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An Interview with Moon Geun-young

Posted April. 19, 2005 23:24,   


―It’s 9:00 am on Sunday. Aren’t you sleepy?”

“I’m a morning person. At 6:30 I’m already awake, even on Sundays.”

― What do you do so early in the morning?

“I watch “Window to the North and South (KBS1 TV, 7:30 a.m.)’’ and “Current Events Talk.” I also surf the web, which I can’t do during weekdays because of school. There’s a window by my computer, and I feel happy reading the postings on my homepage while being immersed in the morning sunlight.”

―You recently signed a contract with Samsung Electronics to promote cell phones for 500 million won, and another contract with Lotte Chilsung for 300 million won for six months. Can you grasp the concept of that much money?”

(Smiling brightly) “I don’t know; I haven’t used that much. People around me don’t talk about money, because I’m still young. They just say, ‘we have a shoot today at such and such location,’ and that’s it. (laughs) I only know how much I get by reading the newspapers. It’s easier not to know. I’m not doing it for the money anyway.”

-You also set aside 300 million won you earned from a school uniform advertisement for charity. You earned the nickname, “good deeds angel” from that.

“It just came from my heart, but sometimes my actions become commercialized, or it becomes my image. That’s why I hide more. My mom always says, ‘don’t think that you’re giving or bestowing your money to someone, but that you’re setting up a piggy bank of your love to society.’”

―You’re a senior in high school (Gwangju International High School) now. What are your future plans?

“I’m thinking of studying acting, but I’m still deliberating. My dream was to become an ethics teacher. I scored the highest in this course. Even in high school, I loved ethics, but you know how we study the history of philosophy in ethics courses. (Laughs) That’s how my scores dropped.”

―And your grades?

“We study up until midnight, but 11:00 is when I feel the most sleepy. I’m not a night person. Sometimes I doze off while pretending to study by putting my head down sideways for a moment. Considering how little I study, my grades are not that bad. When I don’t know the answer, I guess. I feel bad when someone who had lower grades than me get a better grade next time.”

―If “My Little Bride” portrayed the end of girlhood, would you consider “Innocent Steps” to be at the threshold of womanhood?

“People seem to like boundaries. But I’m still in the process of growth. Geun-hyung (Park Geun-hyung, the lead actor in the movie) and our director told me about their first love and helped me act the part.”

―Have you ever had a first love?

“Something like that. You know the feeling, how you like someone.”

―After practicing for 10 hours every day, we heard your toenails fell off.

“Dancing, acting, living, it’s all the same in the way we all get hurt in the process. While dancing, we merely hurt physically. I’m not too stressed out by physical hurts.”

Moon decided on launching into her current piece aided by a three way conference with her mother (a librarian at the Gwangju Regional Library) and her maternal grandmother. “Innocent Steps” was especially strongly promoted by her grandmother, Shin Ae-deok (74), who said that the role would help her “develop a more beautiful body and grow in height.”

―You’re 18 years old now. How do you feel?

“I received a resident registration card last May. It didn’t feel too good, becoming ‘human.’”


“When I’m a child, I can be a fairy or an angel, but after receiving my social security card I thought, ‘I can’t become a fairy anymore. I’m a human now.’ And I felt sad. When I was little, I wanted to become the world’s greatest thief like Lupin, and rob a bank. After looking at my fingerprint on my card, I thought, ‘I can’t even rob a bank anymore.’”

―A senior actress (Lee Eun-ju), who until recently was in the same agency with you, passed away, and on April 1, your maternal grandfather (Moon’s grandfather is Ryu Nak-jin, a unification movement activist who was imprisoned for 30 years for the Tonghyukdang Re-establishment Incident) also passed away.

“Eun-ju loved me a lot. I thought about how much it hurts to leave this world. I think sorrow and hurting are different emotions. Sorrow is just for that moment, but the hurt persists. I used to like meeting new people, but after this incident, I began wanting to protect the people around me, and to form a deeper relationship with those people.”

Seung-Jae Lee sjda@donga.com