Won Jin-ah has a big weekend ahead of her. "Long Live the King" opens at the box office. It's her first starring role in a major motion picture, as the labor right minded lawyer So-hyeon. She's been talking a lot about how to make the character work.
In the context of "Long Live the King" So-hyeon is critical because the male lead, gangster Se-chool, falls in love with her and attempts to improve himself to impress her. Won Jin-ah describes her thought process for making this convincing as being less about prettiness or loveliness and more about purity. As Won Ji-nah saw it, So-hyeon would be most attractive to a gangster if she was enthusiastically fearless and honest.
To help improve chemistry with her leading man Kim Rae-won, Won Jin-ah would engage in sparring matches with him while learning how to box. She has mentioned, in a humorous tone, that he hits hard, but that his face looks ridiculous when doing so, and that this contrasting image informed much of her performance.
Won Jin-ah has also described her feelings on set as being constantly lively, and that she liked hanging out at the shooting location even on her days off. Won Jin-ah described the process as a good learning experience, even if she couldn't always spend time with the people she worked the most closely with.
However, she still talked to them often when given the chance. Won Jin-ah describes having a great rapport with Kim Rae-won, who always had a sweet attitude and nice words for her even when it was awkward. Won Jin-ah also said she fell in love with director Kang Yoon-Sung, who was always painstakingly polite and a careful listener who really helped her build So-hyeon as a character.
They had particularly difficult discussions about Won Jin-ah's voice. Initially, Won Jin-ah would play herself off in a lighter, schoolgirlish romantic tone, because that's what the script called for. She wanted to play the role heavier, and agonized over talking about this, but Kang Yoon-Sung was supportive of her interpretation. The contrast between tones is central to much of the movie's humor, after all, and Won Jin-ah felt emboldened by her work.
Interestingly enough Won Jin-ah still feels like the schoolgirlish voice she used initially might be practical in a different story. She expressed interest in playing a high school student in the future should the opportunity arise.
Written by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's News] Won Jin-ah Talks About her Schoolgirl Voice and "Long Live the King""
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