Posted: 02 Oct 2012 07:02 PM PDT
LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif : "Girls" writer, director and actress Lena Dunham said on Tuesday she was adding new, more diverse characters for the next season of her HBO show, after criticism that the first season failed to portray the rich culture of its New York City setting.
And the 26-year-old, who often sheds her own clothes on the show, also acknowledged that, most of the time, "it's not a good idea to be naked on television."
Dunham broke out this year as one of Hollywood's hottest young stars with "Girls," winning four Emmy nominations for her comedy about four 20-something women who find that work and relationships in New York have little of the glamour seen in 1990s show "Sex and the City."
Although Dunham took home no Emmys this year, her success earned her a speaking spot on Tuesday at Fortune magazine's annual Most Powerful Women Summit.
Answering questions in front of hundreds of female business leaders, Dunham said she took seriously criticism of "Girls" and its lack of minority characters. She said she felt "heartbreak at the idea that the show would make anyone feel isolated."
The show's second season next year will feature "a multitude of new characters in the show. There are some of color. Some are not. Some are Caucasian," she said.
Dunham said she was responding to viewers "who are women of color who want to see themselves reflected on screen." "All I want to do is make women feel excited and included by the show," she said.
Addressing her frequent nude scenes, Dunham said she felt they were appropriate because she was the person deciding when to take her clothes off in front of the camera.
But she generally advised against it.
"There may be a time when I have to explain to my daughters, 'You probably shouldn't be naked on television.' Most situations, it's not a good idea to be naked on television," said Dunham, who is single.
"I like doing it because I'm my own boss. I'm writing it. I'm directing it. I'm producing it," she said, adding that she would refuse to strip for another TV director.
As one of the youngest people to write and star in a television show, Dunham said she feels pressure to represent younger women well so she doesn't create a backlash that would hurt others trying to blaze a path in Hollywood.
"I don't want to do anything that is going to make them think 'this is why we don't give shows to 25-year-old girls," she said, joking that "I'd love to have a small dog, (but) I don't think it would be good for all of us if I were to carry a small dog to set with me."
"Girls" returns for its second season on HBO in January. - Reuters
Posted: 03 Oct 2012 07:27 AM PDT
A modern-day plastic surgeon from Gangnam gets abducted 700 years into the past by an ancient warrior in the sublimely hilarious Faith: The Great Doctor.
BEFORE you scream "Not another time-travel K-drama!", let me just mention one name – Lee Min-ho.
Yup, Faith: The Great Doctor is the much anticipated follow-up to City Hunter from the Boys Over Flowers star, and I have to say that this is worth the wait. The only snag for Lee and his fans is that his co-star, Kim Hee-sun (Smile Again, My Fair Lady), is stealing the show with her lost-in-time Gangnam plastic surgeon character in this fusion-sageuk (historical) drama.
We first meet Kim's Yoo Eun-soo at a medical convention in modern-day Seoul.
Eun-soo is so desperate to get funding for her own private clinic where she can continue her stem cell research that she is willing to marry for money.
A fortune-teller tells her that she is indeed going to meet the man of her dreams, but he comes from her past. As she wracks her brain for an ex-boyfriend rich enough to be her benefactor, she is ambushed by a man in a steel armour who commands her to go with him – the Queen is dying and she needs to be saved to avoid a political catastrophe. When Eun-soo politely declines, he throws her over his shoulder and storms off.
The costumed kidnapper literally turns out to be a knight in shining armour from the Goryeo period (some 700 years ago), Choi Young (Lee), who has gone to the future through a time-bending portal. The only thing is he thinks modern-day Seoul is heaven and that Eun-soo is the legendary doctor of God. Unable to wrap her mind around the theoretical physics of her predicament, Eun-soo convinces herself that she is being held captive in a sageuk drama production gone wrong, and resolves to escape and return to Gangnam.
Unfortunately, international pop star Psy does not come riding on a white horse to rescue her! But there are still buckets of laughter here.
The best thing about this drama is the writing, which is witty and layered.
While the central story revolves around the love affair between the doctor and the warrior, screenwriter Song Ji-na, who is better known for her complex serious dramas Story Of Man and Sandglass, links it well to the historical context and sageuk spirit.
Amazingly, Song manages to infuse a lot of humour into the show while weaving in a sharp look at the political war between the reluctant young ruler, King Gongmin (Ryu Deok-hwan), and his scheming nemesis Ki Chul (Yu Oh-seong), brother of the Qi Empress of the Yuan Dynasty. (History lesson: Goryeo then was under the "influence" of the Chinese Yuan Dynasty, which tried to accede the Korean kingdom by manipulating the royal family.) It may not be roll-on-the-floor comedy, but the wry humour will make you laugh out loud, especially when you least expect it.
Song even slips in real historical facts to create personal conflicts for the characters: Eun-soo, for one, has to save the life of a teenager, Yi Seong-gye, whom she remembers from her history lessons would later grow up to be King Taejo, the general who overthrew the Goryeo Dynasty and founded the Joseon Dynasty.
Of course, for Eun-soo, it is the realisation that he is also the one who would kill her love Choi Young in the future that makes her loose sleep. Talk about the power of history! How does one handle knowledge like this?
This is the interesting question posed by Faith in this current time-bending trend gripping K-dramaland. While many create fictional figures or avoid the question altogether, Faith ponders on how all this time travelling can affect history.
It is not all sombre though. When Ki Chul growls at Eun-soo, "Do you wish to die?", she simply growls back, "Is this guy's name Ki Chul? Oh right, I remember! Yuan doesn't stick around much longer and ends in ruin!"
This cheeky poking at the trend keeps the series fresh.
Even the predictable fish-out-of-water quandary is given a twist – the joke is not on Eun-soo in the Georyo kingdom, but the royals and their subjects who have to deal with the modern whims of the cynical doctor.
Kim simply runs riot with her "Get over fighting for the throne already, I want to get back to Gangnam" stance, creating many fun moments in the drama. It is no wonder that hottie Lee is overshadowed. To be fair, he gives his usual top-rate performance, and the two leads share a lot of chemistry. Unfortunately, to create good fodder for Kim's hysterical and over-the top Eun-soo, Lee has to keep stoic and restrained. It is an interesting casting, but I bet many fans are praying that Lee will come alive soon.
■ Faith: The Great Doctor airs every Monday and Tuesday at 9.05pm on One HD (Astro B.yond Ch 393).
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