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Actresses to Present Off-Screen Personas Onscreen

2009/11/17 | Permalink | Source

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

It was no red carpet event but cameras flashed without cease as some of the country's highest-profile actresses appeared at a theater in southern Seoul, Tuesday morning.

It was a promotional event for E J-yong (Lee Jae-yong)'s new movie, appropriately titled "Actresses", which brings together six screen beauties, each representing different generations: charismatic veteran actress Youn Yuh-jung, 62; Lee Mi-sook, still sultry at 49 and indeed looking sexy in a sequin mini dress; headline-making divorcee Go Hyun-jung, 38; hallyu star Choi Ji-woo, 34, who appeared before the press after a one-year hiatus in a chic white pant suit ensemble; fashionable starlet Kim Min-hee, 27, who strut out wearing all black and glamorous jewels; and rising "Thirst" (Park Chan-wook) heroine Kim Ok-vin, 22, who sported a short, red-dyed haircut matching her red dress.

The project is sort of like a Korean, female version of "Ocean's Eleven", but goes a step further in that each actress plays herself. "Hello, I'm Youn Yuh-jung and I played Youn Yuh-jung", said Yoon, and laughter filled the room as each leading lady introduced her "character".

"I wanted to make an unconventional movie. It's basically about actresses; I provided the basis for conflict and the actresses took it from there. The six women represent Korean actresses as a whole, and instead of creating something fictional I thought it would be interesting to feature each actress' charms and show something real", said the director.

The movie sets the framework in which the unscripted story takes shape: the six actresses come together for a special Vogue magazine shoot, and conflict ensues as the women, each used to having the limelight to herself, must cooperate with one another to choose dresses, for example.

"I'd always wanted to meet my co-stars, who are all such big actresses whom I respect so much", said Kim Ok-vin about her decision to star in the film. Kim, along with other actresses, all took part in the small-budget project without receiving any guarantees.

"When else would we get such an opportunity to bring together all these actresses and also to play ourselves onscreen?" said Ko.

"We weren't given a script and just filmed it scene by scene, depending on the situation", explained Lee. "Everything felt rather surreal, and I think a lot of it was real". Youn added that it was because they actually drank champagne on the set. "What soberness conceals, drunkenness reveals", she said.

And it wasn't easy to play oneself onscreen, the stars said. "Actresses express themselves through fictional characters, rather than our personal selves. But I trusted the director and decided to show who I am in real life", said Lee.

But only the actresses know what is fiction and what is real.

A clip of the movie showed how Ko thought of Choi, who has the most international exposure among the cast, as being stuck up, and the two bickered rather aggressively.

"Our relationship wasn't that great", said Choi.

Ko replied, "I wasn't being confrontational but Ji-woo was being really sensitive. I mean when I was staring at her I contemplated how I should act, but she's so pretty that I got really jealous".

A sense of rivalry ensued between the two 20-somethings as well. "One male crew member said that Ok-bin is the type to be more popular among men, and I admit it's true but it made me really envious", said Kim Min-hee.

All the actresses agreed that their first impressions of one another were often wrong. "I thought Ji-woo would be stuck-up but she's very kind and warm-hearted. Ok-bin, on the other hand, was just as quirky as I thought she'd be", said Lee.

When asked to nickname themselves, Yoon said she was "the old lady" whereas Kim Ok-vin said she was "the youngest" and Ko described herself as "the middle woman". Choi thought she was "the pain in the head" while Lee said she was "the nosy one". Kim Min-hee's co-stars pointed out that she was "the skinny girl".

"Actresses" hits theaters Dec. 10. Distributed by Showbox/Mediaplex.

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