December 3, 2023

The life of K-drama/film actor Park Seo-joon is about to get even busier with his upcoming Hollywood film debut in The Marvels this week.

The 34-year-old Korean star, who name is also spelled Park Seo-jun, was handpicked by The Marvels director and co-writer Nia DaCosta to play the role of Prince Yan in the Captain Marvel sequel.

While relatively unknown to many Western audiences, Park has been a major actor in his native land and the rest of Asia, starring in several Korean series and films since around 2011, according to his management company.

He was most recently seen in the Korean action drama film Concrete Utopia, starring alongside Squid Game star Lee Byung-hun, which had its North American premiere in September at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The film has been selected as South Korea’s submission in the best international feature category for the Academy Awards next year.

Korean actor Park Seo-jun.
A screengrab from the trailer for “The Marvels,” featuring Park Seo-joon as Prince Yan (main picture); Park at the Chanel show during Paris Fashion Week in March 2023 (inset). Park will make his Hollywood debut when “The Marvels” is released this week.
Marvel Entertainment/Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

Park also made an appearance on the global stage in the multi-Oscar-winning film Parasite, as the friend of the private tutor character played by Screen Actors Guild Award winner Choi Woo-sik.

But K-drama fanatics will recognize Park most from his work in a string of hit Korean series, including Netflix K-drama Itaewon Class, which played a pivotal role in his casting in The Marvels, DaCosta told Korean media.

“When I was younger, I was really into Korean dramas and Korean films, and I fell in love with Korean pop culture,” the director told local media on Tuesday ahead of the film’s November 8 South Korean premiere, reported the Korea JoongAng Daily.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, DaCosta revealed that her friends recommended Itaewon Class to her, saying that she’d enjoy it. She ended up binge-watching the series, feeling a sense of nostalgia with a return to her teenage years as a fan of K-dramas, the director told Cine21, a South Korean film magazine.

DaCosta was struck by Park’s performance in Itaewon Class, a heart-breaking tale of sudden tragedy, shattered dreams and unrequited love. The series stars the actor as a high-school student who years later plans the ultimate revenge for his father’s death. The show led DaCosta to explore several of his other works.

A few months later, after accepting the directing role for The Marvels, DaCosta said she thought Park would be the “perfect fit” for the role of Prince Yan, “so I contacted him directly and asked him to feature in the film,” reported South Korea’s Yonhap news agency and other Korean media outlets.

Park’s character, who is closely linked to the past of the Captain Marvel character played by Brie Larson, has been shrouded in mystery for the most part, and this has been deliberate, according to DaCosta.

Park Seo-joon and Brie Larson.
Park Seo-joon at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival (left); Brie Larson at the Chanel fashion show during Paris Fashion Week in October 2023 (right). Park’s Prince Yan character is linked to Captain Marvel, played by Larson, in “The Marvels.”
Robin Marchant/Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

“We very purposefully didn’t give much information [about Prince Yan],” the director said. “He is the sovereign ruler of a foreign planet, and he and Carol [Captain Marvel] have a deep history. They both care a lot about the people that they are protecting, and that’s where they connect,” she revealed, according to Korea JoongAng Daily.

Later this year, Park returns to the small screen in the highly anticipated Netflix K-drama Gyeonseong Creature.

Back in February, Newsweek got a first look behind the scenes on the set of the period drama in Seoul, the South Korean capital, which also stars Squid Game‘s Wi Ha-jun, Han So-hee from My Name and other Netflix K-dramas, as well as Claudia Kim from the Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The Marvels premieres in the U.S. on November 10.