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‘Love and Leashes,’ Girls’ Generation Seohyun’s debut film is about sex

Actors of “Love and Leashes” Seohyun (right) and Lee Jun-young pose after an online press conference held on Tuesday. (Netflix)
Actors of “Love and Leashes” Seohyun (right) and Lee Jun-young pose after an online press conference held on Tuesday. (Netflix)
Seohyun of K-pop girl group Girls’ Generation has shed her image as a girl-next-door in her debut film “Love and Leashes,” a rom-com directed by Park Hyun-jin.

“When I first read the script, it was fresh and shocking. It was a role that made me want to take up the challenge as an actor,” Seohyun said during an online press conference held on Tuesday. “Not only did it (the script) have a unique topic, it also showed how a man and a woman come to understand their differences.”

Based on the webtoon “Moral Sense,” the film, a Netflix original, introduces Jung Ji-woo (played by Seohyun), an ordinary employee at a large conglomerate. She is great at her job, but sometimes has a hard time because her boss often criticizes her attitude -- not smiling when talking, for example.

She has a crush on her co-worker, Jung Ji-hoo (played by Lee Jun-young), who is popular at work. One day, Ji-woo receives a package meant for Ji-hoo. Inside it, she finds a leash -- uncovering Ji-hoo’s unique sexual fetish.

Director Park said she decided to adapt the webtoon into a film for two reasons.

“When I first read the webtoon, I really enjoyed how it tells a story about sexual preference in a humorous and not too provocative way,” Park said. “Also, I really liked Jung Ji-woo. She does not have ‘aegyo’ (a Korean word used to describe babylike charm) so people consider her wooden. But Ji-hoo sees this side of Ji-woo as cool. When I saw these characters, I thought I could create a story that raises questions about society‘s stereotypical expectations of women.”

At the press conference, Seohyun talked about how she would react if she accidentally finds out her crush’s secret, like Ji-woo in the movie.

“I think it should be respected as long as it is not a crime. If the person does not want to talk about it, I would not force the conversation either. But I would tell my secret and try to show that it is OK to be different,” Seohyun said. 

“Love and Leashes” directed by Park Hyun-jin (Netflix)
“Love and Leashes” directed by Park Hyun-jin (Netflix)
The K-pop girl band member said she was excited about her film being presented to audiences worldwide.

“I think it is meaningful that our film is Netflix Korea’s first original movie,” Seohyun said. “I am curious to find out how global audiences from 190 different countries, as well as Korean audiences, will receive our film.”

The Netflix movie will be released Feb. 11.

By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)
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