‘Nice girl’ Ko teams with ‘bad boy’ director HongIn surprising news, the movie director Hong Sang-soo has chosen Ko Hyun-jeong, a former beauty queen and drama actress, for the lead role in his new film. It will be Ko's first film role.
Ko has always been cautious about choosing which roles she accepts, sticking to “nice girl” characters. Hong, on the other hand, is renowned for liking his actors to get drunk and naked.
Ko said she was “honored,” and “appreciated” the chance to work with Hong.
“I have been a fan of his for a long time,” Ko said in a press conference on April 17, the day shooting began on Hong's new film, “Woman on the Beach.” She reportedly had so much faith in the director that she agreed to the role without first seeing a script.
So, why would an actress famous for her clean image jump at the chance to work on a production by Korea’s noted bad-boy director?
“He's a famous director,” she said. “I don't consider my decision that big or surprising.”
It certainly was to her fans. After being out of the entertainment business for 10 years, Ko made a comeback early last year by playing innocent beauties on television dramas, which usually featured at least two handsome men competing for her hand.
She also touted pricey cosmetics and luxury home appliances in TV commercials.
The second-place winner of the 1989 Miss Korea contest, Ko then had gone on to marry ― and divorce ― the vice president of Shinsegae department store chain ― also a nephew of the Samsung chairman.
Ko’s “noble” image, however, may soon be history. “Woman on the Beach” is about two women and two men who meet spontaneously for a night of fun. Not only is the storyline more risque than anything Ko has done before, Hong is notorious for trying to get his actors drunk before scenes involving either drinking or sex.
“I don't know if there will be a ‘bed scene’ in this film, because I heard that we won't be making love on a bed,” joked Kim Seung-woo, who will play Ko’s partner in the movie.
Kim's remark implied that Hong had once again hidden parts of his screenplay ― the director is known for not giving actors their lines until the day of the shoot, a technique that keeps both the actors and fans on their toes.
Ko said she knew little about the film other than that she would be playing a design student who goes to the beach. As for possibly shooting her first nude scene, she said she is ready to “consider it if required.”
“But I hope to maintain my current image a little,” she said. “I’m really afraid, imagining what I might have to do.”
As for why Hong choose Ko?
“I have wanted to work with her because she is an excellent actress who is good at expressing complicated and subtle emotions,” he said.
“Woman on the Beach” is expected to reach theater screens in September.
by Lee Min-a