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[ Movie 2009] Actresses 액트리스 : Release 10 Dec 2009

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Wait.... still don't get it...

so this is a movie... but they're not gonna act on it?

they're just gonna make documentation of their daily lives....?

neway, 7 known actresses is a lot... seems interesting,

wonder how it's gonna turn out...

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Yoon Yeo-Jung


Lee Mi-Sook


Go Hyun-Jung



Kim Min-Hee


Kim Ok-Bin


Choi Ji-Woo








director Lee Jae-Yong


Yoon Yeo-Jung



Lee Mi-Sook



Go Hyun-Jung



Kim Ok-Bin



Kim Min-Hee




Choi Ji-Woo













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left to right: Kim Ok-Bin, Kim Min-Hee, Choi Ji-Woo, Go Hyun-Jung, Lee Mi-Sook, Yoon Yeo-Jung, director Lee Jae-Yong






Yoon Yeo-Jung



Lee Mi-Sook



Go Hyun-Jung





Kim Ok-Bin



Kim Min-Hee






Choi Ji-Woo





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[yonhap news]

S. Korean actress Ko Hyun-jung


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Ko Hyun-jung, who stars in the new movie "Actresses," enters a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

S. Korean actress Kim Min-hee


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Kim Min-hee, who stars in the new movie "Actresses," enters a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December.(END)

S. Korean actress Choi Ji-woo


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Choi Ji-woo, who stars in the new movie "Actresses," enters a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17.The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

S. Korean actress Ko Hyun-jung and Choi Ji-woo


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actresses Ko Hyun-jung (L) and Choi Ji-woo, who star in the new movie "Actresses," enter a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

Movie 'Actresses'


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- The stars of the new movie "Actresses" -- Yoon Yeo-jung, Kim Ock-bin, Choi Ji-woo, Ko Hyun-jung, Kim Min-hee and Lee Mi-sook (L to R) attend a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

S. Korean actress Ko Hyun-jung


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Ko Hyun-jung, who stars in the new movie "Actresses," attends a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17.The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

S. Korean actress Kim Ock-bin


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Kim Ock-bin, who stars in the new movie "Actresses," attends a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

S. Korean actress Kim Min-hee


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Kim Min-hee, who stars in the new movie "Actresses," attends a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)


S. Korean actress Ko Hyun-jung


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Ko Hyun-jung, who stars in the new movie "Actresses," listens to reporters' questions during a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)


S. Korean actress Ko Hyun-jung and Choi Ji-woo


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actresses Ko Hyun-jung ® and Choi Ji-woo, who star in the new movie "Actresses," listen to reporters' questions during a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which sets in the Christmas Eve and the six top actresses have come together for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

S. Korean actress Lee Mi-sook


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Lee Mi-sook, who stars in the new movie "Actresses," responds to reporters' questions during a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

S. Korean actress Ko Hyun-jung


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Ko Hyun-jung, who stars in the new movie "Actresses," responds to reporters' questions during a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

S. Korean actress Ko Hyun-jung and Choi Ji-woo


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Ko Hyun-jung ® and Choi Ji-woo, who star in the new movie "Actresses," respond to reporters' questions during a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actreses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

S. Korean actress Ko Hyun-jung and Choi Ji-woo


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Ko Hyun-jung ® and Choi Ji-woo, who star in the new movie "Actresses," talk to each other during a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

S. Korean actress Ko Hyun-jung


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Ko Hyun-jung, who stars in the new movie "Actresses," smiles during a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

S. Korean actress Kim Ock-bin


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Kim Ock-bin, who stars in the new movie "Actresses," smiles during a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

S. Korean actress Choi Ji-woo


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Choi Ji-woo, who stars in the new movie "Actresses," smiles during a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17.The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

Movie 'Actresses'


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- The stars of the new movie "Actresses" -- Ko Hyun-jung, Choi Ji-woo, Kim Ock-bin and Kim Min-hee (clockwise from upper left) smile during a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)


S. Korean actress Yoon Yeo-jung


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Yoon Yeo-jung, who stars in the new movie "Actresses," poses for a photo during a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

S. Korean actress Lee Mi-sook


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Lee Mi-sook, who stars in the new movie "Actresses," poses for a photo during a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

S. Korean actress Ko Hyun-jung


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Ko Hyun-jung, who stars in the new movie "Actresses," poses during a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

S. Korean actress Kim Ock-bin


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Kim Ock-bin, who stars in the new movie "Actresses," poses for a photo during a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

S. Korean actress Kim Min-hee


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Kim Min-hee, who stars in the new movie "Actresses," poses for a photo during a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

S. Korean actress Choi Ji-woo


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean actress Choi Ji-woo, who stars in the new movie "Actresses," poses for a photo during a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

Movie 'Actresses'


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- The stars of the new movie "Actresses" -- Kim Ock-bin, Kim Min-hee, Choi Ji-woo, Ko Hyun-jung, Lee Mi-sook and Yoon Yeo-jung (L to 2nd R) -- along with director Lee Jae-yong ® pose for a photo during a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)

Movie 'Actresses'


Nov. 17, SEOUL, South Korea -- The stars of the new movie "Actresses" -- Kim Ock-bin, Kim Min-hee, Choi Ji-woo, Ko Hyun-jung, Lee Mi-sook and Yoon Yeo-jung (L to R) pose for a photo during a publicity event in Seoul on Nov. 17. The movie, which features six top actresses who gather on Christmas Eve for a photoshoot for a fashion magazine, will be released in South Korea in December. (Yonhap)



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The Korea Times 11-17-2009 17:39

Actresses to Present Off-Screen Personas Onscreen

By Lee Hyo-won

Staff Reporter


The cast of the movie, “The Actresses,” from clockwise from top left: Youn Yuh-jung, Lee Mi-suk, Koh Hyun-jung, Kim Ok-vin, Kim Min-hee andChoi Ji-woo. The latest feature by E J-yong, the movie will hit theaters Dec. 10. / Courtesy of Showbox/Mediaplex

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's new movie, appropriately titled "The Actresses,'' which brings together six screen beauties, each representing different generations: charismatic veteran actress Youn Yuh-jung, 62; Lee Mi-suk, still sultry at 49 and indeed looking sexy in a sequin mini dress; headline-making divorcee Koh 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 Youn, 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 Koh.

"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 Koh 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.

Koh 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-vin 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-vin, on the other hand, was just as quirky as I thought she'd be,'' said Lee.

When asked to nickname themselves, Youn said she was "the old lady'' whereas Kim Ok-vin said she was "the youngest'' and Koh 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.''

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


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Source: DaheeFanel


November 16, 2009...8:14 pm

Main Poster For “Actresses” Released


Now here’s an interesting project that I’ve been keeping my eye on, but which hasn’t released all that much info until fairly recently.

Actresses is directed by Lee Jae Yong (Scandal), and stars Go Hyun Jung, Choi Ji Woo, Kim Ok Bin, Yoon Yeo Jung, Kim Min Hee and Lee Mi Sook. It tells the story of what transpires after six top Korean actresses gather in one place for a Christmas-themed photoshoot. The film promises to capture their conversation and subtle clashes, and mix fiction with reality.

At the press conference held on the 17th, director Lee Jae Yong revealed that they had over 40 hours of filming material that he had to somehow edit into an hour and forty minutes. He added: “Since this is a film about actresses, I wanted to cast top actresses of various generations…I thought that this would make the things they said seem more honest, rather than setting up a completely fictional setting and working with that. I figured it’d be more fun to present these actresses with situations, and let them fill in the rest (i.e. ad-lib).”

Actresses is set to hit theatres on December 10th.


I find this interesting because, well, I’m a sucker for any movie that prominently features women, and women only. It gets even more interesting when the movie purports to blur the lines between reality and fiction. If some interesting ideas and conversations can come out of this movie, and if it manages to portray Korean actresses in a realistic way, then I’ll be happy. I haven’t seen Scandal, but I’ve heard good things about it, so I’m hopeful. And all the actresses involved are good ones, with the exception of Choi Ji Woo, but I’m not too worried if she’ll just be acting as, well, herself.

Here’s the teaser trailer:


(Via Asia Economy and Asia Economy)

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(Movie Review) Fact and fiction merge as South Korea's leading ladies come together

By Shin Hae-in, Yonhap News

2009/12/01 09:35 KST

SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) -- "Frankly said, actresses can't stand the idea of sharing the limelight. They have to be at the center of attention, be the most beautiful and popular person on the scene at all times," says Lee Mi-suk, who plays Lee Mi-suk in "The Actresses" -- or wait, is it the character Lee Mi-suk, played by actress Lee Mi-suk, who says the lines?

A semi-improvisational movie featuring six actresses each playing themselves, "The Actresses" has the audience constantly wondering just how much of the story is real.

Made without a script and filmed on a scene-by-scene basis with the actresses improvising their performances according to given situations, the movie walks a fine line between documentary and fiction, presenting a rare chance for people to steal a "legal peek" into the lives of top celebrities.


"Instead of creating something fictional, I thought it would be interesting to feature each actress' charm by letting the women do some real talking," director of the movie E J-yong explains.

Six actresses, their age varying from 20s to 60s, come together for a Vogue magazine photo shoot on Christmas Eve, each secretly discomforted by the idea of sharing the limelight and spending the whole day alongside one another.

Meeting for the first time, Korean Wave queen Choi Ji-woo and former beauty pageant winner Ko Hyun-jung raise their voice over a trivial matter and get into a childish fight which has Choi running off the set.

Model-turned-actress Kim Min-hee gets upset over a remark by a staff member that men don't find skinny women attractive while Kim Ok-vin, the heroine of "Thirst," is anxious she is too chubby to be an actress.

Veteran actress Youn Yuh-jung tries to show composure but can't help feeling like a free-rider in the glamorous photo shoot while Lee Mi-suk is blue over a recent divorce that made headlines without her intention.


