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‘Lucid Dream’ actress Kang Hye-jung waits for second peak in career
SEOUL, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) — The “Old Boy” actress Kang Hye-jung returns to the big screen for the first time in about two years since “How To Steal A Dog” (2014).
In the new Korean sci-fi crime thriller “Lucid Dream,” Kang plays a medical doctor character who guides the viewers and other main characters of the film into the world of lucid dreaming, the story’s main subject.
“My husband Tablo returned home with a fairly flushed face the other night and said the film was more interesting than he expected. So I said ‘Oh, that’s great!’,” she said during an interview with Yonhap News Agency on Tuesday.
The film, set to be out on Wednesday, tells the story of Dae-ho, a broadcasting reporter and single father who visits his and others’ lucid dreams to find clues to track down the kidnapper of his little boy, who was spirited away three years ago.
For those unfamiliar with the meaning of the title, lucid dreaming is an elusive state in which you consciously know you are dreaming. Unlike a regular dream where there is no control over what you experience, a lucid dream offers you the possibility to control your surroundings.
Kang’s character is So-hyeon, Dae-ho’s childhood friend and psychiatrist considered as the nation’s top authority in the field of researching lucid dreaming. As some critics have pointed out, she appears to exist in the film only to provide information on what is lucid dreaming and what side effects it can bring. She does not hesitate as a doctor before deciding to accept Dae-ho’s request to use the psychiatric methods for purposes other than treatment.
“Actually there were scenes where So-hyeon tries to persuade Dae-ho to receive psychological counseling. The scenes might have been essential from her viewpoint, but I thought cutting them out was the right decision because they could have distracted viewers’ attention from the film’s main plot and Dae-ho’s struggle to find his son,” she said.
The veteran actress added her standard for choosing films is their quality, not the size of her roles.
After rising to fame as Mido, the beautiful sushi waitress in Park Chan-wook’s Cannes-winning “Old Boy” (2003), Kang starred in many television shows and films in her peak years. Three of her other well-known films were “Welcome to Dongmakgol,” “Rules of Dating” and “Antartic Journal,” all released in 2005.
But she has rarely appeared on the screen since her marriage to Tablo, a Korean-Canadian rapper from the K-pop trio Epik High in 2009. The couple has a 7-year-old daughter who became Kang’s other standard for choosing films.
“I, these days, ponder whether the films I pick are good enough for her to see,” she said, laughing.
Questioned whether she felt anxious when the number of job offers was conspicuously reduced after nearly 10 years away from work, the 35-year-old working mother said “yes.”
“There were times when I felt like I lost everything and strived to do more. After all those years, I’m now becoming much more calm,” she said.
When asked what she wants to change the most if she can go back in time to her 20s, Kang said she doesn’t want to if such a move brings any change to her current family situation.
“Even if it may be the most regrettable choice in my life, I wouldn’t change it. I’ll choose to bear all the consequences from the decision alone because I can’t imagine my life without my daughter.”
She called her daughter “the greatest achievement” in her and her husband’s lives.
However, her inactivity for the past decade does not mean she will no longer be a prolific actress, she emphasized.
“Because life is long, I think I’ll be able to get more chances to be on the screen if I makes myself ready… I, for instance, may do three TV shows at the same time to give more freedom to my husband from the burden of supporting the family.”