Brotherhood Expedition: Maya (hereinafter Brotherhood Expedition) illustrates the journey of Dr. Cha (Cha Seung-won) and his crew on their expedition to Maya. Cha Seung-won, Kim Sung-kyun, and Ju-yeon embark on an expedition to Mayan ruins, seeking to unveil the mysteries of the splendid yet abruptly vanished Maya civilization. Ju-yeon, the youngest member of the cast, has returned with the production team (Producers Bang Geul-yi, Shin Ha-young, and Cho Su-hyun) to share their vivid experiences. Let's hear what really happened on their journey from the youngest, Ju-yeon.
The Making Story of Brotherhood Expedition
Q. Exploring Maya in a variety show is an intriguing concept. How did you come up with the idea?
Producer Bang Geul-yi: Cha Seung-won's extensive knowledge of ancient civilizations genuinely impressed me. That's how our journey to Maya was decided, following Cha Seung-won. The casting also revolved around Cha Seung-won. They're a collective known as "Cha Seung-won and the brothers he loves," but we call them the “Mayaz.”
In the case of Kim Sung-kyun, he and Cha Seung-won are so close that they're always playfully arguing with each other, but behind their backs, they compliment each other a lot. As for Ju-yeon, Cha Seung-won was a "genuine fan" of him. He remembers even the most trivial things about Ju-yeon, so we knew we had to cast him.
Q. How did you feel when you learned that the Mayan ruins would be the filming location?
Ju-yeon: Honestly, I was open to anything. I have a love for travel, so the moment I heard about the program, I immersed myself in studying the Maya civilization, watching various videos and gathering information.
Q. Was preparing for the shoot a difficult process?
Producer Shin Ha-young: Initially, the idea of exploring the Maya civilization was intriguing and fresh. However, the thought of actually filming there was quite overwhelming. I had some concerns, as the Maya civilization was far from modernization. And that’s exactly what we encountered. (Laugh)
Producer Cho Su-hyun: First of all, entering Maya was a challenge in itself. We had a layover in Japan before proceeding to Mexico, and I was tasked with an important mission: safely transporting a treasure chest that was meant to be unlocked in Maya. Its appearance resembled that of an explosive, prompting questions at every security checkpoint. I even prepared a scenario: "I'm an influencer traveling around the world and filming content with a treasure chest." I tried my best to explain using the translating programs, but it didn't work. Eventually, I was stranded in Mexico City for a day.
Ju-yeon: Honestly, Maya is somewhat of a mysterious to us.
Producer Bang Geul-yi: Indeed, ancient civilizations, especially the Maya, are rarely explored in variety shows. Information on them is hard to come by. We learned that there are only three official documents about the Maya civilization. On top of that, the complex names and terms associated with the region even made communication among our team challenging.
The Radiant Performance of the Youngest
Ju-yeon: I think I'm pretty quick at picking up languages. Since I had a keen interest in Spanish, I dedicated myself to a crash course before the trip, and it proved to be very helpful. I wanted to give the best in my role, so whenever there was an opportunity for Spanish communication, I enthusiastically contributed.
Producer Shin Ha-young: In fact, the production team called Ju-yeon "Search Boy." Whenever any of us were struggling with something, he would immediately search for a solution, so we started calling him that.
Producer Bang Geul-yi: There were times when Ju-yeon found information and resolved issues even faster than the production team. Because of that, they jokingly said it felt like they were on a vacation with their well-raised son. (Laugh)
Ju-yeon: After visiting Maya, I became so used to speaking Spanish that I once said "gracias (thank you)" at a convenience store in Japan. It was so ridiculous that I couldn't help but laugh.
The Behind-the-Scenes of the Real Struggles Faced in Maya
Producer Bang Geul-yi: We ventured deep into a remote area of Maya, and our cell phones had no signal at all. Given the nature of our program, it was crucial for the production team to stay in close contact, so it was quite frustrating. We even brought walkie-talkies, but they didn't work either.
Ju-yeon: I really enjoyed the local atmosphere, but there was one thing I struggled with - the water. I was in the middle of washing my hair when the water was suddenly cut off. What made it worse was that I happened to be using mint shampoo at the time. I can vividly recall the sensation of the chilly mint shampoo in my hair.
Producer Bang Geul-yi: Oh, I heard a rumor that our youngest producer couldn't wash her hair for ten days. Is that true?
Producer Cho Su-hyun: It wasn’t ten days, maybe around eight? I chose to wear a hat instead to use my time efficiently. (Laugh)
Producer Bang Geul-yi: On the last night, the room I stayed in had a ceiling window. When the sun rose, it was so bright that it felt like the lights were on, and I couldn't sleep well.
Ju-yeon: I also woke up thinking, "Why did Sung-kyun turn the lights on?" while he was thinking the same thing, "Why did Ju-yeon turn the lights on?" Cha Seung-won walked by our room and thought we were sleeping with the lights on.
The Balance Game: Filming Episodes
Ju-yeon: I chose Cha Seung-won. While I appreciate Sung-kyun's jokes, Seung-won's stories are like fun episodes that capture my attention.
Producer Shin Ha-young: I've been listening to stories about Maya for two months as I’ve been editing the show. I think I've heard enough, so I picked Kim Sung-kyun.
Ju-yeon: After experiencing the Maya civilization, I found it charming despite its initial unfamiliarity, so I would love to study it seriously.
A word to the viewers of Brotherhood Expedition
Ju-yeon: At first, we may have seemed like an unusual trio, but our bond grew stronger as we journeyed together, and I believe you'll enjoy watching our chemistry on the show.
Producer Bang Geul-yi: There's an exciting element in discovering more about the Maya civilization, which we knew very little about, so I hope you look forward to what will be unveiled and enjoy the journey with us.
From exploring the mysterious ancient civilization to encountering the native Maya people... We hope you enjoy Korea's first real-life expedition variety show, Brotherhood Expedition: Maya!
※BEHIND TALK was produced based on CJ ENM YouTube channel's More and More Fun.
※Certain photos and images used in this content were provided by "tvn_joy" on Instagram.