There is no other actor who has undergone as many changes as Lee Yeon Hee recently. After her surprise marriage announcement, she tied the knot in July last year and left SM Entertainment, which she has been a part of the past 19 years later the same year. And New Year Blues is the first movie Lee Yeon Hee has released in six years.
In New Year Blues, her second project with director Hong Ji Young, Lee Yeon Hee played Jin Ah, a part-time ski resort worker who left for Argentina after her boyfriend kicked her to the curve. She partnered with Yoo Yeon Seok, who turned into wine delivery boy Jae Heon for the film.
Lee Yeon Hee learned how to tango with Yoo Yeon Seok before she left for Argentina.
“The local choreographer looked at the choreography and said it would be better to filter out professional and colorful movements and focus on the beautiful appearance by zooming in on the two actors. The actual shooting was really difficult. The roof tower was slightly tilted, and the weather was blistering cold. My head went blank and even forgot some of the choreography, but the director put those scenes in the film (laughs). I wonder how the audience will see it.”
Lee Yeon Hee and Yoo Yeon Seok play youths who escape the tiring reality and experience freedom and warmth. Especially, Jae Heon, played by Yoo Yeon Seok, is a character to left Korea after suffering from burnout syndrome.
“In my 20s, there was this break after working really hard. One day, I couldn’t sleep and stayed up all night. It was so frustrating that I wanted to go out, but I just couldn’t step outside. I thought that something is going to be severely wrong if I don’t do something. So I got in my car and went to Olympic Park. I think I just wanted to see something green. And looking at the nature, I finally felt better.”
Eight years ago, Lee Yeon Hee played a bride-to-be Marriage Blue, and for New Year Blues, she portrayed a wondering youth.
“Maybe I might have done a better job if I did Marriage Blue now. I was in my 20s then, so I thought I could better express Ji Ah’s character if I did New Year Blues (at the time). After wrapping up the filming, I watched Marriage Blue with my husband before the wedding. There were parts that I thought were really difficult at the time, but watching it again, I could understand them. After all these years, there are parts where I thought ‘Oh, that’s different’ or ‘Now I understand it.'”
In order to protect her non-celebrity husband, she was reluctant to talk about her personal life.
“I’m careful. I think it’s right to distinguish between public and private matters. Even if I went to a cafe with my sister, there were times when she felt uncomfortable because people recognized me. I think I should protect my person and my family.”
Lee Yeon Hee has already become an actress in her 30s with 20 years of experience.
“I thought a lot about if I should continue acting in my late 20s or whether being an actor is the right path for me. When that time passed, I realized that this is the only thing I could do. And I started to feel grateful because this is also a talent given to me. Since then, I think I became more comfortable about my life as an actress.”
Finally, Lee Yeon Hee shared, “I hope the COVID-19 situation ends soon. Also, I hope you will be comforted with our bright movie.”