Soo Ae in 2007
September 16, 1979
Busan, South Korea
|Other names||Su Ae|
|Education||Cyber Hankuk University of Foreign Studies - English|
|Agent||Star J Entertainment|
|Revised Romanization||Bak Su-ae|
Park Soo-ae (born September 16, 1979), known simply as Soo Ae, is a South Korean actress. Soo Ae began her career on television, but after her breakout role in A Family (2004), she became best known as a leading actress in film, notably in Sunny (2008) and Midnight FM (2010). She also appeared in the popular TV series Emperor of the Sea (2004), A Thousand Days' Promise (2011) and Queen of Ambition (2013).
Soo Ae nearly became a member of a K-pop idol group. Fresh out of high school, a record agent approached the young stunner on the street in the trendy Apgujeong area. She spent six months in grueling practice, but in the end had no album to put out. She reminisced in an interview, "I didn't sing well, but the six months I spent with the team was so fun. I was lucky to get into acting."
She made her small screen debut in 2002 in a one-act drama on MBC, going on to star in Love Letter, Merry Go Round and April Kiss. Her 2004 hit historical drama Emperor of the Sea was exported to other Asian countries, South America and the Middle East, introducing Soo Ae to a wider international audience.
With her classical beauty and pure, graceful image, Soo Ae gained the moniker "queen of tears." But she revamped that image in the 2007 romantic comedy Two Outs in the Ninth Inning opposite Lee Jung-jin, playing a 30-year-old foul-mouthed, disheveled and jaded single woman struggling with life and love. Soo Ae in reality famously has a husky, neutral voice, which helped her tomboyish performance feel so natural. But her voice wasn't always a plus. She said, "I've been told many times that my voice would be a detriment to my career. When I first got started, a lot of viewers posted comments online that they changed the channel because of the way I talk. [...] It was odd because I thought of my husky voice as my biggest asset. So I would tell people, 'Keep on listening, you'll get to like it.'"
In 2008 she was cast as the titular Sunny in a film about an ordinary housewife who becomes a "consolatory band" singer in order to search for her husband who has been dispatched to fight alongside American troops in the Vietnam War. Director Lee Joon-ik sought to tell a war story from a female-centric point of view, saying the film grazes upon a broader sense of love and humanitarian concern as it depicts a long voyage of self-discovery. In a scene where she drinks heavily at a U.S. army base, Soo Ae revealed that she drank more than half a bottle of whisky at the director’s criticism that she didn't look convincing enough. As a result of drinking so much alcohol, she became really drunk, adding reality to the scene where she throws up in the toilet and blacks out. Her commitment to the film paid off, and Soo Ae received multiple Best Actress awards for her performance.
Her 2009 film The Sword with No Name depicted a desperate romance between the last queen of the Joseon Dynasty and her bodyguard. Empress Myeongseong, a forward-thinking advocate of modernity, wields her political influence to further her ideals, but is often at odds with her orthodox father-in-law, regent Daewon-gun. The movie is loosely based on history, with clearly fictional elements. Soo Ae said the role "was something I had always wanted to do from the moment I started my acting career. When I got the screenplay, I said yes without a moment's hesitation. [...] Playing Empress Myeongseong was not easy, because in addition to the mother of the nation, I had to show her womanly and human side, the joy and anguish she felt at being in love." Having to wear heavy wigs and layers of Korean traditional costumes in the steamy hot summer made the job even more difficult. The fact that she had to appear in almost every scene was another challenge. Describing herself as "timid" and "too introverted," Soo Ae credits her co-star Jo Seung-woo for making it easier for her to fully absorb herself in the love aspect of her role, such that it felt "like [they] were actually in a relationship during the shoot."
Frustrated by usually receiving melodrama scripts and wanting to take on roles in different genres, Soo Ae next starred in the 2010 suspense thriller Midnight FM. She said she decided to challenge herself by choosing the role of a strong female character fighting against a villain. She talked about the heightened fear she felt in a confined studio as her radio DJ character receives threatening phone calls from a kidnapper (played by Yoo Ji-tae), as well as the physical difficulty of filming chase and fight scenes in high heels. She tied with Yoon Jeong-hee (Poetry) for Best Actress at the Blue Dragon Film Awards.
