Actor Jun Jong-seo has plenty of laughs and some lessons in love
Actor Jun Jong-seo is back with a romantic comedy sprinkled with sexual humor. In her new film titled “Nothing Serious” which hit local theaters on Wednesday, Jun portrays the character of Ja-young, a 29-year-old woman without a stable job or boyfriend.
After a bad breakup, loneliness gets the best of her and she decides to try her luck on a dating app. Through the app she meets 33-year-old magazine columnist Woo-ri – who has recently been cheated on and is recovering from heartbreak — played by actor Son Seok-gu.
In the movie, Ja-young tells Woo-ri directly that she chose to meet him because he looked “least likely to have a sexually transmitted disease.” Ja-young always speaks her mind like this and seems strong-minded, but she’s actually the devoted type when it comes to love and has a history of being betrayed by her previous boyfriends.
Ja-young comes across as relatable to many viewers who see her venting with her friends over soju, and then getting butterflies in her stomach when she meets someone new. The character is a drastic change from Jun’s past roles: a mysterious missing woman in her debut film “Burning” (2018) and a serial killer in “The Call” (2020).
On Nov. 18, the actor sat down for a video interview with the JoongAng Ilbo, an affiliate of the Korea JoongAng Daily.
Jun said she was drawn to the script’s “comically risqué and cheeky” side.
“The bubbly and humorous atmosphere of the film, and the almost-reversed gender roles of Ja-young and Woo-ri were what drew me in,” said Jun.
“Ja-young is actually similar to my previous serious killer character Young-sook in ‘The Call,’” she said. “Both of them embody my rascal side. But Ja-young is a more mature version of such mischievousness. I’m outspoken and open to everything, but there’s also a completely opposite side to me that’s conservative, introverted and private.”
Throughout the interview, Jun answered each question after much pondering and shared her honest answers at a slow pace, much like her character Ja-young.
"Nothing serious" is rated for ages 15 and up because while there are no explicit scenes, the film is filled with explicit language regarding sexual slang and body parts.
“If I felt uncomfortable about that, I wouldn’t have been able to participate in this film,” Jun said, “but I actually had fun.”
She said that behind the scenes, actors could not help but break character and laugh in the early phase of filming because they had to adjust to the explicit tone of the lines.
"Even Son couldn’t stop laughing once he cracked, so the staff had to wait for us until we eventually stopped laughing," she said. "The chemistry between Son and I was great. I’m not sure if he felt the same way, but there were no awkward moments for me [during filming].”
"I think this movie really does stimulate [one’s romantic side] with small aspects," Jun continued, "like texting each other, drinking together, friends teasing you when you’re waiting for your love interest to contact you, or wanting to see your love interest but holding back that urge," she laughed.
At the same time, Jun said the film also made her feel various emotions about romance and relationships.
"There’s a scene in which Ja-young says, 'I knew it would end up like this with that bastard too.' In the moment of filming, that line didn’t really resonate with me, but when I saw it in the completed film, it was a line that made me feel a rush of many emotions."
Regarding her personal romantic relationships, Jun said, "I love purely. I offer everything I have to give, without hiding anything."
"If someone I like does something to break my trust, like the situation Ja-young experiences in the film, I would feel so victimized but still probably continue seeing him if I like that person and if it's something I’m able to forgive. It would really depend on how that person behaves afterward.
“I hope this film can be something fun that people can watch at the end of this year to relax and laugh,” said Jun.
Jun said she has been building her career like a "racehorse" from the very beginning. She was invited to the Cannes Film Festival for her debut film “Burning" and made her Hollywood debut this year through the fantasy film “Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon," in which she costarred with American actor Kate Hudson. The film was also screened at the Venice Film Festival in September.
Recently, Jun finished the seven-month-long filming of the Korean adaptation of “Money Heist,” a hit Spanish Netflix original series, in which she took on a lead role.
“I think I’ve been running forward like a racehorse, maybe too much,” said the actor. “I realized that small aspects of my everyday life — talking on the phone with friends for hours, chatting in a cafe — had all disappeared. When I realized that recently after finishing filming [Money Heist], I was stupefied.”
Jun plans to travel through France for the rest of this year and take time to recharge.
“I feel like I’ve been racing alone too intensely, only looking forward. So I’m going to try to look back [on my life] too.”
BY NA WON-JEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]