Sleepless in Seoul

      December 05, 2003 19:36

      Actress Lee Young-ae, 32, the lead of the MBC drama, “The Great Janggeum,” looked a little tired but still radiant during an interview. The historical TV drama, based on the true story of a woman named “Janggeum” (1506-1544) who entered the royal court as a cook during the mid-Joseon Dynasty and was the first woman to be a royal physician, has been a stunning success: the Nov. 17 show recorded an amazing viewer rating of 50.4 percent.

      Ask Lee about her popularity, however, and she talks humble. “I didn’t expect the drama to be this popular,” she said. “I feel happy but I’m trying to keep calm, because it is very important for an actor to remain calm.”

      Lee said she was fascinated by the character of Janggeum. She said she sometimes calls the drama’s assistant director at three or four in the morning to ask for a new script to be sent to her by e-mail. She admits that she’s not sleeping well these days.

      “Five years ago, I visited Ethiopia for a charity event for children. Since then, my view of life has totally changed. I went there to help them, but I got help from them instead. I thought, ‘Love is giving as much as I received.’ Now I believe ‘Love is always to give’,” Lee said.

      Lee, whose private life has avoided the tabloids, said that she fell in love for the first time as a college student, but she’s not dating these days. “Some day I want to meet a man who really understands me, and get married to him when the right time comes,” she said.

      “I’m interested in a lot in new things and love adventures. But as an actress, I sometimes feel trapped because of many people recognize me. When I have time, I hope to travel a lot,” she said.
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