A Tale of Two Jeons

Jeon Do-yeon and Jeon Ji-hyun, two of Korea's top actresses, will be heating up screens this spring. Jeon Ji-hyun will be appearing in "Let Me Introduce My Girlfriend" in late April, while Jeon Do-yeon will star in "My Mother the Mermaid" in late May.

Jeon Do-yeon made her first "contact" with the film world in 1997 with her film "Contact," playing a telemarketer experiencing first love. Her role as an intelligent doctor in love with a mob boss in the 1998 film "Promise" made her a big name actress.

Jeon Do-yeon Jeon Do-yeon

Afterward, as if to brag of her immense acting ability, she took two roles that were really polar opposites of one another. In "Harmonium in My Memory," she played a simple, 17-year-old country girl with a crush on her teacher. Meanwhile, in "Happy End," she played career woman enjoying a spicy affair behind the back of her husband.

While Jeon Do-yeon was busy becoming a star, Jeon Ji-hyun jumped on screen a bit later. She splashed onto the movie scene with her performance in the 1999 film "White Valentine," which earned her a Baeksang Arts Award as "Best New Actress." The next year, she won herself a pure and innocent image through the film "Il Mare". At the same time, however, she radiated sexuality through her "techno dance" advertisements on TV.

Jeon Ji-hyun Jeon Ji-hyun

Compared to this, Jeon Do-yeon played a normal, everyday woman cultivating love in "I Wish I Had a Wife." Yet that image was only temporary. In "No Blood No Tears, she revealed at last that sumptuous, sexy side of her that she'd been hiding.

As Jeon Do-yeon was setting the movie world on fire with her acting, Jeon Ji-hyun filming the movie version of the Internet novel, "My Sassy Girl". Through her rather wacky yet sensitive performance in that film, she joined the ranks of Korea's big name actresses.

Jeon Ji-hyun chose the horror film "Uninvited" as her next movie, in which she discarded her wacky image in a role featuring a woman in pain. The movie bombed at the box office, but when "My Sassy Girl" went global, her fame started to grow beyond Korea's borders.

Meanwhile, Jeon Do-yeon once again put her much admired acting versatility on display, this time choosing for the first time a historical drama, "Scandal," in which her role of an (initially) faithful widow reaffirmed her as one of Korea's top stars. Jeon Ji-hyun, on the other hand, challenges herself once again in her next picture, "Let Me Introduce My Girlfriend," in which she transforms herself into a female cop.

Jeon Do-yeon, meanwhile, further broadens her acting repertoire, this time transforming herself into one of Jeju Island's famed women divers in "My Mother the Mermaid." Jeon Do-yeon and Jeon Ji-hyun -- similar, yet different. Into what kinds of actresses will these two develop in the future? We can only wonder.

englishnews@chosun.com / Apr. 01, 2004 17:21 KST