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[Upcoming Drama 2019-2021] Kingdom, 킹덤 - Joo Ji Hoon, Bae Doo Na - Netflix - One-Episode-Special to premiere in 2021


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The official trailer has been released!


Watch: Jun Ji Hyun Is Determined To Get Revenge In “Kingdom: Ashin Of The North” Teaser

Watch: Jun Ji Hyun Is Determined To Get Revenge In “Kingdom: Ashin Of The North” Teaser

Jul 8, 2021
by L. Kim

Netflix has unveiled a main teaser for “Kingdom: Ashin of the North”!

An extension of “Kingdom” Season 2, “Kingdom: Ashin of the North” is a special episode dedicated to Jun Ji Hyun’s character Ashin, whom Lee Chang’s (Joo Ji Hoon‘s) party encountered on their journey north at the end of the season.

The newly released teaser shares a glimpse of the mysterious forest in the northern part of the country. The atmosphere is chilling, and a couple soldiers spot a pile of corpses in terrible conditions.

A young Ashin (Kim Si Ah) enters a cave and claims, “I saw a strange plant. Apparently, it can awaken the dead.” That is only the beginning of the horrific tale of a forest where nobody has been allowed to enter for the past 100 years. People attempt to run away from a belligerent tiger, and Ashin is left alone as she witnesses people dying left and right.

Subsequently, Ashin approaches Min Chi Rok (Park Byung Eun) and asks him to get avenge for her. The only response she gets is, “This is not something Joseon can intervene in.” Ashin grows up to become someone who is only motivated by revenge, and she vows to kill every living thing on Joseon and Jurchen soil.

Watch the full teaser with English subtitles below!

“Kingdom: Ashin of the North” will air on July 23.


cr. Soompi

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‘Kingdom: Ashin of the North’ Drops the Posters of 4 Characters Intertwined with the Mysterious Herb

by krishkim


‘Kingdom: Ashin of the North‘ unveiled the character posters.

The released posters capture the intertwined fate of Ashin, Min Chi Rok, Ai Dagan, and Tahab. As writer Kim Eun Hee once said, “There is no one more suitable to play Ashin than Jun Ji Hyun,” Jun Ji Hyun turns into Ashin, who holds the secret of the resurrection plant. Not only will she pull off intense action sequences involving a bow, but she will show the sorrow of losing her family and home in one day.

Min Chi Rok, played by Park Byung Eun, will act as the stepping stone between Kingdom and Kingdom: Ashin of the North. Min Chi Rok is the kind of person with firm faith and loyalty to his country. Director Kim Sung Hoon praised the actor, saying that his passion perfected the work.


Kim Roe Ha will show off his charisma as Tahab, Ashin’s father and the leader of his people. Tahab embraces the villagers with his warm heart. But at the same time, he is determined enough to act as a spy in the belief that Joseon will one day accept his people as their own. As the actor who has “the hardness inside the softness,” Kim completely melted into his role.

Ai Dagan, played by Koo Kyo Hwan, is the ruthless chief of a tribe who wants Joseon under his power. Ai Dagan’s presence as he gathers forces at the border amid chaos in Joseon will double the play’s tension. Director Kim said, “Thanks to Koo’s unpredictable performance, he (Ai Dagan) was recreated as a unique, unpredictable character.”




Meanwhile, Netflix will release Kingdom: Ashin of the North on July 23rd.

Source: Netflix
Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.

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On 7/18/2021 at 11:47 PM, Ahjumemshie Lee said:

@Helena it's July 23 not June 23 :D 

Thanks for catching the typo, I didn’t realize that. :)


Jun Ji Hyun Says She Wanted to Be a Zombie in ‘Kingdom’ and Is Thrilled to Become Ashin

by krishkim | images: Netflix

Jun Ji Hyun expressed her joy about becoming Ashin in the Kingdom series.



On Tuesday, Netflix’s Kingdom: Ashin of the North held its press conference. Jun Ji Hyun, Park Byung Eun, Kim Roe Ha, Koo Kyo Hwan, Kim Si Ah, director Kim Sung Hoon, and writer Kim Eun Hee attended the event.

Kingdom: Ashin of the North will be released as a special episode as a “sidequel” of the Kingdom series. This 92-minute show tells the origin story of the resurrection plant, which has brought an immense tragedy to Joseon and Ashin.

Above all else, the fact that this is Jun Ji Hyun’s comeback project 5 years after The Legend of the Blue Sea draws attention.

