“A Special Lady” follows the struggles between Na Hyun Jung (played by Kim Hye Soo), who transformed a criminal organization into a prominent financial company, her helper Sang Hoon (Lee Sun Gyun), and Prosecutor Choi (Lee Hee Joon), who is on the verge of a major career success.
Kim Hye Soo plays the intensely charismatic role of underboss Na Hyun Jung, who is not only sexy, but also embodies maternal love, adding depth to the character. “The clash of values that each character tries to protect in that complicated relationship was very interesting,” Kim Hye Soo said as she explained why she chose this specific movie. “I was especially attracted to Na Hyun Jung because she is a person who dreams of leaving everything for a simple, normal life.”
She went on to explain that the character Na Hyun Jung was not easy to portray. “Na Hyun Jung was a character that required a lot of preparation both on and off [the set]. I constantly exchanged ideas with the director, and on set, I talked a lot especially with Lee Sun Gyun about the work overall,” Kim Hye Soo said.
To Kim Hye Soo, the charm of Na Hyun Jung is that she does not reveal her desires; she keeps them hidden. “As the underboss of a criminal organization, she is detailed when working and is recognized for that, but she hides her desires,” Kim Hye Soo explained. “She dreams of a normal life and wants to end everything. That irony was the charm of the character.”
Kim Hye Soo went on to reflect on herself as she talked about the character of Na Hyun Jung. She said she could relate to the character because their jobs were both “unrealistic.” “I may be arrogant in saying this. I’ve done this [acting] for a long time and I’m old,” she began. “But I still have this thought that I should quit now. Constantly. That’s the point that drew me to the character of Na Hyun Jung.”
“I’m a very lucky example. People are complicated. It would be good if what is shown and what is inside matches, but there are many cases where they’re different,” the actress added.
Even for the renowned actress, the action scenes in “A Special Lady” were a challenge because she had to portray complicated emotions at the same time. Although Kim Hye Soo spent a lot of time filming action scenes, the editing made it feel like they were relatively short in the final outcome. “I personally like the genre of noir, so I want to try it again with proper preparations if there’s an opportunity,” she added.
One of the things that stands out in the movie is Kim Hye Soo’s bold visual transformation. Regarding her half-shaved, white blond hair, the actress explained that some things were needed due to the nature of the genre. “I am quite active in suggesting things that I think are necessary for filming,” she went on. “After coordinating and testing through the exchange of ideas and communication with each team, the director makes the final decision. I suggested the hairstyle of Na Hyun Jung myself and had a long discussion with the director, the makeup team, and the dressing team.”
The hairstyle turned out to be a challenge, Kim Hye Soo revealed. “It was unexpectedly harder than I thought to keep a short, bright hairstyle. I had to bleach my hair every seven to ten days and I got a burn on the right side of my head, which is shaved, and the edges of my face due to the chemicals.” She added that fortunately, she recovered naturally after finishing the filming.
“A Special Lady” has received the best film award in Sietges Film Festival Focus Asia. It was released on November 9.