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Korean version of Money Heist

Posted June. 23, 2022 07:44,   

Updated June. 23, 2022 07:44


Would the Korean version of Money Heist be able to surpass the fame of the Spanish original drama? If you are a fan of the Spanish Netflix drama Money Heist (Lacasa De Papel, 2017) aired between 2017 and 2021, you will probably take interest in the Netflix Korean drama titled “Money Heist: Joint Economy Area,” which will be released Friday. The original drama was a bit hit featuring a story of armed robbers attempted to steal 2.4 billion euros (approx. 3.26 trillion won) from the Spanish Mint Bureau. During the production presentation held Wednesday at COEX, the actors, actresses and the production crew mentioned that they differentiated the Korean version from the original by adding very Korean elements such as the division between South and North Korea.

Actors and actresses including Yoo Ji-tae, Kim Yoon-jin, Park Hae-soo, Jeon Jong-seo, Lee Won-jong as well as Director Kim Hong-seon, writer Ryu Yong-jae attended the presentation. The drama takes place in the Mint Bureau jointly taken care by South and North Korea and is about robbers trying to steal 4 trillion won from the Bureau and the witty bets between South and North Korea.

South and North Korean response team trying to block the robbers. Yoo Ji-tae plays the role of genius professor who plans the hostage robbery. Park Hae-soo plays Berlin, the brain of the robber band, Jeon Jong-seo, Lee Won-jong and Kim Ji-hoon played the roles of robbers with different talents. Kim Yoon-jin, and Kim Sung-oh play the roles of the delegation for the North and South talks and Park Myung-hoon takes the role of the Bureau Chief held as the hostage.

The most differentiated point from the original is the separation between North and South Koreas. Regarding the background as the joint economic area, Director Kim Hong-seon commented that he doubted whether such a sizable crime is technically possible because he thought it could happen in the near future if he brought the separation into the drama. Writer Ryu Yong-jae mentioned that there are many dramas featuring North and South Korean separation but not in the heist genre of North and South Korean robbers stealing money together and the two Koreas’ police collaborating to catch them and added that he thought this is plausible.

The robbers in the Korean Money Heist wear Hahoe (Korean traditional mask) masks. In the original drama, the robbers wore, Salvator Dali’s face masks. Park Hae-soo mentioned that if freedom was expressed through Salvator Dali’s face masks in the original drama, the Korean Money Heist intended to satire the noble class through Hahoe masks. Jeon Jong-seo stated that she found the Hahoe masks with big smiles humorous and mysterious at the same time.

Eyes are on the Korean Money Heist whether this drama will become as famous as the Netflix biggest hit drama Squid Game. Director Kim Hong-seon stated that they are able to give the presentation thanks to Squid Game. He also added, “Owing to the good global performances of the Korean contents, the opportunity to make good drama came by.” Writer Ryu Yong-jae offered, “If the Spanish original is Paella, the Korean version is fried rice. Please think of it as the huge festival which started in Spain is opening again in Korea.”

Jae-Hee Kim jetti@donga.com