Jun shared, “You know how I appeared at the end of Kingdom Season 2. The reaction of the people around me was, ‘why did you show up there?’ It’s an honor to be able to be with the show in a situation where it’s expanding its worldview with Ashin.”


Regarding her role Ashin, Jun added that she is a person “who ended up living in terrible pain due to an incident.” She continued, “You can think of her as one of the ‘savages’ that lived under the castle. They are the people who have been persecuted and despised because they do not belong anywhere.”

Writer Kim Eun Hee talked about casting Jun. “I was a big fan of Jun Ji Hyun, and I believed that she’s an actress with a wide spectrum. Many people call her the queen of rom-com. But I found the Jun Ji Hyun that plays a darker character like in Assassination and The Berlin File more charming,” she said. “I wanted Ashin to have this warrior-with-darkness vibe, so I offered the role. And I’m grateful that she accepted it.”

Jun then added, “I was a big fan of the Kingdom series and writer Kim Eun Hee. So when I met her, I told her that I’d love to appear on the show, even as a zombie. But I’m glad that she offered me such a big role.”

Kingdom: Ashin of the North will be released on the 23rd.

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Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.




▲ 'Kingdom: Ashin of the North', Director Kim Seong-hun, Kim Roi-ha, Kim Si-a, Jeon Ji-hyun, Park Byung-eun, writer Kim Eun-hee, Koo Kyo-hwan <PhotoSource=Netflix> ©BreakNews


▲ 'Kingdom: Ashin of the North' Jeon Ji-hyun <PhotoSource=Netflix> ©BreakNews


▲ 'Kingdom: Ashin of the North' Park Byung-eun <PhotoSource=Netflix> ©BreakNews


▲ 'Kingdom: Ashin of the North', Director Kim Seong-hun, writer Kim Eun-hee <PhotoSource=Netflix> ©BreakNews


▲ 'Kingdom: Ashin of the North' Kim Roi-ha, Kim Si-a, Jeon Ji-hyun, Park Byung-eun, Koo Kyo-hwan <PhotoSource=Netflix> ©BreakNews




Netflix 'Kingdom: Ashin of the North,' prequel to hit series, to be released

By Lee Gyu-lee | 2021-07-20

Actress Jun Ji-hyun poses for pictures during an online media conference for "Kingdom: Ashin of the North," Tuesday. Courtesy of Netflix

"Kingdom: Ashin of the North," the special episode of Netflix's smash-hit original series, "Kingdom," is finally ready to be released on the platform on Friday. 




Director Kim Seong-hun, left, and creator and writer Kim Eun-hee / Courtesy of Netflix

"This episode will answer questions such as, 'where did saengsacho ― an herb that enables dead people to become undead ― come from?;' 'who started the epidemic?;' and about actress Jun Ji-hyun's character Ashin, which appeared at the end of the second season, as well as 'what happened in the North,'" Kim Eun-hee, the creator of the series and writer, said during an online media conference, Tuesday. 

The apocalyptic thriller series, which garnered enormous popularity globally, revolves around crown prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon) fighting against a mysterious plague that swept across Joseon. He traces the truth behind the herb, saengsacho, which caused the plague and turns people into flesh-eating zombies. This journey leads him to the northern end of the land and to encounter Ashin living in a tribe there. 

Directed by Kim Seong-hun, who directed both seasons of the series, the special episode will unveil the stories behind saengsacho and Ashin, a mysterious woman who seems to hold the key to the secret of the herb and the outbreak. 

The director noted that this episode, by far, has the most "perfect" story of the series. "I started planning for this episode while filming season 2, and thought that Kim Eun-hee has never-ending stories to tell," he said. 

"You would think that she might run out of ideas, but it just gets deeper and better, which is awe-inspiring. I wondered how she was able to come up with the most perfect story of the 'Kingdom' series in such a short time." 

Kim Eun-hee explained that the latest episode will act as a stepping stone for the series' third season. "I was looking for ways to add a backstory to season 3 and came up with an idea to make a special episode," she said. "The roles from this episode eventually continue on to the third season."




A poster for the special episode / Courtesy of Netflix

She described Ashin as a "strong and dangerous" character. "She is not like any other villain from previous seasons. She is the source that triggers the rest of the characters to grow and stirs up the tension of the plot," she noted. 

Adding that she wrote the character with Jun in mind, she explained that she has been a fan of the actress. "Jun fits into such a wide spectrum of roles. Many know her as the 'queen of rom-com,' but I thought that the dark characters she played in 'Assassination' and 'The Berlin File' were memorable," the writer said. 

