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Jung Il-woo to make cameo appearance on "High Kick 2"


Actor Jung Il-woo [MBC]

Actor Jung Il-woo will make a cameo appearance on MBC sitcom "High Kick 2" this week, according to the broadcaster on Monday.

The 22-year-old actor, who had been a member of the cast in prequel "High Kick 1", will appear as Jung-eum's first love in the episode set to air Wednesday, MBC said in a press release.

Jung-eum will reminisce on her past, thinking of when she met her first love and former owner of her puppy.

Jung, who made his acting debut in 2006, rose to stardom through the first of the sitcom's series which was a smash hit during its airing between 2006 and 2007. He most recently starred as a human rights attorney in TV series "My Fair Lady" this year.

Both series of "High Kick" have been sold to several countries in Asia, with the sequel selling in Japan for the highest price ever for a South Korean sitcom.

Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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Lee Byung-hun to promote Korean tourism


Korean actor Lee Byung-hun [Asia Economic Daily]

Top Korean actor Lee Byung-hun has been picked to promote Korean tourism, according to a report on Tuesday.

The actor will star in the "2009 Korea Tourism Promotion Video", which is produced by Korea Tourism Organization (KTO).

"In this video, Lee will work with Japanese actress Kuriyama Chiaki who was very impressive in the movie 'Kill Bill'", an official at KTO was quoted as saying.

Korean-American Hollywood actress Moon Bloodgood, who was appointed the honorary PR ambassador for KTO in August, is also set to make a special appearance.

KTO produces a promotion video every year to promote Korea's tourism and shoots at many different locations around the country including Seoul, Pusan, Jeju, Jeonju, Gongju and Hadong.

The video, which will be completed by next month, is set to be released in Japan and U.S. early next year.

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

Editor : Lynn Kim lynn2878@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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"President" set to breach 1 million mark


Poster for film "Good Morning President" [CJ Entertainment]

Hallyu star Jang Dong-gun's new film "Good Morning President" is set to breach the one million mark just six days into its release.

According to estimates released by Korea Box Office Information System (KOBIS) on Tuesday, "President" had accumulated 902,817 viewers by 5 a.m. since its release on October 22.

The film, had topped the box office over the weekend with 706,409 viewers and a total 816,565 viewers -- meaning that it attracts an average 100,000 viewers daily on weekdays and would most likely surpass the one million mark on Tuesday.

The film, about the life of three different presidents, is Jang's first box office hit in nearly four years, after starring in "Typhoon" in December 2005.

Veteran actors Lee Soon-jae and Goh Doo-shim also star in the movie which opened the 14th Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) in early October this year.

Credits : Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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Lee Young-ae extends endorsement deal with GS


Actress Lee Young-ae [MBC]

Actress Lee Young-ae recently extended her endorsement deal with GS Construction,

proving that she remains one of South Korea's top TV commercial stars despite her marriage in late August.

Lee, 38, has been in the TV commercials for the constructor's XI apartments since September 2002 on top of dozens of other commercials the so-called 'CF queen' has appeared in.

"We concluded that it would be more beneficial for the company to sign with Lee again based on our self-analysis," an official on GS Construction's PR team was quoted as saying in the press release on Tuesday.

She will reportedly receive over 650,000 dollars during a one-year period.

Lee, best known for her role in hit TV drama "Jewel in the Palace", took all of Asia by surprise when her legal advisor revealed through a press release that she married a 55-year-old Korean-American businessman on August 24 in the United States.

Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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A.N.JELL actors brighten up "Minamishineyo"


From left, actors Lee Hong-ki, Park Shin-hye, Jang Keun-suk and Jung Yong-hwa pose during a photo session of a set opening at SBS' Tanhyun production center in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province on October 13, 2009. [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

SBS TV series "Minamishineyo", which started airing three weeks ago, is probably the 'youngest' mini-series ever. The eldest, Jang Keun-suk, is 22, Jung Yong-hwa, 20, and Park Shin-hye and Lee Hong-ki are both 19, setting the average age at 21. But their youth and individual characters are the secret to what makes the lively script by Hong Jung-eun and Hong Mi-ran really shine.

Below are excerpts from an interview on October 13 when the set of "Minamishineyo", at SBS Tanhyun production center in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province, was opened to the press.


