AFP – Song Hye-gyo, one of Asia’s biggest female stars thanks to a wildly popular television series, on Saturday said she is determined to match her success in romantic comedies with more serious roles.
“I want the roles I now play to be very different. I am trying to find very different and unique roles to play,” said Song, speaking on the sidelines of the 16th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF).
The 28-year-old South Korean, whose face is plastered on billboards across the region, said the parts she was now choosing were designed to be more challenging.
That’s certainly the case with Song’s latest film role.
In the Lee Jeong-hyang directed drama “A Reason to Live” — making its world premiere at BIFF — Song plays a young woman forced through tragedy to question the rights and wrong of capital punishment.
It is a step change from the bright and breezy romantic comedies that made her name.
The actress is also currently helping acclaimed Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai piece together his long-awaited martial arts epic “The Grandmasters”, a biopic of Ip Man, the man who taught Bruce Lee how to fight.
Both films had presented unique challenges, the actress said.
“In person I am a very calm character and in Wong Kar Wai’s film, I have to be very active,” said Song.
“I have to use my body and I am still learning how to be more physical. In director Lee’s film I have to express my feelings more than I normally do. I have to use my facial expressions.”
The actress said she had found that though the two directors were known for very different styles of films — Wong is an arthouse darling while Lee favours more gritty material — she had found they had a common touch.
“They are both very delicate when it comes to actors in that they give very detailed directions,” she said.
Song began her career on Korean television and soon became a household favourite across Asia thanks to series such as “Full House”, where she played opposite the Korean singing and acting sensation Rain.
Big screen success has been harder to come by but that hasn’t stopped the actress picking up a string of lucrative commercial endorsements.
And while film fans have been kept in the dark about when Wong’s film might be released — it has now been almost a decade in the making — Song said they would not have to wait for too much longer.
“We are still shooting because Wong Kar Wai is not usually a fast director,” she said. “But I think the film will be released in the next year.”
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