SOUTH KOREA - Actress Soo Ae will be flexing her acting muscles in the new SBS series "Mask," where she will take up the dual roles of an heiress and debt-ridden employee.
A melodrama about people who conceal their true identity for wealth and power, "Mask" will feature Soo Ae as both Seo Eun-ha, a troubled heiress to a chaebol fortune, and Byeon Ji-sook, a modest department store clerk in heavy debt. The two women are doppelgangers ― two strangers who bear identical resemblance to each other. When Eun-ha dies, Ji-sook assumes the part, masking her true self.
Actor Joo Ji-hoon ("The Devil"), who also stars in the upcoming film "The Treacherous," plays Choi Min-woo, the illegitimate heir to a large corporation who has spent a tormented childhood under his strict father. He meets and falls in love with the false Eun-ha, who seems different from other wealthy women he has met.
Mired in the vengeance and conspiracy of the superrich world, the characters ultimately discover the importance of love and family.
"I liked this message," said Soo Ae at a press conference for the show on Monday at SBS' headquarters in Mok-dong, Seoul. "It talks about the things you don't want to end up losing in life."
Joo said he was drawn to the motif of masks. "I think we all wear some kind of mask in our daily lives," he said. "It's inevitable. You can't say everything that's on your mind.
"I also heard that Soo Ae had been cast for the lead, and that made me have great faith (in the show)," he added.
Soo Ae has been known for her gripping performances, most recently in the 2013 SBS series "King of Ambition," where she played Joo Da-hae, an intensely ambitious woman who claws her way from rags to riches.
"This role is completely different from (my role in) 'King of Ambition,' though some elements might seem similar," she said. "But Eun-ha is a character who, rather than seeking to satisfy her own greed, is trying to find someone to share her sadness with."
"I like to think of our series as the modern-day 'Alice in Wonderland,'" said director Boo Sung-cheol, whose previous work includes the wildly popular "The Heirs" (2013) and the period piece "Jang Ok-jung, Living by Love" (2013).
"Imagine a sweet, normal girl who follows a rabbit, so to speak, and ends up in a world that represents the pinnacle of capitalism.
"Soo Ae plays the two roles beautifully," Boo added. "One moment, she is the heiress Eun-ha. The very next scene, she has completely transformed into the modest Ji-sook."
"One character is poor, but is fulfilled internally. The other is wealthy, but inside, she's very much in need. I'm working hard (on set) to show that pain," said Soo Ae.
"Mask" is set to air on SBS starting May 27 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9:55 p.m.