November 26, 2011 08:30
Kim Hye-sun (42), once known for her innocent image, is heating up the silver screen with her new movie "Perfect Partner."
She became a teen sensation after debuting as a model for TV ads but retired from show business after getting married. As she periodically returned to acting in subsequent years, she opted for roles that suited her age, often portraying a middle-aged mother.
In her first movie role in 17 years, Kim plays a famous chef who becomes involved in a passionate romance with a younger man in his 20s. The movie created a sensation on the Internet due to its explicit content, which features Kim in a number of nude scenes.
In an interview with the Chosun Ilbo last week, Kim reflected on her teenage years as a young starlet.
"Back then, I received about one hundred fan letters a day, and there were boys waiting in front of my house to see me," Kim said. "But even teenage starlets have to grow up. They cannot play such innocent roles forever."
Her latest role of an older woman who seduces and uses a younger man offered Kim a chance to change her image. "I could not turn down such a tempting role," she said.
"If an actor thinks twice about taking a job because it involves some nudity, then that person has a problem differentiating between acting and reality," she said. "I have had two kids and I put on weight as a result, but I still feel like a woman. I was able to accept the role without any hesitation."
This marks a departure from how Kim presented herself at the height of her popularity, when she turned down roles that required her to disrobe.
"I was afraid of going down that route because I didn't think it suited my image, and viewers might have got the wrong idea about me regardless of whether I acted well or not in, for example, a steamy love scene, as I was still in my 20s," she said. "But I'm in my 40s now and I have two kids, so I don't have those fears any more."
Kim has a son who is in high school and a seven-year-old daughter. She also confirmed she is dating movie director Jang Hyun-soo.
"He actually encouraged me to play the role and said an actor should not be afraid of taking on new challenges," Kim said. "But he might get a bit of a shock after he sees the movie."
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