Melodrama Queen Back as 10-Year-old Girl

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

Can melodrama queen Son Ye-jin portray a 10-year-old girl? The answer is "yes", and you can see for yourself in her upcoming feature film.

She returns to the big screen after last spring's television mini-series "Alone in Love", only this time as a voice actor for an animation movie, "Yobi, The Five Tailed Fox".

"I was so worried, as my character is a teenage girl. But I dubbed while thinking about things for children", Son said Friday during a new conference at Seoul Plaza Hotel in Seoul.

Son is best known for her pure and innocent image in melodramas on both the big and small screen like movies "The Classic" (2003) and television drama "Summer Scent".

She said voice acting was a challenging job as it was so different from what she had done in the past.

"This is the first animation in which I worked as a voice actor. And I didn't know how to do it properly. When you shoot a film or TV drama, you can freely express what you feel from a script, but voice acting was so hard because you have to deliver everything through your voice", Son said.

In the conference, a short promotional clip was shown. Son said that she was happy about the results.

"I tried my best not to make it sound too artificial. I am now happy as my voice in the animation doesn't sound like mine", Son said.

Directed by Lee Seong-gang, the animation is about Yobi, a 100 years old fox girl, who visits a human village and experiences various adventures. Although she is 100 years old in her own mysterious world, she is only 10 years old in human age.

"The animation will help children become emotionally rich, and it will also be a heart-warming film for grown-ups as it takes them into the innocent world of children", Son said.

Other voice actors include Gong Hyung-jin of "Marrying the Mafia III" (2006) and Ryu Deok-hwan of "Like A Virgin" (2006). And Korean-Japanese New Age pianist Yang Bang-ean also joined the film as the music director.

Director Lee, who won the top prize at the Annecy International Animation Festival in France in 2002 with his first feature animation "Mari Iyagi (My Beautiful Girl, Mari)", said his new animation is about ordinary children around us.

"Characters in the film are children that you can easily see around you. I hope the audience will focus on how the children get to know who they are in the film", Lee said.

Regarding the film's similarities to Japanese animations such as "Howl's Moving Castle" (2004), Lee said that the similarities may exist but in the end it is different from other animations.

"We've all grown up watching Japanese or Disney animations. When I was making `Yobi, The Five Tailed Fox', I didn't think that it should have Korean touches. But in the end, the characters and background contain what we have here in Korea, which makes it different from animations from Japan and United States", Lee said.

"Yobi, the Five Tailed" opens nationwide on Jan. 25.
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