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"Seon-deok" takes back No. 1 crown on TV


No. 1 drama "Queen Seon-deok" [MBC]

MBC's historical drama "Queen Seon-deok" is back atop the TV ratings chart, after handing the crown to "My Too Perfect Sons" the previous week.

"Seon-deok" scored an average 38 percent viewership rating for the week of October 12 to October 18, according to statistics released by TNS Media Korea on Monday.

KBS2 TV's new drama "Three Brothers", which premiered on October 17, came in second with an average viewership rating of 26.3 percent.

Another new drama "IRIS" (KBS2), starring Lee Byung-hun and Kim Tae-hee, trailed behind at No. 3 with 24.9 percent viewership rating.

In the non-drama category, KBS's "Happy Sunday" topped ratings with a 23.7 percent viewership. SBS's "Family Outing" and KBS2 TV's "Gag Concert" followed behind with ratings of 21.8 and 19.2 percent, respectively.

Reporter : Lynn Kim lynn2878@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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Lee Byung-heon Stands Out in 'Iris'

The new KBS2 drama "Iris" has gotten off to a good start with its first episode on October 14 recording viewer ratings of 19.3 percent, topping the viewing chart among shows in the same time slot.


A big-budget action thriller--rare for a TV drama--with production costs of some 20 million won, the drama boasts the star-studded cast of Lee Byung-heon, Kim Tae-hee, Kim Seung-woo, Kim So-yeon, Kim Young-chul, Jeong Jun-ho and T.O.P, a member of the idol boy band Big Bang. In particular, Lee, who is returning to the small screen after a six-year hiatus, is credited with the show's good start.

Lee plays Kim Hyun-jun, a top secret agent at the National Security Service who later is put in danger due to an identified terrorist group called "Iris." He already showed an impressive performance in the first episode, which only focused on the introduction of the characters and overall storyline in a juxtaposition of present and past events. Good harmony with Kim Young-chul, who also appeared together with Lee in the film "A Bittersweet Life," was particularly impressive.

Lee was praised for showing mesmerizing charm. He displayed various sides of himself and charmed viewers with both manly seriousness and childlike genuineness.

Viewers said on the drama board, "The drama was not novel at all. It was just like one of a series of familiar Hollywood blockbusters, but I watched it only to see Lee," "Lee once again proved his charms and capabilities as an actor. He was the only reason I watched the drama," "Lee was breathing life into the drama," and "Lee kept me on edge throughout the show."

Meanwhile, there were mixed responses to the drama. Some said it successfully combined serious and comic elements, making it entertaining enough, while others criticized it for being nothing more than a banal blockbuster.

Internet broadcast media for "Guide & Review," TV Report

Email reports to pi@pimedia.co.kr <Copyright ⓒ Pimedia TV Report>

Writer: TV Reporter

Copyright ⓒ KBS & KBSi

Source : KBS Global

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Hyun Bin's new film "Happy" to open Nov 26


Korean actors Hyun Bin and Lee Bo-young at PIFF [Asia Economic Daily]

Korean film "I Am Happy", starring Hallyu star Hyun Bin and Lee Bo-young, is set to open on November 26, according to a press release on Monday.

"Happy", based on a Korean short story, is about two wounded souls at a psychiatric ward -- mental patient Man-soo (played by Hyun) and nurse Soo-kyung (played by Lee), the film's distributor DCG Plus explained in the statement.

The film, directed by Yoon Jong-chan who previously made "Sorum" and "Blue Swallow", was the closing film at the 14th Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) which ended Friday.

Hyun, best known for his role in the 2005 hit drama "My Name Is Kim Sam Soon", recently made headlines after admitting to dating top Korean actress Song Hye-kyo, his co-star in last year's TV series "The World That They Live In."

Lee has appeared in several TV dramas including "Save The Last Dance For Me" in 2004 and "Seodongyo" in 2005. She made her film debut last year in "Once Upon A Time".

