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Plot Synopsis by AsianWiki Staff ©
New high-school transfer student Na-Mi (Shim Eun-Kyung) comes from a small town in Jeolla Province to her new school in the capital city of Seoul. When she is nervous, her small town dialect comes out & she starts to shake.On her first day at her new school she is bullied by others. Coming to her help is a group of girls. The girls are Chun-Hwa (Kang So-Ra) - known for her strong sense of loyalty & excellant fighting skills, heavyset Jang-Mi (Kim Min-Young) - who badly wishes to have plastic surgery to get double eye-lids, Jin-Hee (Park Jin-Joo) - excellent when it comes to spewing profanity, Geum-Ok (Nam Bo-Ra) - interested in literature, Bok-Hee (Kim Bo-Mi) - dreams of one day becoming Ms. Korea and Su-Ji (Min Hyo-Rin) - always arrogant. Na-Mi quickly becomes part of their group. When the group confronts rival girls known as Sonyeo Sidae ("Girls Generation"), Na-Mi spews curse words she picked up from her grandmother. Because of Na-Mi the girls are able to avoid a crisis. These seven girls then form their own group named "Sunny". They also vow to stay together forever. The girls then prepare for a performance at an upcoming school festival, but on the day of their performance a terrible event occurs leading the girls to eventually going their own separate ways.
Twenty five years later, Na-Mi (Yoo Ho-Jeong) is married to a successful businessman and has a beautiful daughter. Her life seems perfect from afar, but there's something lacking in her life. One day, Na-Mi bumps into high school friend Chun-Hwa (Jin Hee-Kyung) in the hospital. They are ecstatic to see each other, but Na-Mi receives a phone call and has to leave. On her way out she ask Chun-Hwa if there is anything she can do for her. Chun-Hwa at first says no, but after a moment of reflection she makes a simple request to Na-Mi. Chun-Hwa asks Na-Mi to find the other members of "Sunny," so she can see them one more time ...
- Filming began September 12, 2010 and finished December 21, 2010.
- During its May 6-8 opening weekend, "Sunny" opened #1 selling 279,846 tickets. Movie went on to sell 7.3 million tickets and ranked #11 for all-time ticket sales of Korean films when its theatrical run finished.
- On July 28, 2011 a Director's Cut version of "Sunny" will be released theatrically in South Korea. The director's cut version contains 10 minutes of extra footage that was removed from the original theatrical version to obtain a general audience movie rating. A large portion of the added 10 minutes contains violence or profanity.
- Related titles:
- Sunny (2011)
- Sunny: Tsuyoi Kimochi Tsuyoi Ai (2018)
Additional Cast Members:
- 2011 (16th) Busan International Film Festival - October 6-14, 2011 - Korean Cinema Today: Panorama *Director's Cut
- 2011 (6th) Korean Film Festival In Paris - October 11-18, 2011 - Opening *European Premiere
- 2011 (13th) Mumbai Film Festival - October 13-20, 2011 - World Cinema
- 2011 (6th) The London Korean Film Festival - November 4-10, 2011 - Contemporary Korean Cinema
- 2012 (10th) New York Korean Film Festival - February 24-26, 2012
- 2012 (7th) Osaka Asian Film Festival - March 9-18, 2012 - Special Screenings
- 2012 (14th) Udine Far East Film - April 20-April 28, 2012 *Italian Premiere
- 2012 (15th) Shanghai International Film Festival - June 16-24, 2012 - Spectrum
- 2012 (16th) Fantasia Film Festival - July 19-August 9, 2012 *Quebec Premiere
- 2012 (3rd) Korean Film Festival in Australia - August 22-September 30, 2012 - Panorama
Q&A with dir. Kang Hyung-Chul & cast of "Sunny"
Q&A for "Sunny" took place after a screening of the movie at the 2011 Busan International Film Festival on October 7, 2011. Appearing as speakers are (listed in order of picture above) director Kang Hyung-Chul and actresses Kang So-Ra, Jin Hee-Kyung, Yoo Ho-Jeong, Park Jin-Joo, Min Hyo-Rin, Kim Min-Young. AsianWiki editor Ki Mun was there and transcribed/translated the session.
- Kang Hyung-Chul (director) - Hello, I am the director of "Sunny," Kang Hyung-Chul. Lately, whenever I appeared on stage to say hello, I kept mentioning that this would be my last appearance to say hi for this film, but I have kept going. I would like to thank the audience for coming to my movie.
- Kang So-Ra - Hi, I'm Kang So-Ra who played teenage Chun-Hwa. I thought I wouldn't say hi anymore for this movie, but I am glad that it is playing again and I have the opportunity to say hi again.
- Jin Hee-Kyung - Hi, I'm Jin Hee-Kyung who played adult Chun-Hwa. Before I married, during my more popular days, I came to the Busan International Film Festival a lot. I have acted in films for a long time. I am so happy to see you again in Busan. I will continue to work hard as an actress.
- Yoo Ho-Jeong - Hi, I'm Yoo Ho-Jeong who played adult Na-Mi. This is my first time being invited to the Busan International Film Festival. I am so honored and happy. Thank you for your love.
