Bong Joon-ho's Interpreter Garners Her Own Fame

  • By Kim Kyung-eun

    February 12, 2020 10:55

    Oscar-winning director Bong Joon-ho's interpreter has become a celebrity in her own right by being always at his side during ever glitzier screenings, award ceremonies and interviews.

    At the Oscars, Bong praised Choi Sung-jae or Sharon Choi as "perfect" and added his entire cast "depend on her." Choi has served as Bong's English voice since the Cannes Film Festival last May and has won praise for conveying the director's remarks.

    The New York Times devoted a piece to her that said Choi's "calm presence under the onstage pressure has caught the attention of online admirers, too." Her name has drawn more than a million clicks online.

    "She knows exactly when to intervene and when to back off and she is highly focused and can interpret even long speeches," said Kim Tae-hoon at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. "Her choice of words is excellent even though she interprets simultaneously."

    Filmmaker Bong Joon-ho's interpreter Sharon Choi applauds as he accepts the Oscar for Best Director for "Parasite" at the 92nd Academy Awards in Hollywood, California on Feb. 9. /Reuters-Yonhap

    Bong is not the first Korean filmmaker Choi has worked for. She did the same for Lee Chang-dong back in 2018, when his movie "Burning" screened in the U.S. Video clips of Choi conveying the exact words of the notoriously verbose auteur have attracted many amused viewers.

    Yet Choi, who is only in her mid-20s, is not a professional interpreter. She is a director too and has made a short film. Bong said, "Ms. Choi is currently working on a script. I am also curious about it."

    There were immediate calls from luminaries to work with her. Henry Golding, who starred in "Crazy Rich Asians" tweeted, "I'm free this summer" along with an emoji of a man raising his hand. And Mynette Louie, the producer of "Nancy" and other movies, said she is interested in producing Choi's film.

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