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Rookie actresses torn between ‘nude and success’

  • Published : Nov 18, 2014 - 17:57
  • Updated : Nov 18, 2014 - 17:57

A rising number of Korean films are starring new actresses who are ready for anything -- not least, complete nude exposure and lovemaking scenes.

The trend was heralded by the immense success of the hit movie “Eungyo (2012),” an R-rated romance starring star actor Park Hae-il and a completely new face, Kim Go-eun. The rookie actress played the 17-year-old schoolgirl Eungyo who inspires love in an old, revered author.

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Actress Kim Go-eun appears in film "Eungyo."
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The official poster of film "Eungyo."

Kim, a nobody before starring in “Eungyo,” became a Cinderella overnight, nabbing nine new actress awards. Since then, there has been a constant production of R-rated films starring rookie heroines.
Then came “Obsessed (2014)” and “Scarlet Innocence (2014),” with the similar formula as “Eungyo.” These two R-rated films cast top male actors and young, unknown actresses who fall in love against social norms.

“Obsessed” casts actor Song Seung-hun and rookie actress Im Ji-yeon as the general and nurse of the same military camp. Both married, the two fall in passionate love despite a tragic end. Similarly, “Scarlet Innocence” stars top actor Jung Woo-sung and rookie actress Esom. While both films failed to achieve success, the two actresses gained instant fame. Im, for instance, won several new actress awards for the role.

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The official poster of film "Obsessed."
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Actor Song Seung-heon and actrss Im Ji-yeon appear on film "Obsessed,"
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The official poster of film "Scarlet Innocence."

The Korean film scene is expecting the launch of three more R-rated films this year, which all cast new actresses who will play the lead or supporting roles including sex scenes. “The Age of Innocence,” “The Treacherous Courtier” and “A Man and A Woman” are holding on to the “nude rookie actress” formula, and will launch this year.

Star actor-filmmaker Ha Jung-woo’s next film, “Agassi (working title),” will also stick to this nude-rookie formula. The movie’s director, Park Chan-wook, even vowed to cast new face actresses who are up to “any” nude acting.

The “rookies going nude” trend is caused by the star actresses’ unwillingness to expose their nude in films, fearing that it will deteriorate the reputation of both the movie and themselves. They also fear that the nude acting can mislead the viewers into thinking that the actresses intend to cover up their poor acting skills with sex scenes.

“Most actresses agree that nude scenes should be allowed in and for the movies,” local media outlet Sports DongA reported, citing a movie expert. “But nude acting can bring a harsher review of that film, not to mention that it can bring down their reputation as actors.”

But the Korean movie industry offers few opportunities to the new faces, except the parts with nude exposure, the report said, citing undisclosed agency members.

“Almost all commercial movies that seek new actresses involve nude exposure,” an emerging actress told Sports DongA under condition of anonymity.

“(The filmmakers) often complain that they cannot find excellent rookies, but the truth is, there is no environment to produce diverse acting talents,” she added.

By Chung Joo-won and news report (joowonc@heraldcorp.com)