Reporter : Lynn Kim lynn2878@asiae.co.kr

Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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Rain to represent Korea on CNN special


Singer and actor Rain and CNN anchorwoman Anna Coren. [J.Tune Entertainment]

Asian pop sensation Rain, set to appear on CNN's "Talk Asia" this week, was invited on the show after being selected as a representative figure of Korea, according to his agency on Monday.

CNN decided that the 27-year-old singer and actor plays a leading role in promoting Korea globally and picked him to appear on the show during this week's "Eye on South Korea", a week-long special program focusing on various aspects of the country including its economy and culture, J.Tune Entertainment explained in a press release.

Anna Coren, one of CNN's main anchorwomen, met with Rain to talk about his career, personal life, his ongoing Asia tour and upcoming Hollywood film "Ninja Assassin".

The show, set to air on Wednesday, will also contain a documentary-type segment featuring Rain's concert in Korea on October 9 -- containing footage from behind the scenes and the concert itself.

Rain started his career with major talenthouse JYP Entertainment but left the agency in November 2007 to start his own entertainment company J. Tune Entertainment.

He has released several albums in Korea and starred in movies and TV series, most notably dramas "Full House" and "Sang Doo! Let's Go To School."

He debuted in Hollywood last year with a supporting role in "Speed Racer" and will star in the upcoming "Ninja Assassin", which is set for a worldwide release in November.

Credits : Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10 Asia All rights reserved>

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Lee Na-young becomes 1st Korean on W cover


South Korean actress Lee Na-young on the cover of the November issue of W Korea.

[bOF Entertainment]

Actress Lee Na-young has become the first Korean to grace the cover of fashion magazine "W Korea", according to her agency BOF Entertainment on Monday.

"W Korea", the only licensed version of U.S. magazine "W", is sold not only in Korea but also in major bookstores throughout New York.

Lee collaborated with famed German photographer Donata Wenders and fashion brand Burberry Prorsum for the cover, along with a fashion spread and interview carried in 20 pages in the November issue of the magazine.

Wenders said she wanted to "capture Lee's emotions as a stranger in the unfamiliar city of Berlin" where the shoot took place in over 20 locations during three days.

Lee was then invited to the Burberry Prorsum Spring/Summer 2010 Show held at London Fashion Week in late September as Burberry's muse and to represent Asia.

Wenders is a globally recognized photographer who is in charge of creating the film posters for her husband Wim Wender, director of movies including "Wings of Desire" and "The Million Dollar Hotel". She has worked with top actors including Mel Gibson and Militza Jovovich.

Lee first rose to stardom with TV series "Ruler of Your Own World" and later won an award for best actress in film "Someone Special" at the 25th Blue Dragon Film Awards. She has also appeared in scores of TV commercials in Korea.

Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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Kim Ha-neul receives warm welcome in Vietnam


South Korean actress Kim Ha-neul leaves Ho Chi Minh International Airport surrounded

by fans upon her arrival in Vietnam on October 17, 2009. [J.One+ Entertainment]

South Korean actress Kim Ha-neul, who left for Vietnam to promote her hit film "My Girlfriend is an Agent", was greeted by over 100 fans upon her arrival at the airport on Saturday past midnight.

"We were quite surprised by the loud cheering when she walked out the gate. Her fans had been waiting for her although we arrived in the middle of the night," an official at her agency J.One+ Entertainment was quoted saying in a press release on Monday.

Fans also gathered at various venues throughout Ho Chi Minh city the following day to see the 31-year-old actress at premieres and a red carpet event, J.One+ added.

Kim is set to visit Hanoi today to hold additional events including a fan meeting, premieres and press conferences. She will continue her promotional activities in Singapore and Hong Kong from October 26 to 31.

Kim has starred in numerous hit TV dramas and movies, including SBS TV series "On Air" last year and hit film "My Tutor Friend" in 2003 with fellow Hallyu star Kwon Sang-woo.

"Agent", a comedy action film co-starring Kang Ji-hwan, is about a couple who are both hiding from each other about being secret government agents. The film attracted over four million moviegoers in Korea.

