Lee Yeon-hee has been picking up a lot of flak for her acting in East of Eden, which many feel has been pretty weak. And while the 20-year-old feels that some criticism, when stated with affection, can be motivating, “outright condemnation is a little hard to take.”
After many of those bad reviews came out, she received lots of encouraging text messages from friends and acquaintances in the biz telling her not to worry about the negative press, which, ironically, is what clued her in to the overwhelming press in the first place: “Because I was busy filming the drama, I didn’t know how much people were talking about my acting. Seeing all the messages made me realize it.”
She did feel better when producers told her to continue acting as she had been, and says, “These days if you were to draw a diagram of my brain, the entire cerebrum would be taken up with East of Eden, so the unwelcome words made me feel embarrassed.” Citing the many hours she’d put into practicing a dance sequence, she wishes she could get more credit for her efforts.
(I generally like Lee Yeon-hee, but I don’t tend to agree with her statement. She’s a professional, getting paid obscene amounts of money and given a ridiculous amount of attention for doing her job. If the end product is not good, the public is justified calling her on it. While it’s nice to keep in mind how much effort goes into something, we’d hardly say, “Well, too bad my car’s wheels fell off, but I’m sure those automakers tried.”)
Lest you start feeling sorry for the starlet, she goes on to decry, “I was upset seeing myself looking chubbier onscreen than I am in real life.” (I know we all have our own issues, but: Are you kidding me? Bish, plz. Lee Yeon-hee is practically pro-ana “thinspiration” material, so to hear her say that makes me pretty unsympathetic, if not downright cranky.)
It’s a bit interesting to see the amounts of criticism from East of Eden, because Lee has a pretty good valuation from her film work: Millionaire’s First Love and M, for instance. Then again, drama filming tends to be more draining and fewer takes are shot, leaving a tighter margin for error. Roles with lots of dialogue are given little time to memorize lines, and Eden’s dialogue is stylized, the article notes, and not quite natural. Plus, she’s acting opposite some pretty strong talent, which draws her own shortcomings into greater relief.
Director Lee Myung-sae, on the other hand, isn’t worried as she promotes her new film, Soonjung Manhwa, and Lee feels that this character — a frank, outspoken high schooler — is the most like her own personality.
Asked about her future roles, she answered, “If I like the character, I could work for free in a short film or an indie movie.” She’s most interested in taking on a thriller or mystery project next, though, hoping for a chance at a role like Yoo Seon’s in Black House, or “with Song Kang-ho as his daughter, perhaps, or love interest.”
Her latest film, Soonjung Manhwa, opens on November 27.
- Soonjung Manhwa press conference: XOX
- Fashion Week runway features Lee Yeon-hee
- News Bites: October 20, 2008
- An internet sensation aspires to conquer the screen
- Presenting the cast of East of Eden