Kim Hee-ae on Her Transformation for Sex Slavery-Themed Film

  • By Song Hye-jin

    June 23, 2018 08:14

    Kim Hee-ae stars in a sex slavery-themed film, which is set for release late next week. In the film "Herstory" she plays a businesswoman from Busan who supports the legal battles of former sex slaves against the Japanese government.

    Even with a career spanning over three decades, Kim says she feels nervous each time she is in front of cameras, and knows there is always room to improve.

    "It felt like I was facing a wall in every moment of filming I had to speak in Busan dialect and also in Japanese for parts of it. I don't think I can do something like this again," she says.

    Kim Hee-ae

    Kim deliberately put on 5 kg and made herself look older with grey hair and wrinkles to portray a character who pays the legal costs out of her own pocket and interprets the testimony of women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Army in World War II.

    Many people were stunned by her transformation. "Why were people so surprised? There is no reason why I wouldn't take on such a role," she said. "There isn't a lot of choice for actresses past their 20s. We usually get offered predictable and one-dimensional characters, and this was the most well-rounded, multi-dimensional part that I'd seen for a long time, so I just had to do it."

    The decision to take this role may have been easy, but it does not mean that making the film was easy too. Kim had a hard to time practicing her Busan dialect and Japanese for the last three months.

    "My brain would freeze every time I had to speak with an accent or in Japanese," she confessed. It could take a week to memorize one particular Japanese sentence. "It was driving me crazy," she laughed, "But the consolation came from the fact that it wasn't only me who was experiencing this. I asked veteran fellow actresses, and they also complained that this film was especially hard. We were in the same boat and all went through it together to make a good film."

    The film opens next Wednesday.

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