[Interview] Ku Hye Sun & Shim Hye Jin – InStyle Oct2014 issue
Because of actress Shim HyeJin’s heavy schedule of working on three dramas at the same time, the photo shoot interview could not be scheduled until the morning of ChuSeok. Without a moment of hesitation, Ku HyeSun agreed by saying: “Please arrange it to fit sunbae-nim’s schedule no matter what.” That is how these two ladies got together under the filming light. Whenever the camera shutter stopped, the two ladies laughed and talked. Director and actress, sunbae and hoobae, and mother and daughter—these are three ways to describe Ku HyeSun and Shim HyeJin under the one common factor, the new movie, <Daughter>. <Daughter> is Ku HyeSun’s third feature film, a psychological story that deals with the forcefully punitive mother and the daughter caught in the conflict. The title of the movie is as it sounds when read aloud and that in itself seems to have some relationship to mother’s misguided love for the daughter.
I saw a still cut of a bleeding face of Ku HyeSun who plays the daughter. I guess it is not a simple relationship of mother and daughter. There is a feeling of “tough/strong” in that picture.
KHS: Actually, it is something that all mothers harbor inside their minds. A mother probably did it at least once and the daughter encountered it. I just expressed it in an excessive way. Some will feel pierced by it. Because she is her daughter, a mother takes care of her. But such care is expressed extremely and violently.
Shim HyeJin-ssi. Did you identify with that view?
SHJ: Yes. Sufficiently. Simply put, the mother does not want her daughter to live the kind of life that she had. She does not want her daughter to repeat her past so that her daughter can live a happier and grander life. But, the child is too young to understand everything about the mother completely. Yet the mother continues to emphasize what she wants in an incomprehensible way. Naturally, the gap widens. There is no way to avoid the trauma. A parent may be able to accept no matter what the child does, but the child may not. Some parts may be very intense, but I believe that when we look around us there are people who are living in that way. People of different minds live in many different ways. What we normally see in the mass communication/media is not everything. We have to assume that there are others who are not seen. No, rather than assumption, it may just be the reality.
As much as the ‘daughter’ in <Daughter>, the ‘mother’ certainly must play a core character in the story. As a director, how did you choose Shim HyeJin to play that role?
KHS: I think of her as an actress who can handle any type of genre. Her acting in <Francesca> was sensational. She not only performed comedy but she never neglected the emotional aspect of her role. When you see this movie, you will see that is sunbae-nim’s one-man show. She alone makes the whole story. Everybody was amazed and impressed, “Wow, Shim HyeJin is something else”. It is my first time ever experiencing such an energy from an actor.
As an actress, you must have had your reason for agreeing to work on Ku HyeSun’s movie.
SHJ: I wanted to support a hoobae, knowing that production condition would not be favorable. When it comes to a movie that I sufficiently sympathize with, I then look for that director’s level of passion and potential. I look for that even more than the guarantee or how I will be treated. Of course, director Ku is wise and her passion brims over.
The actress Shim HyeJin that you saw as a director must have been different.
KHS: I think she studies a great deal. Even on location, she is constantly researching and studying.
SHJ: I wanted to be true to the script. As it is a low-budget film, it is very important to relay the director’s message most clearly and effectively.
Did both of you communicate your ideas and opinions fully on film location?
KHS: Compared to staff, I normally don’t do it as much with actors. I do not want to encroach on the actors who are reflecting and designing on their interpretation. Especially to Shim-sunba-nim, I pretty much left it up to her.
SHJ: As an actress, I am her senior by many years, however, I did not want any burden or difficulty because of that. The priority was to follow director Ku’s direction, however, she was very receptive when I would render my opinions. She managed everything so well on location that I had a very comfortable filming experience to its completion.
This is a movie that highlights women, where a mother and a daughter are at the center.
KHS: That is correct. Besides the child actor’s friend, there are hardly any male characters. I think that it is more comfortable for me to deal with female psychology, as I am a female. Somehow, I feel as if the male characters that I describe seem to show more female qualities.
These days, the roles that Shim HyeJin-ssi play, including ‘Steel Butterfly’ in Endless Love are women whose ambition overflows.
SHJ: Steel Butterfly has a great desire for power and ambition, but she also has a lot of maternal feelings. It is just that the drama does not give much life to the details. Just as the mother in the <Daughter> has her reasons, I hope that people understand why that character could not help but to become that way. Women become beautiful as much as she is loved. Pain creates such obsessions. No one is born that way.
I get that you feel love and affection for all the characters that you play.
SHJ: Without the reasons, a person will appear crazy. If the reasons are clear and the person experienced similar background and environment, it is very understandable. We are not all alike, however, it does not make sense to ignore or look down on those who are different from others. We need to see that different people exist.
Of course, experience helps with understanding. Ku HyeSun-ssi, I would imagine that writing this story could not have been easy for you since not only are you single but you do not have a parenting experience.
KHS: The story is told from the daughter’s perspective, not from the parent’s. I plan on not showing the movie to my parents. It is not my personal story, but I am afraid they might feel sad watching how the mother is negatively viewed. The third party most often think that story must be drawn from the director’s own background. The hallway style apartment is from my childhood memory, but, generally, a small experience has been enlarged.
While directing, which scene was most impressive to you?
KHS: the degree of cursing gradually increased. I always had doubts about corporal punishment. I used to think that it would be ok to hit once if the child does not listen. But, the degree can intensify and later become an abuse. At first the hand is hit, later, the face. It is the same with cursing (verbal abuse).
SHJ: I say so much vulgar cursing…(laughter). I practiced a lot at home. At first, it was very hard because I just could not do it. I felt so sorry for cursing so much at the child.
Acting or directing, is there any thing that inspire your works?
SHJ: Every aspect of every day. There used to be a time when I had a more global answer to that question. However, I realized that it is too wide and vague.
KHS: All my movies have the before and after themes of experiencing death. I feel that there is nothing else that powerful to either change a person or to make a person feel regret.
If there is such a thing as a time machine, is there any scene or film location that you would like to re-enter?
KHS: Do it again? I don’t think there is any actor who would want to return—to the time when they hardly slept enough and when they remained ??jjul-uh??. But, I think that they will not think that badly of my filming location where I direct.
The hardest thing for the actor to endure while committed to filming is that s/he is imprisoned inside someone else’s time schedule. A director can move according to his will.
SHJ: I may consider going to the future, but I don’t want to go to the past. Whether it is for filming or something else, I still have to live up to this point. There is no guarantee that mistakes may not be repeated. In that case, it might be better to go to the future to see how I can change to prevent something from happening or to continue with that, which gave me the good future.
Most people express regrets about their past by saying, “if only I did this or that,,,” and think about going back to their past. But, I hear from you two that you have lived your past with passion and that you do not have past regrets.
SHJ: If I go back, would I live better than I do today? I am not sure. Maybe I did not have an interesting past, but I did my best.
KHS: I do not have regrets, but I do think a lot about this and that.
If there is something that you could have today….?
KHS: mental independence. I don’t want to depend on others and to be free within my time.
SHJ: I really believe that no matter who one may be, one must have belief/faith. Without the faith in oneself, I feel that there will be no motivation to do anything. One must become the universe.
Source: InStyle Oct2014 issue by Ayesuper
Translation by cheerkoo @ soompi