Credits : Jessica Kim <jesskim@asiae.co.kr>

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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KBS TV series "IRIS"


From left, TV series "Iris" cast members Jung Jun-ho, Kim Tae-hee, Lee Byung-hun, Kim Seung-woo,

Kim So-yeon and Choi Seung-hyun. [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

It is cliche trying to create a melodrama with two lead actors who kiss each other after falling in love at first sight under no particular logic. And an action drama could easily be said it was made only for the action in itself if the actor were to figure out where the acts of terrorism are aimed at through pure instinct. But what if actor Lee Byung-hun and actress Kim Tae-hee were the kissers? And the action mixes a decent amount of satellite technology in its fighting and pursuit scenes, and sharpshooting with guarding?

The second episode of KBS TV series "Iris" clearly revealed what the drama was shooting at. Not long into the start of the second episode, Kim Hyun-joon (played by Lee) and Jin Sa-woo (Jung Jun-ho) become official secret agents. Then two-thirds in, they stop a presidential candidate from getting killed by a sniper. And in the meantime, love sparks go off between Kim and Choi Seung-hee (played by Kim Tae-hee). The fast pace conceals the triteness of the story and strongly eye-catching scenes fill in the holes. The top stars continuously kiss or do action scenes where the pursuit for a terrorist will cover all of downtown Seoul. Too add on, alternating close-up and full shots of Kim and Choi during even their shortest conversations give the scene a TV commercial-like feeling. Who cares if a sniper is donning a suit in a club which has rustic graffiti on the wall when that killer is boy band Big Bang member TOP.

"Iris" whips through its cliche storyline as if protecting itself rather than trying to forcefully come up with an explanation for its trite storyline. It instead also approaches the audience with the appeal that it contains "elements not easily seen in dramas" by doing its best to maximize its strengths. "Iris" might not be the TV version of film "Swiri" or "Bourne Ultimatum" but rather the TV version of hit summer disaster film "Haeundae". The drama may be conventional and loosely-structured in parts but it contains many top actors and attractive scenes. Of course, "Iris" cannot sustain itself in such a way till the end. It will need a real story for its 'mission' after it finishes securing popularity with its typical storyline. Does this drama, so far seemingly moving forward with its plain plot as if acknowledging its plainness, have a plan in mind?

Senior Reporter : Kang Myoung-Seok two@10asia.co.kr

Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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CNN airs special series on S. Korea


Starting yesterday, CNN began airing a week-long series titled "Eye on South Korea." The series focuses on how South Korea is working to become a brand leader on an international scale and on how the nation is recovering from the global economic recession.

According to CNN International Asia Pacific managing editor Ellana Lee, although an "Eye on South Korea" special aired in 2007, "South Korea has gone through a lot of changes in the past two years."

Yesterday, the special kicked off with an episode where Korea's first lady Kim Yoon-ok showcased her cooking skills at Cheong Wa Dae's "Ever Spring" Building.

"You can tell she was very passionate as well," managing editor Lee said of first lady Kim. "She was excellent. For us, it was a real treat."

Award-winning CNN anchor and correspondent Kristie Lu Stout met up with the first lady to sample some Korean cuisine and hear about the first lady's hopes for and the efforts she has made towards promoting Korean food on a global level.

Today, "Eye on South Korea" will take a foray into the world of cars, including a look at the Korean sportscar "Spirra" and at women-only parking spots in Seoul.

Throughout the rest of the week, CNN's Kristie Lu Stout and CNN correspondent Kyung Lah will explore Korea's street food, the traditional Korean alcoholic beverage makgeolli, domestic hi-tech brands and Incheon's New Songdo City. Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun will also talk about business in North Korea and how her corporation is handling the global economic downturn.

In addition to "Eye on South Korea," CNN's interview program "Talk Asia" will feature Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung starting Wednesday and K-pop icon and actor Rain starting next Wednesday.

Live broadcasts of "Eye on South Korea" will air until Oct. 23 from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in Seoul. Repeat broadcasts are slated to air throughout the day.