- Park Jin-Joo - Hi, I'm Park Jin-Joo who played foul-mouthed Jin-Hee. The first time I came to Busan was for a musical performance. I liked Busan so much I came back here alone. This is my third time. I came here for the Busan International Film Festival. Whenever I come to Busan I feel like I am in paradise. Thanks for coming here.
- Min Hyo-Rin - Hi, I'm Min Hyo-Rin who played Su-Ji. Thanks for the love given to "Sunny" and please don't forget "Sunny." Thank you.
- Kim Min-Young - Hi, I'm Kim Min-Young who played double-eyelid Jang-Mi. Thank you.
- Moderator - Combining ticket sales for your first film "Scandal Makers" and your second movie "Sunny," more than 15,000,000 people have watched your movies. You must be thrilled by this. How does it feel to become one of the highest grossing directors in South Korea?
- Kang Hyung-Chul (director) - I'm happy people like my work. It's not about the box office figures. When I make a movie, I believe people will like my work. I'm happy that my belief has been validated.
- Audience Question - Young Na-Mi is nervous and clumsy, but grownup Na-Mi is confident and a leader. I would like to know how that change occured?
- Kang Hyung-Chul (director) - What I wanted to convey the most in the movie is that life is filled with irony. At the same time, I wanted to tell the story of a person that grows up. In the past, young Nam-Mi was clumsy, but in her new environment she meets good friends and adapts to her new setting. Adult Na-Mi is passive at first, but by meeting her old friends from 15 years ago and recalling her past she grows up.
- Yoo Ho-Jeong - I tried to follow Kang Hyung-Chul's direction. I don't know whether I did good or not. There is a gap between Na-Mi's character as a teen and an adult. I did wonder about that gap as well. I worried a bit on how to portray Na-Mi also. Kang Hyung-Chul advised that people grow by going through a lot of changes. Na-Mi's basic character doesn't change, she wants to be a perfect housewife, but some scenes shows Na-Mi being not so perfect ... like handing her daughter the bra instead of her socks. Her life is focused on only her daughter and husband. Through meeting her old friends again Na-Mi is able to find herself ... the real Na-Mi. I was focused on that part when I acted.
- Audience Question - You use a lot of 80's and 90's music in your past two films. Also, the music played prominent parts in each of those films. Is there a reason why you use such music as material for your films?
- Kang Hyung-Chul (director) - "Scandal Makers" is about three generations of a family. I wanted to tie them together with musical talent. Nam Hyeon-Su is a former singer, his daughter is a talented vocalist and his grandson is talented with music as well. To tie the family's solidarity with music I used music a lot. There are various cultural icons to represent the 1980's. I chose music. If a movie explains details too much the audience gets bored. With music, even if it's just a short soundclip, the audience recognizes it and thinks of certain things. Music is useful for films in that way.
- Audience Question - You are young and handsome. I'm surprised you were able to tell a woman's story so well. A story of a mother's past and using lots of music from that era. Did you try to go back to that time by listening to music all the time?
- Kang Hyung-Chul (director) - I like listening to music. Before I made my first film I didn't really do anything, so I listened to music a lot. The backdrop for "Sunny" was a time when I attended elementary school. I think at the age music and pop culture stands out. It's memorable for me.
- Audience Question - I couldn't understand how Chun-Hwa and Na-Mi first met in the hospital. In that scene, she sees just the back of her friend and listens to a song. How was she able to recognize her old friend?
- Kang Hyung-Chul (director) - Na-Mi walks into the hospital room and looks around. Chun-Hwa looks at Na-Mi from somewhere and recognizes her. The familiar phrase "you have not changed yet" comes out. She's then called out by her full name "Lim Na-Mi" while others at the hospital calls her "Ye-Bin's mom". Then their old schooldays theme song is sung.
- Audience Question - I watched "Sunny" and the longer, director's cut of "Sunny." The regular theater version of "Sunny" seems to tell the story in one big flow without explaining details. The director's cut of "Sunny" shows other people's emotions more. Did you plan to have a director's cut initially?
- Kang Hyung-Chul (director) - Before the director's cut of "Sunny," there was another version with less explanation, but that received a restricted rating (teens could not watch the film). Through meetings and re-edits the movie then received a "PG-15" rating (anyone over 15 years of age could watch) and that was the version released in theaters originally. The director's cut version contains almost every scene in the original screenplay I wrote. Only one scene did not make the director's cut, due to poor quality. The director's cut version is for the fans of "Sunny" and my own desire to show everything I intended from the original screenplay.
- Audience Question - I watched "Sunny" a total of 3 times. Twice the the regular theater version and once the director's cut. My question is for the actresses that played the teen characters. After watching "Sunny," for the first time I looked up the ages of the actresses. You are young. The time era of your characters was before your time. Any difficulties portraying your characters because of this?
- Kang So-Ra - No difficulties at all. During the filming we had a lot of fun. We didn't have our memories to rely on so everything felt new to us.
