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[Interview] Honey Lee Emerges Triumphant with ‘Deranged’ Over the Controversies

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2012.07.15 15:00 Mwave Lee, JinHo Translation Credit : Erika Kim

Honey Lee recently came under fire from so many different fronts, but the pain washed away with the success of her film Deranged.

Honey Lee could be found among the cast of the film that shot through 1.3 million ticket sales in just four days, the fastest score for a Korean film this year.

Her title of Miss Korea, both an honor and a curse, won’t fade away so easily, but she at least got herself some footing on which she can start to call herself an actress.

Why did this talented Miss Korea decide to take up a career in acting? We met with Honey Lee in person to find out.

[Interview] Honey Lee Emerges Triumphant with ‘Deranged’ Over the Controversies

Honey Lee up close

She majored in traditional music at Seoul University, and went on to win the honor of being a Miss Korea. To the question asking her why she decided to become an actress out of all the other roads she could’ve taken, she answered firmly, “I’ve never thought of acting as a mere hobby.”

She also laughed away the vegetarian issues and love rumors that had been following her around these past few days. She was cool and she was honest. More than that, she was a free and broadminded woman.

She did say, however, that she was “very tired” of the controversies.

She showed a glimpse of the responsibility she held as an actress when she said, “What was more painful for me was that the piece that should’ve been getting the entire spotlight may be shunted away because of my issues. I’m so sorry toward my fellow actors and staff.”

There have been so many controversies about you. You must be feeling so distressed.

“I was tired ever since morning. I think the love rumors were the pinnacle of my ordeals. (Weary laugh) At first I was confused on what I should do, but now that they keep coming I became laid back enough to be able to laugh. I’m wondering who the man two years older than me [that was involved in my love rumors] is. I just hope that these unfortunate events can act favorably toward the piece.”

Many were concerned about your new challenge, ‘Deranged’.

“I was fairly confident when I started. Shooting was fun, and I had read the scenario without rest as soon as I had gotten it. After we finished shooting, however, so many people worried over it."
"They got me worried, and I wondered whether the special effects had turned out badly or whether anything had gone wrong. No matter what anyone says, however, our film is really engaging. I was more trustful than worried.”

What type of scenes were the most difficult?

“It’s supposed to be a disaster film. The scenes I appeared in were all hectic and pinched for time. We all had to be breathing hard, and so before shooting the scenes I got exhausted trying to work myself up. It was really hard to run as hard as I could even after I had stayed up the entire night (Laugh).”

[Interview] Honey Lee Emerges Triumphant with ‘Deranged’ Over the Controversies

Your role dates a man who borrows money from his lover after failing at stock investments (Kim Dong Wan). It’s a couple that will be hard to find in reality.

“I know…. I actually took it up with the director after I read the scenario. I asked him whether he thought it made sense that Yeon Ju (Honey Lee) likes Jae Pil (Kim Dong Wan). She’s smart and talented; would she like a man that’s such a jerk? While we continued shooting, however, I started to understand. It’s not the best thing to happen, but I think since they were a couple for such a long time they’re like friends and family now. I think she was worried on who would take care of that man if not for her.”

Have you ever dated a man like that? Would you be able to marry such a man?

“Before, I think I could’ve. I think I had such genes. If that person lacked something, I had to fill in for it, and I felt like I had to fix it for him. I guess I was like Yeon Ju in a way (Laugh)."

"Now, though, I don’t want to do it anymore. I learned that in this job, nothing’s more important than being kind. I think it just becomes hard if you’re not trustful.”

To be honest, you’re still more known as a Miss Korea than an actress. Do you think that’s a handicap or a strength?

“I admit that’s true, but sometimes it’s actually better that way. This year is the first year I’m working as a real actress, and I’m looking forward to it. It’s not easy to feel such emotions anywhere else (Laugh). I still don’t know how much I can do and how I can do it, but I enjoy watching myself concentrated on acting.”

I’m curious; why did you choose acting? You would’ve had so many other roads before you since you’re a Miss Korea and you learned traditional music.

“Even while I learned how to play the gayageum (traditional string instrument) when I was little, I felt something burning inside me. I loved synthetic arts. I wanted to show my talent through synthetic arts that incorporated both music and dance."

"I think that’s why I loved acting. I feel more passionate, also. I could start hosting shows or try other things, but I’m trying not to in case they undermine my passion toward acting.”

You’re still known as a very talented woman with a great background.

“No, no, no, no, no, no (Shaking fingers in strong disagreement). That’s a really burdensome image. To be honest, that’s not true. I worked so hard to escape that image. Please see me as an ordinary person, as an actress. I’ll work hard so that my fans will see me that way.”

What type of acting do you want to do as an actress in the future?

“I want to work on something that uses my strengths [such as my skill in traditional music]. Like Zhang Ziyi met Zhang Yimou, I believe that one day I’ll meet a director that’ll use my traditional music skills to the fullest. I want to keep it under wraps until then as my secret weapon.”

Please tell us about the film ‘Deranged’ and about Honey Lee as an actress.

“A lot of people may think it’s a horror film, but Deranged is actually a film that contains family love. It’s a piece that warms your heart. I want to work hard and aim toward being an actress that fits any role as if it were her own.”

Photo credit: Kim Byung Kwan

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Honey Lee 20120715
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