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아시아경제 최신 기획이슈

[INTERVIEW] Actress Seo Woo - Part 1

최종수정 2010.04.28 18:35 기사입력 2010.04.28 18:35

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Korean actress Seo Woo posing during her interview 10Asia [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]

The day before shooting ended at 5 a.m. in the morning. The shoot continued again later on the same day at 11 a.m. During the afternoon the outdoor shoot was put to a halt due to the rain. For half the day she waited in the car for the rain to stop. Things resumed at around 9 p.m. The temperature suddenly dropped on the open set of KBS' "Sister of Cinderella" which is built next to a lake. While shooting the drama, it repeats the feeling of being on the field or on a stakeout.

Seo Woo, well-known for her role in the critically acclaimed movie "Paju" which won awards and opened at several prestigious international film festivals including the Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) and at the Rotterdam Film Festival, sat down to speak with 10Asia about her current role as Hyo-seon in "Sister of Cinderella."

10: You have shot about half of KBS' "Sister of Cinderella" now. Is it not physically tiring?
Seo Woo: I was worried at first because "Sister of Cinderella" is a mini series being shot on a very tight schedule. Of course I haven't gotten much sleep lately but it's not as hard as shooting a low-budget film in a short period of time. I feel that I've become tough by filming in torn-down areas in movie "Paju."

10: You're a new actress but have played a wide range of characters through a variety of films and dramas including "Crush & Blush," "Paju" and "Tamra, The Island." How do you choose your roles?
Seo Woo: I made my debut through director Jang Jin's movie "My Son." It was by chance that I appeared in the movie and I was in only one or two scenes but I really liked my role, and I think having worked with a good director and staff led to everything else. Rather than having a good eye for choosing the right roles, I am thankful that I got off to a good start and when I choose my next project, I consult with my agency's CEO and we have a long discussion on my next role. I tend to select roles that are difficult to play instead of the roles that I know that I know I would do well at. I do it because I think I'd be offered an even better role after I do it. I was worried over having to play an ugly and weird kid in "Crush & Blush" and I am scared of water but I played the role of a female diver in "Tamra, The Island." I think taking on such roles have helped me to learn about the mindset I should have or how to handle certain situations as an actor.

10: From all your roles you have played, which character do you think is similar to you?
Seo Woo: All the characters that I have played have been similar to me in a certain way. No matter how fun and good a production is, I won't take it if I think I wouldn't be able to stand playing my role. (laugh) My character Jong-hee from "Crush & Blush" lived a life completely different from mine but I think that I had some of her traits. Like the inferiority complex or expressing myself in the opposite way from how I feel. When I saw the script for "Sister of Cinderella," there were parts where I thought, 'Oh! This is just like me!"
10: Are you two similar in the sense that you grew up receiving a lot of love?
Seo Woo: Yes. Both my mom and dad are very old while they're the youngest in their families, and I am the youngest in my family. So while I was growing up, I think I lived in my own world where I thought 'everyone will love me and think I am pretty' because the elder people in my family would show me lots of affection and gave me everything I wanted. I found out though, that it wasn't like that in the real world. I realized I had been wrong the whole time. (laugh) I thought to myself that even if I am happy and I think that people around me like me, somewhere in the world there is someone who hates people like me. So I liked how Eun-jo looked differently at Hyo-seon.

Korean actress Seo Woo posing during her interview 10Asia [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]
10: You look very young for someone in her mid-twenties. That's why you were able to play a middle school student in "Crush & Blush" and other younger roles. Do you ever get stressed out because of your youthful face?
Seo Woo: In "Tamra, The Island" my character Beo-jin was 15 or 16 years old. It was a bit embarrassing [to play the role] but I didn't pay too much attention to it. I thought that for "Sister of Cinderella," they would use child actors but they said, 'No, why would we use child actors when we have Geun-young and you?' so I was taken aback. (laugh) It did feel uncomfortable having to wear a school uniform, and not just for one episode but four because I think viewers too would feel uncomfortable seeing me in it. (laugh) But someone told me that this might be my last time wearing a school uniform and that I may not be able to anymore even if I wanted to. Of course, I may get to wear one again but I decided I should be thankful that there are people who want me to wear a uniform so I went forth with it.

10: In film "Paju," the transition you showed with your character growing from a middle school student to a female in her 20s was very natural. You had to pull off quite a large age range. What did you do to express the differences in a character's age and mind set?
Seo Woo: The director of "Crush & Blush" showed me a video of how middle school students talk nowadays. I noticed that kids nowadays are much more mature and smarter than in my days, whether they are talking to someone of the opposite sex or just friends. I realized that you don't talk like a kid just because you are young. When my character in "Paju" was in high school, she was mature and had a lot of inner thoughts. And just because Hyo-seon from "Sister of Cinderella" is 25 years old, it doesn't mean that she is all grown up. It's not important to differentiate between a middle school student, high school student and an adult but a person's inner age is more important. I rather work hard on the external changes the character goes through, such as the pronunciation, vocalization and tone.

10: What drives you to keep acting?
Seo Woo: Herbal medicine? (laugh) Honestly, when I'm acting I don't have much time to feel whether I'm really enjoying myself and I'm having fun because most of the time, things will be hectic and we will have to shoot the scenes in a hurry. But I do think I get the drive from the thought that I should compensate for the gratitude I feel. For example, when I was shooting "Tamra, The Island" I seriously didn't want to go in the water but I felt that I had to because more than 70 to 80 staff members were waiting for me to go in the water. Instead of thinking of 'I will look pretty if I do this' or 'I will be acknowledged for this,' I shoot each scene knowing that the staff members are doing a good job in capturing the acting and angles that I have discussed with the director.

10: What was it like working with outstanding actresses like Yoon Yeo-jung and Jeon Do-youn for the upcoming movie "Housemaid?"
Seo Woo: The senior actors in "Housemaid" including Yoon Yeo-jung, Park Ji-young, Jeon Do-youn and Lee Jung-jae all have at least 20 years of acting experience. As for me, when I get instructions from the director, I know what to do in my head but have trouble executing it the way I want to. So I was really frustrated with myself but the senior actors would just discuss with the director on things like 'If it was me, I would do it like this. I think it would be better if it was done this way. How about this?' It seemed that there was nothing they can't do when it comes to acting. I was in awe watching them -- how they can immediately act out the directions they've been given or do even more than expected. Out of all the other actresses I've met, I think veteran actress Yoon Yeo-jung is the funniest and instead of feeling nervous around her, I would feel happy to see her. Jeon Do-youn has such a cheerful disposition and I was so thankful for her because she would worry if I was tired or sick.

10: What kind of character will you be playing in the movie "Housemaid?"
Seo Woo: I play the role of Hera who is a bold woman who is strong in the visual sense as well. Hera is also in the last month of her pregnancy. The director told me that it would be a turnaround for me to take on the role of a housewife after having played a middle school and high school student up till now. I am short and have a short stomach -- I only found out this time around that I have a short stomach that is less than the span of my hand. (laugh) The special make-up artists had such a hard time disguising me.

Reporter : Choi Ji-Eun five@
Editor : Lee Ji-Hye seven@, Lucia Hong luciahong@
Photographer : Lee Jin-hyuk eleven@
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