Yuh-Jung Youn, a South Korean actress starring in the new movie “Minari,” spoke with the Daily Caller News Foundation’s Samantha Renck about being the first Korean nominated for the Screen Actors Guild award for best supporting actress, reflected on her own immigration story and more.
“Minari” tells the story of the Yi family’s immigration journey from Korea to America. Parents Jacob and Monica move with their two children, Anna and David, to rural Arkansas, where Jacob “[starts] a 50-acre farm to grow and sell Korean fruits and vegetables,” according to the film’s IMDb page. Youn, who plays the grandma, is described by David as not acting like a grandma “because she can’t read, she often curses, and she wears men’s underwear.”
“It’s based on [director Lee Isaac Chung’s] real life story,” Youn said. “I was just wondering, ‘should I imitate the real character? The real person?’ Lucky enough, Isaac said I don’t have to do that. I don’t have to imitate his grandmother.”
“I could use all my grandma’s picture,” she said. “We all have a grammy.” (RELATED: Michael B. Jordan’s New Movie ‘Without Remorse’ Sounds Outstanding)
Youn also discussed her own immigration from Korea to the United States during the 1970s.
“Coming to the United States, of course, it was a dream,” she said. “They liked to have a better future for their second generation. Korean parents are very diligent. We had a Korean war. We had a civil war, actually. With that experience, they liked to give their second generation a safe life.”
“I came here [because] my ex-husband had a student visa here so I came along with him.”
She also talked about being the first Korean nominated for the Screen Actors Guild’s (SAG) “Best Supporting Actress” award.
“Actually, I didn’t know. I asked my friend, ‘what does SAG stand for?'” Youn said. “I felt like numb. It’s not realistic to me or real to me. I don’t know how to describe my feeling.”
“Minari” will be available to watch on-demand February 26.
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