[ENTERTAINMENT]With Fists Flying, Shin Makes a ComebackOvercoming hardships and learning from mistakes can make a person mentally stronger. Certainly the Korean actress Shin Eun-gyeong had a lot to learn from her past － in 1996, she was arrested in an infamous hit-and-run incident. She received a two-year sentence, later reduced to 10 months in jail and a year's probation.
In scandal-sensitive Korea, lesser blows have ended careers. Before the accident, she had a very promising television career, acting in dramas and appearing in a blitz of commercials, but the scandal made advertisers turn their backs on her.
But Shin has bounced back, and is now returning to the silver screen. Her new movie this year is the action-comedy, "My Wife Is Gangster." In the movie, Shin is the gangster of the title, the leader of a band of criminals. An orphan at a young age, Shin's character finds success as a kind of "godmother" figure. But she conceals her identity through her marriage to a timid man.
In order to act like a real "gangster," Shin underwent a lot of martial arts training for three months, practicing kicking, breakfalls and roughing things up. She even had a huge tattoo of a dragon applied to her back － not a real one, of course, but an inked-on tattoo. There were some tough action sequences, such as climbing walls and jumping, kicking and spinning while wearing 15-centimeter high heels. It was tough work, but Shin has no complaints.
This year, even more than others, has featured a plethora of gangster films in Korea, led by the unprecedented success of "Chingu" ("Friends"). Most of these films, however, concentrate on male bonding and macho images. "My Wife Is a Gangster" at once rides and bucks the trend, presenting a strong woman character who gets to do some bullying of her own. In an interview, Shin said, "I picked the story because I like the gangster wife character: so powerful, but also so generous to the people around her."
Shin made her television debut very young, as a minor child actress 16 years ago. But her real debut came seven years ago on the soap opera, "General Hospital" (the Korean version, no relation to the famous American soap).
Her movie debut came with "Sarangeun Jigeumbuteo Sijak-iya" ("Now Starts My Love") in 1990, and she has been in seven other films since then, such as "Chang" ("A Prostitute") in 1997 and "Ring" in 1999. Some of those films were higher profile than others, but none of them was a financial success. In spite of all her ups and downs, she says she has never become frustrated. She stubbornly sticks to her boyish style and her own taste in movies.
Shin's 2001 is packed with a lot of acting assignments. She will star in two more movies and will appear in a music video for the group Wax. Her fans and Shin herself hope this is the year she will put her past misfortunes behind her and move on to better things.
by Park Jeong-ho