[ENTERTAINMENT]Lee Transforms, Playing Vixen or Angel

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[ENTERTAINMENT]Lee Transforms, Playing Vixen or Angel

Lee Yo-won, a 21-year-old actress, played the role of a woman who had an affair with a 46-year-old married man in a recent TV drama. Thanks to that plot line, she is now considered one of the most promising young actresses in Korea today.

Playing a 23-year-old sports dance instructor in "Pureun An-gae" ("Blue Fog"), Lee inspired rage among middle-aged women throughout Korea, portraying the unforgivable seductress who destroyed a happy marriage. The drama ended last May, but it is still much talked about, and Lee, a relative unknown on the entertainment scene when the drama premiered, now finds herself much in demand. The fact that she angered Korean women is a credit to her acting ability, and demonstrates that she leaves a strong impression.

Lee insists that she had to work very hard to achieve her current fame, and denies that she just got lucky. "I think I know how hard it is to start from the very beginning," says the young actress.

Indeed, she started her career as a model for a fashion magazine in 1997 when she was still in high school. Since then, Ms. Lee has gradually gained recognition, finding minor roles in TV dramas and movies. "Blue Fog," which aired from last March to May, was her chance of a lifetime, and she grabbed it successfully.

Now established, she is will star in another film, "Goyang-ireul Butakhae" ("Please Look After the Cat"), scheduled for a release in August. This time, she plays a prim and proper young woman, rather than a home-wrecker.

Lee says of her new role, "At first, I sort of detested the character, for she seemed too practical and demure. The funny thing is, I actually found that she and I had much in common, as I got into the character."

Next she stars in the movie "Africa," playing a naive college student involved in a robbery; filming begins in June.

The secret of her success may lie in her neutral image which enables her to transform - she can play a coquettish lady or a tomboy, a shy or aggressive character. And she appears quite comfortable in all her roles. Also, considering that she is only 21, she has a lot of potential to develop further.

Her age, however, seems to be a burden for Lee, who says, "I think I am grown up inside, though I look so naive and happy outside. I went through ups and downs in my life, from economic difficulty to heartrending first love." She seems to want to be recognized as different from those in her generation who cultivate the image of an independent wild child. She went on, "I have my own standard in deciding what kind of roles to accept. My motto is 'not to remain ordinary.'"

The only part, however, that Lee is not so confident of is her acting ability. "I think I have a long way to go to be a good actress," she said. And she quickly adds, "I am ready to learn, and have a good attitude."

by Shin Yong-ho

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