- Park Jin-Joo - The director told us to have fun, so we did. We were fascinated with the 1980's music. When I went to the filming set I was excited and happy.
- Min Hyo-Rin - While shooting the movie I missed my friends, because I had experiences similar to the seven princess group at school.
- Kim Min-Young - Yes we did.
- Audience Question - This question is for Park Jin-Joo who played foul-mouthed Jin-Hee and also the movie director. Didn't you have difficulty in swearing so much?
- Moderator - I would also like to know how you collected so many curse words.
- Kang Hyung-Chul (director) - Actually, I'm pretty good at swearing. I wrote it pleasantly and easily. Actress Park Jin-Joo actually couldn't swear that well. I believed in her and thought she could express those phrases. As you guys saw, she ended up doing a good job.
- Park Jin-Joo - When I got the script I didn't realize there were that many swear words. At first I thought it was joke, but as I read through the script I found more and more curse words. When I first tried to say those lines I didn't think I sounded natural. I ended up calling my friends who lived in other regions of Korea. I asked them to say those curse words. From their mouths those words sounded a lot more scary.
- Audience Question - This question is for Kang So-Ra who played teen Chun-Hwa. The movie has quite a few violent scenes. You seemed to kick and punch well. Did you like doing that?
- Kang So-Ra - I like watching that stuff in movies, but I've never tried that before. During filming I got tired, but I relived my stress by doing a lot of those scenes.
- Audience Question - I will turn 60-years-old next year. It was fun to watch the movie, thinking back to earlier days. Recently, I have heard teachers are scared by teens the most. While watching "Sunny," it also reminded me of the Korean movie "Friend." During those days loyalty comes first for teen gangs. I wonder why you would glorify that kind of world?
- Kang Hyung-Chul (director) - I think the phrase "it was not a study but a bad circle" by Jang-Mi is sometimes misunderstood. Sunny members were different from the bad circles. Sunny members didn't do bad things. They just hanged around and played, but I think the series of incidents involving the girls from another school were part of their growing pains. I don't agree that the movie is violent and I didn't intend to make such a film.
- Audience Question - Chun-Hwa read a martial arts novel during class. I've also read that Kang So-Ra likes to read martial arts novel in real life. I'm curious if it was a coincidence or was that scene added after the casting of Kang So-Ra? Also, how close is Kang So-Ra to the character of Chun-Hwa?
- Kang So-Ra - When I auditioned for the role I mentioned that I liked to read martial arts novels. Kang Hyung-Chul already had that idea for the character of Choon-Hwa. During filming, I became like 90% of the character Chun-Hwa. Nowadays, I think we're like 20% similar.
- Audience Question - Two actresses played one character. I would like to know what efforts the two actresses did to have consistent characters?
- Kang So-Ra - I'm so honored to have gotten help from Jin Hee-Kyung. She focused on my side. Thanks to the adult Chun-Hwa, the teen Chun-Hwa became a great character.
- Jin Hee-Kyung - Thanks to Kang So-Ra, the character Chun-Hwa turned out even better. We also resemble each other. Before the movie, I had long hair and as I was cast for the movie I told the director that I would have my haircut. The director liked that a lot. Also, Kang So-Ra had her hair cut. Those details helps out a lot. Kang So-Ra began filming her scenes first. So I referred to her acting in the beginning. She did a great job.
- Yoo Ho-Jeong - In terms of looks the director told me I resembled Shim Eun-Kyung. One day, he called me and said I didn't realize it at first, but you and Shim Eun-Kyung look alike. I think Shim Eun-Kyung might not be too happy to hear that. Na-Mi's character resembles the teen Na-Mi, but Na-Mi's character shows different qualities compared to the other characters. We tried to work together. I think the younger actresses prepared a lot and did their best and because of that our characters became more vivid.
- Jin Hee-Kyung- When we met for the first time we immediately knew who would act for which parts. We also had a feeling the movie would turn out good too.
- Park Jin-Joo - I heard actress Hong Jin-Hee was cast for the adult version before I was cast for the teen version. When I saw Hong Jin-Hee I thought my forehead and cheekbones resembled hers. I also wanted to emulate her attitude on living life happily.
- Min Hyo-Rin - I think compared to the other characters, the teen and adult versions of Su-Ji don't resemble each other as much. Model Yoon Jung appears in only one scene as the adult Su-Ji. It's too bad I didn't have the chance to talk with her more. She is so beautiful.
- Kim Min-Young - I am so happy to work with the director and actresses from "Sunny." Also glad to have met Ko Su-Hee who is like my lifetime mentor.
- Audience Question - Is this movie an original work? Also, I like how you edited the film. The way it went back and forth between the present and past. Usually flashbacks describe the past in a distinct manner, but this movie presents the past and present in a fluid narrative flow. Tell us your intentions for editing the film like that?
- Kang Hyung-Chul (director) - "Sunny" is an original work I created. There were several reasons for making the film. One of them is for my mom. She is a typical housewife. My mom had school days like "Sunny." Personally, I prefer criss-crossing between time rather than just a flashback. I did want to tell a story involving this technique and with the story of "Sunny" I think it came out pretty well.
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