PRESS CONFERENCE: “Money Heist Korea” Creative Team and Cast Ensemble Gear Up Viewers For The Series’ Premiere

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Unveiling how the Korean adaptation came to life, the director, writer and cast ensemble of Money Heist Korea share overviews and insights.

Money Heist Korea: Joint Economic Area Part 1 is arriving on Netflix today, June 24. Promising to be the heist like no other, Director Kim Hong-sun and Writer Ryu Yong Jae took the time to narrate how they prepared for the anticipated Korean adaptation of the series, during the press conference yesterday held by Netflix

Twelve cast members are present. There were representatives of both the actors and actresses portraying cops and robbers. This includes Park Myung-hoon, Kim Seung-o, Lee Joobeen, Lee Hyun-woo, Kim Ji-hoon, and Lee Kyu Ho.

In addition, Lee Won-jong, Kim Ji-hun, and Jang Yoon-ju graced the press conference with their attendance. Park Hae-soo, Jun Jong-seo, Kim Yunjin and Yoo Ji Tae were among the cast ensemble yesterday. 

The members of the series’ indulged in the questions of anticipating viewers. Moreover, the media participation of the invited outlets during the question and answer session is new in the press conference held yesterday.

Writer Ryu Yong Jae and Director Kim Hong-sun took on the curiosity of the press. Meanwhile, the casts gave detailed overviews of the characters they were portraying.

Production Walkthrough Part 1

The original Spanish series “La Casa de Papel” took the world by storm. Writer Ryu Yong Jae shared his desire to make a Korean adaptation of Money Heist. After watching the series, he became such a big fan. He had hoped for the opportunity to bring to life a world-building of his own. He talked about how he pondered a lot about how to twist the series’ premise into a Korean tale.

“When I watched seasons 1 and 2 of the original Spanish series, I was very much intrigued, and I became a big, big fan of the original series. So I was sure I wanted to make a remake of it. And because it’s a Netflix original series, I can’t just buy the copyright for it, they have to offer me the job.”

Apparently, Writer Ryu Yong-jae showed the plan that he and the production team crafted, to the original creator of Money Heist. Afterward, they had many discussions with Netflix about making a Korean tale out of the phenomenal series.

Money Heist Korea

Director’s Point of View

In addition to this, Director Kim Hong-sun talked about his fascination with the original series’ characters. Like writer Ryu, he too was intrigued by the series after watching it way back in 2018. Particularly, Director Kim was charmed by how “La Casa de Papel” presented the characters of the story.

“I thought that there were so many characters in the show, but what’s amazing is that all of them have their own personalities and charms, and it was just so fun to watch them all. And I knew that the characters would be very intriguing whenever and wherever they would be placed in. So I thought, if we translate the background and characters into something Korean, I thought we could give birth to something novel. And that’s how we started. “

Furthermore, Director Kim shared his realizations after asking a question to the media. He shared how he asked the members of the global press a question during his interview.  Director Kim asked if it was possible for a Money Heist adaptation in their country.

“I mean, can this be something that can happen in their own countries? I asked them this question, and the global press answered that it’s not going to be so easy in their respective countries to have this kind of big event unfolding.”

He knew then after hearing their answers how special what they created was.

Production Walkthrough Part 2

Kim Yunjin and Yoo Ji Tae expressed their admiration for Writer Ryu’s script. At first, the actress shared how pressured she felt due to the immense popularity of the original series. She then revealed how she was inspired to work on this project after reading the script of the adaptation.

“Unfortunately, Korea is the only divided country left on the world and we were able to create something by compressing all the good essence of the original and writer Ryu actually created a really beautiful script, and reading the script, I thought that I would be able to do this because the script is so good.” – Actress Kim Yunjin

Subsequently, Yoo Ji Tae who plays the role of the Professor shares his musings about the original series. He gave his take in detail on how they produced the Korean adaptation. With gratefulness and pride, he says that Korean content is now renowned and sought-after globally. He claims that this is thanks to the clever ideas and smart approaches of Korean content creators.

According to him, what they did in Money Heist Korea: Joint Economic Area is as strategically and creatively done as to how the internationally beloved Korean series is made.

