“I still have a long way to go”, Seo Hyun-jin stays humble although she has already gained recognition for her excellent acting skills through many works.
The movie “Cassiopeia” (directed by Shin Yeon-sik/ produced by Ruth E Sonidos), which premiered on June 1st, depicted the story that happens when Soo-jin, who has tried to live a perfect life as a good lawyer, mother, and daughter, losses her memory due to Alzheimer’s and lives a new life accompanied by her father In-woo. Seo Hyun-jin played Soo-jin, the woman who loses her memory due to dementia.
The reason Seo Hyun-jin decided to star in “Cassiopeia” was that she thought she could show a different acting performance from what she had done in dramas. Regarding this, Seo Hyun-jin added, “While thinking ‘If I were to do a movie, I would like to do a new genre and a work where I could show a different kind of acting that cannot be applied in dramas’, I received the scenario of this movie. I believed I could show more deep emotional acting in this movie than what I had done in dramas.”
Seo Hyun-jin also revealed that she cried a lot while reading the script because it reminded her of her maternal grandmother who was an Alzheimer’s patient. Seo Hyun-jin also pointed out the relationship between parents and children as one of the reasons that made her deeply sympathize with the story in “Cassiopeia”.
After making the decision to become Soo-jin, Seo Hyun-jin began to approach the character based on data related to Alzheimer’s that director Shin Yeon-sik sent her. In addition, her personal experience of growing up watching her maternal grandmother, who was an Alzheimer’s patient, also helped her portray Soo-jin.
Regarding what she paid attention to when transforming into Soo-jin, Seo Hyun-jin said, “The thoughts and feelings of Soo-jin, who is losing her memory, should not be revealed too clearly”. She continued, “Alzheimer’s is a disease that makes a Soo-jin get trapped inside herself”, adding, “Soo-jin’s expressions also get shortened, and starting from the middle of the movie, Soo-jin nearly has no lines. I didn’t say much on script reading day.”
In addition, the actress also focused on expressing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It is known that Seo Hyun-jin and director Shin Yeon-sik often discussed the degree of the symptoms on the set before filming. Seo Hyun-jin explained, “It was not easy at all and I was afraid that my expression would look unrealistic. Since I had to show how the symptoms of Alzheimer’s appear, I was worried that the flow of the movie would be broken if I made any awkward scenes.”
Revealing that what she worried about the most was that her acting might make the movie become a tear-jerking story, Seo Hyun-jin said she wanted to act roughly while holding her overflowing emotions as much as possible. However, it was not easy at all and she kept crying during the filming. Seo Hyun-jin said, “Any actor would have the desire to make the audience cry with their acting even when they don’t shed a tear. I wish I could do so but I cried too much on the set.”
Contrary to Seo Hyun-jin’s worries, director Shin Yeon-sik told her to act naturally and sincerely according to her emotions. Nevertheless, Seo Hyun-jin, who couldn’t stop worrying, asked the director once again if her performance looked alright. After director Shin Yeon-sik confirmed, “It’s okay, don’t worry”, Seo Hyun-jin acted as she felt in the end.
This work was a new experience for Seo Hyun-jin. The actress said that she was able to perform a wide range of expressions thanks to the director and the staff who set up the camera at her suggestion. Seo Hyun-jin said, “I was able to express as much as I wanted in this movie. It was a new experience overall.”
To Seo Hyun-jin, “Cassiopeia” was a huge challenge. She shared, “Since I mainly appeared in dramas, I was worried that I might look awkward in a movie”. When asked about how she felt when watching the result of her challenge – the movie she filmed with ‘blood, sweat and tears’, Seo Hyun-jin said, “I did my best. Even if I could go back to the time when I filmed it, I don’t think I could do better than that. I monitored every single cut but when I watched the result, I still didn’t feel satisfied. I found lots of holes in my acting so I believe I still have a long way to go.”
Seo Hyun-jin continued, “I didn’t create any new face”, adding, “But what I realized while filming this movie was that I could immerse in the character quite well. This work makes me believe that I can go more boldly and express my characters even more in the future.”
Lastly, she said, “I want to act better than what I’m doing now. I think that’s my driving force to continue working hard without rest.”