Starring Gianna Jun and Ju Ji-hoon, Jirisan is shaping up to be a compelling mystery-thriller K-Drama you shouldn’t miss.
With Squid Game and Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha making waves around the world, K-Dramas are currently one of the hottest forms of entertainment right now. Not that it ever waned in popularity, but with Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha just recently ending and no official announcement yet of Squid Game season two, you may be running low on new K-Dramas to watch. This is why iQiyi’s newest original K-series, Jirisan, is looking to be the next must-see show, especially with its compelling plot, talent in front and behind the camera, and its unique premise.
JIRISAN, PARK RANGERS MEETS MYSTERY THRILLER
Jirisan centers on Seo Yi-gang (Gianna Jun), the 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. After experiencing a horrific incident on Jirisan, it pushed Hyun-jo to become a ranger. The main plot of the drama will center on the mystery surrounding the mountain’s many visitors; those who come to kill, and those who come to end their lives. Aside from this, Jirisan will also give time to highlight the evolving dynamic between Yi-gang and Hyun-jo as well as the struggles and challenges mountain park rangers go through in their jobs.
LEADS YOU WANT TO FOLLOW
Jirisan stars seasoned actress Gianna Jun. While she does have experience with action roles such as Ashin in Kingdom, for the most part, she is known for her romantic comedies like My Love from the Star and The Legend of the Blue Sea. In Jirisan, Jun will be for the first time fronting a series that will show a new side of strength and skill to her. She revealed that showcasing a stronger side to her wasn’t the intention of joining the project. “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.”
When it came to filming, Gianna Jun felt that the shooting process was not that bad. “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.
Joining Gianna Jun as the co-lead in Jirisan is Ju Ji-hoon. While his newbie park ranger character may seem one-dimensional or you may guess where his character is going, Ju expressed that his character will actually bring the element of mystery into the series and that he’s not as one-sided as people may initially see him as. Unlike Jun though, Ju shared that it took a lot of energy to shoot this series. It was tough, especially when ascending the peak and his legs had to hold still. “The shoot was about three to four times more demanding than shooting on even ground,” he quipped.
A COMPELLING STORY THAT CAN BE TENSE AND HEARTWARMING
Aside from the mystery and suspense unfolding in the mountain and the dangers like typhoons, fires, floods, and rescue missions, Jirisan will also show the two leads in a senior-junior relationship. Spending long hours together on-set led helped the both of them to develop 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.” He joked, “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.”
Jirisan can and will get dark. But the cast and crew wanted viewers to know that the show will also feature heartwarming stories and even light humor and banter between the park rangers. Co-star Cho Han-cheul has played comedic and scene-stealing roles in many shows. In Jirisan, not only is he teammates with Jun and Ju as the Haidong Branch park rangers, but he will also be a source of humor to lighten up the mood every now and then. The moments of hilarity and bickering among the trio in the series are not to be missed.
A-TIER TALENT BEHIND THE CAMERA
While the cast involved is already worth the price of admission, the talent behind the camera is just as impressive. The series is directed by Lee Eung-bok, who’s directed hit shows like Descendants of the Sun, Goblin, Mr. Sunshine, and Sweet Home. The script was written by Kim Eun-hee who penned Kingdom. The production company, AStory, was the same company that produced season one of Kingdom. And to top it all off, BTS’s Jin will be featured in the OST as he is singing the main theme song.
Kim said that the series would take a close look at the day-to-day lives of park rangers and what they do, something that isn’t normally portrayed in popular media. And the cast had nothing but praise for Kim. Jun said, “Few actors have worked with writer Kim consecutively. I am very thankful for that. The charm in her scripts is that details that seem unimportant at the start. But it turns 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.”
Jirisan will stream exclusively on iQiyi starting October 23. The first episode is hitting the streaming service on October 23, Saturday, 8 PM, PH time. New episodes of the 16-episode series will come every Saturday and Sunday.