Actress Ko Ah-sung plays a real-life Korean independence fighter in the upcoming film "A Resistance" directed by Joe Min-ho. Ko plays Yu Gwan-sun, a schoolgirl who played an active part in the March 1 Independence Movement against Japanese colonial rule.
The film depicts the little-known details of her life in Seodaemun Prison in Seoul, where she maintained her dignity despite being brutally tortured.
Ko has played a diverse range of TV and film characters in various genres, but playing one of Korea's best-known historical figures was a new challenge.
"I really wanted to play a real-life figure. When I play a fictional character, I always think that there must be someone just like her in real life who has experienced the same things," Ko said. "It leaves me feeling a kind of guilt, and I wonder if I'm doing it right. And I felt a similar sense of guilt while playing Yu."
Ko said she fasted for five days toward the end of the shoot to portray Yu as she was starving in prison.
"Director Joe wanted me to gradually look different as the film progresses, and he gave me five days off so I could look more like Yu toward the end of her life. I thought it was necessary for the film. I also consulted with the film's makeup artists to make the change more noticeable," she said.
Set for release to coincide with the March 1 Independence Movement Day, the film is particularly meaningful because this year marks the centennial of the movement. "The day is finally coming. As an actress, I want to say that this role is really special to me and I am proud to be involved in this film. I hope it touches people's hearts," Ko said.