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Of all the sources of inspiration, they picked that one

I have respect for So Ji Sub, not just because he’s a good actor, but because his proclivity for staying out of the public eye (as much as an A-list celebrity can) and his subdued demeanor are a nice change from the other attention-seekers cluttering the landscape, whose constant self-promoting can at times seem desperate.

But!

So Ji Sub’s latest activities include an extensive twelve-page photo spread for November’s issue of W magazine, shot by American photog Terry Richardson, and — get this — the entire shoot was built around the concept of The Brown Bunny. Yes, that notorious piece of self-aggrandizement touted as “serious art” but which was SO universally reviled that it got booed at Cannes. Its two leads (hipper-than-thou “auteur” Vincent Gallo and his supposedly “fashionable” co-star Chloe Sevigny) are, perhaps, the biggest black hole of charisma in any two actors I’ve ever seen. They’re like anti-charisma. Oh, right, and let’s not forget that infamous “nonsimulated sex” scene which got everyone in a snit because Chloe Sevigny gives Vincent Gallo a real blowjob onscreen (and there goes everyone to google Brown Bunny) instead of performing the Hollywood norm of just looking like she is — an act that was supposed to be less discomfiting than it sounds merely because the actors had at one point dated.

Anyway, so The Brown Bunny may be among the worst-received films of recent years, Gigli notwithstanding (because nobody was ever expected to take Gigli seriously, whereas The Brown Bunny drowns in the weight of its own self-importance). It was a fiasco financially, critically, reputationally (yes I know that’s not a word) and however else a film can be a fiasco.

All of which is my long-winded way of saying, Gee I wish that photo shoot was based on a better concept.

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Stills from Vincent Gallo’s Brown Bunny:

 

From So Ji Sub’s W magazine shoot:
(Thanks to dcinside)

 
MORE ADDED. Note: I didn’t put the following pics up initially because I could only find the first batch at first. And then I didn’t put it up because I find the shoot in poor taste. FYI, I hate them:

Source: Newsen

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OMG, you've too watched The Brown Bunny? It's like the worst B-rated movies of all time (although i agree that the turkey scene in Gigli rivals that title also). That was 30 minutes of my life (yup, did not finish it) that i couldn't take back. But, out of curiosity and love of photojournalism (yeah, right!), can you at least include one picture from this themed-W magazine shot of SJS? Come on, i know this site could rival popseoul anyday when it comes to kpop culture reporting.

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...
what?
sorry its just...you know.....er.....What?

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...Wait until you see the pictures from the photoshoot itself. So Ji Sub fans can't even post them on his Soompi thread because they're so...explicit. (However, there are silly fan stickmen-ish drawings of them that'll give you an idea. Check Soompi.)

But apparently, So Ji Sub's seen "The Brown Bunny" over ten times...And besides, he's the first Asian star to ever work with this particular photographer. It's quite an honour.

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As requested, photos added!

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I've always hated Terry Richardson for as long as I've been into fashion and this pretty much makes me hate him more. Heh. I realize that TR is a photographer that's based a lot of his work on liberalizing the idea of sex and etcetera but sometimes I feel he goes overboard and using "The Brown Bunny" as inspiration is just a surefire way for any set of images to go to the shitter.

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Amy, I agree, not a fan of Richardson myself. It's one thing to "liberalize" and it's another to fetishize. I find it funny that the Korean sites and media are reporting with their characteristic hyperbole that Richardson is "The Most Famous Photographer In America," which is just silly. (Annie Liebowitz? David LaChapelle?)

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omg! NO!!!
that film was a lame excuse to put porn in a film
but that last picture is

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oh wow....hhmm....uh.....yeah....that last pic.... O.O

WOW....

although i have no idea what that movie is...or who the photographer is (i do not know ANYTHING about photography)....this was an interesting post...***runs off to soompi***

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I'm still reeling from the pics that I saw of this photo spread. As his fan, I have only one question for Jisub: "Why?"

