|Lee Min-ho, second from right, speaks during the press conference for the SBS fantasy romance drama "The Legend of the Blue Sea" at Imperial Palace in Nonhyeon-dong, southern Seoul, Monday. Jun Ji-hyun, second from left, and director Jin Hyuk, third from left, attended the event. / Yonhap|
Lee Min-ho, Jun Ji-hyun star in much-hyped drama
By Park Jin-hai
When people hear the word mermaid, they immediately think of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid," who dissolved into sea foam upon the waves with a broken heart, or Disney's red-haired character Ariel.
Jin Hyuk, director of "The Legend of the Blue Sea," SBS's hotly anticipated fantasy romance drama starring two big-name stars Jun Ji-hyun and Lee Min-ho, says various documents in Korean history mention mermaids.
"We have our own ancient mermaid stories. The drama has been created from the imagination of one of those surviving mermaids just walked into the modern day Seoul one day," said Jin during the press conference at Imperial Palace in southern Seoul, Monday.
"Screenwriter Park Ji-eun and I have teamed up to make a warm, sad and beautiful love story, perfect to tell in the winter."
The fantasy romance penned by Park, the same writer of the 2014 megahit drama "My Love from the Star," is the love story of a conman and a mermaid.
The drama is inspired by a classic Joseon-era legend from an early collection of tales, which tells the story of a fisherman who captures and releases a mermaid. Actor Lee will play the double roles of the modern-day con artist and the son of a noble Joseon family and actress Jun will play a mermaid who lands in Seoul from the Joseon era and struggles to adapt to modern life.
Lead actress Jun Ji-hyun, who said she joined the drama because she trusted those writer and producer, says she was thrilled about her mermaid role. "Having heard of my character Sim Chung, which has been rarely told in local television shows or movies, I was thrilled very much," said Jun, who is returning to the small screen after two years. "Mermaids are very mysterious and stimulate the imagination. I thought that I could have great room to portray her who would challenge everything around her for the first time."
She mentioned the underwater scenes were physically challenging, sometimes forcing her to stay underwater four hours straight for a shoot, but the actress said the end result was satisfying. "The underwater scenes have been depicted mysteriously, more than what I imagined while I was shooting," said Jun.
Sim Chung is portrayed as very lovely and very modern, she added. "Since I previously worked with the writer Park in the ‘My Love from the Star,' I was in a similar lovely role, so I had confidence portraying her," she said. "But it could also give me a challenge to differentiate Sim Chung from my previous role. Those underwater scenes and the episodes involving her first encounter with the modern world would make my new role stand out from others."
Actor Lee, on the role of the conman, said he has been worried if the conman could be beautified through the drama. "It is a Robin Hood-like conman who deceives bad people," said Lee. "Although I'm worried that people would criticize the conman has been beautified, watching the drama, people would enjoy the character and the drama."