Actress Park Shin-hye poses on set of TV series "Minamishineyo" at SBS' Tanhyun production center in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province on October 13, 2009. [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

Q: What was the scene you shot today about?

Jang Keun-suk: A.N.JELL's debut performance. And my character Tae-kyung decides to change his hairstyle because of Mi-nam's remark that Tae-kyung used to be the most handsome in the past. Although I don't know if they're changing the style to show that he's falling in love or the writers simply don't like the style right now. (laugh)

Q: The first two episodes showed last week. How did it feel?

Park Shin-hye: It felt good because I received a lot of good reviews. I got two different responses, as I had expected. The first, that it's a new style of drama so they can't adjust to it and the other, that it's fun. But I think more people started accepting it into the second episode. Some people said I seemed too feminine for someone pretending to be a guy but actress Yoon Eun-hye in MBC's "Coffee Prince" or Moon Geun-young in SBS' "The Painter of Wind", who also played women disguised as men, had free and easygoing personalities when they acted as themselves. My character, whose real name is Mi-nyeo, is very feminine when she is herself, so I thought I would be taking out too much of her personality if I expressed her as someone who is free and easygoing as a guy. I had talked to the producer and writers about this, and decided to keep some of Mi-nyeo's character even when she goes into disguise.

10: Mi-nyeo's unique style of talking is very interesting. It's unique to an extent it could seem quite weird but you get used to it. How did you come up with it?

Park: Mi-nyeo usually speaks in a unique way so I wanted to give a unique feel also to when she pretends to be a guy. It just so happened that I met with my cousins who were out on a break from the military and I heard them talking in different styles on the phone. I discussed it with the writers and I think it worked well for my part. Some people said it sounded weird or told me not to use it at first, but I think some people have started to copy it. It's popular amongst the staff on our set these days.

Lee Hong-ki: My younger sister said Mi-nyeo's way of speaking is already really popular in her school. Jang's hairstyle is also being talked about, as well as the skull accessories I wear in the drama. I was surfing the web today to buy some clothes when I came across accessories of the same design I wear in the drama and it said "sponsored for Lee Hong-ki" next to it. (laugh)


Actor Jang Keun-suk poses on set of TV series "Minamishineyo" at SBS' Tanhyun production center in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province on October 13, 2009. [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

Q: Jang, you too must have thought about the visual aspect of the drama such as your style. Your 2:8 hair part in particular is garnering a lot of attention.

Jang: I don't have enough time already trying to dig into my acting so I left it up to the stylists and other experts to come up with a style for me. There were a variety of responses to my hairstyle in the beginning but while I didn't have enough time to prepare for the drama ahead of starting shoot, I needed something that I could really trust in acting my part. I needed something that could link me with my character to make my acting more natural.

Q: You're the eldest of the main cast. How do you take lead?

Jang: I actually had been the youngest up till now. I learned a lot from Kang Ji-hwan in "Hong Kil-dong" and Kim Myung-min in "Beethoven Virus". This was the first time for me to take the lead as th eldest and I thought the teamwork between the A.N.JELL members would be the most important in shooting the drama. I think it's necessary to be strict and firm at times as the producer asked me to be.

Q: You said you practice your expressions a lot in front of the mirror -- like your smirk. How does it feel seeing yourself put on those expressions?

Jang: It's fun monitoring myself. Tae-kyung is a perfectionist and is a nut about cleanliness but there is a part about him which is unguarded. I wanted to show that side to him and I think people will see it too. That's why it's even more fun to make those expressions that I usually don't.

Q: How do you want to portray your character Tae-kyung's appeal?

Jang: Someone with a looseness within his edginess? (laugh) I think it's important to make viewers feel that he is a perfectionist but ultimately is a human being. There actually are no loose ends to the drama itself though. The script moves forward fast as in comics and I trust in producer's ability to show varieties of shots which usually aren't seen in dramas.

Q: Jung Yong-hwa, your character is getting favorable response and has earned you various nicknames such as 'towel guy'. Do you actually sense how popular you are?

Jung Yong-hwa: Not so much actually because I'm always on set but I sometimes look up my name on the Internet when I have time. I really thank everyone for the good response because I really didn't know much while shooting the first two episodes. Every scene is really difficult to shoot but my seniors help me out a lot.