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Oooh, i want to see the pictures.... I love So JiSub. About the raciness...i don't think its all that big a deal. this is how i look at it: he's grown, he can do whatever he wants to do. What I love most about him is his acting and how sexy he is. lordy

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It's not a surprise to see Terry Richardson's name associated with this a-la-The-Brown-Bunny photo shoot. The man practically redefines the word "vulgar" in photography; i can never quite understand or appreciate the shock value of his sexually-explicit works (but obviously, some do?). However, i think these are quite tame compared to many of his other works (are there more risque ones in the magazine issue?). Agree with thunderbolt, the question is why would anyone agree to publicly be his subject knowing how controversial this man is? His photographs definitely blurred the line separating art and pornography. I hope that the Korean media as well as SJS understand the implications of these pixs which are in no way "artsy", flattering or in good taste. **shakes head**

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As Thunder till now I have ony a question....why???
I saw all the pics of the magazine and I really don't like them. I don't know the Brown Bunny movie, but they could choose other more interesting concepts to took these pics.
:(

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the brown was horrendous enough the first time around why would anyone want to remake it? lol
is that 4th pic trying to replicate that infamous scene?

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Explicit pics of So Ji Sup??

THANK YOU JESUS!

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what the.... o.O
that last photo is reallly So Ji sup?? it seems like it was taken hastily....
man, talk about 360 degrees change...

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wow! Yummy! where's the rest?

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My oh my..
( speechless )
I read this article this morning ( my time ) and now the afternoon I came back to see the comments, and oh NO! the pictures ruin my day. I would never see Ji Sup the same again.

And I must say the same question, WHY?

Maybe I am an art blind, but ssshhhh, I don't think Jisub's pics are artistic ones.
Man, you should cut your hair right after you finish filming the drama!

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Why did they have to taint my JiSub oppa? WHY?? ._.

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The pics are really bad. Honestly, How was JiSub ever convinced to do it?! His photos, are horrible. Whatever anybody says.

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Hehe, I see that you got hold of the very tame pictures out of the bunch. (I assure you that the others get even racier than the last (blurry version of the) pic you posted!)

As a fan, I also wonder why Jisub did this. Still, I know that he's a bit of a non-conformist. Yeah, he has his conservative side, and he's quiet and shy, but he also has a very liberal, sort of wild side under all that. At least, that's the impression I've gotten of him over the years.

Oh, well. What're you gonna do? At least he can say he was the first Asian star who was gutsy enough to work with this photographer...?

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I hate the "racier" pics that Dahee mentioned. First time that I've physically recoiled from a Jisub pic. It's okay if he has a"very liberal, sort of wild side" but those pics were distasteful to say the least. As soon as I saw them, I hit "Delete" and "Empty recycle bin"; could not stand even having them in my computer. As someone who runs a forum dedicated to him, I've been feeling kinda lost since I saw the pics. It's all so bewildering.

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I don't like Terry Richardson much. His 'edgy'/dirty/kinky think makes me go O.O much of the time. But, the first three he shot don't suck. :/

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Brown Bunny's only problem, from my male point of view, is that it's a dull film and its "point" a little too contrived.

But it's a very American movie, portraying the very mundane life of a guilt-stricken, decadent (and drugged up) American person.

I don't believe the photos are glorifying violence against women per se so much as it might be the general lapse of a man living a niche of American life; moreover, it's not glorifying or aestheticizing such as much as it is merely presenting the motion and movement of that nature of a man participant in a fallen, lower-class, urban society. I suppose in this respect I can empathize with Gallo's film. There's Nature in the streets and highways (and blowjobs?).

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"I don’t believe the photos are..."

Correction: I was talking about Gallo's film in the last paragraph above. Not SJS's photos.

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brown bunny was boring. snore-fest.

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Dahee, I added the others. At first I could only find the first four up at dcinside, and I saw the rest later. Incidentally, I think they suck.

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Those are seriously some of the worst photos I've ever seen.

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After I saw the last two.... I couldn't look anymore.

Ji Sub!! Why? WHY? POR QUE?!

