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Ko - production in Busan
  • Actress CHUN Woo-hee of THE BEAUTY INSIDE and THE PIPER
  • by Ha Sung-tae /  Oct 11, 2015
  • No One Else Comes Close
    CHUN Woo-hee's life as a thespian has totally changed since December 2014. Beating many candidates, she won the Best Actress Award at the Blue Dragon Awards for HAN Gong-ju and became the most significant actress. “I can’t believe such a glamorous award is given to such a low-profile actress like me, who acted in such a small film,” said she in her acceptance speech at that time. Her speech and tears earned the sympathy of many film industry professionals including actress KIM Hye-soo.
    Since then, CHUN has been acknowledged as a special actress, gaining enthusiastic support from young audiences. Praised for HAN Gong-ju and Cart, her unique career is expected to continue in 2015 and afterwards. CHUN performed one of the multiple personalities of the main character in melodrama The Beauty Inside this summer and appeared as a shaman in horror movie, The Piper. Moreover, she acts completely different characters set in different eras in NA Hong-jin's Gokseong (working title) and PARK Heung-sik's Haeohwa (working title). She became a muse who fascinated the two very different auteurs: macho director NA Hong-jin; and PARK Heung-sik who is famous for his feminist perspective. Given questions about what it is like to live as an actress here and now, CHUN gave out some answers.
    How’s CHUN Woo-hee Different? 
    I’ve thought much about that. Do I pursue the difference? Or is it just the people out there expecting it from my acting? I think it’s both myself and others. I want to create images that are different from what other actresses have done so far, and break conventional genres or moulds. I am a person who tends to resist. I ask myself “Why not try this?” I have no particular role or character that I want to act. I just choose interesting projects as they come. First impression matters the most when I read scenarios. I don’t do character/script analysis until later.
    The Best Actress Award, and the Change Thereafter
    My life hasn’t changed that much. But I have more opportunities to choose projects, both in terms of quality and quantity. I really appreciate it. I feel the heavy responsibility. I’d be lying if I say I feel no burden at all. The sense of responsibility and the burdens, however, make me look back on how I acted before and why I want to act in more films. I don’t want to betray my audiences’ trust in me. And I believe that such desire is absolutely necessary.
    Unique Walk of Career
    People advise me about it. Especially those close people say I’d better choose to act in some hit projects and be better recognized from now on, since I have already received positive reviews about my performance. However one can’t always take a path that she/he wants. I am sure that I will always choose projects and act with the same heart and attitude that I have now. I don’t feel like doing or avoiding certain genres or films just because I’ve filled in some holes in me through my previous movies.
    Indie Film HAN Gong-ju
    It is true that an indie release, HAN Gong-ju, brought me to fame. However, film itself is a popular art form. It is lame to distinguish independent films and commercial movies. It isn’t wrong to show one side of me as an actress, nor is it a betrayal. I guess actors can only slowly show what’s in us, doing what we can do well. People ask me "You are not going to do another indie film, are you?" but I don’t want to apply a uniform standard to films.
    Actress’ Taste 
    Actors necessarily do have tastes. I choose projects and characters that I find more interesting. The larger variety of choice I am given, the harder I have to think: do I have to just trust my feelings, like I did before, when making choices? Sometimes I want to try more diverse and bold genre movies, but I am afraid of losing the audience’s trust. I am surely given quite a lot more to think these days.
    Director NA Hong-jin’s GOKSEONG (W/T)
    Director NA Hong-jin is very enthusiastic. I was excited to act with KWAK Do-won and HWANG Jung-min. I was the only female actor on set, and I think I wanted to team up with the senior actors. Though I was the young girl with less experience, I wanted to exercise the same energy with them, not falling into the mere category of actress.
    Director PARK Heung-sik’s HAEOHWA (W/T)
    I play the best “gisaeng” (Korean traditional female entertainer) in Gyeongseong. During the test shot where I was wearing full make-up and costume under the pin lights, I was thrilled as if I was standing on an opening stage of a play. I mean, it was worth challenging. In The Beauty Inside, I, for the first time, did a role that confesses love for an actress; I look forward to observing the chemistry between my acting partner in both films HAN Hyo-joo and myself. With YOO Yeon-seok, also featured in The Beauty Inside, added, I am excited to see how the harmony of the three of us would turn out. My role was a feminine character in the script, and I wonder how much of my character would have been reflected in the film and how different it will look on screen.
    Action Star CHUN Woo-hee
    I really want to do some action movies. Actually I did physical actions in some movies like Sunny (2011) and Gokseong (W/T), even though I’ve never acted in real action movies. I feel enraptured when I act, using my body. Action directors’ compliments cheer me up so much. Probably that’s why I thought I would want to act like Charlize Theron while watching Mad Max: Fury Road .
    Real Person
    I often think that I would love to play a real-life figure. I wonder what those actors would feel when playing Ray Charles or Marilyn Monroe? I do create fictional characters in movies, but acting a real person is a different story. I want to live a real person’s life in the movie.

    I always wish that we didn’t have to say “female” or “male” when referring to actors. It is true that actresses are only given a limited range of options when choosing films, in terms of our presence’ significance and the character themselves as well. So I have a goal. I am considered as an “actress” now, but I want to break the mould. I will try to be a true thespian, not an actress, when I attend awards ceremonies again ten years later.
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