"This is more like a Christmas nightmare," the editor of the photo shoot hisses to her colleague as the atmosphere dampens.

But with a bit of champagne, the actresses begin to reveal their inner thoughts and bond, exposing themselves more than they ever have in front of the camera.

"The Actresses," clearly appears less concerned with finish or coherence than with authentic, on-the-fly shooting of a moment.

While the overall story -- if there is one at all -- lacks the elements necessary for a full feature, the small talk among actresses delivers surprising amount of humor, emotion and warmth, proving that gathering all six into one screen is enough to "make a scene."

Director E, who was first inspired to make the film after going out for a drink with actresses Youn and Ko in 2007, said he focused on conveying the "reality" of the actresses' lives.

"I had set up certain boundaries, but many elements depended a lot on the skills and talents of the actresses themselves," he said. "I thought it would be a lot more genuine if the story was delivered through their lips, especially as the six women can be said to represent Korean actresses as a whole."

E, known for his refined style and cinematic talent of hitting the feminine nerves, has helmed several hit films including the critically acclaimed period drama "Untold Scandal."

"The Actresses" became the third of E's creations to be invited to the Berlin International Film Festival's Panorama section, which screens 18 films considered to have well-balanced art and commercialism.


Actress Ko said she and her colleagues talked from the "bottom of their hearts" while shooting the movie.

"I cannot even remember everything we talked about. One minute we were laughing and the other minute we were crying -- just like in real life."

With the six actresses agreeing to take part gratis, "The Actresses" took about 1.5 billion won (US$1.3 million) to make, a surprisingly low budget considering the prominence of the actresses and staff.

The movie will hit the local theaters Dec. 10.


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Movie "Actresses" blurs line between fact and fiction

November 17th, 2009 // by javabeans

Talk about an all-star line-up: the new film Actresses [여배우들] features a whole slew of high-profile names, such as Queen Seon-deok's Go Hyun-jung and Hallyu princess Choi Ji-woo, pictured above, in addition to Lee Mi-sook (East of Eden), Kim Min-hee (I Like It Hot), Kim Ok-bin (Thirst), and Yoon Yeo-jung (The World They Live In).

Here's the official description, which I think sounds GREAT:

Actresses: Christmas Eve. For a fashion spread in Vogue magazine, six top actresses are brought in spanning ages from their twenties through sixties. As expected, these ladies who are used to receiving the spotlight alone engage in a battle of wills, and tension fills the studio. It's an unwritten law in the fashion world to schedule shoots to avoid actress encounters, so this experiment was playing with fire from the outset. The psychological battle starts with wardrobe choices and ends with the scandalous scene of [Choi] Ji-woo storming out at [Go] Hyun-jung's provocation. [Yoon] Yeo-jung suspects she was only called in at the last minute to substitute, and while [Kim] Min-hee enjoys the shoot, [Kim] Ok-bin feels the burden of being around sunbaes, wondering how far she has to go to treat them as elders. They endure an endless wait for the featured jewelry that doesn't arrive. The staff is growing worried and the actresses are becoming more and more sensitive.

What events happened that night? What words were exchanged between these frank, bold women? Could they have really finished their shoot without incident?

Go Hyun-jung's poster reads: "Scandal. Only talking about good things gets boring!'

Yoon Yeo-jung: "Pride. I was dumped by that ugly __!"

Choi Ji-woo: "Fame. You're not all disparaging me since I'm not here, right?"

Kim Min-hee: "Jealousy. Men like me too!"

Lee Mi-sook: "Mystery. I have a birth secret!"

Kim Ok-bin: "Complex. I'm going to lose weight, I am.."

The description sounds fascinating on two different levels: First off, I love real-time-esque suspense thrillers that are more about building tension than flashy action or melodrama. I love feeling the uneasiness building in strained silences (Tale of Two Sisters and 2LDK are two great examples of this kind of storytelling). And second, there's that meta thrill you get of seeing these actresses playing an exaggeration of themselves, using their real names as their characters' names, leading us to wonder - is this all fiction? Or..not?

The film held its production press conference on November 17 at Seoul's Coex Megabox. It will release in theaters on December 10.

From left to right: Kim Ok-bin, Kim Min-hee, Choi Ji-woo, Go Hyun-jung, Lee Mi-sook, Yoon Yeo-jung

Go Hyun-jung said of her co-star, "Choi Ji-woo is so beautiful that I felt envious of her in real life." Choi Ji-woo said in return, "The first day I met Go Hyun-jung sunbae, we were shooting a fight scene. I was so nervous that I couldn't control my expressions well - what you see onscreen wasn't acting."

Lee Mi-sook spoke up about the scene, adding, "At that time, Go Hyun-jung wasn't famous yet for Mi-shil [in Queen Seon-deok] and Choi Ji-woo was a big Hallyu star. Watching Hyun-jung act, I thought they were really fighting. I was really shocked."

The stars revealed that the fight was real: they began the scene right after meeting, which called for Go to glare at Choi and hit her forehead, "which actually made me angry." In this instance, the director had only established the setting for his lead actresses and had a meeting with them, but didn't shoot with a special script or scenario plotted. For that reason, the scene took on an even more realistic vibe.

Go said, "It wasn't that she started the fight, but she acted sensitively. In the end, that angered me. At the time, I wasn't acting according to a specific plan. Actresses can be pretty simple sometimes." She added laughingly, "Because Ji-woo and I are similar heights, it was okay [fighting]. Even when I think back to that, I feel worked up."

Meeting under those circumstances probably didn't make it conducive to having a good relationship offscreen, and Go Hyun-jung said frankly, "We don't have a bad relationship, but not having a particularly good relationship is the way of actresses. This is shown just as it is within the movie.

Choi explained, "I was fighting with Go Hyun-jung in my first shoot and felt a lack of wits and other limitations, so I did feel some disappointment. However, as time passed, it became more enjoyable. Later, I felt regrets because I could have shown more."

Choi's glamorous image can sometimes contradict what fans know as a self-effacing personality. Yoon Yeo-jung said of her co-star, "I really thought Choi Ji-woo would be a "깍쟁이"[a snob or brat], but she's very easy-going." Lee Mi-sook said called her "surprisingly modest."

Choi has also been criticized for her acting in the past, and said of this film, "I want to receive praise as an actress now. I've started feeling that desire." She said, "Even if the film flops, I won't have regrets."

Kim Min-hee also expressed a desire to be called a real actor with this role. Often noted for her bold, sometimes avant-garde fashion sense, the film staffers called her "the type that isn't popular with men," which made her feel envious of her co-star. She explained, “The staff members only told Kim Ok-bin that she is the style to be popular with men but not me, so I felt envious." (Then again, perhaps producers were playing up the role of the actresses" alter-egos in the film?)

Kim Ok-bin said she took on the role "because I didn't want to lose the chance to meet these sunbaes. But with regard to acting, I wasn't able to grasp the emotions quickly, which was tough. I wanted to act a part that was close to my real self. I was trying to show myself but the director told me, "I think we need something more, which was difficult."

Meanwhile, veteran Yoon Yeo-jung said, "I was cast because I'm the only actress in her sixties that Director Lee Jae-yong knows. I made my decision after having drinks with Go Hyun-jung."

Kim Min-hee said of Yoon, "I thought she would be scary, but the way she thinks is young and it was comfortable conversing with her."

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"Actresses" is a miracle achieved, says Koh

By Lee Ji-Hye, 10Asia (Korean) | <Part 1> <Part 2> (English)

2009.11.23 23:48 ~ 2009.11.23 23:59 | 2009.11.23 23:48 ~ 2009.11.24 09:06

Film "Actresses" Press Conference


(From left) Actresses Kim Ok-bin, Kim Min-hee, Choi Ji-woo, Ko Hyeon-jeong, Lee Mi-sook, Yoon Yeo-jeong and director E J-yong pose during a photo session of a press conference for film "Actresses" held at a the Megabox Multiplex in Seoul, South Korea on November 17, 2009. [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]

"What is the difference between an actress and an actor?" Kim Ok-vin asks in the filmmaking video interview for film "Actresses", set to open on December 23. Whether it be the public's jealousy-filled curiosity or overwhelming affection, it is what differentiates the actor from the actress. Actresses are more vulnerable to rumors and scandals than male actors and that vulnerability forces them crawl only deeper into their shell. So if six actresses were to come together in one setting and were given the chance to speak as themselves instead of acting out lines written by someone else, what would happen? We got a glimpse into what could happen at the press conference for the film "Actresses", held at Seoul's Megabox Multiplex on November 17.


Scenes from the film "Actresses"

Contrary to the director's humble desire to make a female-cast-only movie, the cast of "Actresses" is nowhere close to being humble. From Yoon Yeo-jeong, Lee Mi-sook, Ko Hyeon-jeong, Choi Ji-woo, Kim Min-hee and Kim Ok-vin, the actresses who represent each generation, is an all-star cast that consists of the master, the Hallyu star and the protegee. One Christmas eve, these actresses gather for a fashion photoshoot under the concept "the actress who is more beautiful than jewelry" and the result is something that is equally glamorous and dangerous as a blockbuster movie. With each actress portraying themselves and each exposing themselves more than they ever have, as they all wrote the script together, the movie offers a series of surprises, one after another. Choi Ji-woo and Ko Hyeon-jeong, who meet for the first time, raise their voices and get into a fight. Choi Ji-woo even ends up running off the set of the movie. Kim Min-hee gets upset after being told that men do not find her attractive and Kim Ok-vin is miserable because she can't fit into Kim Min-hee's clothes. On top of that, Yoon Yeo-jeong insists she will not have any make-up put on her and Lee Mi-sook makes an appearance with her personal stylist in tow. With six stars who are all used to being at the center of the spotlight wherever they go, it is only natural that a catfight would ensue. So will the meeting -- or "Christmas nightmare" as one editor described it -- of these actresses end in peace? But the Q&A session among the six actresses, whose "casting process should have been made into a film," as one said, was filled with laughter, warmth and straightforward remarks.