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When I look at the two photos (the ones of SJS and the blond woman) above I see a banal concept in play: sexuality and violence. It's not misogny. It's just your garden variety way to spice up your sexy picture. It's said that psychologically there is a relation between sex and violence; these two elements seen together in a frame, then, shouldn't be surprising.

The photographs utitlizes 'sex and violence' for its theme and then borrows from Gallo's film which itself draws its aesthetic thrift from a general set of things and not anything particular - not misogyny, drugs, or even the sex; it's the lower-class urbania, the street and city 생활 which Gallo is presenting as a subject of art.

In my view, SJS's photos are pretty tame and innocuous. For all I know, they're about a couple engaged in foreplay. I don't neccesarily see a victim. There's enough ambiguity in them; perhaps that is where the value of the photographs lies?

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Woohoo! Free almost-snuff-porn like pictures. Next let's see some blood and gore and some animals mutilated. This is where things like these are headed, we become numb that eventually THIS becomes the norm. Hurray! For freedom of expression!

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(and there goes everyone to google Brown Bunny)
^ LOL I actually wanted to before I read that part. Now it's even more interesting.
I really don't like this shoot! >_

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ok i know SJS is the first asian to venture into something like this. but omg. i cant believe it. as a fan, i like his works so much. but seeing this, even the partial. i dont know why he did it. its makes him look so different and misconstrued in a way. it just bothers me to why he would even think of doing this.

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It's been one week and I still feel sick to my stomach when I see the pics or read comments that justify them. Sarah, is it true that there's been zilch negative reaction from the Korean media to the photo spread? I find that hard to believe, especially given how repulsed my friends and I feel about it. Is the non-reaction a cultural thing?

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can't believe SJS even agreed to do this...in the name of art??

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thundie, I can't speak for ALL of korea, but i haven't seen much (or any) negative response in the press, which is mostly neutral or mildly positive. that astounds and disgusts me, but i also wonder if it's a case of not wanting to put down the white man that elevated your status or whatnot. as notorious as terry richardson is, perhaps he lends them credibility? i don't know. i don't frequent fan cafes so i can't tell you what the response is there. all i know is, i can't believe people would look at a picture of an actor strangling a woman and say, "OMG so sexy!" or that they would defend this spread as an actor "growing" -- a picture is a damn picture, it's not acting. acting in a movie as a wicked villain, i get. but these photos? there's no context. what's the message? what's the point?

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Don't know anything re 'Brown Bunny' and from comments made I don't want or need to either.
As for photos..They are not works of art and they certainly don't do anything for So JiSub. Whatever his managers thought to let him do this I can't imagine. It does not make him look like himself in any way. This is a set of unpleasant photos of a dirty looking street creature and it does not present So Ji Sub the way his admirers want to see him IMO. If they were thinking they were being clever and giving So Ji Sub a boost in his career in the international entertaiment world I think they made big mistake.
Someone mentioned Annie Liebowitz....now SHE would really have been the one to open up the US for So Ji Sub. Too late for that now I think.
I am truly appalled and very disappointed. If So Ji Sub wanted to show his 'dark side' it would have been done much better with more intelligent forethought by any sane thinking manager. Totally beyond me for him to do this. He has lowered his own character in these very poorly chosen photos.Maybe I should say a very poorly chosen photographer.

Peggy

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P>S

I wonder if his mother will ever see these photos. Can he explain them to her and give any decent reason for doing them.

Peggy

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"all i know is, i can’t believe people would look at a picture of an actor strangling a woman and say, “OMG so sexy!” or that they would defend this spread as an actor “growing” — a picture is a damn picture, it’s not acting."

but those are the sort of comments i'm seeing (not here but at a popular kpop forum). it's gotten to the point that those of us who objected to the pics are now regarded as "close-minded" and unable to appreciate the depth of his expressions and the sheer "hotness" of the pics. it's like we're outraged over nothing, kicking up a fuss over what's essentially just "another photoshoot." i've decided to steer clear of that thread because i get too upset when i go there. sarah, you did the right thing to say "i'm outtie"; i should have left with you but i was stupid enough to pop back a few more times and those "visits" just made me feel more ill than before.

