Korean stars Gong Yoo and Jung Yu-mi have been announced as the leads in the film Kim Ji Young, Born 1982, based on the best-selling feminist novel of the same name.
The film adaptation will reportedly be faithful to the best-selling Korean-language book, which divided the country’s largely patriarchal society with its bold and accurate depiction of everyday sexism when it was published in October 2016.
The protagonist is Kim Ji-young, a woman in her 30s, who, after facing sexual harassment and casual misogyny all her life, suddenly begins to exhibit abnormal behaviour and rebel, prompting her family to wonder if the change is because of supernatural or psychological causes.
Jung plays the titular character, cast as a woman who tries to deal with these daily injustices with as much grace and dignity she can muster, until something snaps. In the role of Jung Dae-hyun, Kim’s well-meaning but conflicted husband, is Gong Yoo.
If the book’s one million sales are anything to go by, the film is bound to be a box-office hit. But its feminist, forward-thinking message has not gone down well with conservatives; in September, a nationwide petition was launched demanding production to be halted.
“I believe the novel is excessively subjective and has distorted perspectives toward the society,” wrote one 19-year-old male petitioner. “Making this novel into film goes against the value of gender equality and promotes conflict between genders.”
Gong Yoo, whose real name is Gong Ji-cheol, is known for his work in television. He debuted as an actor in the 2001 series School 4, and played starring roles in The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince (2007) and Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (2016-2017).
Jung Yu-mi made her debut with the 2004 short film How to Operate a Polaroid Camera, and has appeared on the small screen, too, including the KBS drama Discovery of Love (2014).
Kim Ji Young, Born 1982 marks the third time the two stars have been paired on the big screen, after Silenced (2011) and Train to Busan (2016). In January, they were reported to be dating, but have denied it.
This article was written by Dong Sun-hwa for The Korea Times .