Then in the miniseries A Thousand Days' Promise by famed drama writer Kim Soo-hyun, Soo Ae impressed critics and audiences with her unsentimental portrayal of a woman who is slowly losing her memory due to Alzheimer's disease.
In 2013, she played an amorally ambitious woman who wants to become the First Lady of Korea in Yawang ("Queen of Ambition"), from the same manhwa artist as Daemul. This was followed by disaster outbreak film The Flu, in which she said she played her most flawed character yet, a doctor and single mother who searches for a cure after her daughter is infected. Soo Ae said she is attracted to roles with an oeyunaegang quality, which literally translates to "iron fist in a velvet glove," meaning those who appear gentle but are determined and strong.
In September 2013, Soo Ae left Star J Entertainment, her agency of 12 years, and joined Management Soop. She returned to Star J Entertainment in January 2015. Soo Ae next played dual roles in Mask, about a debt-ridden department store clerk who takes on a heiress's identity and marries into a chaebol family. She was then cast as a North Korean defector who becomes part of the first South Korean women's national ice hockey team in Take Off 2, the sequel to the 2009 hit sports drama.
|2004||A Family||Lee Jeong-eun|
|2005||Wedding Campaign||Kim Lara|
|2006||Once in a Summer||Seo Jung-in|
|2008||Sunny||Soon-yi / Sunny|
|2009||The Sword with No Name||Min Ja-young, later Empress Myeongseong|
|2010||Midnight FM||Ko Sun-young|
|2013||The Flu||Kim In-hae|
|2016||Take Off 2||Ji-won|
|1999||School 2||guest appearance||KBS1|
|2002||MBC Best Theater: One Sided Love||MBC|
|The Maengs' Golden Era||Heo Joo-yeon||MBC|
|2003||Love Letter||Jo Eun-ha||MBC|
|Merry Go Round||Seong Jin-kyo||MBC|
|2004||April Kiss||Song Chae-won||KBS2|
|Emperor of the Sea||Lady Jung-hwa||KBS2|
|2007||Two Outs in the Ninth Inning||Hong Nan-hee||MBC|
|2010||Athena: Goddess of War||Yoon Hye-in||SBS|
|2011||A Thousand Days' Promise||Lee Seo-yeon||SBS|
|2012||Love For Everyone: The Plan||Herself||MBC Every 1|
|2013||Queen of Ambition||Joo Da-hae||SBS|
|2015||Mask||Byun Ji-sook/Seo Eun-ha||SBS|
Awards and nominations
|2003||MBC Drama Awards||Best New Actress||Love Letter, Merry Go Round||Won|
|2004||25th Blue Dragon Film Awards||Best New Actress||A Family||Won|
|3rd Korean Film Awards||Best New Actress||Won|
|7th Director's Cut Awards||Best New Actress||Won|
|2005||2nd Max Movie Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|41st Baeksang Arts Awards||Best New Actress (Film)||Won|
|42nd Grand Bell Awards||Best New Actress||Nominated|
|KBS Drama Awards||Best Couple Award with Song Il-gook||Emperor of the Sea||Won|
|Excellence Award, Actress||Won|
|2007||Korea TV Advertising Festival||Best Couple Award with Jang Dong-gun||Maxim CF||Won|
|2008||4th Premiere Rising Star Awards||Rising Star Award||Sunny||Won|
|17th Buil Film Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|28th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|28th Arts Council Korea||Best Artist of the Year in Film||Won|
|31st Golden Cinematography Awards||Most Popular Actress||Won|
|29th Blue Dragon Film Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|
|2009||45th Baeksang Arts Awards||Best Actress (Film)||Nominated|
|46th Grand Bell Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|17th Korean Culture and Entertainment Awards||Best Actress in a Film||Won|
|2010||47th Savings Day||Prime Minister's commendation||N/A||Won|
