Park Ji-Hu Reveals Her Biggest Regret About Her All Of Us Are Dead Role

The post-apocalyptic teenage zombie drama "All Of Us Are Dead" has continued the South Korean trend of becoming the most popular show on Netflix, following the trends set by Hwang Dong-hyuk's "Squid Game" and Yeon Sang-ho's "Hellbound." Based on the popular webcomic "Now At Our School," the Netflix show "All Of Us Are Dead" is a twelve-part series about a group of students at Hyosan High School as their science laboratory becomes ground zero for an outbreak of the manmade Jonas Virus, which transforms people into rage-filled monsters that act like the zombies of "Train to Busan" or "28 Days Later." Now, the students must deal with not only the typical drama that comes with being a teenager but also existing in a world gone mad after the government has left them for dead, which may require them to kill their friends to survive.

Nam On-jo, the female protagonist played by Park Ji-hu of "House of Hummingbird" and the upcoming Korean adaptation of "Little Women," is a fan-fave character on the webtoon, but people were disappointed with her on the show. Nam On-jo has feelings for Soo Hyuk (Park Solomon) and serves as the unrequited love interest of the show's main character, Cheong San (Yoon Chan-young). On-jo witnesses the first zombification of a classmate, making her zombie status highly debated, but many fans found her actions to be frustrating and passive, with some going as far as to call her a "nuisance character."

Park Ji-hu thinks some of the complaints are valid

Park Ji-hu totally understands the criticisms audiences have made about her character's passivism and validated the unhappy fans in a recent interview with Koreaboo. "I can understand why people felt that way, though I didn't see it in that way while I was filming," she said. "However, it was when I watched the scenes after the filming was complete that I thought others might feel frustrated with it." A common critique has been that On-jo was too emotional on the show, which is an irritating comment to make about a teenage girl watching the world fall apart around her. "On-jo is a teenager and she's emotional, so if she loses her friends, she may have that kind of reaction," Ji-hu said.

While Ji-hu is undoubtedly proud of her work on "All Of Us Are Dead," she did express that there's one thing she regrets, even if it was out of her control. Despite being one of the lead characters, On-jo isn't involved in a lot of the heavy action sequences. Rather than explode into high-octane battle, On-jo can frequently be seen fleeing, running, or falling, and facing off with zombies in fear, not combat. "I thought to myself, 'I wish On-jo could have been braver because she would have been able to fight the zombies head-on,'" said Ji-hu. 

As the daughter of a firefighter, On-jo unquestionably has excellent survival skills. While fighting a zombie face-to-face may have been a more exciting move, On-jo's decision to flee from danger is still a solid strategy.

Park Ji-hu is still a teenager, after all

One of the strongest aspects of "All Of Us Are Dead" is that many of the actors playing the main cast were still teenagers (or close to it) during production. Park Ji-hu was a high school student at the time of filming and was even preparing for her university entrance exams while on set. Following her audition, she was given the choice to play Nam On-jo or the cruel Lee Na-yeon (played by "Squid Game” actress Lee Yoo-mi). "I chose On-jo without any hesitation," Park said. She found herself drawn to the character's warm-heart and empathy, as well as the subplot with Yoon Chan-Young's Cheong San, which gave her the chance to play on-screen romance despite having never dated anyone in real life.

As a young performer, Park Ji-hu does recognize that she still has plenty to learn, and strives to continue perfecting her craft. "With the lessons and work that I have learned from 'All of Us Are Dead,' I wish to show my growth and development as an actor going forward," she said. While a second season of "All Of Us Are Dead" has yet to be announced, Nam On-jo is one of the lucky few survivors at the end of the first season, which means she'd likely return if Netflix chooses to renew. 

Regardless of how people feel about the character, it's clear that audiences loved Park Ji-hu's performance, as her social media following apparently spiked up "80 times higher," bringing her Instagram follower count to more than 3.8 million. She may have some regrets as every actor tends to, but it's clear her performance as Nam On-jo resonated with viewers across the globe.