Fast five with KIM MIN HEE
Meet Park Chan Wook's latest leading lady
NAME: Kim Min Hee
BORN: March 1, 1982, South Korea
FILMOGRAPHY: Hellcats (2008), Moby Dick (2011), Helpless (2012), Behind The Camera (2013), Very Ordinary Couple (2013), No Tears For The Dead (2014), Right Now, Wrong Then (2015), The Handmaiden (2016)
1 LAURELS APLENTY
While she is relatively unknown outside of South Korea, Kim, who started off as a magazine model 17 years ago, is a critically acclaimed film actress.
The 34-year-old has bagged several Best Actress accolades at prestigious film festivals, including the Paeksang Arts Awards, Busan Film Critics Awards and the Buil Film Awards.
2 NEW LANGUAGE
Kim's role in revered auteur Park Chan Wook's new R21 erotic thriller The Handmaiden, which opens here tomorrow after premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in May, is her biggest and most challenging yet.
Adapted from Welsh author Sarah Waters' Man Booker Prize-nominated novel Fingersmith, the story follows con artist Count Fujiwara (Ha Jung Woo). He hires pickpocket Sook Hee (Kim Tae Ri) to become the maid of mysterious Japanese heiress Lady Hideko (Kim), in an attempt to seize Hideko's wealth.
Twists and turns ensue after the two women find themselves sexually drawn to each other.
In an interview with news site TV Report, Kim spoke of her painstaking effort to learn Japanese to portray her character convincingly.
"All the actors and actresses were assigned Japanese teachers... Only after learning how to read and write (Japanese syllabary) Hiragana, we were able to start on the script," she said.
"It was hard for me at first, but it became fun."
3 NO FUSS OVER NUDITY
There is plenty of nudity and explicit bed scenes in The Handmaiden, but she told newspaper Segye Ilbo she was not too concerned about them.
"For the bed scenes, we had exact instructions on how to go about (executing them), so that was what I did. I don't think I had any particular difficulty," said Kim, adding it was tougher depicting Hideko's multiple personalities.
4 FAMOUS EXES
Acting credibility aside, Kim is best known for her string of famous ex-boyfriends.
She dated actor Lee Jung Jae from 2003 to 2006, model-actor Lee Soo Hyuk from 2008 to 2010, and actor Jo In Sung from 2013 to 2014.
5 HOT AFFAIR
Two weeks ago, Kim made headlines when news broke that she was having an affair with veteran film-maker Hong Sang Soo, 54, who is married with a university-aged daughter.
According to reports, their dalliance started last year while working on Right Now, Wrong Then, a film directed by Hong and starring Kim.
Neither party has confirmed nor denied the allegations.
SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE (2002)
KANG HYE JUNG
LEE YOUNG AE
LADY VENGEANCE (2005)
IM SOO JUNG
I'M A CYBORG, BUT THAT'S OK (2006)
KIM OK BIN