Bridget Jones tried to slim down to get her dream man, but Do Ah-ra, the heroine of the new film "Plump Revolution", has done the reverse.
The romantic comedy centers on top model Do Ah-ra (Lee So-jeong-I), who upon hearing from a fortune teller that her crush prefers chubby women, decides to put on weight and put her job on the line in the name of love. "I wanted to address the social prejudice against plus-size women, not in a direct way, but through a story about finding love", said director Min Doo-sik during a press conference for the new film on Monday.
"I also wanted to mix in a bit of fantasy elements in the film to deliver the story and alert people of this social phenomenon".
The director, who debuted with last year's teen film "Jungle Fish 2", based on the TV series of the same name, said that he never understood why people around him would say that if an actress weighs more than 50 kilograms (110 pounds), she would look plump on screen.
"Growing up, my family members were all quite substantial in size. When I came home, I often found my mother late at night eating bibimbap [mix vegetables and rice] and in my eyes, this scene was very comforting and nice", he said.
"I've seen stories where the female character would lose weight to get the guy, but I don't think there was ever a story about a woman who almost destroys her life and gains weight to find love".
Neither computer graphics nor silicone makeup were used to fatten up actress Lee So-jeong-I, who said she gained 20 kilograms to play the lovesick protagonist.
"I really wanted to do this film no matter what", Lee said during the press event.
The actress said that before shooting the film, she ate ramen noodles and fried foods everyday and drank milk shakes as if they were water.
"I was drawn to the fact that my character, unlike the lead in '200 Pounds Beauty' [the hit 2006 comedy starring Kim Ah-joong as an overweight woman who undergoes full-body plastic surgery] who relies on special effects to play a fat woman who becomes thin, has to gain weight to attract the man she loves", the actress said, adding that the process of gaining weight was very difficult for her.
Do Ah-ra's love interest is photographer Kang Do-gyeong, played by Lee Hyeon-jin-I, who said that his first impression of Lee was that she was "too thin". But by the second day of shooting, he said the actress had transformed.
"When [Lee So-jeong-I] came in for her second day of shooting, I was almost worried for her, thinking how in the world she would lose all that weight".
At the press conference, Lee So-jeong-I looked as slender as ever, but the actress added that she still needs to shed a few more pounds to get back to her normal weight.
Meanwhile, Lee Hyeon-jin-I said that he was a bit chubby when he was younger and that the experience helped him emote to the role even more.
"I broke up with my first love because I felt an inferiority complex for being chubby. I felt like a loser but it is because of her that I learned how to take care of myself physically", he said.
By Cho Jae-eun [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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