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Lee Chung-ah On Her Thriller ‘Hide’, Bollywood Films And More

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Puja Talwar

After playing the kind-hearted and non-confrontational Si-hyeon in Celebrity, actress Lee Chung-ah is donning a darker shade while playing the baddie in SLL’s latest crime thriller Hide.

The story follows a woman’s investigation into the mysterious disappearance of her husband and how it leads her to uncover some deeply unsettling secrets.

Lee Chung-ah is best remembered for rom-coms like Cute Guys and Hot Ramen as well as popular dramas like VIP, One Dollar Lawyer, Celebrity and Awaken. In an exclusive conversation with HELLO! India, the actor talks about her latest drama Hide, her process and her favourite Bollywood films!

In Conversation With Lee Chung-ah

HELLO!: In Hide, your character Ha Yeon-joo, is Na Mun-yeong’s (played by Lee Bo Young) friendly neighbour, but like everyone, she is hiding secrets. What was it like playing this character?

Lee Chung-ah: “Ha Yeon-joo is hiding a huge secret. When I was offered this role, I turned it down once. It is a character with such a big narrative, and even though she might be seen as evil in the series, she has to believe that what she’s doing is right and good. I was so worried about how this would be portrayed in the drama that I tried to run away from it. But when I met the director (Kim Dong-hwi), I was convinced by his words. He told me that the character needed all the things that I had, including the good-natured face that the public trusts and her overconfidence in that aspect, despite her dark secrets. I took the challenge when realizing that he had already drawn Ha Yeon-joo as me.”

 H!:Lee Bo-young is also a strong actor like you, what was the vibe like on set? Do you’ll feed off each other’s energy?

LC: “Since it usually reflects on the screen, the more energy an actor has on set, the better it is. With her, we added to each other’s energy and created synergy! When the camera was rolling, there was an intense energy, which made it tense, but it was also a friendly and lovely set.”

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H!:What is exciting about the mystery/thriller genre? Are you a fan of it personally?

LC: “I don’t dislike it. I’m also a fan of genres involving mental gymnastics or a fantasy genre with imagination. That’s why I participated in the series Awaken. The mystery genre implicitly captures big secrets and dramatic moments in life, so I find the tragedy in the drama tragicomic when I step back and look at it. As an actor, it’s a genre I want to participate in, but there are many stories in there that I wish had never happened in my life.”

 H!:Your filmography is diverse. You starred in popular rom-coms such as Cool Guys and Hot Ramen, legal dramas such as One Dollar Lawyer, and thrillers like VIP. Has your process changed over the years? What are the key factors you take into account while choosing stories?

LC: “There are many things to consider when choosing stories, but since my 30s, I’ve been choosing work based on whether the story stimulates me and whether I’m intrigued by the character. Now, I’m trying to build up my filmography by taking more diverse aspects into account. I’d like to meet the story that brings warmth and comfort to the public with my next project.”

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H!:You have played characters who speak their mind, are decisive and independent. Is it important for you to personally relate to the character? What draws you to a character as an actor?

LC: “Of course. A character I don’t relate to would be someone who doesn’t appeal to me. I wouldn’t have gone with the characters I’ve played if I couldn’t resonate with them as a human being, as Lee Chung-ah. I need to have compassion for the character. In that sense, Yeon-joo in Hide made me want to try interpreting her.”

H!:K-dramas are hugely popular across the world. How does this motivate you, given the fact that actors have diverse platforms, genres as well as audiences to bring stories to?

LC: “When I first started my acting career, I guess K-dramas weren’t as big as they are now, but I feel like I’m working in a very blessed time. I’m so happy and I’d like to continue to be a part of many more stories in the future.”


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H!: India loves K-dramas, but are you familiar with any Indian movies? Would you ever like to do a Bollywood film and which kind of genre?

LC: “Absolutely. These days, we even have Netflix, don’t we? There is some special wit that Bollywood movies have. I think it’s about characteristic genes that Indians have because people can feel that emotion and wit, regardless of genre. Black, The Lunchbox, Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire and Jawan... these are the ones I’ve seen, and if I were given the chance, I’d like to work on a story like The Lunchbox or a romance... or melodrama! I guess I’d have to play a Korean student or a traveller because of the language (Laughs).”