Rising rookie actress Jeon Jong Seo has only been acting for five years but don't let that fool you—the 27-year-old has been making a name for herself, both in South Korea and in Hollywood, due to her on-point portrayal of very complex characters in films! She will be starring as Tokyo in her first ever Netflix drama, Money Heist: Korea - Joint Economic Area, acting alongside veteran Korean actors like Yoo Ji Tae and Park Hae Soo, to name a few. Before the drama's premiere, let’s take a look at her impressive filmography so far.
1. Burning (2018)
Who else is in it: Yoo Ah In, Steven Yeun
Loved by movie critics and moviegoers alike, Burning is a psychological thriller film helmed by award-winning screenwriter and director Lee Chang Dong. Based on Haruki Murakami's short story, Barn Burning, the movie revolves around three characters: An aspiring novelist-turned-delivery man Lee Jong Su (Yoo Ah In), his childhood friend Shin Hae Mi (Jeon Jong Seo), and a mysterious man named Ben (Steven Yeun). It is a slow-burn (pun intended) kind of film, which builds up to a shocking ending after Ben reveals his strange hobby of burning abandoned greenhouses and Hae Mi mysteriously disappears.
Jeon Jong Seo made her acting debut in Burning, beating out other actors during the audition process. In an interview with Harper's Bazaar Korea, Jong Seo shared how her veteran co-stars helped her during filming, saying, "Despite being a rookie actor who is acting for the first time, I was deeply moved by everyone's precious thoughts about me as a person. There was an atmosphere of mutual respect. I learned and experienced a lot." She added, "It was reassuring to have my co-stars. They were very open-minded and they naturally accepted and understood no matter what I showed them during filming." Jong Seo bagged the Best New Performer award at the 2019 Asian Film Critics Association Awards for her performance in the film.
2. The Call (2020)
The Call begins at Kim Seo Yeon's (Park Shin Hye) old family home in 2019. She starts receiving phone calls from a distressed woman named Oh Young Sook (Jeon Jong Seo) who is revealed to be staying at the same house but in 1999. Through the *time-traveling* phone calls, they discover that they are able to change each other’s realities. But, there's a catch: Seo Yeon soon finds out that helping the not-so-helpless Young Sook in the past would lead to messy and bloody consequences in the present.
The actress revealed in a Sports Kyunghyang interview that she is drawn to characters who are complex and considered difficult: "I want to take on characters that people perceive as being difficult for actresses or characters that no one wants to touch. I want to try many films without worrying about what other people will think." Jong Seo's hard work surely paid off as she was recognized as the Best Film Actress at the prestigious Baeksang Arts Awards in 2021.
3. Mona Lisa And The Blood Moon (2021)
Who else is in it: Kate Hudson
Jeon Jong Seo plays the titular character of Mona Lisa Lee who makes use of her telekinetic powers to escape a mental asylum. Mona wanders the streets of New Orleans and crosses paths with a stripper named Bonnie (Kate Hudson) who then hatches a plan to exploit Mona and her powers for money.
Mona Lisa And The Blood Moon premiered at the Venice Film Festival and is Jong Seo's debut Hollywood film. In an interview with Esquire Korea, the actress detailed the difference between Hollywood productions and South Korean ones and how this ultimately helped her relate more to her character. "In Korea, when actors act, there is always a manager on set. In foreign countries, outsiders, including managers, were banned from the filming set. So I just went there and I said I would do it alone."
She added, "The character I play is also a child who has been imprisoned in a mental hospital for a long time and is experiencing everything for the first time. There were things that felt similar to the way I was filming when I went to America. It's my first time, too."
4. Nothing Serious (2021)
Who else is in it: Son Suk Ku, Kim Seul Gi
After getting dumped by her boyfriend, Ja Young (Jeon Jong Seo) decides to try out a dating app for a casual relationship and absolutely nothing serious. She connects with Woo Ri, a writer who is equally bad with romantic relationships. It turns out, Woo Ri is actually a sex columnist writing a series of articles about casual relationships formed using dating apps. Things don't go exactly as planned for Woo Ri as he starts to develop more serious feelings for Ja Young.
5. Money Heist: Korea - Joint Economic Area (2022)
This star-studded Netflix drama is a spin-off of the popular Spanish crime drama Money Heist. The Professor (Yoo Ji Tae) recruits a number of unique individuals, each with their own set of talents, to steal four trillion won from the mint producing the currency for the fictional unified Korean peninsula. Jeon Jong Seo will play the role of arguably one of Money Heist's most beloved characters, Tokyo.
6. Ballerina (2022)
Who else is in it: Kim Ji Hoon, Park Yoo Rim
On April 26, Netflix Korea announced that a new film is in the works starring Jeon Jong Seo and her Money Heist: Korea - Joint Economic Area co-star Kim Ji Hoon. She will also reunite with The Call director Lee Chung Hyun (who is actually her real-life boyfriend!)
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