Lee Ji-eun shared her thoughts and behind-the-scenes stories about her debut movie “Broker”.
Lee Ji-eun (IU) appears in “Broker”, the movie that was invited to compete at the 75th Cannes Film Festival and eventually won Best Actor and Ecumenical Jury Award. She plays So-young, a single mother who leaves her child in the baby box but then comes back and joins Sang-hyun and Dong-soo in the special journey to find new parents who can raise her baby well.
Lee Ji-eun, who has gained great achievements as a singer and an actress, explained the good point in acting, “Singer and actor seem to be completely different jobs, but they sometimes have similar resolutions. While doing recordings as a singer, I often do several takes, I monitor them, everyone monitors them, then we coordinate opinions and produce better results. This part is similar to when I perform acting. That’s why I keep finding the work of an actor attractive and enjoyable. I can feel the huge attraction in the process of making something together with others, not alone by myself.”
Playing So-young who has a huge scar in her heart but doesn’t show her feelings, Lee Ji-eun revealed her secret of portraying the character perfectly. She said, “I think acting in moderation suits me more than acting characters with too many expressions. Both the directors of ‘My Mister’ and ‘Broker’ wrote the characters based on my strength in acting. I think I collaborated well with the two directors. I feel more comfortable playing these characters because I could spend lots of time thinking of my innermost feelings rather than expressing myself too much.”
Talking about the setting of her character, Lee Ji-eun said, “Director Hirokazu Kore-eda said he cast me after watching ‘My Mister’, so I tried to bring out everything from Ji-an at first. However, Ji-an and So-young were literally different characters and I decided to reveal a new side that I had not shown. Jian rarely expresses herself but So-young can’t hold back her feelings. I’m not a person who thinks and talks a lot, but when playing So-young, I tried to express my emotions directly and revealed my feelings right away”.
However, Lee Ji-eun confessed that she had little knowledge about her character. She said, “So-young was a complicated character since there were not many scenes where she sympathized with herself nor her past got revealed. However, the director gave me an interview paper on the premise that So-young coolly talked about her life. I reviewed that paper more carefully than the script.” Lee Ji-eun also said that director Hirokazu Kore-eda tried to convey different aspects of the characters in three-dimension to help the actors improve their performances.
In “Broker”, Lee Ji-eun transformed into a character who wears old-fashioned costumes that she enlarged herself and also dyes her hair roughly. Lee Ji-eun revealed the part where she directly suggested her opinion, saying “Most of the time, I just agreed with the opinions from the costume team. However, it was right after I finished promotion activities for album “LILAC”, and fortunately, it was a time when my hair was long and it was very messy because I dyed my hair a lot. I thought about cutting it, but I eventually kept it and turned it into Soyoung’s style.”
Lee Ji-eun, who felt burdened in every scene while reading the scenario, told some behind-the-scenes stories. She said, “In particular, the climax scene where I said ‘Thank you for being born’ was the most worrisome to me. The atmosphere was very quiet and it was the scene where Song Kang-ho, Kang Dong-won, and I were not allowed to make NGs so I felt so burdened. Also, I had to act with my voice only when the lights were all off, and I was wondering how to say it in a correct way. I prepared various versions of the voice line, but luckily, I got an OK right in the first take so I couldn’t try other versions.”
Lee Ji-eun also talked about the two scenes that got her to tear up after reading the script. She said, “They were the scene on the Ferris wheel and the scene of the message in the hotel. In fact, there were many versions of this scenario. Looking through the versions, I thought if I cried or felt too sad on the Ferris wheel, So-young would look too pitiful. So-young must be sad but she should also show a decisive side because it’s the scene where she has a sincere conversation with Dong-soo. Dong-soo forgives and understands So-young but So-young keeps reminding herself as a guilty person. That’s why I really wanted to say ‘You don’t have to understand what I did wrong. Don’t try to understand me’ from the perspective of a mother”, revealing her interpretation of the scene.
Referring to Hirokazu Kore-eda’s directing style, Lee Ji-eun said, “He trusted and followed the actors’ opinions. He didn’t interfere much in our acting but let us go with our own flow.”
Explaining her cursing scene, she said, “I practiced the swear words a lot in front of my parents and asked them if they felt awkward or not. I also did it in front of my manager. They said it sounds real and gave specific feedback so that I could improve my performance.”
Lastly, Lee Ji-eun shared, “This is a meaningful movie since it’s my debut movie and my first commercial movie. It was the first time I played such a big role. I was able to finish it because everyone trusted in me. I believe I should become an actor who repays the faith that everyone has in me”.