From mermaids to zombies, Jun Ji Hyun or Gianna Jun feels "pressured" but is excited to be back on the small-screen, five years after her last K-drama, Legend of the Blue Sea. And get this, the self-confessed Kingdom fan "begged" for pictures with the zombies!
Netflix's first original Korean series Kingdom will air a special 92-minute episode called Kingdom: Ashin of the North, which follows the origins of Ashin, a mysterious character who was introduced at the finale of the second season. In this episode, viewers will also be able to discover the origin story of the resurrection plant.
Calling the series "a comprehensive art in its own form," Jun feels "honored" to be selected in the casting.
"Kingdom is not a series or a particular or piece of work that can be changed or that depends on one or two stars or members of the cast. I would say it is based on an immaculate script, amazing direction, and fascinating art," the 39-year-old Korean actress said. "Kingdom in itself is kind of can be referred to as a total or comprehensive art in its own form. And it's truly an honor and it brings me great joy to think that something like Kingdom is created in Korea, and is brought to the entire world," the My Sassy Girl star added.
Because of this, she feels "a significant level of pressure" playing the lead role, Ashin.
"My personality is one that does better under pressure. So, I think I deliberately tried to feel that positive pressure so that I could do better," she said. "I didn't want to make it look like I was just kind of joining and enjoying the ride that was already propelled by what was already a great show before I joined. So, I think in that aspect I really tried to focus more on bringing everything that I had into the series," the actress added.
Jun's character Ashin is the heir to the Northern Yeojin tribe village. She also discovers the secret of the resurrection plant during a trip to the woods of the Four Abolished Outposts.
"There were certain scenes in the special episode that continue to hint at that fact. And every time I was shooting those scenes, I felt like that was really penetrating through the entire Kingdom series," she revealed.
When it comes to her portrayal of Ashin, Jun focuses on connecting with her character's emotions, who is "a warrior with internalized pain" after suffering the loss of her family. "I tried to focus mostly on how to interpret the personal anguish and hurt, which we in Korean referred to as han," says Jun. "How to interpret that emotion into wanting to avenge the whole land of Joseon," she added.
Interestingly, Jun shared at the Netflix media press conference that she is a huge fan of the show and was "most excited about coming face-to-face with the actors dressed as zombies."
"When I got there on the set, I realized just how much trouble all of the actors were going through in order to present themselves as convincing zombies," Jun shared. She even added that she "begged" for photos with the zombie actors so she could "brag" about it to her friends.
Kingdom: Ashin of the North starring Jun Ji Hyun and Park Byung Eun will be available for streaming all over the globe through Netflix this July 23, 2021.
Watch the trailer below.
Photos courtesy of Netflix