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Kang Ha Neul Found It Very Difficult To Film A Rape Scene

BY Julie Jones | Mar 02, 2015 11:56 AM EST

Empire of Lust

Acting can take you places you would never go in real life. The kindest and gentlest of k-drama actors can find themselves filming scenes in which they cheat, murder, rape and maim other characters. And that can be hard to film and recover from.

That was the case with Kang Ha Neul when he filmed the Joeon-era story "Empire of Lust," also known as "Age of Innocence"

Kang Ha Neul, who played a sweet and sensitive guy in "The Heirs" and a perfectionist employee in "Misaeng, found it very difficult to film a rape scene in the new film.

In a recent interview with Newsen, he was asked whether preparing for the scene was difficult. It was not only his first intimate scene; it was a violent one.

"Honestly, I struggled after it was over, as a man and as a human," he said.

The actor did not just feel bad pretending to rape someone, he also felt bad for the actress he had to film the scene with.

"She said it was okay and that it was just a movie and acting but I struggled emotionally," said Kang. "We ate together after the filming and became closer but I felt bad back then as a human being."

The other actors he worked with on that scene also said they felt bad for her.

"We talked about how we should take better care of her as an actress," he said. "I think I felt morally uncomfortable.

But then Kang Ha Neul knew beforehand that his character in "The Age of Innocence" was not a very nice one. The character of Jin is so unlikable that his agency was initially against Kang taking the role. But he wanted to try being bad. He saw it as a challenge.

"I did not want to lose this chance," he said at a press conference for the film. "I wanted to try my hand at acting a role that is the epitome of underhandedness."

The character is both underhanded and well connected.

He's the son of the nation's supreme commander, played by Shin Ha Kyun and he's the king's son-in-law. And because he is barred from participating in public office, he lives a pointless existence in pursuit of pleasure. Jang Hyuk plays the ambitious Prince Yi Bang Won. He helped his father set up the dynasty but was not chosen as his heir.

The film will be released on March 5.

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