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INTERVIEWRa Mi-ran's comedic talents shine in 'Honest Candidate 2'

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Actress Ra Mi-ran / Courtesy of NEW
Actress Ra Mi-ran / Courtesy of NEW

By Kwak Yeon-soo

Actress Ra Mi-ran, a late bloomer who made her film debut in "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" (2005) at the age of 30, made a big impression in the role of a fast-talking politician who suddenly cannot lie anymore after her grandmother's wish comes true in "Honest Candidate."

The 2020 film saw moderate success at the box office, reaching over 1.5 million moviegoers, despite a huge drop in theater attendance at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ra earned critical acclaim for her distinctive style of comedy ― high-energy slapstick with bizarre facial expressions ― and won the Best Actress Award at the 41st Blue Dragon Film Awards in 2021.

"I was overwhelmed to see all the positive feedback for 'Honest Candidate,' which gave me the courage to return in its follow-up. Some might ask, 'Why make a sequel to a film that only attracted over 1.5 million viewers?' But for me, it felt like surpassing 5 million," she said during a recent interview with The Korea Times.

In "Honest Candidate 2," Ra once again embodies the role of Sang-sook, who makes a political comeback after rescuing a man out at sea.

After being elected as the governor of Gangwon Province, she starts out as a competent politician. However, she gradually becomes greedy for power. Then suddenly, she inexplicably cannot tell a lie. This time, her assistant, Hee-chul (Kim Mu-yeol), cannot lie either.

Actress Ra Mi-ran in a scene from the film,
Actress Ra Mi-ran in a scene from the film, "Honest Candidate 2" / Courtesy of NEW

Ra discussed playing Sang-sook's character again in the sequel. "In the first film, I tried to keep Sang-sook's feet on the ground, whereas in the second film, I wanted to express an exaggerated, cartoon version of the character," she said.

The 47-year-old actor talked about ideas she had for Sang-sook's look in the sequel. "Sang-sook wears a bigger wig, which is a manifestation of absolute ego and greed," she laughed.

On being dubbed the "queen of comedy," Ra said she feels constant pressure to live up to people's expectations. "A lot of people think I'm funny, but I'm not! Most of the time, I stick to the script and don't improvise. It's the clarity of the script that makes this franchise hilarious," she said.

Ra revealed the challenges of starring in comedy flicks and playing lead roles. "Comedy is the most difficult to shoot because it's hard to imagine the audience's reactions," she said. "Being the lead in a film is a big responsibility, but I tried not to feel a ton of pressure. Instead, I relied on my co-stars and director Chang You-jeong."

There are two other films starring Ra ― "Come Back Home" and "Highway Family" ― coming to theaters in October and November, respectively. "I'm glad that they are getting released in theaters. Each of the film has different tones and themes and the characters don't overlap," she explained.

"Honest Candidate 2" is currently playing in theaters.
Kwak Yeon-soo yeons.kwak@koreatimes.co.kr


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