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Won Bin's 'Second Life' With 'Mother - 2009'

2009/05/18 Source

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

South Korean heartthrob Won Bin, who made a comeback through Bong Joon-ho's "Mother - 2009", now showing at the Cannes festival, said the thriller marks a "new start" in his acting career.

"If it was round one until now, then `Mother - 2009' signals the start of round two in my life as an actor", the 31-year-old was quoted as telling Yonhap News, Sunday, in Cannes, France.

Won had been absent for four years due to mandatory military service and an injury. "Mother - 2009" is his first movie after five years since "My Brother". "I am very greedy about acting, and the beauty of acting is that it is a never-ending process", he said, adding, "That is why I can put all my eggs into one basket".

Praised by Variety magazine as "an engrossing portrait of a feisty Korean widow" that was "unjustly denied a competition berth at Cannes", the film is featured in the Un Certain Regard section of the 62nd edition of the prestigious film festival. Won stars as a simpleton who is framed for murder and his mother, played by veteran Kim Hye-ja, scrambles about to prove his innocence.

"I tried to express a dual nature, both externally and internally", he said about his character Do-jun (which is also Won's real name). "I thought director Bong would know about the role best, so I tried to be faithful to the script. The audience can feel uncomfortable with characters that are lacking in intelligence, so I was deeply concerned about Do-jun's pureness and how to portray him in a more acceptable way.

"I also thought hard about what being pure is, and tried looking back at my old days or spend time alone, but in the end the answer was in the script", he said.

About stepping on Cannes' red carpet for the first time Saturday, he said, "I feel good participating in a big festival with a good piece. I feel even happier that I can share the moment with Kim Hye-ja, Jin Goo and director Bong Joon-ho.

"I'm curious to see how the foreign audience will perceive the Korean-style mother in the movie", he said. "But I think all mothers have the same heart, and I believe that viewers will be able to relate to the mother figure".

As much as the movie is about a mother and son, the chemistry between Won and Kim was vital. "The first time I saw (Kim), she felt like my mother", he said. "Her pure soul radiates from her eyes, and I was able to become close with her easily. All throughout the shoot she treated me like a son and truly loved her son Do-jun", he said. "I called her `mom' during the filming and I still call her mom".

"Mother - 2009", distributed by CJ Entertainment and rated 18 and over, will be released in Korea on May 28.

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