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(LEAD) f(x)'s Victoria steps out of star's shadow in 'My New Sassy Girl'

All News 16:05 April 06, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with more comments at bottom; ADDS photos)
By Park Sojung

SEOUL, April 6 (Yonhap) -- Victoria of the South Korean girl group f(x) has stood up to a challenge no actress in her right mind probably would have: succeeding the legendary "My Sassy Girl" actress Jun Ji-hyun as the next sassy girl.

The original 2001 romantic comedy was watched by 5 million people in South Korea, an impressive record then, and caused countless women here to ask their boyfriends to wear high heels in their stead, mimicking a classic scene in the movie. It is also what established Jun as the strong woman symbol in South Korean pop culture.

Victoria says the South Korean was indeed a hard act to follow, but she is confident she has successfully stepped out of her shadow in "My New Sassy Girl," which is coming to South Korean theaters next month.

"It's true I was intimidated by the task since the original is so famous. It was a huge hit in my country, too," the Chinese actress and singer told reporters at a press conference in Seoul on Wednesday. "But my character is a different person and is from China. The director and other actors helped me stay confident, so I was able to do my job rather comfortably."

In "My New Sassy Girl," the original heroine, known only as "the woman," leaves Kyeonwoo (Cha Tae-hyun) to become a nun. Heartbroken, poor and unemployed, Kyeonwoo returns to being his loser self until his childhood crush (Victoria) swoops in from China to marry him.

Director Jo Geun-sik drove home how impressed he was by the actress's dogged efforts to master the Korean script.

"I told her she didn't have to get so hung up on the Korean script and said she could mix in Chinese whenever she felt like it, but to my surprise, she stuck to 99 percent of the Korean dialogue," Jo said. "I think that's more praise-worthy and harder than a Korean actor speaking English in a Hollywood movie. I'm extremely proud of and grateful for her."

Filming "My New Sassy Girl" was also a challenge for actor Cha Tae-hyun, who went out of his way to go skydiving rather than rely on computer-generated images (CGI).

"You can't get that kind of facial expression with CGI," Cha said, pointing to a still image displayed on a large screen. "I volunteered to do it, but I regretted my decision as soon as I made it (laugh)."

One of the highlights in the movie is a scene in which the new sassy girl orders Kyeonwoo to dress in a traditional costume of a country, which changes every night, and speak its language.

"It was so much fun. We got to wear so many different costumes," Victoria said, adding she remembers being the only person laughing when Cha spoke to her in broken Chinese. "He was saying something that sounded like a curse word in Chinese."

"My New Sassy Girl" opens in Chinese theaters first on April 22 and will open in South Korea on May 5.


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