Q: "Actresses" is slightly different from usual movies in that the actors appear as themselves. What is it about?

Yoon Yeo-jeong (Yoon): The synopsis is that we are all cast for a fashion shoot on Christmas Eve. A group of six actresses who are in their twenties to sixties, and you may think this is quite strange because everyone is beautiful except for me. I think director E J-yong cast me because I was the only sixty-something actress that he knew. I got involved in this film while having a drink with Hyeon-jeong and the director. Ok-vin, how did you get involved?

Kim Ok-vin (Kim): I really wanted to meet with these great actresses and I didn't want to miss this opportunity.

Koh Hyeon-jeong (Koh): It was an honor for me to get to work with everyone, I loved it. It's simply a miracle that the film got made and that we got to hold a press conference like this.


Actress Ko Hyeon-jeong [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]

Q: In the trailer, there is serious tension between Ko Hyeon-jeong and Choi Ji-woo. Was it real or acted out?

Koh: Of course it was real.

Choi Ji-woo (Choi): We aren't on the best of terms. (laugh)

Koh: I wasn't trying to start a fight, Ji-woo just seemed a bit overly sensitive.

Lee Mi-sook (Lee): Hyeon-jeong wasn't that famous at the time [of the film's shooting]. It was before she did [MBC TV series] "Queen Seon-deok". (laugh) But Ji-woo was a big Hallyu star, so even I was a little self-conscious about that and Hyeon-jeong stepped forward. Everyone was surprised.

Koh: She made me angry. (laugh) It's not like I said something too out of line, but it was a long time ago so I don't remember exactly...


Actress Choi Ji-woo [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]

Q: So when did you shoot the fighting scene?

Choi: It was the very first day of shooting. I had to shoot that scene on the first day that I met Koh. My heart was shaking and I couldn't control my facial expressions. What you see on the screen is not acting. (laugh)

Koh: I was looking at her in the eye when I was saying my lines but I was bordering on my limit. And Ji-woo is very pretty, so I got jealous and I thought, "Heck, this is not a joke." We're not on particularly bad terms but not particularly good either, so it came out the way things had been between us at the time of shooting.

Choi: But I was angry when she hit my forehead. (laugh)

Koh: I stopped there because I didn't want to get in any legal trouble. (laugh) I actually wasn't planning on doing that but actresses are simple-minded. So we started fighting and it was all the more intense because we are similar in height as well. (laugh)


Actress Kim Ok-vin [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]

Q: Besides Koh Hyeon-jeong, were any of you ever jealous of other actresses?

Kim Min-hee (Kim MH): In the film, the male make-up artist says that Kim Ok-vin is the type of woman that men like and that I'm the type that is not popular with men. I will admit to it, but I was still jealous. I was like, hey, I'm popular with men too. Hmmph. (laugh)

Q: Kim Ok-vin, how did you feel when you heard that?

Kim OV: It was a compliment, so I had no reason to feel bad. (laugh)


Actress Lee Mi-sook [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]

Q: In the interview video with the director, Lee Mi-sook says she thinks the world revolves around her. Is that true? (laugh)

Lee: I've known director E J-yong for ten years, so he knows me really well. When I was first offered the part, I said straight away that I would do it. But watching the video that was released today, I think I need to get a bit more serious. When we were shooting, we weren't acting out our parts according to the scenario. We were just handed a situation and the actresses would talk about it for a couple of hours, and then the director would just turn on the camera and start filming us. (laugh) So I don't really remember what I said in that situation. But I remember certain scenes upon watching the movie now. I think we think we really did talk from the bottom of our hearts.


Director E J-yong [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]

Q: Then are you saying that the director did nothing after casting the actresses? (laugh)

E J-yong (E): Um... you shouldn't say it like that. (laugh) I want to make something different from the conventional movie. I had established the basic situations and conflicts for each character beforehand but since "Actresses" is a story about actresses, I thought it would be a lot more genuine if the story was delivered through their lips rather than being based on fiction that I created. I had prepared a certain space for them but many elements depended a lot on the skills and talents of the actresses.


Actress Kim Min-hee [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]

Q: You had probably never portrayed your own self in a movie before, so how was the experience?

Kim MH: What was hard for me was that everyone had strong characters in the beginning, but I didn't have anything to do. (laugh) I didn't know how I should set the direction for myself. And I think I was intimidated by my co-stars. I started out thinking it would be fun and wasn't too worried but these ladies turned out to be quite something. So I became worried about what I should do and just hid in the background. (laugh) I think it was wise for me to do so. I'm the actress whom you'll see the most back shots of in the movie.


Actress Yoon Yeo-jeong [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]

Q: What was it like working with these younger actresses who each represent their respective age groups?

Yoon: It was fun. Mi-sook says she doesn't remember what she said in the movie, but that's because she kept drinking champagne throughout the shoot. (laugh)

Lee: I really did drink and act out my scenes. And the director let us be whatever we did. I think the things that were said in the film are truly what actresses would want to say in real life. We weren't talking to the screen, we were just having an honest conversations actress on actress.


Q: Was there any actress who turned out to be different from the first impression you had of her?

Yoon: I thought Ji-woo would be a shrewd because she's pretty, but I loved her because she's very nice and sweet. It was my first time meeting Ok-vin, but I knew she would be weird and alien-like. (laugh)

Kim OV: For me, Min-hee was different from my first impression I had of her. I thought she would be shy and quiet but I was surprised because she jokes around and laughs a lot.

Kim MH: I thought Yoon Yeo-jeong would be scary…

Yoon: Hey, I am scary.

Kim MH: I'm sorry to say this, but you weren't scary at all. You were lovely. (laugh) She has a young mind so I felt very comfortable talking to you.

Lee: I had met Ji-woo for the first time and I thought she would start talking in Japanese. But she doesn't speak Japanese that well. (laugh) I think this film could either be a big success or a big failure for Ji-woo. There were things that even her fellow actors had misunderstood about her and fortunately for Ji-woo, I think she must be relieved to able to show a new side of herself with this movie.

Choi: Honestly, I was cautious in the beginning. I had to reveal who I am, as Choi Ji-woo, so I was basically risking everything. But after I had a couple of conversations with the director and the actresses, I think I was able to break from my mold a little bit, though not entirely. So I don't think I'll have any regrets even if the movie crashes. (laugh)

Ko: There were surprising aspects to everyone. In the case of Ji-woo, she had courage. And she has a very clear sense of judgment. And there were many times I was grateful to her for that. As for Mi-sook, I was able to realize even more clearly why I like her and love her so much.


Q: What does the film "Actresses" mean to you being an actress?

Choi: I want to be called a real actress now. I have such ambitions and this movie holds very important meaning to me as the first stepping stone I'm taking as an actress.

Ko: I wanted to spend the most effective time with many actresses together. And there are many opportunities for male and female actors to get together, but not too many solely for actresses. So I wanted to see them up close, talk to them and help them. In that sense, I gained and learned a lot through this film. I hope that seeing all of us together will be like a huge gift-set for the viewers.

Kim MH: I agree with what Ji-woo said. I want to be regarded an actress too. Doing this movie and appearing alongside these great senior actresses is the biggest significance for me.

Lee: Actors are actually very wary of showing their true selves outside the characters they play but we trusted the director and we wanted to show that we too live our lives as normal people to a certain extent, and that we're not just what the media portrays us to be.

Reporter : Lee Ji-Hye seven@10asia.co.kr

Photographer : Lee Jin-hyuk eleven@10asia.co.kr

Editor : Lynn Kim lynn2878@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>














[Additional photos credit: 1, 2, 3, 4]

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'Actresses' Is Sassy Mix of Fact, Fiction


"There are three types of people: men, women and actresses", and "Actresses" brings together not one but six heroines.

The third of Lee Jae-yong's creations to be invited to the Berlin International Film Festival, "Actresses" tactfully endorses the movie's opening remark as it peeks into the glamorous ― and not-so-glamorous ― lives of screen beauties.

The unscripted, semi-improvisational film combines reality and fantasy, and the result is something sassy, perky and tastefully droll, though some of the in-jokes may get lost in translation for non-Korean viewers.

"But you've got to understand! They're actresses, they cannot wait!" a staff member panics, as the jewelry that the actresses are supposed to wear in a Vogue magazine spread gets stuck in a snow storm en route from Japan.

It's Christmas Eve, and magazine crew members nervously drum fingers. They must deal with actresses who find themselves in an unprecedented situation: sharing the limelight with other household names.

Veteran actress Yoon Yeo-jeong, known for her endearing roles and less-than-perfect complexion, is irritated that she isn't fashionably late like the others, and cannot help feeling like a last-minute replacement for the glamour shoot.

Lee Mi-sook, though still considered a sex symbol at middle-age, speaks of her wish to retain her identity as a woman ― "Everyone ages but it's painful how actresses age under the public eye and are scrutinized for it", she says.

Hypersensitive hallyu "princess" Choi Ji-woo meanwhile, in a spur of obsessive compulsion, scrubs her makeup desk before settling down. And of course her arrival is never complete without a retinue of Japanese fans and a personal masseuse.

Ko Hyeon-jeong, a 1990s icon who recently returned to screens after a high profile divorce, cannot hide her jealousy toward Choi. Being the hot-tempered and brutally honest tomboy she is rumored to be, Ko starts picking a fight with Choi. The two are seen bickering and squealing like schoolgirls and Choi leaves the set in a huff ― "This is totally like `The Nightmare Before Christmas'!" says the Vogue editor, who also stars as herself in the movie.

The youngest actresses ― twiggy former model Kim Min-hee and the more curvaceous Kim Ok-bin ― find it hard not to compare each other, especially when a male staff member says that men prefer curvy women.

E said he simply provided the basis for conflict and the leading ladies took it from there, improvising parts scene-by-scene.

