The success of the film "Haeundae," which became only the fifth movie in Korean film history to attract over 10 million viewers just 33 days after it was released on July 22, is in no small part due to Ha Ji-won, who plays the heroine. So convincing is Ha's Busan accent that even locals believe she is one of their own, but in fact she mastered the accent with the help of a dialect coach.
Directors, crew and other actors who have worked with Ha call her a tough, gutsy woman. She is known as a workhorse who cannot stay idle even between movies.
She admits she always tries to learn something new when taking a break, whatever her next film may be. This, she says, is the secret of her accomplishment. At times when she has not decided what her next part was going to be, she has learned aerobics, boxing, piano, Korean traditional dance, tango, horseback riding, Korean fencing, golf, and taken singing lessons in both classical and contemporary music.
"It feels really good to learn new things," Ha says. "Of course there are times when I had to wait around to play a certain role, but I want to be prepared so that no matter what role I play I get reviews saying the role fits Ha Ji-won perfectly."
She's currently working on a film titled "Closer to Heaven" to be released in September.