Park: All my friends were calling me up afterwards to ask me about Jung. They were asking who he was, saying that he's cute and that their heart fluttered. I asked them what they thought of me and they said it didn't matter! (laugh)


Actor Jung Yong-hwa poses on set of TV series "Minamishineyo" at SBS' Tanhyun production center in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province on October 13, 2009. [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

Q: Your character figures out that Mi-nam is a girl. What will happen?

Jung: Shin-woo used to be a cold character who puts on fake smiles but he starts looking after Mi-nam after finding out she's a girl. I try various things with Park to see what sort of acting would go with his character. I think Shin-woo probably was hurt by someone he loved in the past. So he tends to avoid people but the more he looks at Mi-nam, the more he'll think he is being healed and be a bright person when he is with Mi-nam and be very caring towards her.

Jang: His character is the one girls will like more than mine.

Q: Jeremy on the other hand, doesn't know about Mi-nam's identity. How are you like in real life?

Lee: I'm actually quite slow in reality too. I really don't know a lot of things. (laugh) I don't hear about things until my managers tell me but I'm quick with things that are beneficial to me.

Q: You seem to have lost a lot of weight compared to the first couple of episodes?

Lee: The mission handed down to me by the producer was to make a nice body. Jeremy has a very bright personality and is like a child, but has to seem like a man when he goes topless so I lost about six to seven kilograms of fat. The drama is set in the autumn and winter but the producer wants Jeremy to wear tank tops so he does at clubs or when practicing dancing. That's why the set is my gym. (laugh)

Park: He really does workout all the time. So I also work on my abs next to him.

Q: You had been a child actor before debuting as a member of F.T. Island. What is the response to your acting now as a grown up?

Lee: Everyone said it was hard to stand and that they got goosebumps after the first episode. But after the second episode was aired, I think people have started taking a liking to my acting because its become who my character is. The members of F.T. Island usually point out the shortcomings each person has but they said a lot of good things this time. They said the drama is a lot of fun and that they don't feel awkward anymore. They say he's like me. (laugh)

Q: The last scene in the first episode, where Mi-nam lips end up touching Tae-kyung's as he falls from the bench, was fun. Are there any episodes you'd like to share that happened while shooting?

Park: I was in wires to shoot that scene but I couldn't straighten out my body so everyone was complaining that their arms hurt.

Lee: It was really funny shooting the part where Mi-nam's vomit lands on Tae-kyung's mouth.

Park: It was a mix of yogurt and vegetable soup... I myself had a hard time keeping myself from laughing. But when Jeremy pushed me off of Tae-kyung, he did it so hard that I flew off and my body flipped about half way. I'm still a girl. (laugh)

Lee: It only happened because I was concentrating so hard on my acting.


Singer and actor Lee Hong-ki poses on set of TV series "Minamishineyo" at SBS' Tanhyun production center in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province on October 13, 2009. [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

Q: Of the three actors, who is the closest to your ideal guy?

Park: They're all very kind but I don't think any of them are my ideal guy. It's just good to have three good-looking guys around me. If I had to choose amongst the characters, it would be Shin-woo. I think it would be the same for many girls. Tae-kyung is sort of... (laugh) I wouldn't be able to accept his personality.

Q: You'll be up against KBS TV series "Iris" is starting this week. How will you prepare for this?

Park: Every drama contains different characters and genres so I won't say which choices viewers should make but our drama is made of actors who are full of young ambition and talent. Like we said at our press conference, we're kids who will prop up no matter how hard you try and step down on us. (laugh) I recently walked in the streets but saw that nobody was laughing. I hope this drama will become a show for you that will make you laugh even at the thought it will be aired that day.

Reporter : Choi Ji-Eun five@10asia.co.kr

Photographer : Chae ki-won ten@10asia.co.kr

Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr, Jang Kyung-Jin three@10asia.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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Teaser posters unveiled for film “Actresses”


Actress Choi Ji-woo [sponge Ent]

Teaser posters of Ko Hyun-jung and Choi Ji-woo, set to star in a new film titled “Actresses”, were unveiled on Wednesday.

The two top Korean actresses were featured in individual posters for the movie about six actresses shooting a fashion spread together, according to the film’s promotion agency Sponge Ent on Wednesday.

