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Kim Su-mi is at it again

Actress’s penchant for profanity brings another similar role

Mar 12,2015
Kim Su-mi [STUDIO 706]
When the KBS drama “Legendary Witch” concluded on March 8, most viewers said that Kim Su-mi, who had a rather minor role in the show, was a large contributor to its success.

Kim was only meant to appear in the beginning of the drama, but the producers decided to expand her role after being petitioned by netizens. With her instinctive humor and ad-libbing, she was the driving force behind the series, which earned a high rating of 30 percent according to Nielsen Korea.

In the drama, which is about female former prisoners trying to make a living, Kim plays an ex-convict with a penchant for profanity who wins the lottery and suddenly takes on the completely new persona of an elegant, high-class lady.

The 66-year-old has mostly played outspoken, often foul-mouthed, elderly women.

In “Granny’s Got Talent,” Kim Su-mi does what she does best: swear. Provided by Photo NEW
In fact, the comedy flick “Granny’s Got Talent,” in which Kim is the sole lead, revolves around that very character.

In the film, which opened in theaters on March 5, Kim plays an 80-year-old woman who was imprisoned for 15 years and takes part in a swearing battle to pay off her son’s debts.

The JoongAng Ilbo talked to the actress, who debuted 45 years ago, about her latest roles.

Q. You are known for your witty improvisation. How do you always find something funny to say instantly?

A. I guess I can call it a gift. Although I was terrible at English and math, I’ve always been quick. When my teachers scolded me for not studying, I always told them that I didn’t need to because I would hire secretaries who are good at English and math when I grew up.

How are you so good at swearing?

Part of it has to do with me being from the Jeolla region. People from fishing communities tend to be good at swearing. I grew up listening to my mom swear all the time ever since I’ve been able to make out what people were saying. So to me, swearing is natural and is just a language.

In the film “Granny’s Got Talent,” your swearing seems to represents the anger built up inside the average Korean.

I agree. Koreans often tend to set their eyes to far beyond and just run for it. That’s why many people have anger and stress inside them that haven’t been released or relieved. Many people also have anger management issues.

The film also partially deals with the issues of welfare for Korean seniors. So in a way, I wanted to help the people feel their anger being released by watching the film.

As a woman and an actress, do you sometimes find this image of a foul-mouthed old woman unattractive?

I guess people expect me to be tough because of that image. But that’s OK. After all, all actors are products. Even the smallest stones are all shaped differently. There should be a product like me, too.


BY KIM HYO-EUN [kim.hyungeun@joongang.co.kr]






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