"Ashin has her own trauma from the past, but she is a tough and fierce warrior on the outside. I was thinking of Jun when I was writing the script, but I was worried that she might not accept the role."

Jun, who is also known as Gianna Jun, expressed excitement to get on board with such a popular series. 

"In my opinion, 'Kingdom' is not a zombie flick, but rather a genre of its own. Since I was such a huge fan of this series, I had to take the role," she said, adding that she had previously told the writer that she wanted to star in the series even as a zombie. "When I read the script, I could see that the series could endlessly expand its cinematic universe. And I was really thrilled to help start off that story."


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Actress Jun Ji-hyun excited to open secrets of 'Kingdom' in special episode

By Kim Boram | July 20, 2021

SEOUL, July 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korean actress Jun Ji-hyun said Tuesday that she was thrilled to open the beginning of the tragic epic of Netflix's popular original Korean series "Kingdom" in the upcoming special episode.

"Kingdom: Ashin of the North," set be released this Friday, is a prequel to the global Korean zombie sensation "Kingdom" (2019), which produced a second season in 2020.

It tells the backstory of the resurrection plant, or "saengsacho" in Korean, which causes a mysterious plague that turns people into zombies in the medieval Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), through a new character named Ashin, played by Jun, who is closest to the secret of the plant.

This image provided by Netflix shows a scene from "Kingdom: Ashin of the North." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

"When I first read the screenplay, I anticipated that this special episode will expand the universe of 'Kingdom' indefinitely," the star of the 2013 hit TV series "My Love from the Star" said in a press conference streamed online. "I was thrilled at the thought that I could start the big story."

Appearing in the final moments of season two as a mysterious female warrior, the actress said Ashin is a descendant of a tribe residing in a northern border town, who survived the painful loss of loved ones.

She clashes with the devoted captain of a military post on the northern border, played by Park Byung-eun, who starred in the previous season as the head of the royal command.

Writer Kim Eun-hee said she had Jun in mind for the lead role when she wrote the screenplay.

"She is an actor who has a wide spectrum of characters that she can play," said Kim, who has become one of the most sought-after screenwriters in Korea after the smash hit series "Kingdom." "She is suitable to Ashin, who looks like a dangerous warrior but is living with pain."

Kim said she knows that many global fans of "Kingdom" are curious about the origin of saengsacho and who brings it to Joseon.

The latest 92-minute project will answer those questions and create a stepping stone for the next story of Prince Chang, a crown prince of Joseon Dynasty who fights against the mysterious plague and flesh-eating zombies that threaten the country, possibly in season three.

"I read a historic record that access to a northern border area of Joseon was forbidden for about 100 years," she said. "I was wondering what would happen if saengsacho grew in the abandoned soil."

This image provided by Netflix shows a scene from "Kingdom: Ashin of the North." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Director Kim Seong-hun, who took the helm of the first season, said he focused on presenting the bleak and chilly onscreen mood of the sparse land of northern Joseon, where people from many minor tribes on the border exist beyond the royal authority.

"The first two seasons of 'Kingdom' are set in southern parts of the Korean Peninsula or at the royal palace in the capital city," he said. "The special episode takes place far away from the neatly organized capital and will feature a mysterious and cruel atmosphere."

"Kingdom" is the first Korean original drama series produced by Netflix in 2019, gaining huge popularity for its creative and impressive scenes of zombie gore, along with traditional Korean sword fights and costumes.
"Kingdom: Ashin of the North" will be available from Friday through the U.S. streamer in about 190 countries.




The cast of "Kingdom: Ashin of the North" pose at a press conference streamed on July 20, 2021, in this photo provided by Netflix. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)




Back to the beginning


BY HALEY YANG [yang.hyunjoo@joongang.co.kr] | July 20, 2021


From left, actors Kim Roi-ha, Kim Shi-ah, Jun Ji-hyun, Park Byung-eun and Koo Kyo-hwan pose during an online press conference for "Kingdom: Ashin of the North" on Tuesday. "Kingdom: Ashin of the North" is a special prequel episode of Netflix's hit zombie periodical "Kingdom" (2019-). It tells the story of a character named Ashin, who appeared briefly at the end of season two last year, and traces the roots of the zombie plague in the original show. [NETFLIX]

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New ‘Kingdom’ series aims to resurrect global zombie sensation

By Lee Si-jin | Jul 20, 2021

“Kingdom: Ashin of the North” (Netflix)

“Kingdom: Ashin of the North,” directed by Kim Seong-hun, will be released July 23 as a special episode of the global Korean zombie sensation.