The six ladies, varying in age from 20s to 60s, clearly assume exaggerated personas that reflect some degree of popular belief. And issues that are raised, such as the touchy politics of dress size, are rather expected.

But apart from capitalizing on the reputation of the cast, it also relies on "classic" forms of "entertainment", such as cat fights and juicy gossip, to draw in viewers ― and it works surprisingly well as one is kept wondering whether the situation is real or not.

And it could not have been complete without the fine attention to minute detail and crafty editing E is known for.

The film will be featured in the Berlinale's non-competitive Panorama section, which screens 18 works that are considered to have both artistic and commercial merits. It hits local theaters Dec. 10. Distributed by Showbox/Mediaplex.

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[PREVIEW] Movie "Actresses"

기사입력2009.12.10 00:52최종수정2009.12.10 01:01


The cast of "Actresses" [showbox]

Occasionally, there are the movies where its setup will overpower everything else about the film. On Christmas Eve of 2008, fashion magazine "Vogue" plans a special anniversary edition by casting six top actresses, who each represent their age groups from 20s to 60s, for a photo spread. The theme for the fashion spread is "actresses who are more beautiful than jewelry". And when actresses like Yoon Yeo-jeong, Lee Mi-sook, Koh Hyeon-jeong, Choi Ji-woo, Kim Min-hee and Kim Ok-vin show up at the fashion shoot, it makes the film "Actresses" something extraordinary because their star presence alone has a dramatic effect.

Like the film's tagline "Here come the beautiful, strong-willed ladies", the actresses in the film reveal their "strong-willed" personalities that exist behind their lovely and elegant appearances that we have seen on television and movie screens over the years. Yoon Yeo-jeong, who is the oldest among them, worries that she might not have been the first casting choice. Ko Hyun-joung, who played Mi-shil [in MBC drama "Queen Seon-deok"], picks a childish fight with Choi Ji-woo and Choi does not back off easily, unlike the nice girl that she often plays in dramas. Kim Ok-vin, intimidated by her older co-stars, looks for a place to hide. While waiting around for the jewelry to arrive for the photo shoot, everyone is full of complaints and what was supposed to be a beautiful evening starts turning into a Christmas nightmare.

Movie Points 1-10

If you are ready to accept these actresses as "humans": 8


Scenes from the film "Actresses" [showbox]

Director E J-yong said that he started planning this movie after getting to know these actresses who were "so interesting that [he] wanted other people to see them as well." The honest dialogue between the actresses in the movie is so entertaining that one might want to see the film more than once. It feels like watching six episodes of "The Knee-Drop Guru" [a popular Korean television program that is famous for its honest interviews with celebrities] in one sitting and the hilarious conversations amongst Yoon, Lee and Ko provide viewers many hearty laughs. Choi Ji-woo, who had recently seemed somewhat unreal with her image as a big Hallyu star and as "Jiwoo-hime", carefully reveals the stereotypical, I'm-a-big-star personality but still manages to appear more lovely than any of her characters. Kim Min-hee and Kim Ok-vin, who had smaller roles compared to the older actresses, keep in balance with the drama and pull off their parts in the film.

"Actresses" is neither entirely fiction nor entirely documentary. It was based on the script written by director E J-yong but all six actresses added their opinions and lines by drawing from their own experiences. In the second half of the movie, when conflict arises and everyone opens up about their feelings, it is all the more interesting because one cannot quite discern how much of the movie is real and how much is made up. In particular, when Ko retorts, "Have you seen how I live my life?", it cuts through the heart as if it is something all the actresses have been wanting to say to the world all this time. And watching the 23-year-old Kim Ok-vin and 63-year-old Yoon Yeo-jeong smoking cigarettes together is strangely moving as well. Perhaps that is why "Actresses" is the first film that makes us "understand", not envy or idolize, these actresses. Actresses who are close to us yet distant, and whom we truly loved and hated. The film opens in theaters on December 10.

Reporter : Choi Ji-Eun five@10asia.co.kr

Editor : Lynn Kim lynn2878@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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[iNTERVIEW] Yoon Yeo-jung

10Asia <Part 1> <Part 2> <Part 3> (Korean) 2009.12.09 | <Part 1> <Part 2> <Part 3> (English) 2009.12.11


10: 10Asia is an web-based magazine. Do you use the Internet a bit?

Yoon Yeo-jung (Yoon): Not at all. I have to ask this article to be printed out too.

10: Then I guess you probably don't know that when you type in your name as the keyword on the Internet, the phrase 'reason for divorce' pops up alongside it too.

Yoon: Oh! Really? So people are finally figuring out why I got a divorce after more than ten years that it happened? (laugh)


10: Do you usually watch a lot of TV?

Yoon: I watch it a lot. I'm amazed when I see people who don't watch TV. I can't even read for that long now because my eyes hurt. I'm the type that has to finish a book in one go, cover to cover, but it's become very difficult to do that. I recently did finish a book by Murakami Haruki without taking a break.


10: You need to be ready in a different sort of way to appear on talk show "The Knee-Drop Guru". Host Kang Ho-dong asks a lot of personal questions and he's not indirect about it either.

Yoon: That's why I was hesitant to go on it in the beginning. I had never appeared on a variety show before. It really was my first time ever! And when I was still trying to make up my mind, director E J-yong told me to ask Lee Mi-sook and Ko Hyun-joung since they'd already been on the show. They all said I'd be alright. And the questions they had originally sent me were very normal and sounded elegant. They hadn't included the question about my divorce either. I thought about it for two weeks before going on the show.

10: But Kang didn't ask any so-called elegant questions, did he? (laugh)

Yoon: Man, Kang is a very smart person. He would somehow make me start talking about things I hoped he wouldn't ask me. What could I do. I got swayed by him completely and lost my energy. (laugh) And then I ended up taking down my wall completely and went on and on. I don't remember what I said.

10: Were there any surprising questions?

Yoon: The questions themselves weren't surprising or anything. It was rather, how should I put it, his skill of how he asks the question... he would just slip it in somehow. It's amazing. He isn't Kang Ho-dong for no reason. And his questions weren't disturbing either, not one bit. I actually felt bad for him because it seemed like I had chatted away. I'll have to see the show when it airs to realize what I said.


10: I think you must've felt the same way with "Actresses". You don't know what would have been included or cut for the final edit so I think you must've felt different before and after the screening.

Yoon: Man, I had been so curious. But I giggled so much even before the movie started. So much that [Lee] Mi-sook and I said to ourselves that we're enjoying this too much. We all couldn't remember what we had said while filming the movie, so Mi-sook was really loud while watching it because she kept asking what she had just said in it. (laugh)


10: All six of you got credit as screenwriters for the movie. How did you come up with the story?

Yoon: Many parts of the scenario were from actual occurences that the director had remembered. And I was having dinner one day when a drunk person came up to me saying, "I'm such a big fans of yours, Yeo Woon-kye!" and kept asking for an autograph. (laugh) So I said that I'm sorry but I can't because I'm not her, but that got included in the movie.


10: You all probably have sides to you that you don't want to reveal to the public as actresses so I think you were all very brave to take on this movie.

Yoon: We all just trusted E so much. (laugh) Of course, I don't have anything to lose. And there's no point in trying to hide things. The whole world still knows. The more you try to hide something, the better they find out about it. Of course, there is one thing that I am disappointed about in E. He cut off what Lee Mi-sook said about divorce while leaving all of our lines in. And do you know why he did that? Lee is E's ideal type of woman. (laugh)


10: Well, this is still a shoot for a film and when you know that everything will be recorded, I think an actress can decide between two options -- to continuously calculate or just let go completely.

Yoon: I let go. Because there's no use in trying to calculate and it just makes you look more weird. I've been calculative before, several times in the past, but it didn't really change things for me. (laugh) I know that I'd rather just be myself even if I do regret it later on, than being calculative and regretting not being myself then either. I also have bad eyesight so I don't really know where the camera is either. I think the younger actresses like Ko Hyun-joung were much more brave.


10: But don't actors sometimes have the confidence that they can appear as a certain type of person if they act like it?

Yoon: Of course and I was like that too at one point. How could I say I wasn't. And I would say cool things that I'd heard from elsewhere. But it's all gibberish. (laugh)


10: Are there any moments in particular that you remember about the shoot?

Yoon: There was one day that (Kim) Min-hee got drunk in a very cute way. [Drawing the shape of a heart with her hands] She said "I am soooooo happy! I reallyyyyyy like you!" and then started taking off the price tag on her new shoes. She looked so cute and lovely at that moment. But E J-yong is extremely considerate -- he took that scene out from the film because he said she shouldn't be seen like that at such a young age.


10: The preconception that older actresses will be very fussy is pretty dominant.

Yoon: When I was young, people told me that I don't have an easygoing personality. And they call that being fussy when you grow older. I think us actresses are wronged from the fact that we're called fussy and are considered to have bad tempers if we speak our minds. Although we should be more like E and stick to our thoughts amidst being more mellow. (laugh) I'm trying to be more like E after working on this film. This is how I keep learning everyday.

10: When you're acting with younger actors, it seems that you manage to create more of a romantic tension than make the relationship into one between a mother and son. You did it with Daniel Choi in TV series "The World that they Live In" and with TVXQ member U-Know Yunho in drama "No Limit".

Yoon: The producer had intended on it from the beginning in the case of "No Limit". He kept making Yun-ho call me "Aeja-ssi" [similar to Miss. Aeja] but there is no way it could've been easy for him since it was his first try at acting. The producer had to end up telling Yun-ho to think that he was dating a grandmother. Yun-ho is the type that will work very hard just as he's told so he would call me whenever he has time, saying 'Aeja-ssi, it's Yun-ho' or 'Aeja-ssi, did you eat?'. Of course, he doesn't call me that anymore but he calls me time to time. I asked him if he wanted to come to our screening and he really did. I thank him for that.


10: I really liked the scene where you sit side-by-side with Kim Ok-vin. In such a situation, adults would usually start talking about their past but it seemed like you're not the type gives advice.