those "OMG so sexy" comments are poles apart from the bewildered exchanges i've been having with some longtime sjs fans. all of us feel appalled and repulsed. some of us feel deeply sad and even betrayed. we can't fathom why he would accept the concept of the photoshoot and go along with it with "no objections" (according to a translation I read). but what has been even more puzzling (and distasteful) is how most fans are supportive of the pics and even singing their praises. that's what boggles my mind the most.

someone said this to me today, "i don't know when i can recover from this." i wonder if sjs is aware that his action has hurt some of us deeply and perhaps irreparably.

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" i wonder if sjs is aware that his action has hurt some of us deeply and perhaps irreparably."

Thunder, that's why I'm planning on letting him know what we think. Him and BOF. Hopefully, we will get a message from him, letting us know what he thinks.

What a horrible thing to happen right before his birthday!

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Oops, forgot to put in my name. The above message was written by moi.

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Oh my, is this another case of lost in translation? There appeared to be a large disparity between the viewpoints on this blog (which i totally agreed with) and the overseas Korean opinions. Blame it on cultural gap, lack of understanding, bad personal judgment, terrible management ... whatever. It should not have happened. I'd be interested to know about So Ji Sub's personal reactions when he saw these photos. It probably was a different environment during the photo shoot; but hindsight, what does he think about the photos now? Would he do it again if given the chance? I guess whether he believes that the photo shoot was a mistake or not is perhaps not as important as what he learned from this (bad) experience. Ohhh and yes, Terry Richardson is widely known as an offensive artist and in no way, should be regarded as a good representation of American photographers.

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Thanks, sarahbeans, for letting me post the following here. *muah* This is the letter that Dahee Fanel drafted on behalf of Jisub Addicts Club. We are sending the Korean version to BOF, SJS's mamagement agency.

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To BOF:

We are writing to inform you of our sentiments and thoughts on a recent photoshoot Mr. So did for W magazine. When these photos were released to the public, we were shocked and dismayed. Unlike his other magazine photoshoots, this one produced photos that were vulgar, almost pornographic, and, more importantly, were highly insulting to our sensibilities as defenders of women. A few of these photographs displayed Mr. So performing what looked like highly violent and misogynistic sex with a female victim - they show him pulling her hair, silencing her by placing his hand over her mouth, and choking her. As people who believe in the fair and equal treatment of women all over the world, they were highly disturbing to see, and incited our shared anger and immense sorrow.

우리가 이런 글 쓰는것은 요즘 W 잡지에 찍은 소지섭씨의 사진에 대해서 당신들께 우리의 마음을 알리고 싶어서입니다. 그 사진들이 대중에 처음으로 공개됐을때 그 전에 나왔던 다른 사진들과 너무도 달라 우리는 큰 충격으로 경악했습니다. 이 사진들은 강도, 혹은 거의 포르노 수준 이었습니다. 더욱 중요한건 감수성이 예민한 여자들에게 큰 모욕을 주었다는 것입니다. 어떤 사진들은 대단히 강압적, 폭력적으로 피해 여자와 성행위를 하면서 그 여자의 머리칼을 잡고 입을 막고 또는 목을조르기도 합니다. 세상의 모든 여자들은 남녀가 동등한 대접을 받을 자격이 있다고 믿는데 이런 사진들은 우리에게 큰 분노와 슬픔을 주었습니다.

As a celebrity and as a public figure, So Ji Sub has a responsibility to refrain from sending out negative and harmful messages to those who are susceptible to them. And we cannot understand why BOF would arrange for a photoshoot with Mr. Richardson, when he is well-known for taking "shocking" photographs just for the pleasure of shocking others, and is by no means a universally loved figure in the world of photography. Perhaps you meant to bestow upon Mr. So an honour, for being the first Asian star to work with Mr. Richardson. Sadly, this is not strictly the case.

