From left: Moon So-ri, Kim Sun-young and Jang Yoon-ju pose following a press conference at the CGV Yongsan on Monday, ahead of the release of “Three Sisters.” (Scon)
Veteran actor Moon So-ri is returning to the big screen as a middle child of three sisters, a devout Christian who always tries to please the pastor, in the upcoming movie “Three Sisters.”
During a press conference held at the CGV Yongsan movie theater in Seoul on Monday, Moon said she had some difficulty understanding her character Mi-yeon at first.
“I have one younger brother and no sisters. I never attended church either,” Moon said. She added that she attended church services for several weeks for the movie.
Although Mi-yeon is not a character that resembles her, Moon decided to take the role after reading the whole script because of its message.
“I read the script and loved it. I thought it should be made into a movie,” Moon said. “I also watched director Lee Seung-won’s previous films and plays. His works are always radical but considerate. He always has a soft spot for less privileged people.”
Director Lee also noted that he put a lot of effort into creating an in-depth story.
“Domestic violence and adultery. The topics that I talk about in the movie are not special. They often appear in movies and are consumed without much thought,” Lee said. “I wanted to take a deeper look into these topics.”
The 115-minute movie revolves around three sisters Mi-yeon, Hee-sook ( Kim Sun-young) and Mi-ok (Jang Yoon-ju). The sisters all have their struggles.
Middle sister Mi-yeon appears to live an enviable life. She has a husband, who is a professor, and two kids. However, one day she finds out that her husband is having an affair with a university student who is a member of the church choir, the same choir for which Mi-yeon serves as a conductor.
Oldest sister Hee-sook, who runs a small flower shop, struggles to manage her rebellious daughter. She is also saddled with debts run up by her husband. Despite the hardships, she tells her sisters that she is fine. Making matters worse, she is diagnosed with cancer.
Youngest sister Mi-ok has a wild personality and is an alcoholic. She married a divorced man and has a stepson, who looks down on her.
The three sisters return to their hometown for their father’s birthday and the trip triggers unpleasant childhood memories, which they thought had been forgotten.
Unlike Moon, Jang, who plays the youngest sister, said her role seemed like her destiny.
“I am one of the three sisters in real life,“ Jang said. ”Also, I am the youngest sister just like my character.“
Model-turned-actor Jang added that she worked hard to play wild but down-to-earth Mi-ok.
“My friend suggested that it would be nice if Mi-ok had bleached hair. I agreed and bleached my hair and this change also gave me confidence (to play the character),” Jang said. “I also tried to completely forget about my modeling career and image as a model. I had a mindset that I am starting from the beginning.”
During the press conference, Kim who played the oldest sister also shared her experience of working with real-life husband director Lee.
“I feel the most at ease when I am working with him and it helps me concentrate on playing my role,” Kim said. She also added that the couple had many discussions to create a realistic character.
“Sometimes their discussion was too fierce. I worried that they might get a divorce,” Moon joked.
When asked what was it like for Moon to be the co-producer of “Three Sisters” as well, she said that she was glad to contribute more.
“To be honest, there was not much difference in how I approached the film (as a co-producer),” Moon said. She explained that she was taught by director Lee Chang-dong that the actors are also part of the staff that produces the movie together, and has been approaching her work that way since day-one.
Moon debuted in 1999 in Lee Chang-dong’s “Peppermint Candy” as Sun-im, the first love of the suicidal protagonist Yong-ho (Sol Kyung-gu).
“Three Sisters” hits local theaters on Jan. 27.
By Song Seung-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)