"Talk Asia with Park Ji-sung" is slated to air on Oct. 21 at 9:30 p.m., Oct. 22 at 12:30 p.m., Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 26 at 7:30 a.m. "Talk Asia with Rain" is slated to air on Oct. 28 at 9:30 p.m., Oct. 29 at 12:30 p.m., Oct. 31 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 2 at 8:30 a.m.

For information visit cnn.joins.com

Credits : Jean Oh (oh_jean@heraldm.com)

Source : The Korea Herald

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Do Shares Woes of Playing Vicious Roles

[TV Report] Seasoned actress Do Ji-won, who has an acting career of 20 years, talked about the woes of always playing vicious roles on the Thursday episode of "Happy Together-Season 3" on KBS2.


In the 2001 period series "Women Republic," Do played the epitome of a cruel court woman in power. As the title implies, her character played a big part in ushering in an era of women's power.

But those who play the unpopular vicious roles are often disliked by viewers even as actors. While doing the drama, Do was asked by many fellow colleagues if her real self was any similar to the character. Do said resignedly, "Even if I said I'm not, they wouldn't know me unless they met and got to know me. It's annoying to answer to all those questions."

Kim Hee-jeong and Oh Da-gyu empathized with Do. In last year's "First Wives Club," Kim and Oh played an adulterous couple, after which Oh said, "I haven't been great with my wife. She was angry at me after watching some episodes."

Kim also said, "People look at you the same way as your character once you have a fixed TV persona." However, such a subsequent response could also mean the actors have successfully perfected their screen roles.

Actor Lee Jun-hyeok was also a guest on Happy Together and shared stories of his pre-acting career.

Internet broadcast media for "Guide & Review," TV Report

Email reports to pi@pimedia.co.kr <Copyright ⓒ Pimedia TV Report>

Writer: TV Report

Copyright ⓒ KBS & KBSi

Source : KBS Global

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Kim Haneul Welcomed in Vietnam

"One of my fans at the airport came up to me and asked me to embrace her. I was trembling with excitement and I even had tears in my eyes," said actress Kim Haneul, who has visited Vietnam to promote her movie "7 Grade Civil Servant."


Prior to the opening ceremony of a Korean film festival that was held on October 19 on the sidelines of the Korea-Vietnam Week, Kim said she was happy to see a poster for the movie at the airport in Vietnam.

Kim previously visited Vietnam for a photo shoot but it is her first time promoting a movie in that country.

When the actress arrived in Ho Chi Minh past the midnight of October 17, she was welcomed by many fans. The local media described the situation as "midnight chaos."

"It's different from meeting with my Korean fans. It's amazing to know that Korean movies and TV dramas are popular in other countries and most surprisingly my fans told me that they loved me in Korean. I was deeply moved," said the actress.

"7 Grade Civil Servant" will open in Vietnam after the Korea-Vietnam Week. Kim will also visit Hong Kong and Singapore as part of her Asian tour. "The fact that movies that are popular in Korea are also big his in Vietnam shows that people in both countries have similar emotions. I look forward to seeing viewers' reaction in Hong Kong and Singapore," said Kim.

After "7 Grade Civil Servant," Kim appeared in the Korean-Japanese TV drama "Telecinema" and had a photo shoot in the U.S. She will soon make a comeback in a new role. "I'm choosing my next role. It's going to be different from my roles in 'On Air' and '7 Grade Civil Servant'," said the actress

Source : KBS Global

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S. Korea's "Beethoven Virus" honored at Japanese TV drama awards


SEOUL, Oct. 20 (Yonhap) -- "Beethoven Virus," a popular South Korean TV drama that aired last year, received a special award for foreign programs at the International Drama Festival in Tokyo, the event's Web site said Tuesday.

The South Korean series will be screened Tuesday with China's "Ma Wen's War," India's "Balika Vadhu - Child Bride" and "The Unbreakable Bond," which also received the award for foreign dramas.


"Beethoven Virus" was praised at home for successfully dramatizing an unusual subject, classical music, casting it in the eyes of an internationally famed conductor who attempts to salvage a local orchestra.

