It’s been about ten years since Lee Yeon Hee debuted as an actress in 2004. She is now at the right age (25) to talk about marriage. We have not been able to meet Lee Yeon Hee in the big screen after the 2008 movie ‘Hello Schoolgirl’, but she chose the movie ‘Marriage Blues’, a movie that depicts marriage blues, as her comeback movie project after five years.
In ‘Marriage Blues’, Lee Yeon Hee plays the role of Somi, a girl who has been in a seven year relationship with a wedding looming ahead, but another man appears and shakes up her heart. I had a frank talk with Yeon Hee about being at the right age for love to blossom and marriage.
◆ “First love? I still don’t know about that.”
While talking about dating, isn’t it possible to bring up one’s first love? I’m curious about Yeon Hee’s first love. Yeon Hee asked back “Just what is first love?”
“Just what is first love? Is it something that fills your memories? I still don’t know. When talking about first loves, it seems like I have to say “that time was good”, however, I broke up with all of the people I was in love with, leaving me in pain. When I think about it at a later date, I think my first love will be a person who leaves me with a lot of reverberations when I think of them.”
Since she didn’t know about her first love, I asked about her most recent love. I expected that she may reply in the present form with her grammar, but she said “no comment” with a hearty laugh. I threw the ball at Yeon Hee, as someone who reads this interview may think it’s themselves, but Yeon Hee threw it back by saying “Wouldn’t all of them think that?”
Lee Yeon Hee’s view on love is cool. Even though she isn’t married, she doesn’t want to obsess over it. Seeing as how she has busily lived her life for all of this time, that kind of view on love would form in her mind. Since there are always people escorting her in her surroundings, on the contrary, she isn’t even sad about not being able to walk around with her boyfriend.
“If I have a lover, I think I would have to protect my private life. With my partner not taking me out (on dates, etc.), I’m not even deeply sad about it. On the contrary, there would be many situations where my partner wouldn’t be able to take me out. There always a manager around me, and there are people who are always looking at me. If they do well, I would be more thankful, but if they were indifferent, I would understand their level of indifference.”
Just like Somi in the movie, if a couple were to date for around seven years, it’s natural for a period of lassitude (where the couple becomes tired of each other) to come. I asked Yeon Hee if she had ever experience a period of lassitude, but she response back with “I have never experienced love where we pestered each other and grew sick of each other.”
“I honestly have never felt that were tired of each other. I was always happy when we met up. Though I couldn’t stay in one place for very long. I can’t really remember if I ever dated for a whole day. The longest I dated someone was about two years. I’ve never had a relationship where we grew sick of each other. I’m not the type that gets angry easily and I hardly fight. Though I have come this far working for a long time, there have been times where my boyfriend wasn’t able to understand my career and we broke up because of that, but I have never broken up with someone after fighting.”
◆ “Marriage? I’ll do it around 30!”
She has conviction in her work, and though she’s dignified in front of men, but Lee Yeon hopes that the dignity arises from her ability instead of it being fake, as that’s the ‘manliness’ she desires. Yeon Hee likes a man that doesn’t interfere while they’re dating, but as a marriage partner, she likes a man who can give up on his fixed schedule.
“While he has to protect his private life while we’re dating, it would be good if he could throw away that need for privacy in our married life. A man who likes culture isn’t my type. I want someone who can come home before 12 o’clock. (Laughs) I like a man who is suitably kind and that I can drink alcohol with, but I don’t like people who can’t regulate themselves.”
She’s still too early to be thinking about marriage. She came to have these thoughts about marriage due to ‘Marriage Blues’. Lee Yeon Hee wants to get married when she is about 30 years old. When she marries, she has the desire to devote herself to her family over work.
“Instead of having this great romance towards marriage, I would like to have a normal marriage life. It’s not that I would be giving up on acting, but I want to devote myself to my family at the beginning of the marriage, and after having a child, I want to devote myself to my family even more. If I gain free time after that, I want to act again. I don’t want to juggle acting and family life.”
What if people find out about the hidden pasts of a person who becomes an actor like the couple of Kim Kang Woo and Kim Hyo Jin in ‘Marriage Blues’? She said that the past isn’t important and that she hates finding out that someone was lying.
“Someone’s past isn’t important, but if a man says “I don’t frolic with women much and I don’t them very well’ and if that turns out to be a lie, I would be angry. Even in my normal life, I’m not the type to ask about someone’s past, however, I don’t like it when they can’t be truthful. If I find out later [that he was lying], I won’t be attached to him.”
◆ The two men she was with in ‘Marriage Blues’
If Lee Yeon Hee faced the same situation as Somi did in the movie, choosing between the man she loved for seven years and the man that attracts her like it’s destiny, who would she choose?
“Honestly, instead of someone attracting me at first sight, I’m the type who would go with someone who I’ve been with for a long time. Though there are people who genuinely approach me, there are a lot of walls, and this is a job where I can’t open up about myself on every topic. If I was in the same situation as Somi? Marriage is a very serious situation that I find important. Suppose I wanted to quickly find stability, but if I’m with a person for a long time who hasn’t stirred my heart, I would choose the new person.”
There are originally a lot of actors in a movie containing as many as four couples. Lee Yeon Hee has a lot of scenes in the movie with Taecyeon, who plays the role of Won Chol, who has been together with Somi for a long time, and Joo Ji Hoon, who plays the role of Kyung Soo, the man that suddenly shows up.
“There’s definitely an experienced side to Ji Hoon. Since he worked with Director Hong Ji Young on a former project, ‘Kitchen’, he understands right away and knows what to apply when the director gives out an order. I’m envious of how those two can communicate. I worked hard to take care of Taecyeon on set. Since it was his first movie, he may have been uncomfortable, so I worked hard to make it comfortable for him. I don’t have an extraordinarily affectionate personality, so I would start up conversations, ask him questions, and gleefully greet him.”
Did she have any prejudices worries about acting with an actor from an idol origin? Rather than worrying about his acting ability, Yeon Hee was more concerned about Taecyeon’s busy schedule.
“Taecyeon has always had a busy schedule, so I was worrying about whether he would be able to focus on the movie. Normally before filming a movie, actors had many places to get together to talk, but that wasn’t the case this time. Therefore we talked a lot through texts. Stuff such as ‘What is Won Chol like here?'”
Yeon Hee was able to brush aside her acting controversies in ‘Gu Family Book’ and she’s returning to the big screen after five years in ‘Marriage Blues’. Though she has expectations for ‘Marriage Blues’, her level of responsibility has grown at the same time.
“Since it has been a long time since I’ve done a movie, it seems like a lot has changed. Seeing as my last work was a ‘faction sageuk’ (faction is incorrectly used in Korean. They use it as a combination of fact + fiction, not know that faction is an actual word with a different definition), I wasn’t able to adapt at first. The tone became excessive without knowing it myself. In the scene where I was emotionally moved from receiving a proposal, I had to express myself with my hands shrinking away. (Laughs) After ‘Gu Family Book’, it feels like my level of responsibility has increased.”
Lee Yeon Hee was cast in the new MBC Wednesday-Thursday drama ‘Miss Korea’. Starting from the middle of this month (November 2013), there are plans to start filming. While she has to focus on her drama for the time being, I asked Yeon Hee about her plans for her next movie. She said it would be great if it didn’t take five years to get the role.
“There isn’t anything I have precisely decided on, but I’ll continue to be on the lookout for projects. It would be great if didn’t take a long time like it did this time. It would be great if I could stumble upon a great project sometime next year.”
Translation: The Real CZ @ Hallyu Interview