Yoon: No, I don't like to. Some actors sometimes come to me, saying that I should say something to the younger actors who don't behave properly but why should I? They're all my colleagues and they're there to work. I just don't become close with the ones who are insolent. I'm not their teacher nor their mom so I don't have the right to tell them what to do and what not to do. They're there as professionals too. I might say something if that actor was a very good person but I saw a slight flaw.


10: But it's not like that in society. It's not just with actors but not many adults think that way. People put forth their age, position and authority and sometimes end up being violent too.

Yoon: I wish everyone could be on more of a horizontal relationship. Not that I'm asking them to call me just by my name. (laugh) It's strange how respect and etiquette toward the experienced ends up looking like a relationship between a master and servant. If you get used to being waited on, you end up using that as your authority and power. I've seen my seniors do that and told myself I wouldn't end up being like them. It's what I always tell my son too. That I know a lot of people are like that but all that matters is that he isn't like that.


10: I think that at times, you can't help avoiding taking on roles to make money. Is there a standard you set in picking your roles in such cases too?

Yoon: Money is important. And the more I get, the better. (laugh) But I tend to avoid taking on roles that are similar to ones I've taken on before. I try to avoid portraying the same image. I sometimes don't take on the character, no matter how well it pays, if its too similar to the role I had before.


10: But isn't there a limit to the range of roles you can take on as an older actress compared to younger actors who can take on a variety of roles and change their image?

Yoon: Most of the roles I get are being the mother. I'm always cooking, doing the laundry or opposing against my children's marriage. That's why I'm not going to oppose against my own son's marriage. I've done it one too many times in dramas. (laugh) Even if I play the role of a mom, I try and change the mom I am everytime.


10: At the beginning of your career, you used to go back and forth between films and TV series, then you appeared mostly in dramas before film "A Good Lawyer's Wife", and after that you've been going back and forth between the two again. Is there a different energy you get from the different sets?

Yoon: I'd probably get all my energy sucked out if I stayed on one side but I think it's been lessened because I move back and forth. (laugh) And I tend to learn more because my environment changes. I actually didn't like people in the film industry in the beginning because I felt that they had a low opinion of TV actors. But I realized where it was coming from once I started doing films -- they can't help avoiding faces they've always seen on TV. That prejudice has sort of disappeared now.


10: The public has sort of a double-standard toward actresses -- they're curious to know what they're wearing but hope they live frugally. And when they age, the public hopes rise above worldly matters. But the Yoon Yeo-jung we see in the film "Actresses" is the worldliest of all the actresses and expresses it quite outrightly too.

Yoon: I don't go looking for luxury goods on purpose but I prefer products with good quality. I've never suffered from a guilty conscience because of that. I think all that matters is that I buy the clothes that I want with the money I made through hard work and receive solace from that. People of my age don't have that much time left to be lavish and wear the clothes they want. I'm not buying it from money I made illegally or from debt. We live in a capitalistic society -- it would be more weird to feel guilty about consuming.


10: The first image that I had of you was that you're an actress who doesn't act in the tone of other actors. I think there may have been some people who considered your un-dramatic style of acting quite strange.

Yoon: Yes, seldomly, I'm asked to act with more earnesty. (laugh) I started regarding Roman Polanski a great director after seeing the scene where the main character in "The Pianist" silently plays the piano. The man's expressionless face broke my heart even more than it probably would have had he been full of passion. People usually like so-called 'heaven-sent acting'. It may be an issue of taste but I don't like such acting. For example, your son dies. Then most mothers will fall to the ground and start sobbing. But would it be like that if your son really dies? I think I'd rather not feel anything and not be able to cry. I'd much prefer that the actress turns around, not being able to cry or do anything, but just see her shoulders shake while she tries to stop the tears from flowing. It would look she is really hurting. And I'm someone who wants to do such acting. But they usually want the actor to be more dramatic with such scenes. The directors sometimes thank me, after editing, that I did a better job by not overdoing it. And I'm very thankful when I hear them say that.


10: The acting by younger actors these days is closer to real life. Have you ever thought that you might have been better off it you had been born in an earlier or later generation?

Yoon: No, acting changes like everything else in the world does. I actually cherish more the experience of meeting people who acknowledge and respect my acting. My acting might have seemed average if I had been born in this era.


10: You enjoyed taking on characters with rough personalities when you were young, right?

Yoon Yeo-jung (Yoon): Well, that's probably why I took on films like "Woman of Fire" or "Chungnyeo" right? I thought they were very different types of movies. The main characters risk their life for love and end up dying together... I thought 'This is what real love is about.' But that also changed as I aged. When I was about thirty-something, the head of a theater company gave me a script where I would play an 18-year-old girl who becomes a prostitute after raped by her owner while she was a servant. But I said I couldn't do it. I thought that I would not screw up my life by becoming a prostitute at that age even if I was put in the same situation. I knew I wouldn't be able to act with sincerity because I didn't believe in it.

10: So you never take on roles that go against your outlook on life, right?

Yoon: That's right, because I know I wouldn't do a good job of it. I don't take on roles that I know I won't be good at. Actually, that's not true. I've done one before. (laugh)

10: Which one?

Yoon: I got the script for "Garoojigi" one day and I called the producer after reading about 20 pages of it. I told him that I think he sent the script to the wrong actor but he said he hadn't, so I met with him and he turned out to be this young, smart-looking director who said I must take on the role. He said he wouldn't be able to do filmmaking if I didn't. Of course, he won me over when he said that he saw me smoking on TV and thought he had never seen a woman with such sexy fingers. (laugh)


10: Of course it's not good for your health but you really do look cool when you smoke. When did you first learn to smoke?

Yoon: Not in the bathroom. (laugh) My friend got dumped when we were in college and she said we should try it. The weird thing about it is that I actually didn't smoke at all when I lived in the States after I got married. But I started smoking after I got divorced. I guess I wouldn't have started at all if I hadn't known how to smoke at all. I think I smoke about a pack a day? I smoke well. The Monopoly Bureau might call me after this article goes out. (laugh)


10: What is it that keeps you going? Why are you an actress?

Yoon: There was a time when I wasn't proud of being an actress. It wasn't what I had wanted to do and there were so many successful people around me so I had even despised this job. But as you know, my life divides into two eras -- B.D., before divorce and A.D., after divorce. (laugh) I think that's when I really became an actress. If I had been a talented employee at a large company, would they hire me again ten years after I left? There is no such organization. But dramas and films did, they gave me work and allowed me to raise my two children. I think that's when I became very grateful about acting. I wasn't picky about my roles. And that's when I realized it.

10: Realized what?

Yoon: That I'm a horrible actor. The brief popularity I had enjoyed before turned out to be a false reputation I had gained because I had been lucky. I was miserable when I had matured but I couldn't act well. I cried one day because I thought, 'Why am I so bad at acting. Why can't I do this?' Life seemed horrible. And that's when I saw myself in the mirror and realized that this is how I should be acting. I just had to try. Divorced actresses were usually never cast for a role at the time but screenwriter Kim Soo-hyun broke that common law and cast me for her drama. I thought I should compensate her for that. So if I had a scene where I would say my lines while putting down my spoon, I'd practice that in my room, making sure that I say my lines in time with my actions, and then record my voice while doing that and listen to it over and over again. Actress Lim Ye-jin once looked at my script and joked that I sure do practice a lot for what I've been given to do. But I wasn't ashamed of it. Of course I can memorize my lines like I memorize the alphabet. But there are so many ways to say the single word 'Hello'. There's no meaning to just memorizing your lines. People shouldn't be ashamed of trying hard... I don't know why people regard you as stupid if you practice a lot. The old American adage states "How do you get to Broadway?" "Practice, man, practice." I think that's the answer.

10: I guess it's because everyone expects for all artists, including actors, to be born with an innate genius.

Yoon: Some actors ask for time before shooting a scene where they have to cry. That's why actor Park Keun-hyung will tell them to go cry at home. To set their emotions at home. Everyone's talent is at different levels but this job is hard to pursue without effort.


10: In "Actresses", there is a scene where Kim Ok-vin says life is boring. Is life fun for you?

Yoon: I try to make it fun. I don't have as much time left to live as younger people. Really, so many people around me are passing away. Three last year. And I felt so empty. Life and death are moments away from each other. They were all such great people. But they become so weak in front of death. That's when I realized that I should enjoy every moment of my life and have fun.


10: You must've thought of that a lot when Yeo Woon-gye passed away.

Yoon: I saw how she suffered because we were working together at the time. I got mad at the producer and screenwriter one day, asking them why they had brought a sick person on set. But I realized I had been wrong when they told me that she had wished for it. She had wanted to show people that she was alive. She's an actress. She's not alive if she's just lying down at home. Of course, you would be a nuisance to the people on set if your mind started wandering but I understood right away. Yeo Woon-gye is alive! That's what she wanted to show the public.


10: You too will probably act for as long as you can, right?

Yoon: Of course. Till the day that I can still say my lines. As long as I don't become a nuisance. I hope someone make me stop when that day comes. Tell me that I can't act anymore.


Editor in Chief : Beck Una one@10asia.co.kr

Photographer : Chae ki-won ten@10asia.co.kr

Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr, Lee Ji-Hye seven@10asia.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>


[10Asia FOCUS] The 16 stars of 2009 - Part 3

Yes, we all know. Cigarettes are only good for doing harm. But the moment that white object, shorter than a span, is placed between someone's slender fingers, it at times exhibits a power greater than any other accessory. The moment that actress Yoon Yeo-jung starting smoking, the world starts moving on a slightly different tempo. Time no longer moves on a regular pace but a new rhythm is created within the space you are in with her, flowing according to when she sucks on and lets out her breath while smoking her cigarette. Of course this old actress should be advised to quit smoking for her welfare and longevity but one who witnesses how alluringly Yoon smokes cannot help but become a selfish viewer. It was the same for us interviewing her. "I'm not going to smoke. People will talk about me because there are already so many photos of me smoking," Yoon said, refusing to smoke on the set of the photo shoot. But she constantly held a cigarette in her hand throughout the long interview she conducted with us. So maybe I could say it was the smoke that made me tear up several times during the interview?

