One of the most popular actresses of her generation, Jun Ji Hyun is a certified household name known to any K-drama fan even outside of Korea. While she’s been blazing her own trail since the late 90s, her fame continues to burn bright, as evidenced by the success of her 2021 mystery drama Jirisan. That said, if you’re only now falling for the actress’ impeccable talent, ahead we’re rounding up some of her best movies and shows for you to catch up on.
10 Movies and K-dramas starring Jun Ji Hyun:
Il Mare (2000)
Watch on: Viu, iQiyi
Set in 1999, before moving out of her seaside house called “Il Mare,” a voice actress, played by Ji Hyun, leaves a Christmas card inside a mailbox. Days later, she’s puzzled to receive an answer from a man who dates his letters with the year 1997. Thus, begins a correspondence between the two, who’ve somehow lived in the same property but are separated by time two years apart.
An American remake of the film, titled The Lake House, was released in 2004 starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves.
Also starring: Lee Jung Jae
My Sassy Girl (2001)
Although Gyun Woo enjoys drinking with his friends and hitting on girls, he’s actually unlucky when it comes to love. But when his mom and aunt set him up on a blind date, his life quickly takes a turn for the unexpected. While on his way to his aunt’s house, he meets a drunken girl on the train who causes a ruckus and passes out, but not before she leans on Gyun Woo, making everyone think she’s his girlfriend. The incident kickstarts their ill-fated, whirlwind relationship as the unnamed girl repeatedly gets Gyun Woo into troubling situations.
Also starring: Cha Tae Hyun, Song Ok Sook
Blood: The Last Vampire (2009)
Watch on: iQiyi
Blood: The Last Vampire served as Ji Hyun’s Hollywood film debut. She plays Saya in the film, a vengeful human-vampire hybrid who hunts demons for a secret organization. For her next mission, she must disguise herself as a young student so she can weed out the monster hiding within the high school she’s attending.
Also starring: JJ Felid, Koyuki, Allison Miller
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2011)
Told across two timelines, the film follows a pair of girls who’ve been bonded as kindred sprits for eternity. Although they’re kept apart by circumstance, they still manage to communicate by exchanging words through a Chinese fan. Meanwhile, their descendants in modern day Shanghai struggle to keep their own relationship intact when problems start to test their bond.
Fun fact: Ji Hyun experienced her first on-screen kiss in the film, with none other than Hollywood star Hugh Jackman.
Also starring: Li Bingbing, Vivian Wu, Hugh Jackman
The Thieves (2012)
Watch on: Netflix, iQiyi
After almost being caught in Korea, a group of criminals fly to Macau instead to plan out a lucrative heist. While there, they team up with local thieves to steal a diamond worth $20 million.
Also starring: Kim Hye Soo, Lee Jung Jae, Kim Yoon Seok
During the Japanese occupation of Korea, an agent is tasked to assassinate a Japanese commander. However, her plan is found out when a traitor in her ranks tips off the enemy. With her own life in danger, she must carry on the mission, all while a notorious gunman is hot on her heels.
Also starring: Lee Jung Jae, Ha Jung Woo, Oh Dal Soo
My Love from the Star (2013)
Watch on: Netflix, Viu, iQiyi
Do Min-joon, an alien with near-perfect human looks and supernatural abilities, landed on Earth 400 years ago. Throughout his time on the planet, he’s developed a cynical view against humans, while having to change his identity every 10 years. However, everything shifts in his last three months when he meets Hallyu actress Cheon Song-yi. A spoiled star and his next-door neighbor, Song-yi drags Min-joon into the increasingly absurd events that make up her crazy life.
Also starring: Kim Soo Hyun, Park Hae Jin, Yoo In Na
Legend of the Blue Sea (2016)
Watch on: Netflix, Viu, iQiyi
In this fantasy drama, the reincarnated versions of a Joseon era town official and a mermaid encounter each other once again in modern day Seoul. The story starts with Kim Dam-ryeong, the son of a nobleman who meets the captivating Seo Hwa after she rescues him from drowning. The two cross paths once again centuries later with the man now named Heo Joon-jae, a smooth-talking conman who takes interest in Seo Hwa's doppleganger, Shim Cheong, and the $6 million dollar bracelet on her wrist.
Kingdom: Ashin of the North (2021)
Watch on: Netflix
Kingdom: Ashin of the North is a sidequel to the Netflix original zombie series. Here, Ji Hyun reprises her role as the titular Ashin, a mysterious woman encountered by Prince Lee Chang’s group while on their way to discover the truth behind the resurrection plant. The film chronicles Ashin’s past and unveils her true identity, revealing how her character’s fate is intertwined with that of those in the original series.
Also starring: Park Byun Eun, Ji Hyun Joon
Watch on: iQiyi
In this mystery drama, Ji Hyun portrays Seo Yi-kang, a skilled ranger who’s saved countless lives on Mount Jiri. When mysterious rumors start to plague the eponymous hiking ground, she teams up with rookie ranger Kang Hyun-jo, an ex military lieutenant, to patrol the area. New to his job, Hyun-jo takes on the harrowing task after having experienced a traumatizing incident of his own on the mountain.
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