Cut! For Every New Movie, a New LookThe latest role to be taken on by the actress Lee Young-ae － nicknamed the "queen of the screen" － is that of a terminal cancer patient. And though the film is only due for release next year, it already appears to have inspired a public debate, over － of all things － her haircut.
"Gift for You" is O Ki-hwan's directorial debut. It depicts the relationship between the cancer sufferer, named Jung-yeon, and her husband, a third-rate comedian. Jung-yeon knows that she is dying but tries to shield her husband from the seriousness of her illness, while herself trying to come to terms with her mortality.
But apparently of greater interest to some is Miss Lee's decision to go for the chop. She now wears a shorter, layered style that the production company says is more in keeping with Jung-yeon's tough, energetic character.
Miss Lee, 30, launched a thousand hair cuts when she appeared in the recent blockbuster "JSA" with a square, straight bob that was never a strand out of place.
"For actresses, changing their hairstyle is very important as it determines their image. She took this risk to enable her to completely 'become' Jung-yeon in character and appearance," said Lee Ju-yeol, her manager.
Miss Lee says she loved to play a woman who is strong in the face of adversity. "Through this role, I wanted a break from the stereotyped image of the weak-willed woman that appears in many television dramas," she said.
"I didn't want to put myself into such a limited category. What I like about Jung-yeon is that she is a very natural, real, dynamic woman. She is like an iron hand in a velvet glove."
Miss Lee is regarded as somewhat of a trendsetter when it comes to hair fashions.
Different roles have often been marked by different cuts, from the long hair she sported in a series of commercials in the '90s and the bob worn in later television dramas to the perm that set her apart in her latest television role in "Flame."
"The new hair style looks really good on her. How can I let such a lovely wife leave me?" joked Lee Jung-jae, who plays her husband in the film.
"Gift for You" started production in November and the movie is scheduled for release in mid-February 2001.
by Kim Jae-seon