Actor Chun Woo-hee wants you to trust her

Actor Chun Woo-hee [NETFLIX]

Actor Chun Woo-hee wanted to portray an independent character in the new Netflix film “Unlocked,” which centers around a woman whose smartphone is hacked and becomes the target of a psychopath criminal.

“I always thought to myself, why are victims in fictional stories always helpless and need somebody else to solve their problems?” asked Chun, during a roundtable interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily on Feb. 22. “Nami, my character, is very assertive even though she is facing the process of being victimized. She tries to solve the problem in front of her after she realizes who the perpetrator is. That kind of independence and initiative is something I tried to bring to the character.”

Nami is the main protagonist in “Unlocked” who gets her smartphone hacked by Jun-yeong, played by Yim Si-wan, after she drops the phone on a bus. The incidents that follow are about how Jun-yeong proceeds to destroy Nami’s personal and professional life with the information and data stored on the device. Although Nami is victimized by Jun-yeong, she eventually starts taking matters into her own hands — not just relying on the police or others around her to escape the grip of the psychopath.

Actor Chun Woo-hee as Nami in ″Unlocked″ [NETFLIX]

Storing everything related to one’s life on our smartphones and sharing our every thought online seems to be the “trend of our times,” according to Chun.

“The focus of our generation and this point in time is where self-expression is very important,” said Chun. “What we eat, where we go, and how we appear are all who we are and these are personal choices. It is also a personal choice whether to upload and share things online and store information on our digital devices. Taste is important, and can be a medium to express oneself. To say whether that is bad or good is not the point, in my opinion. There are so many options that people can choose from according to their inclinations.”

The actor herself is very dependent on her smartphone on a daily basis, Chun admitted.

Actor Chun Woo-hee [NETFLIX]

“I am in fact dependent, but I am also not very good at utilizing all the functions on my phone,” said Chun. “I think I am a bit clumsy with digital devices. And I am uncomfortable with exposing myself too much. My priority as an actor is to show and display my performance to audiences, but there are times when the public is curious about my personal life — what is behind all the glitz and glamor. Fans want to see something intimate. But I am not used to that kind of exposure. Also, my daily life is not very dramatic. I just stay home all the time.”

In real life, Chun has an official Instagram account but most of her 300 or so posts are announcements of new films or dramas that she is starring in, and the actor does not share much personal information on the platform.

An introverted nature combined with an active imagination has led the actor to find ways to control her creative storms, Chun said.

“I think having a big imagination is good for this job that I have as an actor, but I try to keep that in check by taking long walks,” said Chun. “I keep thinking about what to do with this scene or that line of dialogue even when I am home and by myself. I try to tone that imagination and my ideas down through walking.”

Main poster for ″Unlocked″ [NETFLIX]

On the fast-changing times and trends in the industry, it is important to not lose the vision for cinema, asserted Chun.

“Times are changing so fast and every trend seems to pass by quickly as well — and it is unfortunate that the number of films that I have made has decreased as my career has progressed — but I do not think that is simply a negative thing,” said Chun.

“And I think there are still films that make us think, ‘This is what cinema is for.’ I do not think that will go away, and I strive to make such films. Cinema is here to stay, and the convenience and diversity that streaming services have to offer is a privilege that we have now — but the inherent nature of being in a theater for two hours and being told an audiovisual story will not die, in my opinion.”

Actor Chun Woo-hee [NETFLIX]

To achieve that feat of making films that resonate with and deliver to audiences, building a “trust” associated with the name of Chun Woo-hee is important, said the actor.

“I realize that it is really hard to build this trust, to have audiences think — ‘If she is in it, it must be good,’” said Chun. “And I acknowledge that every film cannot be a hit or become critically acclaimed. The best I can do is to be authentic and give my all in the roles and characters that I play, and hope that the performance and the film itself resonates with audiences.”

Chun, known for giving performances where the actor pushes herself to extremes, said that the key to such acting is grounding herself and not losing concentration in her emotional grasp. The actor has starred in many dark and "hard to watch" films such as "Mother" (2009), "Han Gong-ju" (2014) and "The Wailing" (2016).

Actor Chun Woo-hee as Nami in ″Unlocked″ [NETFLIX]

“I try to not lose focus — when you are acting, the emotions you try to convey evaporate after each take,” said Chun. “You have to let that go each time and get into character again for the next take which can be very exhausting. But acting is self-generated and self-powered, and I try to piece together the emotions to make them fit into a whole part.”

Regarding the fact that Chun has played a lot of roles in which the characters are marginalized or facing struggles, the actor said that she is naturally drawn to such stories and depictions.

“I think I am interested in marginalized people and want to give a voice to them and their stories,” said Chun. “Nami in ‘Unlocked’ is also one such person, and I hope her story has resonated with audiences.”