Familiar Names? Upcoming K-Drama ‘Jirisan’ Is As Star-Studded As Can Be
Oct 16, 2021   •   Meryl Medel
8List.ph is published by ID8, Inc.
Oct 16, 2021   •   Meryl Medel
Upcoming Korean drama Jirisan is dubbed as Korean TV network tvN’s 15th Anniversary Drama Special, and it seems the network has really gone all out for it. Jirisan features not only a star-studded cast, but also an epic storyline written and directed by an amazing creator duo. Here are all the reasons why you should be as hyped up as everyone for Jirisan:
Jirisan refers to a mountain in South Korea named Jiri. (The show’s title literally translates to Jiri Mountain.) Standing at 1915 meters high, it is the second tallest mountain in the country, with the first being Jeju Island’s Hallasan. The mountain is a popular destination site, receiving hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. It’s located inside Jirisan National Park, which is the largest park in South Korea.
View this post on Instagram
Writer Kim Eun-hee shared that Jirisan is the mountain that carries much pain and sorrow. Yet it is also “Mother Mountain” where many fugitives have hidden to survive. “Jirisan is not an ordinary mountain. It’s a mountain of hope, despair, and urgency. People who stayed in Jirisan have said that there’s something beyond explanation.”
Jirisan tells the everyday life of the team of national park rangers and other employees who are responsible for search and rescue on the mountain. Every day, they climb mysterious and unexplored areas within the mountain, all while facing typhoons, fires, floods, and all sorts of untold dangers to rescue lost trekkers.
In the show’s press conference, writer Kim Eun-hee says it’s the mystery surrounding the mountain that inspired her to write about it. “It’s a mountain where people pray for their wishes. And over the years, I feel that those wishes have accumulated. It’s a mysterious mountain with all those feelings and secrets.” The show has a mysterious and suspenseful vibe sprinkled with some comedy and heartwarming moments that every K-drama fan can enjoy. It is also the first TV series to be shot at the Jirisan National Park.
There are a lot of familiar faces. Leads Gianna Jun (or Jun Ji-hyun) (My Sassy Girl, My Love From the Star, Kingdom: Ashin of the North) and Ju Ji-hoon (Princess Hours, Kingdom, Along With the Gods) are the most recognizable since their projects have exploded in popularity worldwide. The two are also set to work together in Kingdom’s next season.
But equally as familiar are the supporting cast members. You might know veteran actor Sung Dong-il from his father roles in the Reply series, and he’ll be playing the head of the park’s branch office. Another ranger will be played by Oh Jung-se, who was in It’s Okay to Not Be Okay as the autistic older brother of the male lead. You might have seen Cho Han-chul in this year’s Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha and Vincenzo and he’ll be playing the ranger team’s leader. Go Min-si from Sweet Home and Youth of May will now play a rookie ranger. K-drama halmeoni Kim Young-ok also recently starred in Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha and now she’ll be playing Gianna Jun’s grandmother in Jirisan.
It’s not only the cast who are well-known in the project. Writer Kim Eun-hee may actually be a familiar name to K-drama lovers. She’s the mind behind award-winning police procedural Signal and Netflix’s political period horror series Kingdom. Similarly, director Lee Eung-bok has a lot of well-known projects under his belt, including 2016’s Hallyu revival drama Descendants of The Sun, romance fantasy series Goblin, and Netflix’s apocalyptic horror Sweet Home. This is their first project together, and K-drama fans are pretty excited.
This show also marks Gianna Jun’s comeback to the small screen after a long hiatus. While she did appear in Kingdom, it was only just a cameo, so Jirisan is considered to be her drama comeback.
Gianna Jun plays the experienced ranger Seo Yi-gang, who is nicknamed Mountain Ghost God for her amazing navigation skills within the mountain. She’s good at her job, but she wants to leave the mountain, only staying for her grandmother.
In the press conferences, when asked about her role, she said she believes most women characters nowadays are stronger in nature. “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, so to me, this is a brand new experience.” She also said she didn’t find filming the show on the mountain taxing; in fact, it even improved her physical health, which she was thankful for.
Meanwhile, Ju Ji-hoon has worked on a few dramas after coming back from a hiatus, which included Kingdom. In between Kingdom’s seasons, Ju Ji-hoon worked on Jirisan for nearly a year.
He will be playing military captain-turned-rookie ranger Kang Hyun-jo, who has a deep secret he cannot share with anyone. And for some reason, he begins to see visions of deaths happening in the mountain, which pushes him to be a ranger. Unfortunately, he discovers a terrifying secret within the mountain, which changes the lives of the people on Jirisan.
In contrast to Gianna Jun’s filming experience, Ju Ji-hoon said it took a lot of energy to shoot the series. “Ever since I was a kid, I was fond of the mountains. I plan to complete climbing Jirisan. But shooting was physically challenging and taxing. When you’re in the mountains, your legs have to maintain balance. So after long hours, I became exhausted. That’s why I run to keep fit.”
The drama’s original soundtrack (OST) is the work of composer Ant, who has also worked on Descendants of the Sun and Sweet Home, so the expectations are already high. And we haven’t even mentioned the artist’s who will be singing the OSTs.
The main theme song for Jirisan will be sung by no other than #BTS #Jin!💜
We’re excited to hear the song!#Jirisan ǀ Premieres 24 Oct on #tvNAsia🇸🇬🇲🇾🇮🇩#24hrExpress #GiannaJun #JunJiHyun #JuJiHoon #SungDongIl #OhJungSe #지리산 #전지현 #주지훈 #성동일 #오정세 pic.twitter.com/86tVhkXpAz
— tvN (@tvN_Asia) October 1, 2021
Jin, a member of worldwide superstar BTS, is set to sing the series’ main theme OST. Jirisan’s production studio Astory shared, “The main theme song enables Jin to express his unique voice quality and fans can expect to enjoy it from midway through Jirisan. A release date for the song will be announced at a later time.”
Other artists participating in the OST are Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon, Kim Jong-wan, and Gaho.
Jirisan will be exclusively in international regions on October 23 on iQiyi International app or iQ.com worldwide. The show will be simulcast with Korea through tvN.
Input your search keywords and press Enter.