Established in 2007, the third Tokyo drama fest awarded its Grand Prize to Nippon Television Network's "AI SHI TE RU - KAIYO" starring Izumi Inamori and Yuka Itaya, the Web site said.

Credits : hayney@yna.co.kr

Source : Yonhap News, The Korea Times, The Korea Herald

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Kim Bum to star in new film "Emergency"


Actor Kim Bum in the film "Emergency" [DDOL Film]

Korean actor Kim Bum is set to star in new film "Emergency" as a male host, according to a press release on Tuesday.

Kim will play an aspiring actor who works as a host at an upscale bar, dressed in fancy clothes and accessories while donning the cornrow hairstyle.

The movie, directed by Park Jeong-hoon, is about young love, pain and growing up.

The film also stars Korean actress Kim Byul, who appeared in TV series "Sang Doo, Let's Go To School" in 2003 and "Strongest Chil Woo" last year.

The 20-year-old actor, who debuted in 2006, rose to stardom after appearing in the hit TV series "Boys Over Flowers" earlier this year.

"Emergency" is set to open in Korea in early December.

Reporter : Lynn Kim lynn2878@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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"Boys Over Flowers" planning director Bae Jong-byung

It was as much of a success as it was problematic. But nobody can deny that the Korean version of "Boys over Flowers" became a phenomenon in South Korea and a successful adaptation for all of Asia.

During its airing, the series was constantly at the center of rumors, unfortunate incidents and controversies -- one of its actresses committed suicide, most of the main characters got injured in car accidents while rushing on tight shooting schedules and the show received warnings from the media watchdog for excessive product placement. "Boys" also received harsh criticism for its unrealistic plot and seemingly discontinuous storyline in parts.

But the 25-part series ended in a success, recording ratings of an average 30 percent while selling to 11 countries in Asia.

"Boys", based on a 37-volume Japanese comic series received a top manga award in 1996 and had been adapted into TV series in Japan and Taiwan.

10asia met with Bae Jong-byung, the planning director of "Boys" from production company Group Eight to get a closer look behind the scenes.


TV series "Boys Over Flowers" planning director Bae Jong-byung.

[Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

10asia: How did you end up purchasing the rights to "Boys Over Flowers"?

Bae: The planning team members at my company strongly recommended I read the comic series in early 2006. I finished it in a fortnight. I thought the plot was childish at first but I became increasingly intrigued and it turned out to be really fun, especially after I saw the Japanese and Taiwanese versions. I knew the original piece had been remade in several countries so I thought hard about what the merits would be to making it into a TV series and I believed the effect would be huge with a Korean cast.

10: It must have been difficult obtaining the rights to such a famous comic series.

Bae: We got in touch with its publisher Shueisha and submitted a proposal simply saying we would make a great TV series. There had been Korean companies which had submitted blank checks or said they will cast top Asian stars but our company didn't have the sufficient funds to. Our company proposed an unbelievably low amount but surprisingly, the publisher accept the proposal without making any major changes to it. I think the publisher just wanted someone to do a good job of producing an adaptation of the original version since they had already made enough money off of it.

10: How did you expect to see profits? Since the Japanese and Taiwanese adaptations were such big hits throughout Asia, you must have known it wouldn't have made money simply by doing well in Korea.

Bae: We didn't really look closely into how we would make money off of it but we did know that the drama would sell as a Korean adaptation of "Boys" rather than as a Hallyu drama. But as soon as we announced in a press release in March last year that we would make the drama, we were contacted by overseas buyers for two weeks requesting for pre-sales. We had expected some sort of response but it was greater than we had expected.

10: How did you finance the production cost of 6.5 billion won for the series? You started shooting even though a broadcaster and airing schedule had not been set.

Bae: In the early stages, we only received investment of about 1 billion won. All the drama funds had been dying out due to deteriorated market conditions. And investors were not willing to make investments into a drama that hadn't decided on a cast with content they are not aware of. We had to go overseas for some of the scenes but we didn't have a wide range to choose from because of our tight budget. One of our company officials used their own credit card to buy our tickets to Macao.


10: New Caledonia is a very unfamiliar spot to us and we heard that the actors had a hard time there.

