Jun 2016 VOL.62


  • SHIM Eun-kyoung of MISS GRANNY
  • by KIM Jong-chul / 05.02.2014
  • Suspicious Girl Becomes a Glamorous Actress
    These days, few actresses receive as much attention as SHIM Eunkyoung. Though she only just turned 21, she has already accumulated an impressive filmography, having spent nearly half her life performing on screen. They say that you can become an expert if you spend ten years practicing any discipline. Now in the tenth year of her career, SHIM has become a shining star, following the success of the family comedy Miss Granny. She earned a great deal of recognition for her leading role in the comedy, which attracted over 8.6 million viewers. However, more
    meaningful for her than those numbers has been the warm praise she has received both from audiences and critics.

    Miss Granny introduces a stubborn and willful senior citizen who suddenly turns back into her 20-year-old self after she visits a photo studio to have her picture taken. SHIM plays this granny trapped in the body of ‘the suspicious girl’ (the Korean title for the film) called OH Doo-ri (referencing Audrey Hepburn). In the film, the young actress successfully imitates the mannerisms of NA Moon-hee, who plays the same character in her older years. Due to her youthful features, it almost looks as though SHIM is possessed by an elderly spirit, rather than ‘acting’ as a character. She puts on a thick dialect and her anachronistic,movements incite laughter, while her eyes express her deep love for family and have brought viewers to tears. SHIM has proved through her acting that she’s not just a onehit wonder as she already showed promise as an actress before Miss Granny . As a child, she gained acting experience in TV shows and slowly endeared herself to viewers. In her early years, she took on several roles where she played a sweet tomboy and her comic and dramatic acting was already something that viewers remembered.

    SHIM’s personas can be divided into three categories. Her comedic and easy-going characters, such as those she portrayed in Sunny (2011) and Miss Granny, her darker characters from Hansel and Gretel (2007) and Possessed (2009), and finally her characters with boyish charm such as in the TV show Bad Guy (2010). Building her acting career step by step, she was finally recognized as a rising actress in Korean cinema following her part in YIM Pil-sung’s fantasy horror Hansel and Gretel .
    The film tapped into her natural talent as an actress. She revealed her mysterious charm, playing the sexually abused Younghee, switching between the personas of a little girl and a mature woman. To everybody’s surprise, she was only 14-yearsold at the time.

    SHIM played the possessed girl in Possessed , which shone a light on her darker persona. These films were not very successful at the box office, but her acting enriched as a result of taking on these characters. This charming actress was disappointed by the films’ results but her next chance came sooner than she expected.

    KANG Hyoung-chul’s Sunny is a retro comedy that takes place in the 1980s, full of verve and teenage spirit. It became a big domestic hit, attracting more than seven million viewers. SHIM’s acting in the film left a deep impression on viewers. The peak of her heretofore unknown comic abilities came when she parodied her own role from Possessed , an idea she suggested. She was smart enough to make fun of her own character from the past, and after the film’s box office success, she dropped everything and went to America to study for two years. It was not an easy decision to make for an actress whose work had finally became successful. She posted her whereabouts on Twitter from time to time, and while she was still at school, her next move was determined. It was to be the LEE Byung-hun period drama Masquerade (2012). SHIM transformed into a character named Sa-wol, a respectful and loyal maid determined to protect the king in return for his affections. Although it was a supporting role, it became an important part towards the end of the film. Masquerade became the second biggest box office hit of that year.

    The accumulated number of viewers for her three films (Sunny, Masquerade and Miss Granny) since Possessed has exceeded 20 million. In Sunny and Miss Granny, her presence was especially important and in terms of box office performance, they are her two major works to date. However, SHIM has a lot more potential and talent to offer. There is no question that she needs to apply herself to continue to develop her talents, but she has a surprisingly big appetite for acting compared to her peers. Whenever she is interviewed, she often says that she is grateful for all the attention despite her poor acting, but this remark is not mere modesty. The truth is that she examines her own acting much more carefully and objectively than viewers do. This statement comes from her serious examination and from her ambition to become an even better actress.

    Ever since she started her acting career, she has dreamt of becoming a film director. She repeatedly confesses this dream of hers and it remains an ongoing desire. In her next project, she says she wants to play a serious character rather than another comedic one. For her next film, she takes on the voice of the main character in Seoul Station, the new animation by YEON Sangho (The King of Pigs [2011], The Fake). She looks forward to a variety of roles in her acting career, and of course we are all curious to see where she will go in the next ten years.
    By KIM Jong-chul(Film Critic)
  • Comment