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
By Lee Hyo-won
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.