Who is Jeon Jong Seo – the sensational actress behind Tokyo in “Money Heist: Korea”?

Rising actress Jeon Jong Seo boasts an impressive acting portfolio, despite having debuted not long ago. 

Upon its release, “Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area“, which is the Korean adaptation of the famous Spanish series “Money Heist”, has drawn huge attention all over the world. In fact, the series managed to become Netflix’s Top 2 most watched series daily, within just 4 days.  In the series, the 27-year-old Jeon Jong Seo (also known as Rachel Jun) transforms into Tokyo, adding to her impressive acting resumé, which is full of critically acclaimed cinematic works. 

Jeon Jong Seo
Jeon Jong Seo assumes the role of Tokyo in the Korean adaptation of “Money Heist”

“Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area” adopts a completely different storyline from the original Spanish version, at the same time flaunts a star-studded cast consisting of Park Hae Soo, Yoo Ji Tae, Yunjin Kim, and more.

A university drop-out 

As education is highly regarded in Korea, most Korean actors and actresses go to university, and even get degrees in acting. However, Jeon Jong Seo chose a different path. The actress, who was born in Seoul and raised in Canada, completed her high school education at the prestigious Anyang Art High School.

Jeon Jong Seo

Jong Seo then moved on to Sejong University’s department of Film. However, she eventually dropped out of the school, and improved her acting skills via private classes. According to the actress, she decided to quit Sejong University since the lectures there did not manage to grip her interest. 

Debuted with a work that premiered at the Cannes

After joining her first management agency, Jeon Jong Seo auditioned for the 2018 cinematic project “Burning”, which was directed by the famous director Lee Chang Dong, and featured movie stars Yoo Ah In and Steven Yeun. After months of strict audition procedures, Jeon Jong Seo finally managed to defeat over 2000 competitors, to become the free-spirited Haemi in the film. 

Jeon Jong Seo
Rookie actress Jeon Jong Seo starred alongside the high-experienced Yoo Ah In and Steven Yeun in “Burning” 

In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, director Lee Chang Dong disclosed the reason behind his decision to choose Jeon Jong Seo, who was a completely new face at the time. 

“She’s actually a new actor, and this was her first audition,” the director said. “When I saw her, she seemed to have this very childlike sense of innocence, but at the same time, she carried this sense of duality — as if something much bigger was on the other side of that innocence.”

“Burning” premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and became the first Korean film to be shortlisted for 9 films competing for the “Best Foreign Language Film” award at the Oscars. Jeon Jong Seo drew great reviews for her debut performance and made it into the Hollywood Reporter’s list of “15 International Breakout Talents” in 2018.

Acting alongside Hollywood stars 

After starring in Netflix’s hit horror film “The Call” (2020) as Young Sook, a role that helped her win “Best Actress” at the 57th Baeksang Arts Awards, the actress landed her first Hollywood role in Ana Lily Amirpour’s fantasy thriller film “Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon”, where she had the opportunity to act alongside American famous actors Zac Efron and Kate Hudson. The film also entered the 2021 Venice Film Festival.

Jeon Jong Seo

Recently, Jeon Jong Seo returned to the Korean big screen in the 2021 romantic comedy film “Nothing Serious” led by Son Seok Koo.

Dating the director of “The Call”

Jeon Jong Seo has been dating “The Call” director Lee Choong Hyun since 2021. The two fell in love on set. Jeon Jong Seo’s agency, My Company, confirmed the actress’ relationship in December 2021, saying, “The two have good feelings and recently started a romantic relationship”.

Jeon Jong Seo

Director Lee Choong Hyun is also quite open about his relationship with Jeon Jong Seo. He shared, “While filming ‘The Call’, sparks naturally flew between us, and we started dating recently. Most people around me knew about us dating.” Jeon Jong Seo and her boyfriend are both well-regarded in the professional world and are currently one of the most highly-anticipated talent couples of Korean cinema.

Source: K14

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