Following her debut as a model in her late teens, actress Bae Doo-na carved a niche for herself on both the small and silver screens.
She managed to build up a colorful and largely successful repertoire, including a memorable stint as an archer who tries to save her brother's daughter in the blockbuster hit “The Host” (2006).
Now, following her role as a schoolmarm in the popular KBS series “The Masters of the Art of Study” (2010), Bae tackles the role of a loving sibling yet again in MBC’s “Gloria.”
Bae’s previous stint as a devoted sister was as an accomplished sportswoman with a career in the spotlight. Her new one is of a woman who supports her mentally disabled older sister (played by “High Kick 2” actress Oh Hyeon-kyeong) with a series of odd jobs.
“She cares for her sister on her own, without their parents,” the 30-year-old said at the drama’s press conference on Tuesday.
“I play this character as if there is no one else in the world but me and my sister.”
While showing grit and spunk in the face of adversity is not new to Bae, her latest job presents a huge challenge for her.
Bae must play a talented singer, someone good enough to go from settling for odd jobs like delivering newspapers and running a nightclub coat check to dreaming of a career on stage.
“That is the part that scared me the most,” she admitted. “I have to sing well in order for it to set the premise (for the drama) and for the plot to move forward. Even if this were a good role that I wanted badly, if I really was unable to sing well then I would be doing (the drama) a disservice.”
Bae Doo-na takes the stage as an aspiring singer in MBC’s "Gloria.” MBC
Bae said she considered passing up the opportunity.
“But because I think that a real actress or actor is someone who attempts and makes the impossible possible, I felt it was worth a go.”
The title song, “Gloria,” says Bae, was harder than she thought it would be and took the longest to master. She confessed: “Unlike when I act, for some weird reason, when I sing it is really hard.”
Bae even shied away from giving the press a sampling of her vocals, rejecting the mike and saying: “No. No.”
“Honestly, I am not that good,” she said. “Yes, I am practicing a bit.”
“Even though the scriptwriter knows my singing skills are not that great, she keeps giving me new songs,” she added.
This is Bae’s second time working with “Gloria” scriptwriter Jeong Ji-woo, the first time was on SBS’ “Perfect Neighbor” (2007).
“I thought, ‘Ah, this time I will be able to have fun filming (with her) again,’” Bae said. “So I took on this project. I always look forward to working with her.”
“Gloria” director Kim Min-sik expressed his faith in Bae: “When I first met Bae Doo-na I felt that she was a responsible actress.”
“She kept asking me about who would be playing her character’s sister,” he explained. “What I felt right then was, ‘Ah, she feels and carries with her a sense of responsibility as an actress.’”
“Gloria” aired its first episode on Saturday at 7:55 p.m. on MBC.
By Jean Oh (firstname.lastname@example.org