“With the love and support from the audience, I was able to showcase this spinoff of the 'Kingdom' series,” Kim said during an online press conference held Tuesday.

A virtual press conference is held for “Kingdom: Ashin of the North” on Tuesday. (Netflix)

The director had not expected the series to develop on such a grand scale. After receiving the four-page synopsis from screenwriter Kim Eun-hee, he was surprised and thrilled to shoot this episode and have the audience feel the same emotions he did when he first read Kim’s script. 

“I am really glad to work with Kim Eun-hee once again after two seasons of 'Kingdom' and it is no secret that she surprises me every single time with her unreachable fantasy and scripts,” the director added.

The episode explores the backstory of “saengsacho,” or the resurrection plant, and the mystery behind turning people into zombies is highlighted with new character Ashin.

After the loss of her loved ones, Ashin (played by Jun Ji-hyun, or Jun Gianna, and Kim Sia) experiences a series of events which leads to the explanation of the secret of the plant. 

Actors Jun Ji-hyun (left) and Kim Sia, both of whom play Ashin, participate in the virtual press conference for “Kingdom: Ashin of the North” on Tuesday. (Netflix)

“I think people have become more curious about the resurrection plant. Saengsacho is a plant with a cold characteristic, so I thought the plant needed to be found in a cold area. This is the reason we moved the setting of this episode to the northern border of Joseon,” screenwriter Kim said in explaining the change in setting for the upcoming series.

In writing the global hit zombie series, she hoped to satisfy the audience’s curiosity about the plant, screenwriter Kim said.

At the press conference, Jun also talked about how she felt reading the script for the first time.

“To be honest, I decided to take the role when I received the script, because I was a fanatical fan of ’Kingdom‘ and writer Kim Eun-hee. I was willing to take any small role and I was even ready to become a zombie,” Jun said. “I was honored to be given an important role, the very figure who knows about saengsacho.

“Although I was involved in the series, as a fan I am also thrilled to see the upcoming story,“ the actor said.

“Kingdom,” the first Korean original drama series produced by Netflix, revolves around a prince in the Joseon era fighting against flesh-eating zombies and a mysterious plant, saengsacho.

Netflix will release the 92-minute “Kingdom: Ashin of the North” on Friday.



By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)



Jun Ji-hyun joins ‘Kingdom’

July. 21, 2021

“I am thrilled to open the beginning of the ever-expanding universe of ‘Kingdom.’”

South Korean actor Jun Ji-hyun expressed pride for appearing in Netflix's popular original Korean series “Kingdom: Ashin of the North” at its production announcement, which was held via video conference on Tuesday. “Ashin of the North” will reveal the origin of the resurrection plant, which began the tragedy in the Joseon kingdom. Jun will play a character named Ashin who first found the secrets of the resurrection plant. The 92-minute episode is a prequel to the previous two seasons of “Kingdom,” while also serving as a stepping stone for the next season.

“I met writer Kim Eun-hee before I was cast for the role. I told her that I wanted to be part of the show even as a zombie as I am a big fan. I am very happy to play a very important role who reveals the secrets of the resurrection plant,” said Jun on Tuesday. “Many people call Jun the ‘queen of romantic comedy.’ However, I find her fascinating when she played the roles with darkness and sadness as in “Assassination” and “The Berlin File.” I wanted Ashin to appear like a strong and dangerous warrior despite her internal pain. I wrote scenario with Jun in mind,” said writer Kim.

The biggest difference from the previous seasons and the most attention-deserving point according to the cast is the background of “Kingdom: Ashin of the North.” While the first two seasons were staged in Hanyang, the capital of the Joseon Dynasty, and the south of the city, the new episode will unfold in four districts near the Yalu River located in the north end of the dynasty. It is the border region of Pyongan Province in the Joseon Dynasty. “While the first two seasons focused on the tragedy unfolding in a neatly-organized beautiful palace, ‘Ashin of the North’ is about the cruelty of the mother nature. The new episode will feature a cold and bleak atmosphere of the northern Joseon kingdom” said director Kim Seong-Hun. The episode was filmed on Jeju Island.

Jae-Hee Kim jetti@donga.com

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EVENT: Celebrity Sightings


Have you met your favorite oppa? What was he like? Was he taller than you expected? :love:

Or do you want to meet him? What would the meeting be like?

Or did you meet a local celebrity? A sports figure maybe?


Share your stories with chingus on the Celebrity Sightings thread.


Your Event Organizers,

@partyon @confusedheart326 @Sleepy Owl @agenth @Lmangla

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A Bloodthirsty 92 Minutes Coming This Summer Kingdom: Ashin of the North Second Main Poster Unveiled!

