“In commercial films, you tend to see a lot of type-casting. In my last violent instalment of revenge trilogy, I wanted to try what Hitchcock called ‘counter-casting’. Lee Young Ae grabbed my attention because Koreans have such a narrow pre-conception of her image as being nice, gentle and forgiving. One of my ongoing artistic challenges as a director is exploiting images of these well-known actors…”

– Park Chan Wook, director of Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

Lee Young Ae as a killer in Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

left: actress Lee Young Ae type-cast as a gentle and loving woman, right: Lee Young Ae as a killer in Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

And yet, there is much more to counter-casting than simply portraying a character that goes against your type-cast actor’s image. Hitchcock in his Psycho for example, used ‘gentle pretty boy’ image of Anthony Perkins to deceive audience into believing that he was innocent, consequently evoking greater shock when people later found out that he was the murderer. On the other hand, Park Chan Wook deliberately kept juxtaposing Lee Young Ae‘s past character (gentle, loving woman) to her present character who is a manipulative and relentless goddess of vengeance; a female incarnation of Edmond Dantes. So,

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