Lee Bo Young has been called “the queen of dramas,” which may have something to do with the many Best Actress awards and nominations she earned. Best known for her roles in My Daughter Seo Young, I Can Hear Your Voice, Mother, Whisper, and God’s Gift – 14 Days, the Korean actress now stars in the drama Mine with co-stars Kim Seo-hyung, Lee Hyun-wook, Park Hyuk-Kwon, Ok Ja-yeon and VIXX’s Cha Hak-yeon.
In Mine, she plays Seo Hee-soo, a former actress married to the younger son of a wealthy family. Her character is the sunniest member of the quarrelsome, competitive family, but it’s easy for her to be happy. She’s rich, beautiful and in love with her husband. Hee-soo has never needed to fight for what she wants or needs, but circumstances may soon force her to flex some muscles.
“Seo Hee-soo is not a strong, ambitious woman from the beginning,” said Lee. “She used to be a promising woman, who had control over her life, and she becomes stronger as she faces and deals with crises. You can see how a kind, bright woman changes as she starts to lose things that once belonged to her.”
The title of the drama might suggest that it’s a drama about acquiring material possessions and Hee-soo’s husband’s family is indeed greedy. They never have enough money and the shiny things it can buy. However, the title Mine may also refer to finding what is uniquely yours, a precious sense of self that no one can take away.
“Mine is about people who are trying to figure out who they really are and finding out what really belongs to them after having the things they took for granted taken away by others,” said Lee.
While Hee-soo is a privileged character, she comes across as down-to-earth and friendly.
“When I first read the script, it felt like an interesting yet peculiar fairy tale,” said Lee. “The dialogue didn’t sound ‘real’ or ‘natural’ but rather like very unembellished lines of stage plays. I tried to adopt my own tone of voice or way of speaking when playing my character in order to make Seo Hee-soo look more real and relatable, particularly because she might come off as pretending to do the things she does.”
Hee-soo flaunts rules and does so with a smile, but she may feel less like smiling when events in the drama threaten her comfortable life. As with every character she plays, Lee drew something from her own personality to breathe life into Hee-soo.
“I tend to incorporate my own personality into the character I play,” said Lee. “Among the various aspects of myself, I develop an aspect that is related to my character when I play it. Rather than creating something new, as an actress, I prefer to see my character as an aspect of myself. I’ve learned a lot from the characters I played. Acting has allowed me to step into different lives, and by doing so, I’ve learned to accept differences and become more empathetic. Moreover, I’ve learned how to treat others with respect. I’ve been developing my perspective on life through acting.”
Since Mine focuses on an excessively wealthy family, Lee’s character gets to wear plenty of couture, including lounging in a Valentino shirt dress going for about $6500 and donning a Dior dress selling for around $4300. It was Lee’s first time playing such a well-dressed wealthy character, so the wardrobe was fun.
“I’ve never had so many outfits for my character,” said Lee. “At first, I was worried whether they would look too extravagant or look good on me. I think this is one of those things that make it feel like theatre. It was a very fun experience. I wish I could play more similar characters if given the chance and look forward to how this character will play out.”
Among Lee’s favorite roles are the teacher she played in Mother, a remake of a Japanese drama about a woman who rescues an abused child, and My Daughter Seo-Young, a family drama focused on the broken relationship between Seo Young and her gambler father.
“Su-jin, the character I played in Mother, is one of the favorite characters I played,” said Lee. “Mother is a project that I truly enjoyed working on. Another character I like as much as Su-jin is Seo-young from My Daughter Seo-young. While playing Seo-young, I thought a lot about my outlook on life and learned valuable life lessons from the lines that said not to judge others. By living the character throughout the 50-episode series, I’ve improved a lot as an actress and become more mature personally.”
Much of what Lee loves about acting is the ability to experience the lives of others.
“Above all else, I enjoy being on set,” she said. “Nothing can bring me the same catharsis I feel when I see everything coming together perfectly on screen.”
This article was originally published on forbes.com. The photo is courtesy Studio Dragon.