Jun Ji-Hyun and Park Byung-eun Talk About Their Reunion at 'Kingdom: North of Ashin' Press Conference

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

(Left to Right) Director Kim Seong-hun | Kim Roi-ha | Kim Si-a | Gianna Jun | Park Byung-eun | Kim Eun-hee | Koo Kyo-hwan

Korea zombie series, Kingdom returns with a 92-minute special episode - 'Kingdom: Ashin of the North' featuring Jun Ji-hyun, Park Byung-eon, Kim Si-a, Kim Roi-ha and Koo Kyo-hwan. The series talks about the story of Ashin and the origins of the resurrection plant that gave rise to the spread of the infected throughout Joseon.

Kingdom Season 1 began with the uncontrollable spread of the infected, who were neither alive nor dead, in the southern end of Dongnae (present-day known as Busan). In Season 2, the story moved up north to the royal palace in the capital city of Hanyang. 'Kingdom: Ashin of the North' continues their journey to northern regions to unveil the mysterious behind Ashin (starring Jun Ji-hyun).

Actor Kim Roi-ha, Kim Si-a, Jun Ji-hyun, Park Byung-eun & Koo Kyo-hwan at Kingdom: North Of Ashin Press Conference this morning

Earlier this afternoon, director Kim Seong-hun, writer Kim Eun-hee and the main cast Jun Ji-hyun and Park Byung-eun sat down with the APAC press and talked about their characters and their reunion in this special episode.

Q: What led to the creation of this special episode?

Writer Kim Eun-hee: The setting of Kingdom: Ashin of the North takes place before the events of Kingdom Season 1. This story is about the beginnings, and I wanted to set things right from the starting point. In my discussions with Netflix, the idea of a special episode dealing with such content was suggested, and I agreed to it wholeheartedly.

Q: What's the strong point about your character, Royal Commandery Min in this special episode?

Park Byung-eun: Unlike season 2 which has many action scenes such as using archery, killing the zombies. However, this special episode will not focus much on action but more on relationship between Royal Commandery Min and Ashin. I think this is the strong point that you can look forward to.

Q: Previously both of you starred in 'Assassination' so how do you feel being able to work together again? 

Jun Ji-hyun: Obviously I'm really happy to see him again and one thing for sure, he's getting better in fishing. Back then, when we were shooting for 'Assassination', he said he's really good in fishing and has been posting alot but I have never tried the fish that he caught. And so, this time we asked for it (almost like bagging ><) and he fed us with lots of food when we were in Jeju Island. 

Park Byung-eun: That was my first time meeting Jun Ji-hyun at 'Assassination'. We were not that close and it was kinda awkward between us. But when I heard of we'll be working together for this special episode, I really look forward to the chemistry that we could create for this. I think she's an amazing actor and is such an honour for me to work with her. 

When Park Byung-eun trying to explain about his fishing skills, Jun Ji-hyun then started to ask Park Byung-eun to send more fish or squid that he caught. "I should be focusing on my acting but these people out here have driven me to go out for fishing. And I remember they really enjoyed the meal when we were shooting at Jeju Island," said Park Byung-eun. 

Q: Were you scared of the zombies on set?

Jun Ji-hyun: No, not at all. Actually before the shooting, I am excited to meet the actors face-to-face. Upon meeting them, I am surprised that how much efforts they put in for the preparations of the zombie look. I even asked for a picture and brag to my friends.

Park Byung-eun: There was one thing that I went through when working for season 2. We were working late night for the shooting in the forest and the actors were on zombie makeup and even had fake blood all over their bodies. And I spot them having meals under the tree with their zombie make-up at the late night, so you can imagine how stunned I was when saw the scene. This time, I already had experience. I saw those actors wearing full zombies makeup and talking over the phones. It was so realistic, just like daily conversation. Seeing all of that really makes me think about how on the verge of life and death is. This is kinda unfamiliar and new experience to me. 

Q. What conversations have you shared with Jun Ji-hyun about Ashin?

Director Kim Seong-hun: I considered Ashin to be a character harboring unspeakable pain and suffering deep inside. Before filming began, Jun Ji-hyun and I talked a great deal in sharing our thoughts about the role. On set, she performed and portrayed emotions so efficiently and expertly that I could just stand by and watch.

'Kingdom: Ashin of the North' is a story about the beginning of Kingdom and story about Ashin who accidentally and fatefully comes across the resurrection plant has viewers awaiting in great anticipation. Don't forget to watch the special episode on Netflix on 23 July. 

photo credit to Netflix

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