The two, alongside other famed actresses including Yoon Yeo-jung, Lee Mi-sook, Kim Min-hee and Kim Ok-vin, are all set to appear as themselves in director Lee Jae-yong’s new movie.

The film is set at a photo shoot for fashion magazine Vogue on Christmas Eve and the atmosphere is full of tension as the six stars, in the 20s to 60s range, are all used to hogging the attention for themselves.

The characters go through various conflicts and drama to finish the fashion shoot, and the audience will be able to discover unknown aspects of each actress' personality.


Actress Ko Hyun-jung [sponge Ent]

Yoon is Korea’s veteran actress, who has appeared in numerous television dramas since 1970s; Lee was one of the most popular actresses in the 1980s who made a huge comeback in 1998 with the hit film “An Affair”; Ko, a former Miss Korea, was a top actress in the 1990s who returned to acting in 2005 after getting divorced; Choi appeared in several hit dramas, most notably in the “Winter Sonata” with Bae Yong-joon; Kim Min-hee most recently starred in the TV series “Love Marriage” and “Goodbye Solo”; and Kim Ok-vin is best known for her role in the Cannes-winning film “Thirst” earlier this year.

“Actresses” is scheduled for release in Korea in December.

Reporter : Lynn Kim lynn2878@asiae.co.kr

Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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Korea celebrates birth of film in the country

Despite various theories on how film as an art form was born in Korea, the majority of scholars here regard local drama Loyal Revenge (Euirijeok guto)” as the first Korean domestic film, Yonhap News said.

Directed by Kim Do-san, the movie was screened at Danseongsa, one of the first theaters in the country, on Oct. 27, 1919, the day South Korea later designated as the country's "Movie Day" in 1961.

Celebrating the birth of motion pictures in the country 90 years later, hundreds of film fans, directors, actors and actresses were to gather in central Seoul Tuesday when South Korea's only state-funded film contest will also kick off.

The 46th Daejong Film Awards, one of the oldest and the most prestigious in Korea, will be screening noticeable local movies produced this year. Winners in 28 categories including best film, best director and best actor will be awarded on Nov. 6, the final day of the event.

Both South and North Korea, divided since 1948 when they formed separate governments, have relatively robust film industries today, but only South Korean films have earned wide international acclaim as North Korean films tend to portray communist or revolutionary themes.

Na Woon-gyu's "Arirang (1926)" is regarded as the film that opened the era of high-quality silent film in Korea, while Lee Myeong-woo's "Chunhyangjeon (1935)" is on the record as the country's first sound film.

It wasn't until the late 1990s that the South Korean film industry picked up and has since climbed only upward. Now, the country is one of the very few where Hollywood productions do not hold a dominant share of the domestic market, with the audience watching more domestic than imported films in theaters.

The 1999 film "Swiri," about a North Korean spy preparing a coup in Seoul, became the first in Korean history to sell more than two million tickets in Seoul alone, only to be outdone the very next year by "Joint Security Area," which was again outnumbered by "Friend" a year later.

Records have been broken continuously since 2004. Five movies including Bong Joon-ho's "The Host" and Lee Joon-ik's "King and the Clown" were watched by over 10 million people per film, which is more than a quarter of the South Korean population. “Oasis” won the second prize at the Venice Film Festival in 2002, providing a turning point for Korean avante garde films. Park Chan-wook's "Oldboy" entered the record books when it took second place in the Cannes Film Festival, the director again winning the third highest Cannes award with Thirst” this year.

Source : The Korea Herald

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Family Film Festival Kicks Off in Seoul Wednesday


The third Seoul International Family Film Festival (SIFFF) will be held at CGV Yongsan for one week from Wednesday. The SIFFF aims to present movies that the whole family can enjoy together. This year's festival will feature 117 movies from 24 countries.

New this year is an official competition category for international films. Eight films have been invited to compete in the category, and they all closely follow the inner growth of the main character. Renowned Danish director Nils Malmros will head the jury.

The opening film, "A Town Called Panic" by Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar, is a cinematic version of a famous Belgian TV animation. The hand-drawn, stop-motion animated film tells the story of a fun-filled adventure in a small rural village and was an official out-of-competition selection at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

For further information about the festival, visit the Web site (www.sifff.org).

