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'Housemaid' May Feature at Cannes

2010/04/13 | Permalink | Source

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

Kim Ki-young's 1960 erotic thriller, "The Housemaid - 2010", was digitally restored ― under the auspices of maestro director Martin Scorsese ― to feature at the 2008 Cannes Festival. This year, a remake by Im Sang-soo may possibly be shown in the upcoming event next month.

"All I know is that a rough copy of the film is at Cannes", Lim told reporters Tuesday in Seoul.
The film's special connection with the French festival does not end there; the new version stars 2007 Cannes Best Actress Jeon Do-yeon as its notorious leading lady. "This is my sixth feature film, and I've never worked with such an impressive cast", said Lim.

Jeon plays the role of an innocent housemaid who is seduced by the young, handsome and powerful master of the house (heartthrob Lee Jung-jae). Suspense and intrigue ensue as the wife (up-and-coming "Paju" starlet Seo Woo) and elder housemaid (veteran actress Youn Yuh-jung) learn about the liaison. "It is in short a luxuriously produced cheap melodrama", said Lim.

When asked to compare his reinterpretation with the original film, the "A Good Lawyer's Wife" director confidently replied that the basic premise remains unchanged.

"A peculiar housemaid comes to work for a high-class family and has an affair with the man of the house. The plot is the same as Kim Ki-young's piece 'The Housemaid - 1960'.

"But considering how 50 years have passed, there will be parities in terms of production quality and size, as well as how the actors interpreted the characters", he said. "Kim is a master director, but he was younger than I am now when he directed the movie. Though age has little to do with anything, I felt I should do a better job".

Jeon said it was not an easy decision to take part in the project. "I gave it a lot of thought but I chose to do it because of the director. When I read the script I had no idea Eun-i (The Housemaid - 2010) had to go that far, playing multiple roles. It was physically strenuous but I had a great time, and it was a very enjoyable project", she said.

The 37-year-old actress, who showed a whole new level of emotional vulnerability in "Secret Sunshine", pushed the limits of her physical capabilities for "The Housemaid - 2010".

"I didn't realize it when I wrote the script, but Jeon had to hang suspended from a wire, do sex scenes, scrub the tub, have all these tubes stuck in her body at the OB/GYN, and even simple-looking scenes like carrying a tray of wine and glasses up the stairs were not easy. I felt really sorry... But Jeon was so professional and tried so hard. I have great respect for her", said the director.

Jeon, however, said that she was never able to fully understand her character.

"I couldn't understand her because she is too pure and innocent, and is thus overly confident and candid. I always had my doubts about my interpretation, but the director trusted me and I thank him for that".

Yoon complimented her co-star for her stellar performance. "I wonder if I soaked up everything the director said like Jeon when I was her age", said the actress, 62, who made her big screen debut through a Kim Ki-young film some 40 years ago. This is also her fourth time working with Lim. "I feel grateful that I am able to carry on an acting career this far".

Lee may have played the role of an ill-intentioned, domineering man in the film, but as the only male actor in the film (besides the child who played his six-year-old son), he said it wasn't easy to work with such intimidating women as Jeon and Yoon on the set.

"The Housemaid - 2010" is due in local theaters on May 13.

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