“I mean, our own charms and our own sense of humor are all infused in the show. Please enjoy the show.” – Yoo Ji Tae

How The Joint Economic Area Came To Life

The idea of having a joint economic area where the heist will commence was from the deep contemplation of Writer Ryu and Director Kim. They discussed how the inter-Korean relationship in a near-future kind of time setting, would be accepted by the audience. They took that into consideration since this will be streamed internationally as well.

“I was thinking that these stories of the two Koreas can be told to the global audience once again because that would spark the curiosity of the global fans. So the Joint Economic Area, a fictitious city, has been created for the show. The North and South Korea situation is something that I wanted to depict in the show. And if this happens in the future, if we are on the cusp of reunification in the future, and if this is happening in reality, what would happen – I wanted to infuse that kind of sense of hope into the show as well.” – Director Kim Hong-sun

The Story Behind The Heist Masks

Indeed, the mask used in the original series “La Casa de Papel” was iconic. Given the plot premise, the mask symbolizes the message of freedom. Park Hae Soo was clearly attentive to detail and knowledgeable about the production process. He explained the symbolism of the Korean version of the masks.

The actor said that in this Korean adaptation, they used the Hahoe mask from Andong. He added that the Hahoe mask has some significance to it. Actor Park Hae Soo shared how he viewed the masks as something that embodies the criticism of the powerful. Moreover, he says it has a sense of humor in it as well.

“When the mask was first brought to me, I actually felt this sense of overwhelming power when the mask is worn by every member of the cast. It has different angles from the center and from the side as well. I mean, the look that the mask is portraying from different angles may seem quite different, so that is something that I was intrigued.”

Actress Jun Jeong So also has her own description of the robber’s mask they wear in the series. She shared how curious she was even before the shooting started, to see what kind of mask the casts will be wearing. According to her, when she and the other casts saw the mask in person she was quite amazed.

“I was really surprised because it is not a plain-looking mask, it is having a big smile on it and sends a sense of humor and at the same time sends a sense of mystery as well. So it has multi-layered meaning to it and I was feeling really intrigued by the mask.”

Production Walkthrough Part 3

Each of the cast members present took turns in sharing how they prepared for their respective roles. They also talked about their experiences and learnings while filming the series. In particular, Park Hae Soo was teased about only wearing one colored outfit throughout the course of the series.

The actor who took the limelight recently was wearing a green sweatshirt and pants the whole time in the phenomenal hit Netflix Originals, “Squid Game”. Now, playing the role of one of the robbers, he wears a red jumpsuit as Berlin in Money Heist Korea.

“I think it is like the lights on the streets, I think I can wear yellow next time. In different shows, I played the characters who are in a confined space for some reason. When the characters are in a confined space, the tensions rise naturally, so that is probably why. And I wasn’t particularly drawn to the one-uniform type of character.”

Cast Synergy

On the other hand, Lee Won Jong and Kim Ji Hoon showcased their close bond during the press conference. The two are portraying the role of father and son in the series. As Moscow and Denver, the two will be joining the team of the robbers selected by the Professor.

It is touching to see how close the two actors are that even after filming has ended, Kim Ji Hoon still calls Lee Won Jong “Dad”. Although he has acted the role of a son in many projects already, the actor shared how special this role is to him.

“He was a dad that really cared for me like I was his real son. I could really feel that love. So I could open up to him really fast, and he was a dad that really pulled at my heartstrings. It was just natural that we felt this love towards each other. He talked about us hugging after a dangerous scene, I think it was the first scene where there was an explosion of the wall. Moscow comes out from the explosion and he almost died, well I wouldn’t say that, but I could feel that in my ears because the explosion was so loud, it looked so realistic. So I just had to go and hug him.”

Performances to Watch Out For Part 1

Not to mention that in this Korean adaptation, there will be a new version of the well-loved character “Tokyo”. Interestingly, Money Heist Korea‘s Tokyo will be a representation of the Gen Z youth. Depicted as an ordinary girl from North Korea, the 20-year-old Tokyo will be convinced by the Professor to hop aboard the heist in the joint economic area.

“She is in her 20s, and hoping to live the Korean dream, she came to South Korea. And she had to taste the bitterness of capitalism, and at that moment, she meets with the Professor, so she is just following the Professor unconditionally because she is convinced by his convictions. So she is, in fact, gambling with her own life.”

The Korean version of Nairobi and the character Seon Woojin are anticipated to spice up the series. In particular, Actor Yoo Ji Tae shared how good Actress Jang Yoon Ju is as Nairobi. The actress described her character as a con-woman expert in printing counterfeit money.

