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Actress Son Ye-jin reveals difficulties in playing historical figure

All News 17:57 June 29, 2016

SEOUL, June 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korean top actress Son Ye-jin said Wednesday she was under "tremendous pressure" to portray a real historical figure in her latest film.

The 34-year-old actress starred in "The Last Princess," a film based on the true life story of Princess Deokhye, the youngest daughter of King Gojong of the Korean Empire (1897-1907). Korea was a colony of Japan from 1910 to 1945.

The film was cinematized from a novel of the same title, written by Kwon Bi-young in 2009.

"I was taken by a kind of historical obligation to become a historical figure, especially when it was my first time to play such a role in my entire acting career," the actress said in a press conference for the film held at a movie theater in southeastern Seoul.

"The most difficult part about acting out Princess Deokhye was to think over and over what the princess would have done whenever I was confronted with the discrepancy between the existing archives and the film-adaptation version."

Son found reading about the royal character and playing her were two completely different stories. After shooting the film, the actress said that she began to see the princess "as a woman" and her life as "the life of a woman that evokes 'sorrow and sympathy.'"

"The Last Princess" depicts the turbulent life of Princess Deokhye. After her father passes away, the princess is forced out of her native country by Japanese imperialists and enrolls in a school in Japan.

As an adult, Princess Deokhye subjects herself to a political marriage with a Japanese aristocrat, fueling rage among her people.

The film takes a fictional additive in the plot. Kim Jang-han, a young Korean resistance activist and childhood friend of the princess, seeks to help the princess escape to Shanghai, China.

When asked to pick the most memorable scene in the movie, actor Park Hae-il, who plays Kim, chose the moment in which the Korean independence army carries out missions to regain Korean sovereignty from the Japanese colonialist regime.

"(The soldiers of Korean independence army) must have risked many things to cry out for the country's independence -- it broke my heart as I acted out one of them."

The film brought daunting challenges in terms of action sequences to veteran director Hur Jin-ho, a big-name figure best known by his works of romance and drama genres, such as "Christmas in August" and "One Fine Spring Day."

"I haven't had many chances to engage in the action genre," Hur said.

"But it was more exciting than I'd expected -- I think I want to go for another action film," the South Korean director said.


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