Bae: We received various proposals from tourism organizations and agencies because "Boys" was a project known throughout Asia. Amongst them, we were looking to shoot in Dubai or New Caledonia because they hadn't appeared in Korean dramas before. But we decided not to go to Dubai for safety reasons. New Caledonia had looked beautiful in the information we had received but it turned out to be a difficult location to shoot at once we got there.

10: In what way?

Bae: We had to take all the shooting equipment because nobody had ever shot a drama there before. We wrapped everything in dozens of wooden boxes but the airport and freighters at New Caledonia panicked saying they had never received such cargo before. And French was the main language there so we needed dual translation. Prices were also so high that a single sandwich cost over 25 dollars. On top of that, the weather turned bad when we got there so it rained all eight days we were there but the sun was out so some of the crew got sunburnt. We ended up shooting two episodes worth of the drama without almost no sleep. Most of the color you see in the video shot in New Caledonia was corrected. But we didn't receive the video for the part where you can look down on New Caledonia from up in the air. We paid the "Lord of the Rings" crew over 30,000 dollars to shoot it afterwards in good weather.

10: So why did you still end up choosing New Caledonia as one of the shooting locations despite all the trouble?

Bae: With the Japanese and Taiwanese versions already a hit throughout Asia, we felt the need to create more sensational scenes. It felt like we were on a mission to make a 'national drama'.

10: The response was great as soon as it started airing. Had you expected it or what had you not expected?

Bae: We got a 16 percent viewership rating for the first episode. Before it aired, I had declared we would see ratings of over 20 percent within the first four episodes but "East of Eden" was on at the time too so I didn't know the ratings would go past 30 percent. And in Japan and Taiwan, the role Kim Hyun-joong played had usually been popular but I was a bit surprised that the role Lee Min-ho played received more attention. And Kim had been a star opposed to Lee who had not been known that well.


10: The structure of the story started to get shaky towards the end. Some episodes even ended at awkward moments.

Bae: We only had three commercials for the first episode but all 28 slots were filled in by the sixth episode. This shortened the ending point of the drama. The script was never late but these changes and the warning by the media watchdog… they all led to the incomplete endings.

10: You were criticized for excessive product placement.

Bae: But we couldn't do without them at the time. We needed them for the production cost. In the past, a single bar added on the ending scene of an episode used to cost up to 300 million won but the market is dead now. We had to allocate the advertisement depending on what was in the episode that day.

10: What's the deal with your production contract with KBS?

Bae: Each episode costs nearly 280 million won to make and we were usually provided about 150 million per episode. Of the total 6.5 billion won in production costs, KBS provided us with less than 1.5 billion won. So we needed foreign investment and product placement.

10: If the conditions were better, how would you improve on the series?

Bae: The quality. There wasn't enough time to work out details between the producer and writer. It would have also helped to improve the picture and presentation. Time and money were always the main issues.

10: How are sales doing for the series?

Bae: It's been sold to 11 countries in Asia. The series will be aired on cable TV in Japan starting April and then on terrestrial broadcaster TBS starting in July.

Jessica K <jesskim@asiae.co.kr>

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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(Movie Review)

Korean Wave star fails to save corny music drama

SEOUL, Oct. 20 (Yonhap) -- Harsh though it may sound, some topics simply seem out of Korean filmmakers' reach, despite their laudable efforts to break into new genres over the years. Music is clearly one of them.

In that sense, "Sky and Ocean (Haneulgwa bada)," a film dealing with a violin prodigy suffering from the rare savant syndrome, made a risky bet to begin with.


The main character, Ha-neul, played by Korean Wave star Jang Na-ra, is a gifted 20-something violinist suffering from a developmental disorder known as savant syndrome. Although she is mentally six years old, Ha-neul shows brilliance in music and numbers which leads her to meet Ba-da (Hyeon Junie), a next door neighbor who wants to shut out the world after being abandoned by her parents.

Joined by Jin-gyu (Yu Ah-in), a lonesome pizza delivery boy who has no place to live, all three head off on a journey during which Ha-neul warms the hearts of the other two with music and affection they've never before known.


