Screenwriter Kim Eun Hee, the writer behind hit dramas like “Signal” and Netflix’s “Kingdom” series, recently gave an interview about her upcoming tvN drama “Jirisan.”
“Jirisan” stars Jun Ji Hyun and Joo Ji Hoon as rangers at Mount Jiri National Park, who uncover the truth behind a mysterious accident that occurs on the mountain.
Kim Eun Hee said, “I started thinking about the basic idea of ‘Jirisan’ several years ago. I started the planning process two years ago when I was personally going through a tough time. After doing a lot of projects with murder, I wanted to try something healing. I decided to set the drama on Mount Jiri with mountains and trees and nature, about rangers who save people’s lives.”
Asked why she chose national park rangers as her main characters, she said, “When I first thought about what would happen if there was a disaster on a mountain, I vaguely thought that you would call 119  like in the city. But when I did some research, I found that when something happens on a mountain, national park rangers who know the topography and characteristics of the mountain really well become the mainstays of the search party. That’s how ‘rangers’ naturally became the main characters of my story.”
Kim Eun Hee also shared why she picked Mount Jiri of all mountains as her setting. “I liked the idea of a real mountain trek,” she said. “It’s not the kind of mountain you can climb in a day. You have to spend two or three days, three or four nights, carrying heavy luggage and walking until you can see the end. Rather than a mountain you climb for leisure, I thought that Mount Jiri represented a mountain you climb for endurance. It’s a mountain where you go when you’re seeking answers to something.”
She added, “Mount Jiri has a long history and there are a lot of incidents that happened there. I imagined that the people who climb such a broad and steep mountain must have a lot of diverse thoughts. There might be people who climb it thinking of death, and those who climb it hoping it for life, and those who are searching for answers in life. I wanted to tell the stories of people from various backgrounds and living diverse lives.”
About casting Jun Ji Hyun and Joo Ji Hoon, who both worked with Kim Eun Hee on “Kingdom,” said, “Before they were cast, I asked them casually if they liked the mountains and mountain climbing. I heard that Jun Ji Hyun used to race up and down Mount Cheonggye in the past, so I thought that she would be an actress that’s quite fitted for the mountains. I also heard while working with Joo Ji Hoon in the past that he often hikes up a mountain when he has spare time, so I felt that he probably didn’t hate the mountains. I’m grateful that both of them agreed so readily to the casting offers.”
She concluded, “I hope that the drama is a fun one that doesn’t bore people. In these frustrating times, I hope that people can feel a little bit refreshed through the beautiful scenery of Mount Jiri.”
“Jirisan” premieres on October 23 at 9 p.m. KST and will be available on Viki. Check out a teaser here!