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Yoon Yeo-jung's Movie Picks

10Asia (Korean) 2010.02.04 | 10Asia (English) 2010.06.07


To some generations, Yoon Yeo-jung may be just another elderly actress whom they cannot quite tell apart from the late Yeo Woon-gye or Jeon yang-ja. But to most viewers or moviegoers, Yoon is an irreplaceable actress. And with such a coarse voice too! "Many people have unique voices these days but back in the days, [my voice] was considered very bizarre. I heard this later on but people had said I won't make it because of my voice. Now that I think of it, I've overcome quite a lot of obstacles. (laugh)" But Yoon is an actress who has proved that what an actor needs is not perfect eyesight but the tentacles to sense even the drop of a needle, and not a clear and ringing voice but even if it is a single line that is spoken, a sound which will sound alive and move people's hearts.

She has continuously walked the path of an actress but there has never been a time that it has been easy for her. Her face too is far from being smooth -- she herself joked, "I have nothing to say if they'll cut my pay because of my skin." "I once was not proud of the fact that I was an actress. It wasn't what I had wanted to do and I don't know if it's because there were so many successful people around me, but I detested the job too. When I made a comeback after getting a divorce, I think that's when I felt like I had become an actress. Do you think a large company would have taken me back after ten years, no matter how competent an employee I was? No such organization exists. But dramas and movies did, they gave me work, and allowed me to raise my two children. I think that's when I felt grateful about being able to act. And I wasn't picky about my roles."

She played a femme fatale rather than someone's first love, a coquettish lover than a foolishly devoted wife and mother, and a trouble-maker mother rather than giving off the image of the typical mother figure. In "The President's Last Bang" she was the narrator who calmly tells of the story of men who self destruct themselves while fighting over power, in "A Good Lawyer's Wife" she was a modern woman who could confidently say "I also have sex," and an actress who does not hide her feelings of envy and complex in "The Actresses" by asking who was cast before her for a photoshoot. Kim Soo-hyun, Noh Hee-kyung, Kim Ki-young, E J-yong. It may just be that the various sides to Yoon that we see today were created by these writers and directors. But despite her having such a bad eyesight that she "might not even recognize my own parents without glasses," her eye for recognizing the artists who have rejected the conventional dramaturgy may be her secret to the survival of her career till today. Yoon is an actress who is closer to a cool moon than a flaming sun. And the films she said left long-lasting impressions in her mind where not far from the vibe that the actress herself gives off.


1. "The Pianist"

2002 | Roman Polanski

"The reason I felt that the director is such a great commander is because of the last scene in the film where the main character so placidly plays the piano. His expressionless face tore up my heart, more than it would have had he played it passionately due to his pent-up anger. People usually like to see so-called 'possessed acting.' And I guess it's an issue of taste but I don't like that kind of acting. For example, it's much better to see an actor who expresses grief by turning around and shaking his shoulders as he tries to hold back from bursting into tears, rather than him wailing out loud and beating his fists on the ground. It just makes it look like that person is really hurting. And I too am someone who wants to do such acting. That's why from time to time, I'm asked to show more sincerity when I act. (laugh)"

"What's your work?" "I am... I was a pianist." Jewish-Polish musician Szpilman, engulfed in World War II which drowns all forms of art, barely stays alive by hiding in a ruined building after losing his family and friends. The film, based on the true story of pianist Władysław Szpilman, won the Palme d'or at the 55th Cannes Film Festival.


2. "The Sound of Music"

1965 | Robert Wise

"I can't sing and I wouldn't even be able to dream of doing musicals but I really like people who sing well. I envy them the most too. And with "The Sound of Music," no matter how many times I've watched it, if it's on TV I'll just watch it in awe all over again. I like it when the children sing goodnight all together too. I guess those are what classics are about. There's nothing that is that special about them nor are they being witty in particular they just have an unchanging power."

The story about a cheerful and warm-hearted nun-turned-governess Maria (played by Julie Andrews), a man with firm principles yet infinite love for his children captain Georg von Trapp (played by Christopher Plummer) and seven loveable children. The short-lived yet enjoyable time they spend living together becomes increasingly threatened due to World War II. But the green hills of Salzburg where they sing the "Doremi song" and the energetic appeal which Julie Andrew gives off in the film with her tomboy image, shuns off the gloomy circumstances the family is put under due to the war.


3. "The Fall"

2006 | Tarsem Singh

"This is a movie I watched with director E J-yong and actress Ko Hyun-joung. The main character of the film was a very young girl but she really did an amazing job with her acting. She also didn't have the typical tone that young actors have where they try to act pretty and smart. Director E said he was watching the movie for the second time to watch that child's acting and said, 'Will I ever get to work with an actress like her?' to which Ko said, 'Oh, I do so wish to get to work with a director like him.' It's been a while since I've watched the movie but I still can't forget that child's face."

The man's story is shown on the screen through the girl's eyes. Tarsem Singh, originally a TV commercial director, had already provided moviegoers with a visual shock in his first directorial pic "The Cell." "The Fall" goes a step further. The beautiful scenery from 26 locations around the world that mankind has discovered, not produced with computer graphics, confirms a film's identity as visual form of media.


4. "Love Letter"

1995 | Shunji Iwai

"I think it's because I'm growing weaker but I think a lot of about aging rather than growing stronger. When it comes to movies too, I like the ones where I can be observant rather than the ones I become completely immersed with and fall into a daze later. In that sense, "Love Letter" was a film where the viewer watches the movie from a distance but leaves long-lasting traces. And when I see the eyes of the female character when she says, 'Ogenki desu ka?' it reminds me of the look I used to have in my eyes when I was young. Sadly, my eyes don't give off such a vibe anymore. (laugh)"

Hiroko Watanabe (played by Miho Nakayama), who had shut off her heart after losing the man she loves, one day finds out about the existence of Itsuki Fuji (also played by Nakayama), a woman who has the same name as her dead fiance. Through the letters exchanged between the two women whose letters contain two stories which transcend time and place, one restores the first love she had not realized until then and the other sends messages of healing to the love she had not been able to let go of. The film, which stood at the forefront of popular Japanese films during its times with its main actress Miho Nakayama, who plays a double role in the film, is the sweetest way to head into director Shunji Iwai's world.


5. "The Widow Couderc"

1971 | Pierre Granier-Deferre

"I have never really liked melodramas, even when I was young. But this movie seemed to be quite different from typical melodramas. The love story between a young man and an old woman could seem strange but for some reason, the love between the old and fat woman and the pretty young man did not seem ugly at all. The scene where Simone Signoret proudly washes Alain Delon's underwear has left a lasting impression on me in particular. This movie actually doesn't contain that many passionate scenes for a melodrama but I actually prefer such metaphorical forms of expression."

Mrs. Couderc (played by Simone Signoret) lives with her father-in-law and sister-in-law after her husband passes away when one day, a stranger named Jean (played by Alain Delon) comes to their house. The young and handsome Jean, who hides his identity as an escaped prisoner, starts working at Couderc's house as a laborer who quietly starts to stir this worn out divorcee's heart. A film adaptation of a book by French mystery novelist Georges Simenon.


Editor in Chief : Beck Una one@

Photographer : Chae ki-won ten@

Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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[iNTERVIEW] Director E J-yong of "Actresses"

10Asia (Korean) 2009.12.03 | <Part 1> <Part 2> <Part 3> (English) 2009.12.11


Beck Una (Beck): So what is an 'actress'? This being which surpasses the average man and woman.

E J-yong (E): I actually didn't start this movie with the grand idea of making a film which can speak on behalf of all actresses. I just wanted to share my story about actresses with the audience. Yoon Yeo-jung once said, "If you look at the Chinese characters for the word 'actor', it actually means that they are people who are not really humans but make people sad." A job where after a certain point, you start losing popularity, you age, but have to continuously compete with your looks and acting skills. And that whole process is shown in its entirety to the public. I think that's why their lives cannot help being entirely different from normal men or women.

Beck: Who provided you with the most inspiration to start the film?

E: I met up with Yoon and Ko Hyun-joung often while taking a break from filmmaking. And they were great fun. Ko in particular -- I bet you there is nobody like her out of all the men and women in this world. I realized that actresses are people who really have a lot to say.


Beck: So much that it would be a waste to watch alone? (laugh)

E: That's right. The actresses who appeared in this film, or who said they would appear in the film, are those who deviate quite a lot from the typical idea I myself or the public have of actresses. In other words, they are actresses who are not like actresses. We usually think they'll be goddess-like, are mystical and would be sensitive or have outrageously nervous temperaments. But these people broke a lot of the preconceptions I had about actresses.

Beck: "Actresses" seemed closer to a nature documentary shot by a director who has been observing creatures called 'actresses' for a long time, rather than being a film with a dramatic story centered around them. When did you first start thinking of making such a movie?

E: This wasn't exactly the picture I had in mind in the beginning. I had been wondering how it would be to shoot a noir film where the main characters are all female. The men are usually always the main character and the women the femme fatale so I wanted to see what would happen if I flip that around. "Actresses" started from a spontaneous idea but I think it has ended up being the film I have always wanted to make in its totality.

Beck: You were probably an admirer of actresses too, before you became a filmmaker. Who is the first actress you ever noticed?

E: The first person who made me think 'She is a real actress' was Lee Mi-sook although of course, there were many great actresses before her time. I was amazed at how well she could act when she is so pretty. And she seemed to be someone who constantly goes for new roles rather than maintain a certain image. I was young but I still thought she was great. And I was psyched when I got to shoot my debut film with her!


