"The Servant" released on June 2 is in many ways significant for the actress Jo Yeo-jeong. It is her first box office success since her debut in 1997, having drawn more than a million spectators in just a week since its release, and it includes the first serious bed scenes of her acting career.
"The Servant" is a modern interpretation with a satirical twist of the classic Korean folktale of Chun-hyang. It tells the story of Bang-ja, the servant of a young nobleman Mong-ryong, who becomes enamoured of a traditional entertainer or gisaeng being pursued by his master.
Jo plays Chun-hyang, the object of both men's attention. In the film she falls in love with Bang-ja, although she tries to capture Mong-ryong's heart to climb up the social ladder.
The daring scenes did not disturb her much. "I don't think the level of nudity in the film was all that excessive because it depicts a secretive love that could never come out," she says. "I looked a lot prettier than I do in reality." She adds she maintains her shape with yoga and that contributes to the scenes' success.
Jo says she learned something new and felt she was being reborn as an actress. She had perfect partnership with her university senior Kim Ju-hyeok, who plays Bang-ja.
Jo feels she is only at the start of her serious career. "It seems to me that the audience just started paying attention to me as an actress," she says.