Lee Yo-won Conjures the Spirits of May 18

    July 25, 2007 07:06

    It's May 27th, 1980, and the armed civilians of Gwangju are preparing for their final stand. A young woman on a truck pleads through a loudspeaker. "The soldiers are coming. Please, help us." Together with a photo of a child wailing over his father's dead body, this young woman came to symbolize the tragedy of that fateful day. The actress playing the character Park Shin-ae in the film "May 18" is fragile-looking Lee Yo-won.

    Debuting at the age of 17, getting married at 23, giving birth to a baby girl soon after and now returning to the screen -- these events seem to define Lee, but there is so much more to her than what her fans can see. She may appear rather cold and distant at first glance, but Lee turns out to be an ordinary woman -- one with a sweet tooth. She was born on April 9, 1980, so she would have been just one month old at the time of the Gwangju Democratic Uprising. Yet her performance is so natural that it seems she could have actually been on the ground in the midst of the violence.

    Her remarkable interpretation came after long, intense deliberation. "I usually immerse myself in my character, but this time I couldn't. It was so hard expressing emotions I'd never felt before. It's just good luck that my acting looks so natural. I was also attracted by the chance to work with great actors like Ahn Sung-ki and Kim Sang-kyung," Lee says. She also had many new experiences. She almost fainted after shooting the scene in which a soldier grabs her by the hair and beats her. In another memorable scene she had to sew up a long gash on Kim Sang-kyung's forehead. "Please remember us!" Lee Yo-won shouts in the movie, just as Park Shin-ae did. May we forever remember May 18th.

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