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What “Small Movie” Means to Kim Hye Soo

Credit: Warner Bros. Korea

Actress Kim Hye Soo opened up her weakness and pain through her film The Day I Died: Unclosed Case. The movie is about a detective Hyun Soo whose life is shaken to the core, tracking down a case in which Se Jin, the main witness of a criminal case, went missing after leaving a suicide note. High school student Se Jin’s pain was sparked by others, and Hyun Soo is also distressed by the misfortune that took place regardless of her will. The more she investigates, she finds herself in Se Jin. And it seems like Kim Hye Soo saw herself from Hyun Soo.

“I don’t desperately try to get over difficult things. I just let them be, thinking ‘this too shall pass.’ It’s a shock to experience a heart that I’ve never prepared for before. And I have experienced that. Everyone faces a crisis. There was a time when I thought, ‘I’m not okay’ for the first time. I think I started the character of Hyun Soo from that point.”

Credit: Warner Bros. Korea

Kim Hye Soo depicts Hyun Soo, who is facing an uphill battle, with a calm and restrained manner. Her dry face, bloodshot eyes and the atmosphere of loneliness makes her look like she will collapse at the push of one button.

“In order to make the movie come alive, I had to exclude all the incidentals. I did use a tool called bare face to show the haggard appearance, but in our movie, I thought it was necessary to use it to make people feel Hyun Soo’s pain. Usually, actors don’t sleep well when they start filming. My eyes were red because I couldn’t sleep. I tried not to show my sleepless condition in other projects, but I tried to show it this time.”

Credit: Warner Bros. Korea

The Day I Died: Unclosed Case is also drawing keen attention as a “women-centric film.” The female director was in charge of the script and directing, and all three main characters are female. Although “women-centric films” are on the rise, the reality is that they are still having a hard time in terms of investments.

“It’s not just about our movie, but these kinds of scripts have a hard time getting investments. From an investor’s point of view, it is natural to invest in a proven profit system. Difficulties were expected, but they would say, ‘we will invest if you change this or that,’ whenever we had a meeting. Then we would say things like ‘no thank you’ or ‘this and that is why we are making this film.’ So we waited. Thanks to those who counted on small and resonant movies, our work was able to come out. I think the diversity in the film industry can be maintained because these films are still being released.”

Kim Hye Soo, who debuted in 1986, started out as a teen star and is now considered one of Korea’s leading actors with mature and thoughtful acting skills.
“There were times when I hit the rough patch and wanted to give up. When I was in my 20s and 30s, I thought about doing something else. And I actually have done it. But now, who will accept me if I erase the name Kim Hye Soo? (laughs).”

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