Now streaming on Netflix
As “Kingdom: Ashin of the North” debuts on Netflix today, the fanfare for the hit series commences once again. The special episode tells the story of Ashin and her vengeance for the loss of her family and tribe. Gianna Jun plays the protagonist Ashin and Park Byung-Eun reprises his role as Min Chi-Rok, the Royal Commandery Division head from the “Kingdom” series.
During a recent virtual press conference, the actors were joined by screenwriter Kim Eun-Hee and director Kim Seong-Hun, revealing how it was like working on the special production. Both Eun-Hee and Seong-Hun highlighted a scene toward the end of the episode that resonated with them the most.
“I believe that it is a scene that the entire 90 minutes really is running toward,” the director said in Korean. “It’s a truly sad, tragic but immensely charming scene. The ‘Kingdom’ story in the series incorporates human history, the hunger and greed for power, as well as the concept of sadness. I believe that it truly creates a wonderful harmony that leads to a type of unique chemical reaction that I think was the key to why it was loved by so many fans around the world.”
Signaling her return to the small screen after five years, Gianna took immense internalization to cement the building blocks for her character Ashin. “I was ready before I got into playing the role,” she said. “I tried to focus mostly on how to interpret the personal anguish and hurt which we in Korean refer to as han, and how to interpret that emotion into working to avenge the whole land of Joseon.”
The special episode is filled with gripping and intense scenes that capture tragedy and betrayal. But when asked which other scene fans should look out for, Byung-Eun focused on the relationships between his character and Ashin, as well as with the resurrection plant that unraveled the zombie outbreak.
“The scene where the young Ashin is kneeling before the character Min Chi-rok was very special and memorable for me personally,” he explained in Korean. “I was really able to completely immerse myself in the role of Min Chi-Rok and really think: What would this character do? How would he feel? How would you feel if this little girl is kneeling before him asking these things? It would be very interesting for the audience to think about how the relationship between these two characters change and what kind of stories they’re going to unfold.”
As to why she loves “Kingdom,” Gianna poetically highlighted the work involved in the series saying, “I would say that ‘Kingdom’ is not a series or a particular piece of work that can be changed or that depends on one or two stars or members of the cast.” But rather, according to the actress, it’s based on an immaculate script, superb direction, and fascinating art.
“‘Kingdom’ can be referred to as a total or comprehensive art in its own form. It’s truly an honor and it brings me great joy to think that something like ‘Kingdom’ is created in Korea, and is brought to the entire world,” Gianna ended.
Ready to watch? Get your Netflix subscription here.