11 July 2021


A Bloodthirsty 92 Minutes Coming This Summer
Kingdom: Ashin of the North Second Main Poster Unveiled!
The Beginning of Bloody Vengeance That Will Consume Joseon!
A Special Episode About the Origins of the Resurrection Plant

Kingdom: Ashin of the North, a special episode from the Kingdom series, has revealed the second main poster for the show that will tell the story of Ashin and the resurrection plant that led to Joseon’s great tragedy.

The new poster gives off an imminent sense of danger as we see Ashin on top of a roof ablaze in flames. Ashin draws her bow back in order to fend off the bloodthirsty zombies below her. Despite the threatening situation, Ashin appears calm and expressionless, adding on to curiosity about the perilous circumstances. 

Special episode Kingdom: Ashin of the North takes place in the north prior to the beginning of the plague which spreads from the southern region of Dongnae all the way to Hanyang, expanding upon the Kingdom universe.  The special episode will include Head of the Royal Commandery Min Chi-rok who received a lot of love from the second season as well as new characters like Pajeowi tribe leader Aidagan and Seongjeoyain village head Tahab who is Ashin’s father. 

The 92-minute special episode will tell the origin story of the resurrection plant and serves as a present to those who have been eagerly waiting for a new story from the popular series. Kingdom: Ashin of the North will further serve as a strong foundation for the K-zombie craze.

Look forward to Ashin’s story of revenge when Kingdom: Ashin of the North premieres on July 23, only on Netflix! 

Title : Kingdom: Ashin of the North
Directed by: Kim Seong-hun
Written by: Kim Eun-hee
Starring: Gianna Jun, Park Byung-eun, Kim Si-a, Kim roiha, Koo Kyo hwan et al.
Produced by: Baram Pictures, B.A. Entertainment, Studio Dragon
Distributed by: Netflix
Release Date: July 23, 2021
Official Website: netflix.com/KingdomAshinOfTheNorth

# # #
About Netflix:
Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with 208 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

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‘The Outlaws’ Director Kang Yoon Sung to Direct ‘Kingdom’ Series’ 2nd Spin-Off ‘Kingdom: The Crown Prince’

by krishkim



Credit: Netflix

The Outlaws director Kang Yoon Sung will direct the second spin-off episode of the Kingdom series, Kingdom: The Crown Prince.

Director Kang had opened the new chapter of the crime-action genre by mobilizing a whooping 6.88 million admissions with his directorial debut film, The Outlaws. And this time, he’ll helm the production of the Kingdom’s second spin-off. He has already started working on the pre-production and will begin filming in earnest later this year with Ju Ji Hoon.

Credot: Megabox Plus M, News1

Kingdom: The Crown Prince is the second spin-off of the popular Netflix original series Kingdom that ignited the K-zombie syndrome. Following the success of the first two seasons, the first special episode Kingdom: Ashin of the North will be unveiled later today.

If the Kingdom series revolved around the struggle of the crown prince and his people against the zombies, Kingdom: Ashin of the North centers around the origin of the resurrection plant that started the tragedy.

Credit: Netflix

As such, Kingdom: The Crown Prince will also tell a whole new story about crown prince Lee Shin. It’ll paint out the past and the present of Lee Shin, who gradually became a monarch while fighting zombies even when he was born as the son of a concubine.

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Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.




‘Kingdom: Ashin of the North’ Drops Behind-the-Scenes Still Photos Ahead of the Release

by krishkim

‘Kingdom: Ashin of the North’ released the behind-the-scenes still photos ahead of its release today.




Credit: Netflix

The coming special episode Kingdom: Ashin of the North unravels the secret behind the resurrection plant and the story of Ashin. And the behind-the-scenes still photos released today capture the hard-working staff and actors.

Holding a secret behind the resurrection plant, Ashin, played by Jun Ji Hyun, exudes charisma with a bow on her back. Not only will she pull off intense action sequences with a bow, but she will also express the sorrow of losing her family and home.

Park Byung Eun returns as officer Min Chi Rok and connects the Kingdom series with Kingdom: Ashin of the North. Discussing the details with director Kim Sung Hoon, the actor completed the charismatic character. Also, Kim Si Ah, playing young Ashin, and Kim Rae Ha, playing Ashin’s father Tahab, will enliven the story as newly added characters.




Credit: Netflix

Director Kim, who had a goal of “elegant, classy, and thrilling filming,” used a wired camera to create refreshing visual and breathtaking tensions. The exotic scenery of the north and detailed props and costumes will enrich the story.