Credits : englishnews@chosun.com

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Seo Woo Courted by Foreign Directors


Seo Woo

Actress Seo Woo is being courted by foreign movie directors after ``Paju,'' a film in which she starred with actor Lee Sun-kyun, screened during the Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) earlier this month.

According to Sports Hankook, the sister paper of The Korea Times, Seo, 21, had already been asked to appear in movies to be directed by American and Dutch directors.

An official with the actress' agency was quoted as saying, ``We have been offered twice. But we have not decided on appearance yet. She will take a rest for the time being before choosing the next film. We will also consider going abroad.''

Sports Hankook quoted a movie analyst as saying, ``Ms. Seo has been recognized highly for her acting in the movie. She was all the more charming because Eun-mo, which she played in `Paju,' remained an enigmatic figure.''

Seo was among the group of Korean actors who visited Busan during PIFF as ``Paju'' competed in the New Currents section. The movie, directed by Park Chan-ok, won the Netpac (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) award. ``Paju,'' a film about the subtle romance between a man and his dead wife's sister, will hit local theaters on Thursday.

Seo made her TV debut with ``Kimchi Cheese Smile'' in 2007 and won the best new actress prize at the 2008 Korea Film Awards for her role in the movie ``Crush & Blush.''

Credits : sahds@koreatimes.co.kr

Source : The Korea Times

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Lee Joon-gi to Take a Lighter Role as Reporter


The poster for MBC's new drama "Hero." The television series starts Nov. 11 at

9:55 p.m. / Courtesy of MBC

Actor Lee Joon-gi is up to the task to star in the new drama ``Hero,'' which starts next month.

The 27-year-old has portrayed various roles in recent years, from a court jester (King and the Clown, 2005), national security agent (``Time Between Dog and Wolf,'' MBC, 2007) to a mysterious thief during the Joseon Kingdom period (Iljimae, SBS, 2000).

``The characters I portrayed in the past were either energetic with a lot of action scenes or emotionally complicated and so I wanted to offer something lighter and fun,'' he said during a press conference at Melon AX Hall, northern Seoul.

``There are various episodes and I think I'll be able to show more versatility. I'm more used to physically built characters, but I'm trying hard to portray a more humorous role.''

``Hero'' stars Lee as aspiring journalist Jin Do-hyeok, who finds himself working for the newspaper Monday Seoul, famous for its scandalous articles and ruthless paparazzi. Dreaming to move up to the prestigious daily Daesae Ilbo, Jin struggles to get the biggest scoop of his life, and gets into a complicated relationship with a pretty yet tough female cop Ju Jae-in, played by Kim Min-jung. She was not present at the event due to an elbow injury sustained during the shooting of a drama.

Things take a turn for the worse when Monday Seoul goes out of business and a gang boss who recently got out of prison offers to start his own newspaper company.

When asked what he thought about the paparazzi after having to play one in the drama, Lee said he didn't mind them.

``I think it's cool to see Hollywood stars getting their photos taken (by the paparazzi). I am somewhat thankful that we don't have the paparazzi system, but I think it wouldn't hurt to have it,'' he said, laughing.

Lee went further saying that he started to read many entertainment articles through the Internet for research, and that he hoped reporters would get busy writing about him and the drama, not to mention the heroine Kim.

``I actually wanted reporters to write rumors that Kim and I were actually dating, but it's too bad she couldn't make it,'' he said.

``I'm sure she will return to the set as soon as she recovers. In the meantime, you can write many scandalous articles about us,'' he added, drawing laughter.

Although Lee started out as an actor in 2003, it took some time for him to become a household name in both Korea and Japan. His biggest hit was ``King and the Clown'' and his journey as a star started from there. Starring in numerous commercials, he instantly became a hallyu star, traveling around Asia to meet fans.

The actor recently revealed his musical side by releasing a single album called ``J Style'' and performed at concerts in Kobe and Yokohama in July.

The news of the upcoming drama starring Lee has spread fast, and buyers from Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore have shown interest in purchasing the television series even before its actual airing here.

``Lee is especially popular in China, and we believe contracts for the show will come in continuously from neighboring countries as the time for the first episode draws near,'' an official from the drama's production company said.

Japan was one of the first countries to buy the soap, and Japanese fans will get to watch the drama on DATV soon.

