Park Seo-joon caps busy year with period thriller K-drama Gyeongseong Creature

South Korean actors Park Seo-joon (right) and Han So-hee star in Gyeongseong Creature. PHOTO: NETFLIX

SINGAPORE – It has been a fruitful 2023 for South Korean actor Park Seo-joon.

The 35-year-old starred in three films – South Korean disaster thriller Concrete Utopia, South Korean sports comedy Dream and Hollywood superhero flick The Marvels – with varying degrees of success.

Concrete Utopia, which also featured Lee Byung-hun and Park Bo-young, was the country’s fourth-highest-grossing film of 2023, while Dream, co-starring K-pop idol IU, nabbed the 11th spot, according to the Korean Box Office Information System.

Superhero flick The Marvels did not fare well at the international box office, but it helped put Park on the global map.

To cap off the year, the actor is headlining Gyeongseong Creature with South Korean actress Han So-hee.

Set in early 1945 when Korea was under Japanese colonial rule, the thriller revolves around wealthy merchant Jang Tae-sang (Park) and bounty hunter Yoon Chae-ok (Han), who team up to investigate missing-person cases.

Their efforts lead them to the discovery of mysterious creatures created by the Japanese military, leading to a battle for survival in the city of Gyeongseong, now known as Seoul.

The first seven episodes of the 10-part series are available on Netflix, and the remaining episodes premiere on Jan 5.

Park, who has starred in popular television series such as Itaewon Class (2020) and What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? (2018), says at a regional online press interview on Dec 19 that the different facets of Tae-sang’s personality drew him to the project.

He says: “When I was reading the script, I thought I could portray Tae-sang’s many charms well. 

“And the most intriguing thing in Gyeongseong Creature? Han So-hee,” he adds, smiling.

Han says the era that the series is set in and her character arc appealed to her. “Chae-ok is a very determined person, which is unlike me. I was drawn to the challenge to portray someone so different.”

She also showcases some nifty moves in the opening episode, where she dukes it out with Park’s Tae-sang.

The 29-year-old actress is no stranger to executing slick action sequences, having demonstrated her fighting prowess in the 2021 hit vengeance series My Name.

At that point, Han was known for playing a mistress in revenge drama The World Of The Married (2020) and a leading role in romance series Nevertheless (2021).

She wowed audiences when she transformed into a lean, mean fighting machine in My Name, in which she performed her own stunts.

While Gyeongseong Creature has fewer action scenes, Han still underwent stunt training as Chae-ok is an expert sleuth with agile survival skills.

Han So-hee plays a bounty hunter in Gyeongseong Creature. PHOTO: NETFLIX

“My character is a skilful fighter, so I had to be more accurate and precise in my action sequences,” says Han.

Park cites the tense first encounter between Tae-sang and Chae-ok, where they get into fisticuffs, as his most memorable filming moment. He says: “We took a long time to shoot the scene. That day became a turning point for me, as it was the first true impression I got of So-hee.”

Gyeongsong Creature boasts an elaborate set that took seven to eight months to build and also features a star-studded cast, including Claudia Kim (Avengers: Age Of Ultron, 2015) and Wi Ha-jun (Squid Game, 2021).

But director Chung Dong-yoon credits the chemistry between his two leads as the top reason to watch the series.

Chung, who has directed only sports drama Hot Stove League (2019 to 2020) prior to Gyeongseong Creature, calls Park and Han the “most representative of top South Korean actors and actresses”.

He adds: “I have wanted to work with them for a long time. Both are such professionals. They exceeded my expectations.”

As 2023 draws to a close, Park reflects on his growth as an actor and a person. He says: “All the characters I portrayed affected me in some way. I’m always going through a growing process as I age year by year, or when I come across new experiences and situations.”

The actor adds: “The tough times that I had in my career were also a part of my growing process. And right now, I’m trying to focus on finding the best ways to grow as a person and an actor.”

  • Gyeongseong Creature is available on Netflix.
Remote video URL

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.