Kim Rae Ha shared, “The tribe, where we started the filming and our main filming location, is the most memorable. I think it’s a place that proves how big of a scale Kingdom: Ashin of the North had.” Koo Kyo Hwan, playing the role of Ai Dagan, added, “Ai Dagan’s outfits were impressive. The staff paid great attention to the texture of the clothes so that we could immerse ourselves in the role, and I think it was a blessing to act in such clothes.”

Director Kim continued, “If it wasn’t for the hard work of the staff, I don’t think we would have been able to create a scene full of speed and excitement.”

Meanwhile, Kingdom: Ashin of the North will be released worldwide on Netflix at 4 PM KST today.

Source: Netflix
Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.

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 CNN  covered Kingdom: Ashin of the North by looking at the zombie make up!! I think it's a very interesting way to cover this drama. Very interesting read and also a cool video that's on the page. It features the guy who does all the make up of ALL the south korean films and dramas like Parasite. Worth watching i think. the writer is the girl who produced the Gong Yoo CNN special  along time ago







The special effects visionary behind South Korea's zombi apocalypse


Written by Jane Sit, CNN


Hwang Hyo-kyun deceives people for a living. The more his audience notices his work, the worse job he's done.
"The fact that we can get an audience to be convinced by its realism and focus on the story ... (that's) what makes special effects so cool," he said.
Hwang is the founder and CEO of Technical ART Studio CELL or "CELL," South Korea's leading special effects and makeup company, which he started in 2003.
He has worked on the special effects, props and makeup for hundreds of films and television shows. This includes many of South Korea's most notable films, like the zombies of blockbusters "Train to Busan" and 2020 sequel "Peninsula," as well as the props and makeup in Bong Joon-ho's films "Okja" and Oscar-winner "Parasite."

Striving for perfection

Hwang's latest effects will appear in the next installment of Netflix's popular South Korean zombie series "Kingdom" -- a show he believes launched him and his CELL team to special effects fame. This special episode, airing July 23 and titled "Kingdom: Ashin of the North," stars Jun Ji-hyun, one of the country's best-known actors.
The series premiered in early 2019 and follows a historical narrative, mixing in elements of horror and politics. In it, a mysterious "resurrection" plant turns the people of Joseon-era (late 14th - early 20th century) Korea into zombies.
A scene from Kingdom's first season showing Korean period zombies.
A scene from Kingdom's first season showing Korean period zombies. Credit: Juhan Noh/Netflix
Hwang and the CELL team have provided the special effects since the start and worked closely with the show's creators to come up with a bespoke concept for a Korean period zombie. He factored many different elements into his creative thinking, including the zombies' social statuses when they were alive. "Commoners would have farmed a lot, making their skin tanned," Hwang said. "The king or court ladies who worked in the palace would see the sun less, making their skin lighter."
He said his team tested many zombie looks and styles; many didn't make the final cut. "There was a zombie that had died in the winter, so we painted the tip of the zombie's nose and ears black to make it seem like they had frostbite," said Hwang. "However ... the zombie unintentionally looked rather comical instead of real."
Hwang strives for perfection and for him, the beauty is in the details -- from the blood around the zombies' mouths, to the seeds of the resurrection plant stuck on their gums. "I remember we made fake teeth and the seeds and pasted each one on set," Hwang recalled. "Whenever zombies opened their mouths big to attack people, you can see, if you look closely, the seeds. It might not have been so obvious on camera, but the director focused on every single detail of how the zombie looked."
That level of detail means more time in the makeup room, especially for the zombies requiring more closeup shots. For example, a team of 10 people worked on the king's makeup for around three hours every day. For more "average" zombies, requiring just the addition of wounds and rotting skin, it took the team about an hour.
Actor Jin Seon-kyu runs from a horde of zombies in season 2 of "Kingdom."
Actor Jin Seon-kyu runs from a horde of zombies in season 2 of "Kingdom." Credit: Juhan Noh/Netflix
Across all the episodes of "Kingdom," Hwang said that his team worked on around 3,000 zombies in total -- 10 to 100 zombies on an average day for 150 shoot days. According to Hwang, they used the most effective, time-saving method they knew: an assembly line.
"Two or three people worked on the skin tone, while others were in charge of fake skin and wounds," he explained. "Another team drew in the veins, while another added the blood and finished the look." Throughout the production, he estimates he used more than one ton of fake blood.

