The Korean Cultural Centre in London has officially revealed their star studded line up for their 2013 Korean film programme, ‘The Year of the 4 Actors’. Although we’ve known since the beginning of the year that actress Moon So-ri would be coming over, up until now the rest of the actors have been kept under wraps. But now all is revealed! Joining Moon So-ri in the line up and paying the KCC UK a visit later on this year will be Choi Min-sik, Jeon Do-yeon and Ha Jung-woo! I think we can all agree that the KCC UK is spoiling us this year with this amazing set of talented actors!
The ‘Year of the 4 Actors’ kicks off with Moon So-ri, who will be coming for her Q&A next week on the 4th April after the screening of the film Hahaha. We’ve written about Moon So-ri in detail here, but to give you a quick low down about this talented actress: Moon So-ri is an experienced actress who’s played a wide array of roles in films of varying genres. Having always shown an interest in acting, she gained attention in her debut film Peppermint Candy, but it was her second film Oasis that gained her wider recognition and gained her the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress at the 2002 Venice Film Festival. Moon is the only other Korean actor to win an award at the VFF, demonstrating just how remarkable her performance was to gain international recognition at such an early stage in her career.
She’s continued to show how versatile she can be throughout her career, showing many different facets of her acting ability and range, and has worked with some of the most influential Korean directors, such as Im Sang-soo and Hong Sang-soo. Not only is Moon So-ri an amazing actress, she’s also a skill violinist, gayageum player and familiar with the art of performing Pansori! She’s obviously a woman who is not afraid of a challenge, and she believes actresses should cope with various characters even if there are risks to their career, and her faith has made her grow into a versatile actress in comparatively few movies (source). About her role in Oasis, Moon So-ri said “When I was first offered the role in Oasis, director Lee Chang-dong told me that it might be my last movie and I might not get any more roles. But I just said ok” (source). With a positive attitude, and no fear of making bold moves with her role choices, she’s a great choice to open the ‘Year of the 4 Actors’ and is sure to entertain the audiences when she arrives.
Take a look at this trailer from the film Oasis in which she starred. It’s one of our favourite films of the Korean Cultural Centre’s Moon So-ri season and the film showcases her amazing talents as an actress.
For anyone who’s not familiar with his name, I’m sure all I have to say is ‘the guy from Oldboy‘ and you’ll immediately know who I mean. Yes, Mr. Hammer Wielding Man himself will be coming over for a Q&A! Choi Min-sik is such an infamous actor that managing to snag this guy for ‘The Year of the 4 Actors’ is amazing. Starring in films such as I saw the Devil and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance has not only gained him huge recognition in Korea, but internationally too. Film4 often screens Oldboy and due to the international success of many of his films, his name is one that many foreign film fans know right off the bat. In Korean cinema, Choi Min-sik is one of the biggest names about.
Having graduated with a degree in theatre, Choi Min-sik dabbled first in plays before heading into film and TV dramas. He gained recognition from roles in films such as Shiri, Happy End and Failan, but it was in Korean wonder film Oldboy where Choi Min-sik’s popularity really took off into the stratosphere. After a four year self-imposed acting exile, he came back to film and in 2010 won more acclaim for his portrayal of a serial killer in I saw the Devil. Over the years Choi Min-sik has won more ‘Best Actor’ awards than we’ve had hot meals, and his popularity doesn’t look set to diminish any time soon.
