Two of South Korea’s most popular stars, Jun Ji-hyun and Ju Ji-hoon, have been formally announced as the leading pair in the upcoming mystery drama Jiri Mountain (literal translation).
On September 4, officials from the project stated, “We confirm the casting of Jun Ji-hyun and Ju Ji-hoon.”
Set against breathtaking landscapes of the second-highest mountain in the country, Jiri Mountain will revolve around people who have decided to wander and climb unexplored areas within Jirisan National Park, unaware of the danger that awaits them. It tells how two rangers, one an expert and the other a rookie, attempt to save distressed trekkers.
Jun Ji-hyun is set to portray the female protagonist Seo Yi-gang, the best mountain ranger at Jirisan National Park. She has been around long enough to efficiently climb different topographic conditions, including dirt roads, tattered roads, rock walls, and cliffs. Yi-gang’s keen instincts allow her to trace the trail tracks of climbers by just observing the orientation of grass blades.
Jun made her breakthrough to stardom in the romantic-comedy film My Sassy Girl (2001), where she played as an unhinged but funny, pure-hearted young lady referred to as The Girl. The movie’s success across Asia solidified her domestic reputation as an actress and earned her the nickname “Nation’s First Love.” A little over a decade after, Jun regained international attention for her role in the romantic fantasy drama My Love from the Star (2013–2014), a portrayal that won her the Daesang or Grand Prize at the 50th Baeksang Arts Awards, South Korea’s version of the Oscars. She then continued to wow viewers with both her beauty and talent when she transformed into a mermaid in another romantic fantasy drama titled The Legend of the Blue Sea (2016–2017). Jun’s latest participation in a series was a cameo role in Netflix’s Kingdom 2 (2020), the second installment of a Korean original franchise headlined by her upcoming leading man, Ju Ji-hoon.
Meanwhile, Ju Ji-hoon will suit up as Kang Hyun-jo, a mysterious character who worked as a military captain in the past. After arriving at Jirisan National Park, Hyun-jo joins its association of mountain rangers. He eventually pairs up with Yi-gang in saving people who have encountered accidents during the course of their climb.
Ju Ji-hoon skyrocketed to fame for his role in the romantic-comedy drama Princess Hours (2006). He then went on to star in a number of television dramas, but it was not until his lead role in the Netflix zombie-themed series Kingdom (2019) that he grabbed the spotlight once again. Adapted from a webtoon, the six-part drama became such a worldwide success that it got renewed for another season just a year later. Ju also displayed his acting skills in other local dramas namely, Item (2019) and Hyena (2020).
The production crew behind the new project shared, “On a magnificent stage that is Jirisan, a place where a lot of people have their own treasured memories and experiences, we will attempt to create a fresh story with the collaboration of screenwriter Kim Eun-hee (Kingdom/2019, 2020) and director Lee Eung-bok (Mr. Sunshine, 2018).”
On whether the filming set has social-distancing measures in place, they said, “We consider the safety of the cast and staff our top priority. In order to prevent any COVID-19 infection, we are preparing the site thoroughly by complying with the strengthened quarantine regulations. Despite the challenging situation that we are in right now, everyone in the team is working hard so that we can overcome it together.”
Jiri Mountain, also known as Jirisan, is slated to begin filming in the middle of this month and targets to air in 2021.
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