소지섭씨는 공인이기 때문에 사진을 통해서 그런 나쁜 메세지를 보내서는 안된다고 생각합니다. 왜냐면 그걸 따라하는 사람이 있을수 있기 때문에. 그리고 우리는 BOF가 왜 Mr. Terry Richardson 같은 평판이 나쁘고 사람들을 놀래키기 위해서 쇼킹한 사진만 찍는 그런 사람과 작업을 했는지 이해할수 없습니다. BOF는 Richardson이 유명해서 그와 소지섭이 첫 동양인으로 일하는걸 영광으로 생각했을지 모르지만 그렇게 생각지 않는 사람들도 많습니다.

As his highly devoted and longtime fans, this has been a hard and cruel blow, one we cannot possibly come to easily understand or accept. We are letting you know that this is not a universally loved photoshoot, and that this was certainly not the best decision a management company has made for So Ji Sub. We are letting you know that you have made a deep, lasting mistake, one that we cannot forget. We are letting you know that we are angry, and we will not remain silent on this issue.

그동안 오랫동안 소지섭씨를 좋아하고 아껴왔던 팬들에게 이건 큰 충격이었습니다. 이건 쉽게 이해할수 없는 부분 입니다. 그 사진들은 모든 사람들이 좋아하지 않을거라고 생각하고 이번 사진작업은 BOF에 큰 실수라고 생각합니다. 우리는 지금 대단히 화가난 상태고 잊지 않을것이며 그리고 조용히 있을수도 없게 됐습니다.

Please take care not to make another such mistake. We wish the best for So Ji Sub. We do not wish to see him alienated from his fans, or to see his career taken in a morally corrupt direction.

제발 이런 실수는 다시 하지 마시기 바랍니다. 우리는 소지섭씨에게 좋은일만 생기기 바라며 팬들과 멀어지지 않고 나쁜 커리어가 따라붙는걸 원치않습니다.

Thank you for reading.

읽어주셔서 감사합니다.

Jisub Addicts Club
http://www.jisubaddicts.com

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That’s a great letter. Was there ever a response?

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Oops, I forgot to say the above letter (In Korean and English) was drafted by Dahee Fanel.

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thundie, I don't know if it matters, but if you care to add Dramabeans.com to the bottom of that letter, i'm happy to stand with you on this one.

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ok, i'll do that. thank you so much!

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I was completely in shocked when I first saw those should I say ‘not-so-good-scenes/photo s’ of SJS. As many of you guys, it’s a big “WHY?” .

I’m trying to put this in perspectives but can’t find it myself where I might end up with. Has he gone fearless? That he dared to go beyond what he has normally portrayed.
Let’s say, each of us has at least one daring thing that we’d like to try in our lifetime. As for SJS , just a hypothetical question, on your part, is doing this kind of work falls on that type of thing?

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I really really don't like saying I hate someone... but Terry Richardson definitely reaches the peak of hatred for me... I don't find his pics fascinating.. It's just *** in every pic... and I've read a lot of young models being assaulted (with their approval he says) for pics...

On the other hand, I love So Ji-Sub... I love his acting and his work...

When I saw these two names in a single sentence my jaw dropped, I double, triple, multiple times checked if I read it right...

The pics....... let's say the pics just scarred my brain for a lifetime...

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so ji sub agreed to do this ???? im sorry my dear but this one doesn't have a taste on me... choose a better one next time I know u love challenges but this one is a wrong choice for me ...

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I am not really sure what the fuss is all about, it's just a photoshoot...I always thought that under all that calm and collected exterior of his lies a very wild and dark beast...A very sexy beast at that!

Anyone ever thought he might be a sadist? Maybe he is a fetishist, into BDSM..So if this is in fact "even real" - not simply a photoshot make belief scenario - and the the violent sex is consensual, why would anyone have a problem with his choice of personal pleasure?!!

So Ji Sub ssi, you rock, and so do your choices! I believe in you big bad dark boy :)

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[…] alive, So Ji-sub, has officially run the photoshoot gamut with this one. Super risqué, possibly discomfiting shoots? Been there, done that. How about some adorably weird eccentricity […]

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