[Interview] Kim Min Hee was Always Confident about Her Acting
So which is Kim Min Hee most famous for? Fashionista, or actress? Many will probably choose her image as a fashionista, as she’s left big impressions with her commercials and photo spreads, and has shown that she’s fairly outgoing outside of acting.
These days, she is, however, swaying toward the other side. She showed her potential in the film Hellcats, and most recently hit a peak with her film Helpless. Although she acted alongside skilled actors such as Lee Sun Gyun and Jo Sung Ha, she managed to gather a great bit of praise for herself under the spotlight. It was the rediscovery of Kim Min Hee.
And so we met her to see what she had to say. About her rediscovery, her life and her films.
Kim Min Hee Up Close
Her every word bounced off the walls, and she was bold. She never hesitated in stating her opinion, and she had the power to draw one in only with her expressions and her aura.
The interview wasn’t easy. She wasn’t the type that moved the way a reporter pointed her. Rather than an interview, it was like a battle of sharp questions and equally sharp answers shot back and forth. Even though she seemed laid back and comfortable, she seemed to be stubborn underneath about her own films. She had been in the business for 13 years. She looked like and felt like a pro.
The following is a list of our questions and her answers.
I wonder how you felt after watching the movie yourself.
“After the press preview, the themes everyone concentrated on were bankruptcy and bad credit ratings. Personally, however, I concentrated more on social ignorance. Alienation in society. While I was acting, I felt that society is a lonely place. Try to imagine how terrifying it would be if you were absolutely alone. [Helpless] is a film that mixes well the sad life of one certain person and the message it conveys, and I’m satisfied with my own acting.”
Which scene did you like the best?
“I have a lot. First of all, the pension scene, the highlight of the film, fits the theme well. I also like the hospital scene in which I’m shown mindlessly lying on the floor after losing my child. I don’t think I’ve ever been through as many close-ups as I had to for that scene. For the scene in which I prayed for my parent’s deaths, I kept saying I wanted to retake the scene even after I had gotten an OK. I felt a want to do more. I think this list won’t end if I keep going. (Laugh) This piece was that meaningful to me.”
How was your teamwork with Lee Sun Gyun and Jo Sung Ha?
“Helpless was a film that gave us definite roles. I was a striker that had to strike a goal, and Sun Gyun oppa (big brother) was the last defender, the sweeper. Jo Sung Ha sunbae (senior) balanced the film out, and more than anything, all the actors understood what roles they had to play. That let us share a great teamwork.”
You had to act in a bed scene with the married Lee Sun Gyun. Was it burdensome?
“You can’t really call it a bed scene. Since we don’t really love each other, it wasn’t very burdensome. It’s just acting. (Laugh) I just concentrated on my role, and there wasn’t anything difficult about it.”
Wasn’t it hard going to be in the countryside with married men?
“Having shoots in the region as an actress wasn’t easy, because I had to sleep in an entirely different place. But it was great to hold talks over makgeolli after shoots. After that, the two went to play billiards, and I enjoyed strolls. The fresh air and the wind in my ears. I remember it was great to walk by the stream.”
You were praised a lot through this film. What do you think?
“Who doesn’t like being praised? I personally like being praised too… (Laugh) But it’s not that I’m crazy for praise. That was a bit exaggerated when I appeared on variety. Of course, I’m thankful for the praise, and I feel proud.”
You’ve never quite been able to escape controversies about your acting. Now the situation has changed; since when did you become confident about your acting?
“A lot of people misunderstand me on that. Honestly, I’ve never been embarrassed of my acting. I felt confident since the 2006 drama KBS2’s Goodbye Solo. I wasn’t bad in SBS’ Age of Innocence, either. I believe you can pass by with understanding the things I fell short in when I first started acting since I was a rookie. (Laugh) Now, when I start shooting a film, I pour all my energy into it. I’m not embarrassed about my acting.”
Fashionista and actress. Which image is closest to Kim Min Hee?
“The title ‘actress’ means a lot to me. I want to continue walking that road in the future. But that doesn’t mean that the title of fashionista doesn’t fit me. There was something I couldn’t quite fill before I started approaching people as an actress. After I started to be called an actress, my identity as a fashionista is causing a synergy effect to make the actress Kim Min Hee shine brighter.”
What does Helpless mean to you, and what are your plans for the future?
“I’ve never had a film pass the million mark. Even before its premiere, Helpless
“I want to do what I want to do like I’m doing now. I don’t want to feel embarrassed when I look back at the actress Kim Min Hee. I want to show my own color and potential, although it may come slowly.”
Photo credit: Kim Byung Kwan