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What did Jun Ji-hyun 'beg' for during filming of Netflix's Kingdom: Ashin of the North?

What did Jun Ji-hyun 'beg' for during filming of Netflix's Kingdom: Ashin of the North?
PHOTO: Netflix

When the South Korean Joseon-era TV series Kingdom first streamed on Netflix in January 2019, the ferocious and rabid zombies captured the horrified attention of many viewers, perhaps even stealing the spotlight from its main cast Ju Ji-hoon and Bae Doona.

Us fans aren't the only ones fascinated with the morbid undead.

Superstar Jun Ji-hyun, who's also known as Gianna Jun, admitted during a recent interview with the Asia Pacific (APAC) press that she, too, was in awe.

When asked by a reporter if she was afraid of the zombie actors, she laughed as she replied: "Not at all. In fact, before we shot the scenes, one of the things I was most excited about was coming face to face with the actors dressed as zombies. When I was on set, I realised how much trouble all the actors went through to present themselves as convincing zombies.

"I begged them for photos. I was able to take pictures with the zombie actors and really bragged about them to my friends and family."


Ji-hyun, 39, stars as the title role in the hyped-about special episode titled Kingdom: Ashin of the North, which premieres on Netflix today (July 23).

Her brief appearance in the last few minutes of Kingdom season two's last episode showed her to be a mysterious warrior who understands more about the resurrection plant than anyone else in Joseon, and even appears to have a few zombies in captivity.

The 92-minute special episode will reveal more about Ashin, her connection with the plant, and her involvement with what happened in the first two seasons. The writer of the Kingdom series Kim Eun-hee called the story "the beginning of everything, the root of it all".

Actor Park Byung-eun returns as Min Chi-rok, the head of the Royal Commandery Division.


In a separate press conference with the Korean media, Ji-hyun added: "I'm a big fan of the Kingdom series and writer Kim. Before I knew I was going to play Ashin, I talked to her and told her I want to be a zombie in the Kingdom series because I want to be in it. I said it was okay if it was a minor role or as a zombie.

"Now that she's given me such a big role, it's an honour for me and I'm so thankful for that."

During the APAC press conference, Byung-eun, 44, also shared his experience with the zombie actors which drew laughter from those present.


"I worked with the zombies during the filming of the second season. One thing I went through then was, we had scenes in the forest very late at night, and the zombie actors would be wearing their fake blood on their bodies and faces. Sometimes, I would spot them having a meal under a huge tree in the dark.

"So you can imagine, I was really startled to see that. This time, because I was experienced already, that didn't really happen. This time around, I saw the zombie actors wearing full makeup with their blood and everything, and talking on their handphone with their friends and families.

"It was so realistic. They would be calling someone [and saying], 'Hey mum, remember to sleep tight.' Seeing these made me think about how on the verge life and death is. I got to think about what zombies are, and what the undead are. It was a very new experience."

Catch Ashin, Min-rok, and of course the zombies in Kingdom: Ashin of the North, now available on Netflix.

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