If Lee Da-hae looks happy, it is probably because her debut in a historical TV drama has been a resounding success with viewers. "The Slave Hunters" aired on KBS2 allowed Lee to expand her range as an actress.
"Shooting 'The Slave Hunters' was quite tough. Apart from the uncomfortable dresses, because I had to wear a traditional hairdo, I lost a handful of hair almost every day. Also, the set was in a remote location and was very, very cold," she recalls. "Some bloggers said I looked as if I gained weight toward the end of the series, but it was because I had to wear so many layers of clothing in the winter. When the shooting started in the summer, I didn't have to worry about keeping my body warm so I only had to wear what is seen. But in the winter, it got so cold, I had to wear a thermal vest, three T-shirts, and padded warmers and hot packs."
Things did not start smoothly. Early in the series, Lee was at the center of acute criticism of her polished nails and claims that she was wearing a watch underneath the traditional dress. A scene that showed a bit of skin upset some viewers, who claimed it was inappropriate for a historical drama. "First of all, all of them were groundless. In fact, I didn't think those things were serious enough to make such an issue of. I think it was because the series was so popular. If it had lower ratings, it wouldn't have been that big a deal."
But while she was upset at the time, "I'm also very forgetful, so now it seems like such a long time ago and I wonder if it actually happened."
In the long term, she dreams of going to the U.S. "First of all, I want to take rest, but if I feel there are things to learn, I hope I can take a short course in an acting school in the States. I want to act in Hollywood next year or the year after. If I get a chance, even if it means a lot of hardship ahead of me, I would love to experience it," said Lee. "I don't have huge problem with English because I went to high school in Australia. I can get by in Chinese because I learned the language since I was little. But I felt that I needed to study English more when I recently hosted a show in English, the Mister World competition."