Beck: When we refer to the word 'actress', it seems like the word 'star' follows behind it in parenthesis. It probably applies both in Korea and overseas but it seems that actresses are required to have more star quality than actors. And this can't be separated from the thought that they will be more interested in wordly things. For example, even in your film, the setting was a photoshoot for "Vogue" rather than on set for a film and they drank Dom Perignon rather than the Korean traditional Makkulli. I can't help thinking that you sort of wanted to portray this side to them too.

E: You're right. That's what it is. The setting in the original scenario was a theater play. But like you say, the words that pop up when you think of actresses are 'star quality, fashion, facial features, competition'. I was able to show this most economically and effectively by changing the setting to the scene on a photoshoot.

Beck: The audience may be surprised at certain characteristics some of the actresses in the movie will show and some people who know them in real life have been saying that the actresses are really being themselves in parts of the movie. There seems to be a very thin line between what is fact and what is fiction. And not everything is probably the truth.

E: Basically, it's about the incidents I have seen occur regarding actresses during the time I've spent in this industry and I've equally stationed the elements I've observed. Even if such occurences may not have happened to them in real life, it still works because the situation arises from the common characteristics that actresses have. How they keep each other in check about the timing each actress arrives on set, excuses they come up with because they want out from the shoot, favors to have their solo shoots added to a group photo... (laugh) I showed stories that I've heard about or are most likely to have happened.

Beck: In a way, the quarrel Ko and Choi Ji-woo have in the film is the climax of this movie. (laugh) It seemed that envy or competition are the force which drives actresses forward. Not in a bad sense but in that it makes them work harder and become better.

E: But doesn't that actually apply to every human being? All reporter want to write better stories than other reporters -- they want to do one-on-one interviews, not in groups. (laugh) I think this is a characteristic which is found in every society regardless of gender. I wanted to show how attractive these individual actresses are on more of a humanistic level which would then reveal how such sides to them are covered by their jobs as being actresses, which would then tell a story about all women and ultimately show what our society looks like.


Beck: The fact that these six women are all actresses is what they have in common but I think they all have different notions about what an actress should be like and they meet with the public on different levels according to that notion. It seems Lee Mi-sook feels that an actress should maintain a certain mystique and seem somewhat distant from the public up to a level that it meets the public's expectations. But Ko Hyun-joung's attitude doesn't seem to differ too much from how she is in real life versus when she's acting.

E: I think the amount of change that actress' and people's perception undergo depends on the how much society changes. We no longer live in times where an actress' career is over when she gets married, where she has to leave the industry forever if she gets a divorce and if she makes a comeback, it would only be so playing the role of someone's aunt. The age range of actresses who still actively pursue their career has also gone up compared to the past -- actresses Lee Mi-sook, Jang Mi-hee, Kim Mi-sook, and then the generation following them including actresses such as Kim Hye-soo, Lee Young-ae, Ko Hyun-joung and Jeon Do-yeon proves it.

Beck: On the other hand, while in the past there were certain actresses who represented a certain era, now there just seems to be a lot more actresses and on a larger variety but it doesn't seem there is an actress who can represent the next generation.

E: It's true that the press has always produced symbolizations like troika but the fact that they can't do that anymore... Hmm... Don't you think it may be proof of how diverse everyone's individual character is?

Beck: Without doubt there are actresses who could possibly represent the next generation -- such as Lee Na-young, Song Hye-kyo, Lim Soo-jung, Ha Ji-won and Shin Min-a -- but it's true that there is an absence of mega-rated actresses that would be able to threaten those from their preceding generation.

E: That's true but like I already said, the talent could have become dispersed with the age range of actresses who are still active going up. Actresses like Lee Young-ae and Jeon Do-youn are still strong forces in the industry so none may have been able to surpass them yet. The same applies for actors too. The talent after Jang Dong-gun, Jung Woo-sung and Lee Jung-jae seem to be somewhat scattered about.


Beck: My conscience was pricked when Lee Mi-sook said "It's the first time actresses are on the cover? Then why are you telling us to be proud of it? You're the one who should be proud."

E: Yoon Yeo-jung, Ko Hyun-joung and Lee Mi-sook are movie stars so they have lived their life rejecting those who consider them insignificant. There's been a lot of talk about celebrities in general these days such as them having so-called sponsors or being asked to attend an event in return for a bag. In Yoon's case, she likes classical music and knows many distinguished figures so is often invited to their parties as a friend but she'll be asked how she got invited to the party. She says its one of the things that hurts her pride the most. She's there because she got invited but everyone thinks 'I wonder how an actress got invited.' Ultimately, they're people who have been fighting against the prejudice everyone has of actresses. They've been trying not to be treated the way people typically think of them. And that's why they can talk about being proud outrightly.

Beck: That's why I felt that Yoon, Lee and Ko are real survivors when I watched the movie. They made it this far somehow... they didn't die, disappear nor run away.

E: All three of them are often told that they're fussy but from my viewpoint, they're the ones with the most common-sense of all the people that I know. Society itself doesn't make sense to start with but people keep imposing it on them. But they're only questioning 'Why do I have to do this? Do I have to do this just because I'm an actress?'

Beck: I heard that an actress stops aging the moment she debuts, regardless of what age she is. In a negative sense this could mean they're socially immature or that there will still be a certain pureness about them even when their past 60.

E: You may think actresses are sly and opportunistic but there are a surprisingly large number of them who are pure at heart. I think that's the reason they can be actresses and give everything they have based on their trust on the director or the film. You can't do that if you're calculative. It was the same with "Actresses" -- many of them agreed to take it on the spur of the moment. I didn't have a scenario or guarantee but they said, "Do you really want to make a film like that? Will it happen if I help you? Whatever, I'll do it." Just like that, in five minutes. You can't do these things if you calculate too much.

Beck: The typical image the public has of actresses is that they're very fickle and go after what is good for them.

E: Of course they have ups and downs and they're sensitive. But that's why they can be actresses. They are instruments -- they can't take on this job if they're not sensitive and delicate. Hence, they're hurt that much more easily and also become absorbed with whatever more easily.

Beck: As a director, what type of actresses are easier to work with? Those with strong egos and strong opinions? Or those without strong opinions and are more passive?

E: Regardless of how long they've been learning the art, actors are people who have to be able to understand the director's words and express it. That's why I like smart actors. A smart actor who can rid himself or herself of any emotions and start a film on a blank slate. I like actors who are smart, not clever.

Beck: The sad truth is that while actors gain more from aging, actresses become increasingly burdened by it.

E: Lee Mi-sook was supposed to suffer from depression, according to my original scenario -- an actress who is extremely plucky on the outside but someone who will wipe off the depressed look on her face right before she walks into the studio. The problem was that there was no gloominess to her face. (laugh) She's never actually suffered from depression before and when I asked her, "Didn't you just say you're depressed?" she said, "I just said it for the sake of it. I wouldn't actually say it if I really was." Of course, her looks and character probably got her whatever she wanted in her 20s and 30s. And now, she probably does feel frustrated over it not always happening anymore but I think there's an ongoing struggle about it within her. She'll let out her stress about aging by saying jokes like, "I'm developing a new medicine right now so call me later if you're interested." And she'll work out for five to six hours a day and eat her vitamins. It's not that she's not stressed about it -- she's the type that overcomes it by showing it on the outside. Yoon Yeo-jung seems to be coping with her aging by constantly calling herself "old lady" and "old actress" which will probably help her to objectify herself. It's as if she's telling everyone, "I know I'm old so don't go at me about it" before they say, "Why is she so old?"

Beck: So it's like when Yoon says in the movie, "Don't talk about skin in front of me"? I think everyone has their own form of mental therapy for aging since it's a natural phenomenon that they can't go against.

E: It'll be difficult to bear through without one because society is always mentioning actress' ages. People often wonder why Korea doesn't have actresses like Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Meryl Streep but the problem is within Korean society, not the talent of the actresses themselves. Once they pass a certain point and step down from stardom, people easily view them as 'done' which makes it difficult for them to maintain their great egos.

Beck: I think that we'd see a completely different sight if you made a similar movie with male actors. That we'd probably see peace being made according to their ranks? I think "Actresses" showed me that women make peace in a cool way.

E: Men tend to feel awkward about expressing themselves so I don't think the story would be as elaborate. If I got the chance to make a similar movie with actors, I think I'd want them to be of similar ages rather than from different age groups. Like Lee Byung-hun, Jang Dong-gun, Jung Woo-sung, Lee Jung-jae... Or maybe do a story about Hallyu stars. (laugh)

Beck: Do you really think it'll be possible to get them together like the actresses?

E: That I don't know. But I don't think I was able to get these actresses together because of the fact that they were women. It's because of who these actresses are. Some actresses said they're just scared of the fact that a group of actresses were getting together. And that's why there were quite a large number of actresses who weren't able to take part in this movie. Ultimately, the ones who did participate are the ones who refused to remain trapped in the stereotypical image of actresses.

Beck: "Actresses" reaffirmed the evident fact that films are mediums of record. The value it has in that it made a record of a gathering of this generation's top actresses and spoke of the truth about them to as close as possible.

E: They say in the movie, "Let's take a photo to celebrate us gathering here today on December 24, 2008." I think the two weeks they spent filming "Actresses" in June this year will be a memory they will cherish many years later. They too will change someday and some may even no longer be here. But I think this movie will be something they can open up and look back on, like a school yearbook. I think the actresses who took part in this movie will have also been healed in some ways.

Beck: And I think the actresses who did not take part in this film would have felt similar emotions too.

E: I think it would be correct to say that the ones who were willing to speak up on behalf of all actresses took part in this movie rather than to say that I chose Korea's top six actresses. In any case, they talk about the things that all actresses have always wanted to say at least once.

Beck: How would you feel about shooting a film with these actresses again 10 years later? Like a reunion on the Christmas eve of 2018?

E: Ah! Should I really? I think it would be a good idea to try shooting a documentary then. Let's see... Yoon will be 73 by then. I'm quite curious to see how everyone will have changed.


