Feb 22, 2008

The "Mothers" Who Supported BYJ

The Two "Omonis" of "Have We Really Loved"
Interview by Maki Tsuchida
(AERA 2005.9.30 edition)

Kim Hae-sook

Proud of Her Hands Rough from Housework
The Roles in films influenced her real life.
"My 2 year daughter kept on crying saying she wanted to go with me. I felt as if my heart was being torn apart - so much that I almost considered giving up my acting career."

KHS who is called "the omoni of Korean dramas" for her many portrayals as a mother, and her kind and loving expression looks back on the days when she was struggling as an actress, wife and mother. The conflict makes her treasure her time with her time with her family all the more, and she manages all of the housework on her own. She shows her hand rough from the wet work and laughs somewhat wryly but also proudly, that they are not the hands of an actress.

"I am optimistic by nature. Don't you think it's more pleasant to think about the positive side of things, rather than worrying? And the fact I have a family makes my job more rewarding."

Rather than her affection towards her family reflecting on her acting, KHS claims that her performances influence her real life. Because she is the type that immerses herself in the role, the boundary of her real self and the mothers she plays in dramas and films tend to become obscure.

Loved by Young Actors
"The Affection of Real Mother and Child"

"I had an interesting part in a recent drama - she couldn't carry a tune, but loved karaoke, and spoke in a sugary way. I couldn't get out of that way of talking, and my daughter laughed at me. In reality, I am not such a good mother like I play in the dramas, but I am supported by my family's understanding."

Although she has played many parts, the role that left the greatest impression was those in "Tale of Autumn" and "Pearl Necklace". Both were mothers with a complex character, but they were challenging roles as an actress.

"When I was playing the mother of "Tale of Autumn", I felt depressed. Just reading the script made me cry. The mother of "Pearl Necklace" had emotional problems, but it is a role I would like to try again."

Happily she claims that she has many children. In "My Brother", she played the part of Wonbin's mother. Being loved by the young actors, she receives many offers to play mother roles.

"I always order the actors who will be my children to call me "mother" even off screen before the shooting starts. They are bewildered at first, but we eventually begin to develop an emotional relationship resembling that of a real child and parent. Even when we meet after some time has passed since the shooting, they still call me mother."

Double Role of Actress and Mother
"It's fun once you get used to it"

The most difficult role was the mother role in "Have We Really Loved". Because the character setting indicated she had abandoned her young child (BYJ), it was a big topic among the viewers who would play this part, and that became a big pressure for her.

"Frankly, I had my grudges against the director. In order to express motherliness, I need to work closely with the actor playing the child. To express the sadness, I continuously listened to sad music from the previous evening right up till the shooting, and tried to build up my emotions. When I got an OK with just one take, I couldn't help clapping right there and then."

Playing the role of an actress and mother. It has never been easy, but it does not bother her. When she feels she is not fulfilling either, then is the time she must give up one of them.

"Even if I am not perfect, if I can show that I am doing my best, my family will understand. Fulfilling both roles is indeed difficult, but by working, I build a sense of responsibility, and because I am doing something I like, doing both is fun once you get used to it."
Yun Yeo-Jeong

Questions the Significance of "Good Wife and Wise Mother"
Always Works to Improve Herself

"Every mother is different. There are mothers who even abandon there children and family. I always try to portray the mothers that exist in the real world," declares Yun Yeo-Jeong. She too is a veteran actress who has played many mothers. Rejecting the conventional styles of acting, the reason she always takes on the challenge of new roles is because she has her doubts with the "good wife and wise mother" model. YYJ once left the drama scene after she got married and lived in the U.S. for 13 years. When she came back as an actress many people working in the drama world saw her as a woman with a "Western air". Having acquired an objective perspective of Korea from her experience abroad, she reflected that in her acting, but people turned their backs to her attitude.

"I had experienced divorce as well, and when you think differently from the ordinary Korean women, people did not like it so much back then. Because of that, I came to think I would do the parts that pleases me and for this reason, I feel close to the majority of the roles that I have done till this day."

Failure of Entrance Exams Lead Her to Acting
"I became free"

YYJ is very modest about her career, and is always striving to be better.

"Unless you are truly gifted, your talent as an actor could always deteriorate. Even now, I practice acting. Some of my colleagues say, 'why are you still practicing at that age?' but I think the reason I am capable of continuing my job as an actress is because of my training."

A quiet and shy girl in her youth, YYJ chose to become an actress when she failed her university entrance exam. It was the age when television broadcast started in Korea, and the new media caught her interest.

"People around me opposed, but since I had lost my purpose in life at that time, I think I wanted to do something new. Failing the exams, I felt I had become free from what had been tying me down. My film debut was in "Fire Woman" in which I played a girl who ruins someone else's home- I guess I had the foundations of my present acting even back then (laughs)"

In terms of a role as a mother, she claims the one that left the strongest impression was that of HWRL. She was originally cast for the role of BYJ's aunt, but the actress who was scheduled for Kim Hye-soo's mother left the role, and she was suddenly asked to become the pinch hitter. YYJ acted out the complex emotions of a mother who gives approval to her only daughter's marriage to a young man who was suffering an incurable disease. The controlled performance characteristic of YYJ brought out the reality of the drama.

Later, she again performed with BYJ in “Hotelier". Seeing that he had grown as an actor, she felt his charm as a man.

"BYJ is an actor with a very sincere attitude towards acting. He is the type that cannot get into his acting until his emotions are heightened, and I am sure the shooting of "Hotelier" must have been difficult for him involving a lot of specialized terminology. Looking at him when he went out to smoke in order to calm himself, he was so attractive that it came me the chills."

A Born Actress
"Will act in any role."

She later came back on the screen with "A Good Lawyer's Wife". Presently she leads a busy life, taking part in 2 dramas simultaneously, and she feels that she might be just a bit too busy, but she enjoys acting. She is an actress by nature.

"There is no role that I want to do in particular. It's not something that would come true by wishing for it. If there is a possibility that I can play it freely,
I am looking forward to any challenge."


bb said...

yea.... he's so attractive he gives me the chills too.... :p

Anonymous said...

ooo... chills...

Thank you for sharing.

flowerbossa said...

Hi bb & suehan,

Okay, I know he shouldn't be smoking....(and I hope he's stopped for good by now)


He looks so sexy when he does!


jaime said...

You know flowerbossa, I think YYJ is excellent in portraying the mother OF KHS in HWRL. That character is very complex and has gone through so many ups and downs, twists and turns in her life with her husband, daughter, old friends/enemies and son-in-law in the drama. It is really very hard to act out all these emotions and still manage to make it funny at times. It doesn't matter how much we love JaeHo, you can see understand from her standpoint as a mother why she wanted the best for her daughter and rejected JaeHo. A very convincing act from JJY!

Thanks for sharing your translation.

love ... jaime

flowerbossa said...

Hi Jaime,

Yes, she's great. In fact, I think the reason why HWRL is such a great drama is because each character is complex and all of the actors do justice to their given role. As much as I want to see it again, I don't know if I can live through one more round of all that pain...