The low-budget film "Vegetarian"
is up at the Korean box office against Hollywood blockbuster "Avatar", which has drawn over 12 million spectators so far, and "Secret Reunion"
, which attracted nearly 2.5 million. The film was invited to this year's Sundance Film Festival in January.
Chea Min-seo stars in the film that cost just W350 million (US$1=W1,162). She plays a woman who suddenly declares herself as a vegetarian under the illusion that she is a plant so that she can live on water and sunlight alone. In order to portray a character who becomes increasingly gaunt, Chea shed 8 kg. She bravely went completely nude for a sex scene with her brother-in-law, which drew media attention well before the film's release.
Chea had to have her body painted for the film. "It took about eight hours to paint each time, so I spent a total of three days just getting painted. And I wasn't able to move much and had to remain standing in the same posture because otherwise the painting could be ruined. It was a tough task, but I persevered", she says. Not to mention the courage to go completely nude, losing 8 kg in a short time is not easy. "I survived a month on five cherry tomatoes for every two days. It wasn't easy because I love eating, especially meat".
Although nudity and provocative scenes do bother her, Chea said she never thought the work was obscene because she was completely in love with the film and fully immersed in her character. "I am very attached to this film because I thought I would never be able to get a part like this, and it was going to be the final role in my chaotic 20s", she says.
Her transformation in "Vegetarian"
signals just the beginning of discovering her new side. Chea has relentlessly pushed herself to the limits in order to expand her versatility as an actress, yet it seems that she is still not content. "I just need to push harder", she says.