SEOUL - With her long, lean legs, velvety hair, and sassy image, Gianna Jun has remained at the top of Korea's entertainment scene for more than a decade.
Ever since she played the protagonist in the smash-hit movie My Sassy Girl in 2001, she has been one of a few actresses who can boast longevity through a handful of films and heaps of television commercials. Yesterday, the 32-year-old made a return to the small screen after 14 years away.
In My Love From The Star, which airs in South Korea on Wednesdays and Thursdays on SBS, she portrays Cheon Song Ee, a top actress who does not really know life outside of show business. After a string of scandals break out that drag her down to the status of a nobody, she falls in love with an "alien" - played by Kim Soo Hyun - who has lived in Korea for more than 400 years.
Alongside Jun and Kim, a number of up-and-coming actors are co-starring in the drama, including Park Hae Jin as an avid admirer of Song Ee; Yoo In Na as Song Ee's friend and nemesis; and Shin Sung Rok as a cold-blooded businessman.
Unlike her last TV appearance on 1999's Happy Together, where she was the youngest of the bunch and relied on household names such as Song Seung Heon and Lee Byung Hun, Jun is the eldest of the leading actors this time.
Kim, 25, Yoo, 31, and Park, 30, all expressed their excitement about working with Jun, their senior. At the press conference on Monday marking the launch of the drama, Jun showed off her maturity - that she had more than a pretty face and a pin-up figure.
After hitting box-office home runs with this year's The Berlin File and last year's The Thieves, she looked more laidback and confident than ever.
"Ageing definitely brought me to where I am. As I entered my 30s, I began to think about what other people do - get married, think about my career in a long term... those are what I have done too," said Jun, who married a banker last year.
"I have come to acknowledge that I am a grown-up and that I need to go slow at this point and speed up at that. Thanks to the films' success, I have the opportunity to focus on what I have chosen," she said.
Jun's character, Song Ee - the "star of Asia" - is bold, blunt and sometimes overly confident in situations that could easily make her look dumb. She drinks like a fish, swears like a sailor and does whatever she wants, including drunkenly pounding on other people's doors in the middle of the night.