One of my favorite Korean actresses is Moon Geun-yeong, an incredibly cute and engaging young woman I first encountered in Kim Jee-woon's creepy tour-de-force A Tale of Two Sisters, but who gained her greatest popularity in light, romantic comedies such as My Little Bride and Innocent Steps. For me, Moon possessed an irresistible charisma that almost single-handedly redeemed substandard and hackneyed plots, which was certainly the case with Innocent Steps. As Moon turns 20, and pursues her college studies, her career unfortunately seems to have hit a rough patch. Her latest film, Love Me Not, in which she essayed a more serious role as a blind heiress, was a resounding flop upon its release this past November. A television commercial she made shortly after the film's release in an abrupt attempt to sex up her image (see below) also encountered negative reaction, even opening her up to charges of plagiarism, both of her dance moves and the song she sang in the commercial. Moon recently gave an interview to Reuters in which she seems to express frustration with the constant scrutiny of her every move. (Note on the Reuters piece: Moon plays a Korean-Chinese woman in Innocent Steps, not a North Korean as stated in the article.)
My unsolicited career advice to Ms. Moon is simply this: material, material, material. Korea is home to some of the world's most brilliant and provocative writers and directors. Hook up with one of them. For example, I would love to see how someone like Hong Sang-soo would use you. Lee Myung-se, Park Chan-wook, Bong Joon-ho, Lee Chang-dong, Kim Ki-duk (now that would be a pairing!), E J-yong ... the list goes on and on. Another good idea would to be to work with a female director, since there are so few of them, and lending your star power to one of their projects would be a great advancement. Directors such as Jeong Jae-eun, Byun Young-joo, or Yim Soon-rye would be a nice match for you. Get on the phone with your agent or manager and demand material that is worthy of your gifts.
You can thank me later.