Editor in Chief : Beck Una one@10asia.co.kr

Reporter : Choi Ji-Eun five@10asia.co.kr

Photographer : Chae ki-won ten@10asia.co.kr

Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr, Lee Ji-Hye seven@10asia.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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Actresses show the substance behind their style

[Jainnie's CINE KOREA]

By Cho Jae-eun, JoongAng Daily

January 29, 2010


Six Korean divas dish in the pseudo-documentary film "Actresses" Provided by Sponge Entertainment

The notable thing about director Lee Jae-yong is that he always seems capable of achieving a smooth balance between the experimental and giving the public something they are comfortable with. In his latest film "Actresses," Lee features six of the country's top leading ladies in one big Vogue fashion shoot, with a delicious catfight squeezed in. He wraps a classic plot about beautiful women faced with insecurities, rivals and aging inside a deceivingly edgy "mockumentary" format.

The actresses, ranging in age from their 20s to 62, play themselves - or do they? At first, the movie seems to confront the mystery surrounding actresses in general by exposing them as "themselves." As the film progresses however, the line between our own perceptions about these women and their supposed "real" selves begins to blur.

Take Choi Ji-woo, for example. The 34-year-old has played the innocent star-crossed lover in many a TV drama, including the massive hit "Winter Sonata" (2002). Doing a complete 180 with this film, she plays an all-out diva, and tries to sneak her personal masseuse into a dressing room that she doesn't share with any of the other actresses. Is this a deliberate transformation on her part to show us her range as an actress? Or is this a bit of the real Choi as seen through the eyes of the director?

The film's showstoppers are the three eldest actresses, Yoon Yeo-jeong, Lee Mi-sook and Ko Hyeon-jeong, who deliver the wittiest lines and the most natural performances. Given the fact that the director has said most of the film was improvised, their self-deprecating humor and wit shines through all that much more.

In one scene, Choi says she envies Korean actress Song Hye-gyo for her popularity in the Japanese and Chinese markets, and Yoon replies, "Well then, I'll just have to maintain my popularity in the jerae [flea] markets."”

Ko's role in the film seems to be a delicate balancing of the bully and the jester, as she picks a fight with Choi and drinks too much Champagne. It's a refreshing take on Ko, who made news for her divorce from a high-profile jaebeol (conglomerate) magnate.

Through their attempts at being "real," the actresses in fact become much more intriguing to audiences than the often two-dimensional people we see, whether in the tabloids or the mediocre TV drama roles they are famous for. By playing themselves unscripted, their depth as individuals, and as performers, becomes more tangible.


Drama / Korean

104 min.

Now playing



'Actress' Reveals Real-life Personalities of Top Actresses

KBS Global [2009-12-09]

Scenes from the movie "Actress," which stars Yoon Yeo-jung, Lee Mi-sook, Ko Hyun-jung, Choi Ji-woo, Kim Min-hee and Kim Ok-bin, have drawn viewers' attention with their true-to-life portrayals of the actresses' lives. Sometimes it is even hard to tell the difference between fiction and reality.

Ko Hyun-jung says actresses cannot always pretend to be on good terms with one another because reality is very different. Here's what these top actresses had to say about their lives in accounts that were sometimes amusing and sometimes moving.


◇ Generation gap

Kim Ok-bin, who is the youngest, waits in her car when she arrives at the film set early. When Yoon Ye-jung arrives, she calls her "Master Yeo Un-gye." When Yoon Yeo-jung mentions her drama "Chang Hee-bin," Kim Ok-bin asks her what role she played in it. When the two meet in the hall and Yoon Yeo-jung is smoking, Kim Ok-bin asks for her permission to smoke together. Yoon allows her to join her and scolds her for not smoking correctly.


◇War of nerves

The shoot cannot resume because Choi Ji-woo is late. Ko Hyun-jung says scornfully, "People like that are always late because they think they're divas." She keeps picking a fight with Choi Ji-woo while holding a glass of liquor. She asks the reporter, "Is there anything for you to write about? Nothing. You will only get to write something when we're honest."

Choi Ji-woo gets a call from Yoo Ho-jung, her friend, and goes to the restroom to confront Ko, saying "What gives you the right to talk to me that way?" In response, Ko stands up slowly and says, "Hey, is there anything wrong with that? I'm your senior here." The two start raising their voices. Choi Ji-woo ends up muttering, "That's why you were kicked out."


◇What's on their mind?

The actresses gather for a few drinks. When Ko leaves the room for a moment, Choi begins to complain about her. Lee Mi-sook says, "She's like that because the Korean Wave is wrong." Ko asks each actress to name her rival. The responses vary: "I want to beat Lee Young-ae." "I want to be better than Hye-soo." "At the screening of 'Some Like It Hot' there were so many fans of So-hee. It made me feel bad" (Kim Min-hee). "It's not jealousy. It's shame" (Yoon Yeo-jung).

"My rival was Young-ae. I wanted to be popular in China. I envy Hye-gyo for that" (Choi Ji-woo).



Lee Mi-sook and Ko Hyun-jung meet for the first time since running into each other at a beauty salon shortly after Ko was married. "Back then, she told me not to lose heart and to be confident with my in-laws" (Ko Hyun-jung).

Lee Mi-sook, Ko Hyun-jung and Yoon Ye-jung, who appeared in the same drama, gather in the restroom. Yoon figures out that the three were born in the year of the pig, given the 12-year age differences. "We have one more thing in common. We're all divorced" (Ko Hyun-jung).

Ko is scolded for being too talkative. She responds, "I wasn't like that before I got divorced."

"Because people were gossiping about her after her divorce, I told her that she was like Jesus. She had to suspend her career for 2-3 years. Divorce is like a scarlet letter. She was dumped, but since she kept silent, her ex-in-laws placed the blame on her. When she complained, Kim Soo-hyun told her that it was better to say that she had dumped that ugly guy than that she had been dumped by him" (Yoon Yeo-jung).

Hearing those words, Lee Mi-sook hides her tears. Ko Hyun-jung starts crying.

"People still think that divorce is a big sin. People will probably scorn us for saying this. They think that the whole world is ours" (Ko Hyun-jung).

"Living as an actress in Korea is not easy" (Lee Mi-sook).

"Sometimes we are humiliated simply because we are actresses" (Choi Ji-woo).

"It's very cruel" (Ko Hyun-jung).

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The Actresses

There are many facets to a star. There are the myriad faces we see in the roles they play throughout their career. There is the personality that shines through in the many scripted and unscripted moments when actors come into contact with their public: awards acceptance speeches, press interviews, and so on. And then there is the "real" personality behind it all, what the person may (or may not) be like behind closed doors. Surely the contrasts and overlaps between stars' many faces add to their allure and mystery.


This allure is what illuminates E J-yong's The Actresses, a stylish low-budget film featuring six well-known Korean actresses playing themselves. The setting is Christmas Eve 2008 at the Vogue photo studio in Seoul. Six film stars from across multiple generations have signed on to be photographed together for the magazine's cover story. They include Kim Ok-vin, the 23 year old star of Park Chan-wook's Thirst; actress/model Kim Min-hee (Hellcats); Choi Ji-woo (TV drama Winter Sonata), whose status as a Korean Wave star in Japan sets her apart from the other five; Ko Hyun-jung (Woman on the Beach), enjoying a career revival after her high-profile divorce from a wealthy industrialist; Lee Mi-suk, the sultry lead from An Affair and Untold Scandal, whose career stretches back to the 1980s; and the sharp tongued veteran Youn Yuh-jung, whose filmography ranges from Kim Ki-young (The Insect Woman, 1972) to Im Sang-soo (A Good Lawyer's Wife, 2003).

As we watch the women arrive at the studio (each in starkly contrasting ways that highlight the differences between them), greet each other, enter makeup, try on dresses, etc. we feel like we have been given a privileged glimpse into their lives. Of course, this isn't true: the screenplay is entirely scripted, by the director and the actresses themselves. But you can guess that in the writing of this work, a lot of their real feelings, thoughts, prejudices and fears ended up in the dialogue. One of the pleasures of this film is guessing how much of what we see onscreen has been invented, and how much has a basis in real life.

The main pleasure, however, is to simply revel in the star power and charisma on display. The film has almost no plot -- in fact the entire second half consists of the women sitting around (drinking) and waiting for a delayed shipment of jewels that are integral to the shoot. But it is brimming with energy. The dialogue is sharp and funny. A vibrant dynamic is created in the meeting of these six very different personalities and egos. The acting, with so much talent in one room feeding off each other, is on a level above most other films. We also feel for the other characters in the film -- photographers, Vogue editors, star managers and so forth (all playing themselves) -- who visibly struggle to make sure that all goes according to plan and nobody storms off the photo set. Finally, the film looks gorgeous, from the costumes to the women themselves to the production design (even if the cinematography by Hong Kyung-pyo may be a bit too shaky and hand-held for some viewers).

Director E, who has worked with many of these stars before in An Affair (1998), Asako in Ruby Shoes (2000), Untold Scandal (2003), and Dasepo Naughty Girls (2006), says he has always been struck by the offscreen energy of his actors, and that he wanted to share it more directly with his audience. While this may not be possible in a literal sense, the energy that suffuses this film is worth experiencing. Besides, Korean cinema has never produced a film quite like this one. The Actresses is in some ways just a well executed character-centered comedy, but the difference here is that the characters are bigger than the film itself. (Darcy Paquet)

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Watched it yesterday and loved it!

Among the six actresses, my fave in the movie are Yoon Yeo-jung, Lee Mi-sook and Ko Hyun-jung. They are amazing! :D

I was wondering before what was real and what was reel in the movie. I was laughing hard while watching this one. Such a guilty pleasure to watch. :P I wish there are more like this movie but with different set of actresses next time.

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Where can you watch this movie with subs ? I'm asking too much or I just have to patiently wait. T_T

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