In her latest film "Nobody's Daughter Haewon," actress Jeong Eun-chae worked closely with director Hong Sang-soo and so appeared more at ease portraying her young character on screen.
"Filming took just two weeks, but for three months before that, I met with the director often and chatted a lot," Jeong said. "I showed him my writings and drawings. There was no script written at the time, so he likely reflected on our conversations while constructing Hae-won. Maybe that's why I felt so comfortable playing her."
Jeong made her debut as a female lead in "Psychic" (2010), a film that drew significant attention as its cast included heartthrobs Kang Dong-won and Ko Soo, eventually attracting 2.14 million moviegoers. But her inexperience was obvious in comparison to the veteran performers and she got lost in the crowd.
"I don't even remember it very well. I was just very nervous and excited because I was surrounded by star actors," Jeong explained.
So her breakthrough with "Nobody's Daughter Haewon" is ever sweeter. Haewon is a university student who falls in love with a married professor and film director.
Jeong worked hard to capture the sensitive emotions of an inquisitive woman in her 20s who is uncertain of her place in the world.
"I had already heard about Hong's style of directing a film, which includes not having a script ready in advance. I was more excited than stressed about it," Jeong said. "In fact, I was able to concentrate each and every moment when shooting the film, and the unexpected moments I encountered seem to have blended in with my acting."
"Nobody's Daughter Haewon" was invited to the Berlin International Film Festival last month but did not win an award. Still, Jeong was pleased.
"I wasn't too concerned about winning an award or getting positive reviews. When I went onstage after the screening, the audience gave a big round of applause and I knew it was for my character but still felt a warm reception," she said.