Choi Min-sik seems like a very cool guy with a clear and realistic outlook on things, but maintains his artistic sensibilities. In an interview with ComingSoon.net he said “I’m a professional actor so I make money with this but I’m still an artist so I need some feeling to choose movies when I first read the script. No matter how popular that film might be, it doesn’t really matter. I just need some sort of feeling when I first read the ideas” (source). It’s quotes such as this that show he’s a level headed man who understands the need for artistic integrity and balance in the life of an actor. He’s obviously very much concerned and involved with issues regarding the longevity of Korean cinema, as shown by his self imposed acting exile, prompted by the South Korean administration’s decision to reduce the Screen Quotas from 146 to 73 days as part of the Free Trade Agreement with the US. In the past, he’s also said that “to make the Korean film industry flourish more, of course we need more support in terms of policies from the government, economically, but eventually all the crews, including directors and actors should try harder and do their best to make the best films ever. So that is the best thing to make the film industry succeed better. We should focus more on fundamental problems, especially when the circumstances are tough and complicated“ (source). Choi Min-sik is clearly a man with big ideas and big talent. I’m sure the cinema will be overflowing for his arrival in the UK and undoubtedly he’ll have some amazing insights to give us all.
If you have time, watch the trailer for heartbreaking film Failan, in which he stars.
The second of the ladies visiting for this programme is Jeon Do-yeon. Jeon Do-yeon first found fame acting in TV dramas but really found her place in the public eye when she starred in The Contact. She’s known to be able to adapt to any role she’s given, and is even often referred to as a chameleon given her ability to accurately take on the character of any role she’s handed, no matter how varied they are. Because she’s able to slip into any role so easily, she’s had a great array of different types of characters to play, and she always manages to give a very impressive performance. In fact, Jeon Do-yeon was the first Korean ever to receive an acting award at Cannes for the film Secret Sunshine, winning ‘Best Actress’ in 2007. She’s also seen as a role model for younger actresses, showing that she’s greatly respected with her skills admired professionally. If you look at the awards she’s won, you’d be amazed. She may not be as internationally recognised as Choi Min-sik, but she’s one fine actress that can bag the prizes!
If you take a look at some of the interviews she’s done in the past, she seems like a very grounded woman with her head firmly screwed onto her shoulders – “At the end of the day, we’re all alone. Our job is about making our own choices, standing in front of the camera alone and bearing it alone” (source). She also clearly doesn’t give in to pressure from inside the film industry, or from the public – “I think I’m the type of person who wonders what I want rather than wondering what people want of me. Not to say that I ignore their thoughts but I pay more attention to my own demands” (source). With a clear outlook on life and as a woman who knows her own mind well, her Q&A will no doubt be a interesting one that we’re very much looking forward to!
Here’s the trailer for Secret Sunshine, which we’re sure the KCC UK will screen as part of her visit.
Last of the actors, but certainly not least, is Ha Jung-woo. Sexy actor, I mean, professional actor Ha Jung-woo comes from a family of actors, and was bitten by the acting bug from an early age. Appearing early on in his acting career in indie and art-house films like The Unforgiven and Time, he not only gained recognition in Korea, but over seas too. He also managed to win the hearts of quite a few female fans early on his acting career…. we can’t imagine why, obviously nothing to do with his dreamy looks. However, the point at which he really came into the foreground was when he played the rather psychotic murderer in awesome film The Chaser. He’s also showed audiences that he’s a versatile actor by going from serious and deadly characters, like that seen in The Chaser, to lovable but confused by life types as seen in Love Fiction. Not content with acting, he’s also stepping into the world of directing with his first film Roller coaster. He’s also published his own essays which contain his personal drawings! What a talented guy.
From reading his interviews, Ha Jung-woo seems like a very playful, mischievous and happy-go-lucky kind of guy. If you want to find out more about him as a person, I’d say read this self-interview he did, it gives you an interesting look at his life and his thoughts, you can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here and Part 3 here! We can’t wait to get to see him in the UK, he seems like a right laugh!
Here’s the trailer for personal favourite, The Chaser.
‘The Year of the 4 Actors’ will so doubt be a fantastic opportunity for Korean film fans in the UK to be able to get up close and personal with some of Korea’s premier actors and actresses. We can’t wait for all their visits and sure you all feel the same. Starting with Moon So-ri’s visit next week, bring on 2013! To keep up to date with all the current information from the KCC UK, check their website here.