“Nairobi is a counterfeit expert and she’s basically a con woman. Even within the Mint, she feels like she’s partying. Nairobi is cheerful and she’s like the life of the party so she prints money like she’s partying.”

Performances to Watch Out For Part 2

Meanwhile, to ensure a gripping performance that the audience will dig into, Actress Kim Yunjin shares how she executed her scenes.

“We had really long lines and a lot of information packed into the lines. But because of the cast, there was some fresh air in the set. But you know, Netflix has that key you can press to skip 15 seconds, so I was kind of worried that if people are watching the task force scene and if they don’t like it and if they thought it was boring, they would skip to the robbers’ parts. So I kind of talked fast to communicate.”

Portraying the role of Misun, Actress Lee Joobeen shares her character’s dilemma and her wish for a Korean adaptation of the original series. She claimed that she has not foreseen the production of Money Heist Korea. However, she had hoped for it to happen. She wished that it will arrive on the small screens.

“Misun is an accounting staff at the Mint and she is having an affair with chief Cho Youngmin. She gets caught up in Youngmin’s reckless plan for escape, but she gets betrayed and she gets taken hostage by the robbers so she really faces the crisis of her lifetime.”

Money Heist Korea

What Sets Money Heist Korea Apart From The Original Series?

Director Kim Hong-sun asserted that Money Heist Korea is diverse and multi-layered, making it a lot more entertaining to watch. Fans of the original series will be able to find out the twists and tweaks the Korean version has. Answering the question of the press, Writer Ryu revealed that since the biggest charm of the original series was the attractive characters, they did not merely mimic or replicate it.

Because doing so would not make the Korean adaptation gripping and unique.  In fact, Writer Ryu has mentioned that the casts were involved in the creation of the Korean characters of the series. To achieve this, they incorporated the insights and interpretations of the cast ensemble regarding their respective roles in the series.

“Naturally, we were able to see the variation we will be giving the characters. So the Korean specific characters and robbers were made after in-depth interviews with the actors. We developed the characters together they gave me inputs and how they want to interpret these characters.”

How Much Money Will They Heist?

A member of the invited press questioned the amount of money that the robbers will take on their heist. The said amount was 40 trillion won. However, to make sense of the decision for the specified amount, Director Kim and Writer Ryu were asked about the logic behind it.

“We actually gave thoughts into it, the scale, the size, and the weight of it, and that will be revealed in Part 2. but to avoid spoilers, I cannot really go deep into it. 4 trillion won, I thought this was a big amount of money. A huge amount of money, I would say. And I didn’t really put a particular meaning to it, I’m sure writer Ryu will be able to add a little more to it.”

Writer Ryu was delighted to answer such a sharp question given by a member of the press. He then explained that they converted the amount that the robbers will steal into Korean Won. Additionally, they took into consideration the physical limits to make it feasible for the robbers to heist all the money.

An Extravagant Exit

Eventually, they came to a conclusion. The maximum amount that can be handled by the robbers’ team was 4 trillion won. In particular, their initial question was how can the robbers realistically escape with the money, given that holding guns in Korea is illegal. That in itself is already a hard challenge. On top of that, the peninsula is surrounded by three seas. Not to mention, the plot premise is set in the future where there is a joint economic area with North Korea.

“Escaping with the money stolen would need to be very Korean. I mean, that reflected the Korean situation and what is the intention behind all these characters, what is the backstory of the characters – that will need to reflect the situation of Korea and that is all infused in the series. So I hope you enjoy those aspects in Part 2 of the show.”

After the question and answer session, Director Kim along with the cast ensemble delightfully invites the global and Korean audience to witness Money Heist Korea on Netflix. To end the session the Money Heist way, wads of cash came raining from above symbolizing the coming of the heist like no other on Netflix.

Don’t miss the heist of the year happening tomorrow on Netflix. Money Heist Korea: Joint Economic Area will stream tomorrow, June 24.

In case you want to know more about the casts and what to expect in Money Heist Korea: Joint Economic Area,

you can read more here:

All The Interesting Characters To Meet In “Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Cooperation

Netflix Fuels Up Anticipation For “Money Heist Korea” With Main Trailer Unveiled

Witness a Heist Like No Other In “Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area”

Source & Photos: Netflix



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