GANGNEUNG, Nov. 30 (Korea Bizwire) – Actress Lee Young-ae said Monday she wants to portray the life of a woman and mother in her new role as a renowned Joseon Dynasty artist who was also the mother of a famous Korean Confucian scholar.
Lee plays Shin Saimdang (1504-1551), a historical figure known for her art, calligraphy and writing as well as her son, Lee Yulgok, in the period drama “Saimdang, the Herstory.”
“Simply speaking, ‘Saimdang’ is the story of a woman,” Lee said during a press conference for the new drama, held at a hotel in the eastern coastal city of Gangneung. “The concerns of a mother, wife and woman are the same now or 500 years ago. I wanted to depict the life of a woman in a double role, under Saimdang’s name. I’m sure women everywhere around the world, not just here, will be able to identify with her.
The drama goes back and forth through time and Lee plays both Shin and a college art history instructor in the modern era.
It marks Lee’s return as an actress 10 years after she halted her career to get married and have children. She is best known for her leading role in the smash-hit epic series “Daejanggeum,” which aired in 2004. She last appeared in director Park Chan-wook’s 2005 film “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.”
“Since getting married and becoming a mother and a wife, I’ve been thinking more about what is a good life,” said the 44-year-old actress. “Since choosing Saimdang, I’ve been trying to identify with her concerns and through it, display my talents, raise my children well and guide my family.”
Lee’s lover in the drama is Lee Gyeom, a Joseon Dynasty artist skilled in painting, calligraphy, music and dance. The fictional character is played by Song Seung-heon.
He said he accepted the role most of all because he would be able to star opposite Lee.
“The fact that I’m here and able to work together with (Lee) in her first piece in 10 years is in itself an honor and joy,” he said during the press conference. “On my first shooting day with (Lee), I was reminded of my debut. I was that nervous and as (Lee) stood in front of me and looked into my eyes, I choked up and couldn’t say my lines. My heart raced and I remember being so nervous.”
The drama is scheduled to air simultaneously in South Korea and China in the second half of next year. It is being filmed in Gangneung, where Shin was born and raised.’