Directed by Oh Dal-kyun, who also did "Heart is (2006)," a children's movie about young siblings and a puppy, "Sky…" similarly turns out to be a joyful film that deals with hope, love and friendship.

But what it lacks is any grounding to the reality concerning the heroine's illness or the family and money problems the other young people face. The movie is also heavy with melodious sound effects, making it seem at times more like a music video than a film, and the lines are often so corny that viewers will find themselves chuckling in embarrassment.

Jang, who is especially popular in China as a singer and an actress, does show off improved acting skills, but that falls short of saving the rest of the film.


Debuting in the local pop music scene in 2001, the 28-year-old star has often been criticized for a "childlike" acting style that has limited her roles. Her first film, "Oh! Happy Day (2003)," was a local box office disaster -- a result that built up a "dread for doing movies," as the actress confessed afterward.

In "Sky…," however, Jang appears more stable and performs her role brilliantly. For the filming, she shed about 7kg from her usual 45kg.

"I read the scenario and felt I was too big to play the role of a girl who stays at home all day, doesn't eat much and believes she is six years old," she said after the movie's preview Monday. "I felt so happy and so right playing her."

Jang also sang the film's title song, composed by Jerry and Katreese Barnes. It was the first time the U.S. musicians had worked with a Korean singer.

The movie, with a running time of 104 minutes, will hit local theaters on Oct. 29.

Credits : Shin Hae-in (hayney@yna.co.kr)

Source : Yonhap News

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Photos of Lee Jun-ki in "Hero" unveiled


Lee Jun-ki (center) and the cast of new TV series "Hero" [MBC]

Major broadcaster MBC on Tuesday unveiled photographs of the characters to appear in upcoming TV series "Hero", starring Hallyu star Lee Jun-ki.

The photos, taken at MBC Dream Center studios in Ilsan, showed Lee and the cast members posing as the characters they will play in the drama.

Lee, as energetic journalist Jin Do-hyuk, is seen wearing comfortable clothes while co-star Kim Min-jung, who plays a cop in the drama, has a gun and handcuffs as accessories.

"Hero", about a group of young heroic characters fighting against a corrupt society, is set to air in Korea starting November 11.

The 27-year-old actor became a household name in 2005 playing a woman-like clown in the hit film "The King and the Clown" and was recently voted the most popular Korean Wave star in China.

Reporter : Lynn Kim lynn2878@asiae.co.kr

Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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TVXQ Yun-ho says actor debut is lonely


TVXQ member Chung Yun-ho attends a press conference for

MBC TV series "No Limit". [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]

U-Know Yun-ho, leader of five-member boy band TVXQ, said it has been lonely debuting as an actor.

The singer, whose real name is Chung Yun-ho, made the remark in an interview held concurrently with a photoshoot for the November issue of W magazine.

"It's been lonely but I believe this entire process is part of the growing pains. And I need it," Chung said in the interview.

He had recently debuted as an actor in MBC TV series "No Limit" but the sports drama has been struggling with viewership ratings hovering around five percent.

TVXQ is one of South Korea's most successful idol groups with over 800,000 fans across the world.

Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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Hartnett, Lee to grace "Vogue Korea" cover


Cover of "Vogue Korea" November issue [Vogue Korea]

American actor Josh Hartnett and Korean actor Lee Byung-hun will appear together on the cover of "Vogue Korea" next month, becoming the first male actors to grace the front of the fashion magazine.

The two actors, who were in the city of Busan in Korea to promote their film "I Come with the Rain" at the 14th Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) last week, also met with Vogue Korea for a photo shoot and interview.

Photographer Cho Sun-hee shot a fashion spread in the classic macho concept of Italy from its 1950s and Hartnett and Lee talked about their movie "Rain" and their thoughts of each other.

The two, along with Japanese actor Takuya Kimura, starred in "Rain" helmed by French-Vietnamese filmmaker Anh Hung Tran.

The 12-page fashion spread and interview will be carried in the November issue of "Vogue Korea".


