Cast of “I’m Happy” looking decidedly unhappy at PIFF
After a lackluster week, the Pusan International Film Festival (which has been called a bore this year by most media) screened its closing film on Thursday: Hyun Bin (My Name Is Kim Samsoon) and Lee Bo-young‘s (Queen of the Game, Mr. Goodbye) new movie I’m Happy.
(But before we get into the movie or the press conference itself, it must be asked — why is Hyun Bin looking so pissed off? He seems about ready to cut a bitch — Lee Bo-young? — and I wanna know what she did. Steal his color scheme? His fashion sense? Because also, what the heck is Hyun Bin wearing and why? An oversize blazer over a snug waiter’s vest over an un-tucked shirt — and sneakers — oy.)
The film, produced by Blue Storm and directed by Yoon Jong-chan (Sorum, Blue Swallow), deals with a psychiatric patient and the relationship that develops between him and his nurse. This film festival marks the word premiere for I’m Happy, and Hyun Bin expressed his appreciation for being given particular honors as the closing film.
Hyun Bin plays a man worn out by the burdens of life who is sent to a psychiatric ward, and said about his role: “It’s always difficult for an actor to take on acting about experiences he hasn’t gone through. Because I haven’t been a psychiatric patient myself, I sought out a lot of films about psychiatric hospitals. I read books, too, and before filming began, and I visited a hospital to meet with a patient suffering from delusions of grandeur. I tried to act certain things that I’d felt while interviewing him, with just the two of us in one room.”
Asked about the departure this character makes in Hyun Bin’s image, he said, “It’s not that I had the intention to suddenly change characters. Maybe it’s because I’m still green as an actor, but I don’t want to make a rash, clumsy transformation.”
He continued, “Filming I’m Happy was a really difficult thing. If I had to do it again, I don’t think I would. [Laughs.] I don’t think I’ll be able to forget the three months we spent filming. I did my best in this film, and I suppose everyone else will be able to judge the result for themselves.”
On the other hand, Lee Bo-young had the opposite intention, saying, “I took on the challenge because I had a strong desire to make a change.” She’s always felt her acting to be lacking — and so have critics — and wanted to show a new side to her with a different type of role. “When I read the screenplay for this, I did worry whether I’d be able to do a good job, and I was a little afraid of the character. But the director had faith in me, and I stepped up to the challenge. It was difficult while we were working, but also enjoyable.”