Beyond the undead

Although audiences outside Asia may know his work from hit zombie movies "Train to Busan" and "Peninsula," Hwang's work extends beyond the undead. For nearly two decades, he's created some of the most innovative visual effects in the South Korean film industry, using prosthetics, makeup, dummies, props and animatronics.
His team's creativity isn't always meant to be obvious on screen. For example, in "Parasite," they created a peach from scratch, making the fruit fuzzier so it could be captured more easily on camera and to accentuate its symbolism in the film.
Hwang and his CELL special effects team created this peach from scratch for the Oscar winning film "Parasite."
Hwang and his CELL special effects team created this peach from scratch for the Oscar winning film "Parasite." Credit: Barunson E&A / CJ Entertainment
For the 2008 film, "The Good, The Bad, The Weird," Hwang said his team developed animatronic horses for the first time in South Korea. "It's a moving horse without legs and actors look like they are riding," he explains. "I feel proud that I was able to contribute to a safer filming environment by developing this."
The Netflix horror series "Sweet Home" mixed CELL's terrifying creations with CGI to create scenes of monsters wreaking havoc on the world. "We had to make creatures that we have never seen in Korea with (huge) tentacles," said Hwang. "We wondered, 'How can we do this? Don't we need CGI for this?' When we finally watched what we thought we couldn't do ... or found frustrating to do at first... we (felt) proud."

CELL created the monsters featured in the webtoon turned post-apocalyptic horror series, "Sweet Home."

CELL created the monsters featured in the webtoon turned post-apocalyptic horror series, "Sweet Home." Credit: Netflix
There's pressure though, according to Hwang. As televisions get larger and resolutions get higher, for him, even the smallest mistakes become more obvious. He gives the example of attaching artificial skin: "If you can see the edge of it, then it shows that it's fake and it will distract the audience," he said. "We always carry the burden ... to make it perfect."

Realizing his dream

Hwang's next project has his sights set on a new frontier: creating a realistic portrayal of life in outer space for upcoming Netflix original series "The Silent Sea." With actor and director Jung Woo-sung as its executive producer, the space thriller stars Bae Doo-na, Gong Yoo and Lee Joon. For Hwang, it's yet another new genre to tackle.

CELL is creating the space suits and equipment for the series "The Silent Sea," which tells the story of a team visiting a research base on the moon.

CELL is creating the space suits and equipment for the series "The Silent Sea," which tells the story of a team visiting a research base on the moon. Credit: Netflix
While Hwang once dreamed of working in Hollywood, he said that is no longer the case. Because his projects have now been watched globally -- and by his special effects peers in other countries -- he feels that his hard work and attention to detail has paid off.
"Now when I tell people that I was on the special effects makeup team for 'Train to Busan' and 'Kingdom,' I don't feel the need to work for Hollywood movies to realize my dream anymore," he said. "I feel rewarded."
CNN interns Jae-hee Jung, So-hyun An and Anagha Subhash Nair contributed to this report.
Edited by ferily
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I watched the special episode and was thoroughly entertained.  Rewatched Season 2 ending to piece together the origin of the plant.  Wonder why they have to do this special episode instead of incorporating the story of Ashin into season 3.  In any case, Ashin’s revenge brought havoc to Joseon and doomed many generations to come.  Sad story for all involved.


I have to say the episode is soooo dark!  Most of time, I strained my eyes to make sure I don’t miss anything.  Wish they used more light less shadows lol


Good story.  Does anyone know when season 3 will air? Have they filme it?

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Ashin was soooooo good! I also rewatches season 2 last episode to refresh my memories. My sister and I really enjoyed it although


It was heart breaking sad but it explained everything well and how the story started. The writer is sooo great because the way she told the story wasn’t boring at all and kept us at the edge of our seats the entire time. I cried when she found her father again.

This sets Ashin up as a new baddie for season 3?? JJH did great - I liked her portrayal of Ashin and the silent rage yet loneliness she emoted and carried.


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The season 1....my impression.. A tiresome of ongoing event. I dont know how the prince can go through eveyday without rest. 


The season 2..my impression.. Regret marathon them during nighttime alone. I scared myself going to sleep. 


Ashin The North... My impression.. What an evil girl Ashin is? She is the top evil againts Jurchen n Jeseon! What a bloody massacre! She basically killing everyone without mercy! Well, we can predicted how she will ends eventually. 


I really wanted to see the crown prince living a normal life once again. So, I will keep on following Kingdoms. I dont like zombies series or movie, but I like the storyline. 

