Monday, July 7, 2014
Q&A with actor Lee Jung-jae.
The Face Reader, which beat Iron Man 3 at the Korean box office last year, is a lavish period drama with high-level cast at the top of its game, juicy dialogue, and a smooth mixture of low comedy and high drama. The film spins on the contradictions between outward appearances and inner feelings in its story of a professional physiognomist, hired to weed out corrupt officials at Joseon dynasty court, who becomes entangled in a power struggle for the throne. The script cleverly weaves a fictional character into real-life events and creates a fine platform for Song Kang-ho to shine in the role of a face reader who finds himself caught up in the same kind of government machinations that originally ruined his father. But ultimately, it’s Lee Jung-jae that steals the show with his superb portrayal of the king’s ruthless younger brother, Su-yang. His character dominates the film’s second half, as the story moves away from the original premise of a buffoon at court toward something darker. Part of Korean Actor in Focus: Lee Jung-jae. Presented with the support of Korean Cultural Service in New York.