South Korean actress Doona Bae admits that she is worried by the state of the film industry in her home nation, given the struggle that took place to get her latest endeavour A Girl at My Door financed.

The film – which opens in cinemas across the UK on September 18th – tackles a myriad of profound, deep themes such as homosexuality, and child abuse – and as a result of the issues that are studied in July Jung’s debut feature, it led to the Korean Film Council having to finance the majority of the film themselves.

“Frustrating is not the right word how I feel,” Bae explained when speaking to HeyUGuys. “ I am a little worried about the film industry, especially the Korean film industry. It’s huge, Korean people love movies, and we used to have a lot of genres of films, but now it’s all focused on how much money the film makes. This kind of film is not for everybody, so it’s hard to get financed, but I’m worried, which is why I really wanted to be in the film, to support it.”

“It’s a really small-budget, independent film and nobody thought I would do this. Even those who sent me the script were surprised when I said yes. It’s hard to make these kind of films now. But could this help others films in Korea get financed? No, I don’t think so.” Before she asked, “Am I too negative?”

But that’s not the only reason Bae – renowned to Western audiences more so for her performances in blockbusters such as Cloud Atlas and Jupiter Ascending – decided to get involved.

“It was really easy to decide to do it, it took me five minutes after reading it,” she smiled. “I fell in love with the script and I just wanted to be in the film, I didn’t care whatever the character was. Though there was only one I could play – but if I was 20 years younger, I may have wanted to play Do-hee.”

Alas, the role of Do-hee, the young girl who befriends Bae’s Young-nam, forming the crux of this narrative as we explore their friendship – fell into the lap of newcomer Sae-ron Kim who Bae admitted she had to pepper with compliments to help her feel at ease with what is a remarkably challenging role for somebody of such a young age.

“I tried my best to cheer her up because it’s a hard role for her. She was only 12 years old at the time, and it’s emotionally and psychologically hard work for her. So I told her that if I was younger I would go for the role – it’s the best character. The best female character in Korean film history [laughs] I said a lot of things to cheer her up and give her motivation.”

In the movie the pair meet when Young-nam is transferred to a small, coastal village to take charge of the local law enforcement, and when it transpires that the abusive Yong-ha, played by Sae-Byeok Song has been violently attacking his daughter, Young-nam offer a home and protection to the young girl.

The reason for the protagonist to have been transferred in the first place, is because of her sexual orientation, and Bae admitted it was the way Jung depicted the gay protagonist which tempted her in to the project.

“I liked that the film doesn’t just focus on her sexuality,” she said. “It’s not about the fact she’s gay or not, it’s just who she is, and who she loves. It’s why I fell in love with this script.”

Despite evidently having a lot of admiration for Jung, Bae did admit she found the debutant’s directions a little too subtle to say the least…

“July actually hardly says anything, she’s very quiet. She says “okay” or “one more time” that’s all she says,” she continued. “For me it’s hard, because I like being directed. I think actors have to deliver what the director wants to tell. Then I have to know exactly what they want – but July never told me. Between takes I would have to look up and check her face – if she seems a little confused I’d try it differently. There was no specific direction from here.”

“But I love working with first time directors because they study with you, they learn with you. It’s not an order, it’s a discussion. There’s an energy and vibe on set.”

Though a translator was present for the interview, Bae infrequently called upon her, confidently answering the questions in English – which led us to asking about her future, and whether she can see herself moving back to the States to shoot more productions.

“I don’t have any boundaries about films. I don’t think Hollywood blockbusters are better movies – they’re different kind of films, and I want to do both. I’ll do whatever I want. I’ve always been like that.”

As far as we’re concerned, if Bae carries on selecting movies as moving and accomplished as that of A Girl at My Door – then she can carry on doing whatever she sees fit.

A Girl at my Door opens on September 18th, and you can read our review of the film here.