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I don’t blame Ashin for doing that she did


Those Joseon military guys were the evil ones — it was that arrogant guy that started it all by ‘hunting’ Jurchen members like animals and then leader guy helping him cover it up and then  INTENTIONALLY blaming these deaths on her father that resulted in her whole tribe being killed and her father being called a traitor and tortured for yearssssssss. She didn’t know as a child and they still manipulated her to work for them promising revenge (+sexual exploitation too) but like how they never helped her Dad, they did the same with her. It is a very sad and while she has become evil - it was those men that made her that way. 


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On 7/24/2021 at 2:41 PM, balletgoddess said:

Ashin of the North was a good orgin story. :approves:

She got revenge and experimented with the flower. 

But left us with more questions...


I wonder if there be a part 3 for the main story line.

I just watched and was hooked the whole time! However the ending of Ashin shows her facing off with one of the tribe main leader, I'm guessing there will another another short sequel to explain further? If not, I hope it will be address in Kingdom 3...



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Netflix Reveals Intense Behind-the-Scenes Featurette for ‘Kingdom: Ashin of the North’

by Eungee Joh

Credit: Netflix

Netflix released a behind-the-scenes featurette of Kingdom: Ashin of the North.

The released featurette includes the background story regarding the origin of the Kingdom: Ashin of the North. Plus, it shows passionate performances of the actors who newly joined the production with the hard-working film crew who fully captured the epic drama in the Northern territory.


In particular, director Kim Seong Hun and writer Kim Eun Hee shared, “Kingdom: Ashin of the North has beautiful, otherworldly scenes that Kingdom Season 1 & 2 didn’t have.” And added, “You’ll enjoy the show more if you imagine what would happen if Asin and Lee Chang met.”

Kingdom: Ashin of the North will once again bring heart-pounding stories and fresh characters. It is available only on Netflix.

Source: Netflix




Review | K-drama review – Kingdom: Ashin of the North sees Netflix’s hit zombie series return for revenge-fuelled special episode starring Jun Ji-hyun


  • In this prequel Ashin, played by Jun Ji-hyun, embarks on a relentless campaign of revenge that will eventually result in the events witnessed in Kingdom
  • Cool and capable, we sympathise with her motives, though her actions steadily force us to consider that she may in fact be a villain

By Pierce Conran | 26 Jul, 2021

Superstar Jun Ji-hyun plays the lead role in Kingdom: Ashin of the North. Photo: Netflix.

3/5 stars

While we wait for a likely third season to materialise, Netflix invites us to return to the Kingdom saga this summer through this prequel origin story. Ashin of the North is a feature-length special that clues us in on the mysterious Ashin, played by superstar Jun Ji-hyun, who appeared in the closing moments of the second season.

Following a dense preamble that outlines the geopolitics of the Jurchen forces, officials of the ancient Korean Joseon kingdom and the Seongjeoyain tribe caught between them in northern Joseon, the special episode opens in a forest, in a nod to another Korean zombie smash hit, Train to Busan: a deer eats a mysterious blue flower and turns into a zombie, only for it to be immediately mauled by a tiger, giving rise to Netflix’s second zombie tiger of the year (after Army of the Dead).

Visually, Ashin of the North distinguishes itself from the main series through its locations, such as this dense forest and the ominous open plains. Zombies are once again used as a political metaphor. At the centre of it all is Ashin, a compelling character who challenges our conception of her as she embarks on a campaign of revenge that will eventually result in the events witnessed in Kingdom.




Jun is picky about the projects she takes on, but each time she does sign on to something she makes it her own. As an adult, Ashin is a character seething with anger, which Jun captures through disquietly vacant stares.

She’s cool and immensely capable, and we sympathise with her motives, though her actions steadily force us to consider that she may in fact be a villain.

Ashin’s arc is a fascinating one, but between the exposition needed to set up story, its twists and turns leading up to her taking revenge, her transformation from girl to adult warrior and some surprise revelations this is a dense 90-minute episode.




Kim Shi-a, as the young Ashin, in a still from Kingdom: Ashin of the North. Photo: Netflix.

Indeed, Jun doesn’t even turn up until after the halfway mark and the little dialogue she has gives us no insight into the character beyond her desire for retribution.

Hopefully, season three will afford us a richer portrait of Ashin, not to mention introducing us properly to the vicious Pajeowi Tribe leader Aidagan, played by Koo Gyo-hwan here.

Before that, Ju Ji-hoon will reprise his role as Lee Chang in his own prequel special Kingdom: Crown Prince, out later this year.




Jun in a still from Kingdom: Ashin of the North. Photo: Netflix.

Kingdom: Ashin of the North is streaming on Netflix.

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