Netflix's Kingdom returns back for a special episode with Kingdom: Ashin of the North that explores the story of the resurrection plant and the mysterious character, Ashin. The highly popular historical zombie drama amassed a cult following when it was released, thanks to the unique blend of historical and horror aspects, back by stunning visuals, dramatic storyline and amazing performances.
The special episode will finally answer some of the fans' most burning questions, through Ashin's story and relationship with the resurrection plant and how ties in with the overarching story of the Kingdom universe.
Together with the press conference and in a separate exclusive interview with Tatler Hong Kong, Gianna Jun (better known as Jun Ji-hyun), Park Byung-eun, director Kim Seong-hoon and writer Kim Eun-hee discuss the special episode, Ashin's character, zombies and what they love about the Kingdom story.
How do you feel about the return of Kingdom and why did you decide to direct this special episode yourself?
Director Kim: When we were working on the second season, I was lucky enough to read part of the script and I thought to myself, “I knew [scriptwriter Kim] was a great writer but was she really this great?” I knew the fastest way we could bring this to life was for me to do it myself so I decided to direct this myself.
There was great joy in the familiarity of meeting with something I already knew about and also rejoining the staff and crew once again. And there was also the aspect of great excitement for the evolvement of the story and introducing new characters. Also, I don’t think there’s any director who will say no to direct something that Gianna Jun will be starring in.
Speaking of Gianna Jun, is there a special reason you chose to cast her for the role of Ashin?
Director Kim: Because this is a special episode, I really wanted it to be very special and that means we had to have the best cast and thinking of Ashin. I couldn’t think of a better person that’s more suited for the role than Gianna Jun.
How is this special different in terms of directing/writing than a full season?
Director Kim: As a director, unlike the seasons which have longer runtime, this was a 92-minute episode, I wanted to direct it in a way that’s more dense and concentrated.
Writer Kim: Unlike the previous seasons, a lot of the major characters are absent from the special episode and we have new characters, new backdrop and we go to the Northern region so I had to do a lot of studying and it was a little bit tiring. But after it was all finished, I was very happy that Kingdom could be expanded in such a way.