South Korean actress Gianna Jun (Jeon Ji-hyun) began her showbiz career as a fashion model; her move into acting quickly found her in sitcom-land before moving onto movies and winning a Best Actress award (2002 Daejong Film Festival) for her part in My Sassy Girl (2001). Her latest role is something of a departure, as she plays a vampire-hunter who is herself a vampire in Chris Nahon’s live-action version of Blood: The Last Vampire, originally made as an influential anime release in 2000…
What was the attraction for you of the character of Saya?
When I first saw her, she looked very mysterious – unfriendly and gloomy. It was kind of shocking, but very attractive.
What was the hardest thing about making Last Vampire?
Well, of course action was one of them, but the most difficult part was language. Even though I practiced a lot before shooting, I always had to care about linguistic matters like pronunciation and intonation. It was a burden on me and made it hard to concentrate on the character’s feeling.
As Blood: The Last Vampire is a new type of film for you, what was the most important thing you learned from making it?
It’s a very great opportunity for me to learn something new about myself. Because there’re no preoccupied thoughts, prejudice or preconceived images about me, I was able to gain more confidence. It was like painting my own colour on a blank sheet!
Saya will obviously remind people of both Buffy (a woman who kills vampires) and Blade (a vampire who kills vampires) – was that a concern for you?
No. The original Saya is ahead of other characters and even has motivated to create some of them, so I only focused on her.
Would you like to truly ‘cross over’ and make a career in Hollywood? It’s a dream of all actors and actresses! I’m willing to do my best whenever I can have a chance.
Are you a fan of horror and action? What films – or type of films – do you like yourself?
Actually, I like films which make me think deeply, such as ‘Gran Torino’ and Woody Allen’s work.
Do you have any belief in the supernatural? I believe in the power of positive thinking rather than the supernatural.
What role -or type of role – would be most interesting for you to play in the future, if you had the chance?
Any roles where I can express these feelings in my age right now.
Do you have any more ‘international’ films planned? What projects do you have coming up?
I’m planning to do one of a few possible Korean films right now, but nothing is decided yet.
Korean horror has become very popular outside Korea particularly in recent years – but what do you think of the Korean film industry in general? How would you like to see it change?
Recently, the Korean film industry has had difficulty in both domestic and international markets, but still produces a large number of new directors and varying content. If it constantly develops new projects and cultivates young talent, it’ll have a strong market for sure.
Gianna Jun, many thanks!
Blood: The Last Vampire opens in the UK on Friday 26th June.