Actress Jun Ji-hyun Transforms into Mermaid for TV Series

Actress Jun Ji-hyun Transforms into Mermaid for TV Series

SEOUL, Nov. 14 (Yonhap) -- Top actress Jun Ji-hyun will return to the small screen this week to play a tough but gorgeous mermaid navigating her way through the modern world.

The "hallyu" star, who is best known for her portrayals of wild and mysterious characters, has been cast in the role of Shim Chung in the SBS drama "The Legend of the Blue Sea," a fantasy-romance that also aims to be fun.

Shim Chung is a mermaid from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) who travels to modern day Seoul in search of her love Heo Joon-jae (Lee Min-ho) and stumbles upon a genius conman with a knack for magic and hypnosis.

"When I first heard that I would be playing a mermaid, rather than being worried, I was really excited," Jun said during a promotional press conference held in southern Seoul Monday. "I thought the character of a mermaid is not something that can be seen easily in movies or dramas and therefore very new. I was excited at the thought of presenting a lot of different things."

The Wednesday-Thursday series is the actress's first TV work since "My Love from the Star," which took hallyu fans by storm in 2013-2014. Lee also contributed to hallyu, or the global spread of Korean pop culture, through his role in the 2009 series "Boys over Flowers."

Jun said she chose the new series partly for its screenwriter Park Ji-eun, whom she worked with on "My Love from the Star." She stressed, however, that her character would be completely different from that of the top actress she played in the previous series.

"In terms of their similarities, it's a hurdle I have to overcome and something I'm constantly thinking about as I act," she said. "(For Shim Chung), everything is mysterious and new. So in expressing that and her acceptance (of reality), I think we will be able to entertain viewers."

Despite all the fun she's had filming the series, Jun said she never wants to play a mermaid again.'

"I like swimming and am quite athletic but being in the water and playing a mermaid really pushed me to physical and other limits," she confessed with a laugh. "I tell myself everyday that I will never again play a character that's limited to a certain occupation that involves water or fire."

Jun and Lee agreed that it took time to grow comfortable with each other as they had never worked together before and were both busy learning their characters. Lee even said he was intimidated by Jun at first because of her presence.

"Once we became comfortable, our reactions to each other and our chemistry became smoother, so I'm hoping this will bring good results," Lee said.

The series was inspired by a Joseon legend about a mayor who rescued young mermaids from a fisherman and returned them to the sea.

It will premiere on SBS TV at 10 p.m. Wednesday.'

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