In last week’s Open Thread, a back-and-forth developed between two commenters that caught my eye, because it dealt with a point that had been at the back of my mind for a while. Ever since I first saw the smash 2006 romantic comedy 200 Pound Beauty [미녀는 괴로워], in fact.
The comments dealt with 200 Pound Beauty‘s plastic-surgery themes, and echoed some of my own reservations with the movie. Don’t get me wrong; I totally enjoyed watching it — it was light, funny, nicely acted — but something just didn’t sit right with me at the end. And the conversation that emerged last week captured that debate very well, I thought.
So, I asked both Sere and Samsooki if they would be okay with furthering the discussion in a sort of point-counterpoint conversation (similar to how Dahee and I discussed a particular drama character previously). They’ve both graciously agreed to go with it, and here’s the result.
Hope you enjoy!
SONG OF THE DAY
200 Pound Beauty OST – “Beautiful Girl” by Kim Ah-joong. [ Download ]
If you’re a regular reader here, you probably won’t have that much trouble placing this particular famous singer in the lead role of 200 Pound Beauty, the musical edition, which held its “press call” and open rehearsal on November 26.
Song Chang-eui of Golden Bride plays the role originally played by Joo Jin-mo in the film, with Kim Ah-joong‘s lead role played by two actresses alternating as the overweight singer with the powerful voice who undergoes plastic surgery to become a kpop success.
Song Chang-eui (Boys Don’t Cry) poses with pop singer Bada and musical actress Yoon Gong-joo (really, parents, gong-joo?) as they promote their new musical, the adaptation of sleeper hit 200 Pound Beauty.
The 29-year-old Song plays a PD main character, while Bada and Yoon alternate in the lead female role originated by Kim Ah-joong. The names in the musical are changed from the film, which hints that the musical, while sharing the main idea of the movie, may take certain departures.
Song last stepped onto the musical stage two and half years ago in the production of Hedwig, and the actor feels an affinity for the stage: of all the experiences he’s had, “musicals are still the most fun.”
The musical opens on November 27.
While news is quiet of the 200 Pound Beauty sequel, plans are under way for a musical version, starring SES lead singer Bada. (The film sequel will be losing the sleeper hit’s original plastic-beauty Hana, star Kim Ah-joong, who opted not to return to the franchise in favor of other projects now that she’s catapulted to stardom.)
This musical version will be the follow-up stage role to Bada’s previous theatrical turn as Esmerelda in Notre Dame de Paris, for which she received favorable reviews. She’ll share the double-cast role of Hana with musical actress Yoon Gong-joo (really, Yoon parents? You named your kid “Princess”?). The male lead role, originated by Joo Jin-mo in the movie, is yet to be cast.
The musical version of 200 Pound Beauty will begin its theatrical run on November 27.
Via My Daily
Sleeper romantic-comedy hit 200 Pound Beauty is preparing its sequel, because what’s more natural after a film unexpectedly hits big than to milk that cash cow for all it’s worth? Still, despite my problems with the way the film resolves, it was more entertaining than I’d expected, and the writing was a cut above your average Korean rom-com fluff-fest. So maybe there’s hope for a sequel yet, although first the producers will have to win over the breakout star of its original, Kim Ah Joong.
Kim Ah Joong has had CF contracts and lots of offers post-200 Pound Beauty, but hasn’t struck it big with a follow-up project, so her wariness is understandable. Her management states that “as the lead actress in the original, it’s natural for people to wonder over her role,” but her participation is by no means definite: “The production company is still in the process of making its sequel, and we’ve asked to see the screenplay when it’s completed.” He adds, “Because it’s not yet finished, we aren’t ready to discuss whether she wants or doesn’t want to appear in the film. After seeing the finished script, she will consider it.”
With both actor and director yet unsettled, the screenwriter is currently penning the script. The basic plot outline describes main character Hana, who’d beautified through massive plastic surgery in the first film, undergoing the “yo-yo effect” to regain weight in the sequel.
Hm, sounds an awful like the true life tales of actress-comedian Kim Mi Ryeo — who got slammed for “beautifying” via exercise and surgery (Botox and lipo), then for regaining weight — doesn’t it?
SONG OF THE DAY
Kim Ah Joong – “Beautiful Girl” from the 200 Pound Beauty OST [ Download ]
Although 200 Pound Beauty premiered to lots of success in Korea a year ago, it’s just recently flopped in its Japanese premiere (it opened on the 15th), ranking 12th for its opening weekend.
Previous premieres of Korean films such as The Host and The King and the Clown also fared poorly in Japan, so 200 Pound Beauty was released on fewer screens and brought in a mere $211,360 according to Boxofficemojo.com. The numbers are doubly disappointing since the film is actually based on a Japanese manga, and hopes were high for the film. (The article looks on the bright side; the other, higher-ranked films enjoyed wider release by double or triple the number of screens.)
Maybe the storyline of poor misunderstood plastic beauties didn’t resonate with Japanese audiences? Maybe they were lured in by the box-office leader I Am Legend instead? Or maybe in the whole year that 200 Pound Beauty‘s been out and about, they’ve all already SEEN it?
SONG OF THE DAY
Sugarbowl – “Tequila” [ zShare download ]
In more casting news, actor Kim Ah Joong has finally decided upon her first project after she skyrocketed to fame after her 2006 film 200 Pound Beauty became a sleeper hit. She’s in early planning stages to appear in director Song Hae Sung’s upcoming fantasy film Melos (meaning “song” in Greek), produced by Crayon Pictures and DRM Entertainment. The director’s former projects include Our Happy Time and Failan.
In the year following her rise to stardom, Kim Ah Joong’s become one of the most sought-after new actresses, and rumors flew that she’d been approached to appear in Oldboy director Park Chan Wook’s next film Bat, Choi Ho’s Go Go 70, and others, but those projects did not materialize.
Melos is a different kind of melodrama that depicts the love between an insurance agent whose wife committed suicide and a visually handicapped woman who’s spent one year in a vegetative state. Communicating via the two characters’ fantasies, they develop a mutual sympathy and understanding. Kim Ah Joong displays deep, sensitive acting as the prickly, visually handicapped character in her first melodramatic role since her acting debut. Top male stars are currently being considered for the lead role opposite Kim, and the film plans to start shooting sometime from late January 2008 to early February. The fantasy elements will require much post-production special-effects and CG work, and the film will release around Chuseok time.
The role sounds like… um… kind of a drastic shift, doesn’t it? Well, give the girl props for not trying to “ease into” her next role after playing a character who wasn’t too much of a stretch in 200 Pound Beauty. Don’t get me wrong, she was good in 200 Pound Beauty — sweet and likable, which is key for a light-hearted romantic movie like that. But I’m interested to see how that translates in playing a damaged and difficult personality in the new project.