.”

“She’s like the mountain herself. I thought she was perfect for this drama. As for Ju Ji-hoon, it’s a surprise. He has this naivete which is very appealing. His character is very optimistic, very bright and brisky. It brought out a new side of him. Oh Jung-se is the character who had to show the extreme ends of his emotions. He did an excellent job. As for Cho Han-cheul, he resembles the courageous rangers. He was very natural.”

Filming Challenges

Behind-the-scene photo from “Jirisan” filming. (iQiyi International)

Meanwhile, the stars of “Jirisan” who gathered during the press conference talked about filming in Mt. Jiri, South Korea’s first national park. Cho Han-cheul, who plays the ranger Park Il-hae, says Jirisan is not just a backdrop but is one of the characters in the drama. “Jirisan is such a vast space and when you climb Jirisan, you feel very small relative to this vast land. I felt that the priority should be nature.” 

For Oh Jung-se, who plays the role of ranger Jung Goo-Young, “The mountain has a mysterious appeal. You feel comforted when you are in the mountains.”

However, filming in Jirisan also meant physical challenges for the actors. Ju Ji-hoon recalls, “After long hours I became exhausted because I had to keep my balance all the time. I liked the mountain but I realized I liked to climb the mountain for leisure.” 

Gianna recalls, “I remember one episode where Oh Jung-se had to carry me. He complained how heavy I was.”

“When I had to carry people while filming the drama, I couldn’t believe that the rangers did that,” says Ju Ji-hoon. 

‘Jirisan’ Premieres on October 23

Gianna Jun and Ju Ji-hoon during the “Jirisan” press conference. (iQiyi International)

Aside from the beautiful cinematography and exciting story, the chemistry of the cast is something to look forward to. Ju Ji-hoon, who admits to being a fan of Gianna Jun, showed appreciation for his co-star. “She made me feel very comfortable and she would offer me a lot of great food. She did not show exhaustion.”

The iQiyi Original K-series “Jirisan” will be exclusively available for streaming on the iQiyi International app or iQ.com worldwide starting October 23.

Myla Torres-Eder

Myla writes news stories for a living and watches K-dramas for leisure. She enjoys doing both for Hallyudorama.

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