A page of the fashion spread in "Vogue Korea" November issue [Vogue Korea]

Credits : Jessica Kim <jesskim@asiae.co.kr>

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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Kang Hye-jung says Tablo always supportive


Actress Kang Hye-jung speaks during a press conference for her

film "Kill Me" at a CJ CGV theatre in Seoul, South Korea on October

20, 2009. [Lee Ki-bum/Asia Economic Daily]

Actress Kang Hye-jung publicly expressed her affection for her to-be-husband Tablo on Tuesday, saying she is invigorated by his consistent support for her.

Kang made the remark at a press conference for her new film "Kill Me" held at the CJ CGV theatre in Apkujung, Seoul.

"I am happy to be getting married but sort of in a daze too," said the 27-year-old actress who will have a private wedding on October 26.

In early September, Kang and the popular hip-hop duo Epik High leader had announced they would get married this month and have a baby on the way. They had dated since late last year.

Kang is a critically acclaimed actress who first rose to stardom for her role in "Old Boy" by Park Chan-wook which took the Grand Prix award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004.

Her new film "Kill Me", a romantic comedy about a hired killer who falls in love with his client, is set for release on November 5. Actor Shin Hyun-joon of "The Gingko Bed" and "Marrying the Mafia" will co-star in the movie.

Reporter : Lim Hye-seon <lhsro@asiae.co.kr>

Editor : Jessica Kim <jesskim@asiae.co.kr>

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>


Director, cast attend "Kill Me" press conference


The cast and director of film "Kill Me". [Lee Ki-bum/Asia Economic Daily]

From left, actress Kang Hye-jung, director Yang Jong-hyun and actor Shin Hyun-joon pose during a photo session of a press conference for their film "Kill Me" at a CJ CGV theatre in Seoul, South Korea on October 20, 2009.

Photographer : Lee Ki-bum <metro83@asiae.co.kr>

Editor : Jessica Kim <jesskim@asiae.co.kr>

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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Kim Nam-joo goes for Vogue with actor husband

Kim Nam-joo, lead actress of MBC TV series "Queen of Housewives" which was a hit during the first half this year, will appear in a fashion spread in Vogue Korea with her actor husband Kim Seung-woo, according to the magazine on Wednesday.

The two top actors, working together for the first time since marrying in 2005, were shot in two concepts -- the first in sexy and wild looks at a garage downtown as the background and the second as the couple looking cool and playful at a streetside motel.

The couple also held an interview with the fashion magazine, talking about their married life where Kim Seung-woo said he would "marry her again were I to be born again".

Their fashion spread and interview will be carried in the November issue of Vogue Korea. A video containing behind-the-scenes footage of the photo shoot will be posted on Vogue's official website later this month.


Actress Kim Nam-joo and actor Kim Seung-woo pose for Vogue Korea. [Vogue Korea]


Actress Kim Nam-joo and actor Kim Seung-woo pose for Vogue Korea. [Vogue Korea]

Credits : Jessica Kim <jesskim@asiae.co.kr>

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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"Ninja Assassin" training videos released


Movie poster for "Ninja Assassin" starring Rain [Warner Brothers Korea]

Videos of Korean superstar Rain training for his film "Ninja Assassin" have been released, according to producer Warner Brothers Korea on Wednesday.

The video shows the actor receiving martial arts training for the combat scenes in the movie, which the filmmakers say are "not special effects" .

The action scenes required to the star and the whole team of actors to master martial arts and acrobatics, taught by the martial arts experts from the film "300".

The video also includes interviews with producer Joel Silver and director James McTeigue, explaining how the film was made and shows footage of Rain in various training sessions.

The Korean singer and actor played the lead role Raizo in the Hollywood action flick, hyped as one of the 50 most anticipated films of the year by U.K. newspaper The Times and one of the top 10 movies selected by the San Francisco Examiner.

"Ninja" is set for a worldwide release on November 26.

Reporter : Lynn Kim <lynn2878@asiae.co.kr>

Editor : Jessica Kim <jesskim@asiae.co.kr>

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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