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[INTERVIEW] Director E J-yong of "Actresses" - Part 2

최종수정 2009.12.11 14:53기사입력 2009.12.11 14:53

A scene from film "Actresses"

Beck Una (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 J-yong (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.

A scene from film "Actresses"

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.
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