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[Herald Interview] Now a director and scriptwriter, actress Moon So-ri speaks about her film

Moon believes films need humor, warmth and diversity

After nearly 20 years as an actress, Moon So-ri has now penned and directed a film.

Titled “The Running Actress,” it is a semi-autobiopic about an actress who struggles with her career, family life and public perception. It is a compilation of three shorts that Moon made during her studies at Chung-Ang University School of Art and Technology in 2014 and 2015 as part of her master’s degree program.

The film, a comedy, pokes fun at its lead character with self-deprecating humor.

“Humor is a big part of my life,” said Moon, 43, in an interview at a cafe in Palpan-dong, Seoul, Tuesday.

“On our 10th anniversary, I asked my husband whether he regretted marrying me.” Moon’s husband is film director Jang Joon-hwan.

“He said, ‘It would be difficult to meet a woman as funny as you.’ I may not be able to cook him three meals a day, but I believe that we should have conversations filled with humor.”

Actress Moon So-ri (Yonhap)
Actress Moon So-ri (Yonhap)

Moon debuted in 1999 in Lee Chang-dong’s “Peppermint Candy” as Sun-im, the first love of the suicidal protagonist Yong-ho (Sol Kyung-gu). Her performance as a woman with cerebral palsy in love with an ex-convict in “Oasis” (2002) won her an award for best emerging actress at the Venice film festival.

Moon believes films need to be warm to portray human life.

“There are actors who have a naturally cold aura. I don’t think I’m a big fan of that. You have to talk about people’s lives (in acting). We probably don’t understand (others) 100 percent. It’s not possible. But I believe that the best method for acting is to love other people. ... I think there has to be warmth toward living beings.”

The film also addresses issues of beauty and charm for actresses.

“It’s hard for people to know themselves. It’s hard to know how you’re charming. When you’re young, even when people compliment you, it’s difficult to accept that.”

Actress Moon So-ri (C-Jes Entertainment)
Actress Moon So-ri (C-Jes Entertainment)
Moon says she has had a lot of time to study herself by being an actress.

“I told myself that I needed to research myself. I think I know myself better now.”

Though she does not like to stand out, when given the opportunity to do something, she does not shirk from it, Moon said.

“I felt like (this film) wasn’t just my own story. I felt that women living in our times, people in the movie business, and even men would face the same challenges.”

The film portrays a number of men in their 40s who say inappropriate things to Moon’s character.

“People asked, ‘Who could be so rude?’ The truth is, there are people who are much ruder.”

But Moon does not detest these men or the public for the way they treat celebrities -- whether they put them on a pedestal or criticize them.

(C-Jes Entertainment)
(C-Jes Entertainment)

“I believe that it comes from a good place, a place of curiosity and good-will. It’s just that the expression is a bit uncomfortable.”

Moon has been highlighting the need for diversity in Korean film since the early 2000s.

“Right now, the industry might have gotten bigger. More people may be watching films. Those are positive aspects. But diversity in Korean cinema has decreased a lot since then,” she said. “There are more female film students in schools.”

Moon said she was influenced by the 2014 film “Wild,” starring Reese Witherspoon, who also produced the film.

“The Running Actress” opens in local theaters on Sept. 14.

By Rumy Doo (
Korea Herald daum