Director says ‘The Princess and the Matchmaker’ is exhilarating period comedy-drama

January 31, 2018
A still from "The Princess and the Matchmaker," released by CJ Entertainment (Yonhap)

A still from “The Princess and the Matchmaker,” released by CJ Entertainment (Yonhap)


By Shim Sun-ah

SEOUL, Jan. 31 (Yonhap) — The historical comedy-drama “The Princess and the Matchmaker” is set in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) when severe drought strikes the entire nation for years.

In the belief that only the marriage of his daughter, Princess Song-hwa, can end the drought, the king of Joseon orders the nation’s best fortune-teller Seo Do-yoon (played by Lee Seung-gi) to help pick the best match for her based on their destiny.

However, Song-hwa (played by Shim Eun-kyung) has second thoughts about marrying someone she has never even seen. She sneaks out of the palace carrying documents detailing the personal information of three candidates to secretly watch each of them at a distance.

The film is the second of the Jupiter Film’s three-part film project on the Korean fortune-telling traditions. The first of the series was “The Face Reader” starring Song Kang-ho and Lee Jung-jae. It sold 9.13 million tickets when it opened in local theaters in 2013.

“If the previous film ‘The Face Reader’ was a serious historical film, this film is a brighter and amusing popcorn movie,” rookie director Hong Chang-pyo said during a news conference for “The Princess and the Matchmaker” at a Seoul cinema on Wednesday. As a bright and warm drama, it stands out from the latest box-office hits, mostly male-centric crime thrillers or dark and serious historical epics, the director stressed.

A still from "The Princess and the Matchmaker," released by CJ Entertainment (Yonhap)

A still from “The Princess and the Matchmaker,” released by CJ Entertainment (Yonhap)

Hong said he had Shim in mind from the early stage of the filmmaking process.

“I thought Shim was the perfect match for the role of Princess Song-hwa.”

The actress, known for her trademark image of a bright and energetic young woman, said she would do the same if she were in Song-hwa’s position “to find true love.”

As for her chemistry with the director, Shim said she really enjoyed working with him.

“The set was full of energy, and we had so much fun acting because he led us well,” she recalled. “I also enjoyed watching and trying all different kinds of ‘hanbok’ in the scenes. They were really beautiful and pretty.”

Actor Lee Seung-gi complimented Shim as an honest and hard-working actress.

“I wondered who other than Shim could deliver the role of Princess Song-hwa that well,” he said.

It marks Lee’s first appearance on the big screen after he was discharged from the mandatory military service last October. In South Korea, all able-bodied men must serve in the military for about two years.

“I shot the film before I joined the Army. I had fat cheeks at that time,” Lee said with a big smile.

The 23-year-old actress, however, said she has never gone to see a fortuneteller in real life.

“So I have no idea whether I’m going to have bad luck or not, but there is time when I just feel bad. Whenever the time comes, I usually stay at home, comfortably lying in bed, reading books and watching TV.”

Actors Yeon Woo-jin, Kang Min-hyuk and Choi Woo-sik took the roles of the three candidates for husband: one was an ambitious man of ability, the other a handsome man, and the last a warm and polite man known for his filial piety. Veteran actor Kim Sang-kyung was the Joseon king who also is Song-hwa’s father.

A still from "The Princess and the Matchmaker," released by CJ Entertainment (Yonhap)

A still from “The Princess and the Matchmaker,” released by CJ Entertainment (Yonhap)

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