|31st Blue Dragon Film Awards||Best Actress||Midnight FM||Won|
|6th University Film Festival of Korea||Best Actress||Won|
|2011||47th Baeksang Arts Awards||Best Actress (Film)||Nominated|
|15th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival||Actor's Award||N/A||Won|
|27th Korea Best Dresser Swan Awards||Best Dressed, Movie actress category||N/A||Won|
|SBS Drama Awards||Top 10 Stars||A Thousand Days' Promise||Won|
|Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Planning Drama||Athena: Goddess of War||Nominated|
|Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Planning Drama||A Thousand Days' Promise||Won|
|2012||48th Baeksang Arts Awards||Best Actress (TV)||Nominated|
|5th Korea Drama Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actress||Nominated|
|2013||7th Mnet 20's Choice Awards||20's Drama Star - Female||Queen of Ambition||Nominated|
|8th Seoul International Drama Awards||Outstanding Korean Drama Actress||Nominated|
|6th Korea Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actress||Nominated|
|2nd APAN Star Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actress||Nominated|
|SBS Drama Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special||Nominated|
|2015||4th APAN Star Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries||Mask||Nominated|
- "Soo Ae Sheds Refined Image for Boorish New Role". The Chosun Ilbo. 17 August 2007.
- "Su Ae Picked Best Actress of 2004 by Internet Users". KBS Global. 28 January 2005.
- "Emperor of the Sea Drawing Attention of International TV Market". The Chosun Ilbo. 15 April 2005.
- Jeon, Su-mi (4 August 2013). "Soo Ae Talks About Trust and Being an Actress". enewsWorld.
- Kim, Gab-sik (25 August 2004). "Suae Sounds Off on Her Role in Family". The Dong-a Ilbo.
- Lee, Hyo-won (1 July 2008). "Sunny to Bring New Light to Vietnam War". The Korea Times.
- "Su-ae Admits to Passing Out in Film". KBS World. 8 August 2008.
- Yang, Sung-hee (1 October 2009). "Sword presents the softer side of actress Soo-ae". Korea JoongAng Daily.
- Park, Sun-young (27 August 2009). "Another side to Empress Myeongseong". Korea JoongAng Daily.
- "Su-ae on Playing Empress Myeongseong". The Chosun Ilbo. 17 October 2009.
- "Soo Ae: 'I Want to Show a Strong Image'". KBS Global. 15 October 2010.
- "Soo Ae: 'I Felt Relieved After Filming Scenes Heaping Insults'". KBS Global. 20 September 2010.
- "Today's Photo: November 27, 2010". The Chosun Ilbo. 27 November 2010.
- Chung, Ah-young (9 April 2010). "Su Ae Cast in Sequel to Hit Drama Iris". The Korea Times.
- Oh, Jean (12 October 2011). "Kim Rae-won returns in melodramatic sob fest". The Korea Herald.
- "Fear No Barrier for Actress Su-ae After All". The Chosun Ilbo. 7 January 2012.
- An, So-hyoun (11 January 2013). "Soo Ae Says She's Pressured about Having to Act as a Young First Lady on Yawang". enewsWorld.
- Lee, Claire (19 August 2013). "Soo Ae: Best characters have iron fist in a velvet glove". The Korea Herald.
- Son, Bo-kyung (23 August 2013). "Interview: Soo Ae Praises The Flu, Jang Hyuk and Kim Sung Soo". enewsWorld.
- Lim, Hyun-dong (12 September 2013). "Soo Ae ready for a little romance". Korea JoongAng Daily.
- "Soo Ae Changes Agencies and Joins Gong Yoo and Gong Hyo Jin at Soop Entertainment". Soompi. 15 September 2013.
- "Su Ae". Management Soop. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- Doo, Rumy (20 May 2015). "Two sides of Soo Ae". The Korea Herald.
- Jin, Min-ji (31 July 2015). "Soo Ae gets top role in first hockey flick". Korea JoongAng Daily.