After the press conference, Lee welcomed and shook hands with more than 200 Japanese fans who flew in from the island nation.

``Hero'' will start airing Nov. 11 at 9:55 p.m. on MBC.

Credits : Han Sang-hee, Staff Reporter (sanghee@koreatimes.co.kr)

Source : The Korea Times

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Lee Seon-kyun Comments on His Role in 'Paju'

Actor Lee Seon-kyun, who plays Jung-shik in Park Chan-ok's movie "Paju," was never known as a romantic guy. Jung-shik is a man who has to live with his deep wounds and sense of guilt. Lee describes his character as a "big person" who he didn't want to approach in an emotional way.

To Lee, "Paju" is a milestone, which he set by portraying Jung-shik, a former athlete who falls in love with his sister-in-law. It was Lee's first big-screen leading role, which has also become his favorite one and which demanded a higher degree of responsibility. "It was the most fulfilling role by far, " said Lee.


Lee said, "I wanted to play a more 'film-y' and inspirational role. I wanted to approach acting from a more serious perspective. Director Park Chan-ok has a very keen eye. I wanted to work with her and I made the right decision."

Lee says he was unable to study his character in more detail because of a time limit. His scenes were shot in an apartment building that was subject to demolition. He said, "The scene where I confess to Eun-mo felt special to me when I read the script and I worried about it a lot. But since we had to finish shooting as soon as possible, we had to shoot for 36 straight hours, so I didn't have a chance to give it as much thought as I wanted."


Lee also says the scene made him feel grateful to the production team.

He said, "I didn't feel satisfied even when I heard the director wrap a scene. But I didn't have the courage to suggest that we re-shoot the scene, because everyone was tired after working all night long. But I ended up saying it because I couldn't concentrate on the other scenes. Just then, someone from the production crew said that he was ready to shoot as many times as was needed. He adjusted the lighting and we began shooting again. I was moved to tears."

Director Park Chan-ok discussed every scene with Lee in front of the monitor and the two almost never disagreed. Lee said, "'Paju' is like Ms. Park. It's slow and quiet, but it makes you listen to it. Ms. Park has lucid and shy eyes. She's like a girl yet sometimes she is like your big brother who is always ready to listen to you and give you good advice."


Worried about Jung-shik's safety, Eun-mo (played by Seo Woo) asks him why he demolishes buildings for a living. Jung-shik says he started doing it to look cool, then to pay off his debts, but now he doesn't know why he does it. Lee said, "That's Jung-shik's way. He joined a club because his older friend Ja-young looked cool. He was attracted to fights. Then he waited for Eun-mo. Because of the time pressure, I didn't realize the profound meaning of that. It might look the same on the outside, but to me it's a huge difference."

When asked the same question as "actor Lee Seon-kyun," not Jung-shik, Lee said, "I have no greed. No ambitions. Acting is the only thing that makes me move when I don't feel like doing anything. Acting is not my ultimate goal. I act because I want to be happy. Once it loses its meaning and becomes simply a way to make a living, I will hate it."

Source : KBS Global

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'Daejanggeum' wins best musical


"Daejanggeum" won Best Musical of the year at the 15th Korea Musical Awards, at KBS Hall in Yeouido, Seoul, on Monday. The stage adaptation of the hit television drama of the same-title premiered in 2007 but won Best Musical as well as Best Director this year with the newly modified version.

The two Korean productions of Broadway musicals, "Dreamgirls" and "Spring Awakening," also did well at the event.

"Dreamgirls" not only won the Best Foreign Musical, but also took Best Actress for Hong Ji-min's performances, who showed off powerful vocals and acting in the lead role, Effie. The show earned Best Music, Best Stage Art and Best Technology as well.

"Spring Awakeing," meanwhile, won in three categories - Best Actor for Kim Mu-yeol, who plays Melkior, Best Supporting Actor for Jo Jeong-suk in the role of Moritz, plus Best Ensemble.

Hong Gwang-ho and Choi Sung-hee who each starred in "Jekyll & Hyde" and "Notre Dame de Paris," won Popular Actor and Actress.

Shin Chun-soo, the CEO of leading OD Musical Company which presented multiple hit shows including "Dreamgirls" and "All Shook Up," won Best Producer.

Credits : youngaah@heraldm.com

Source : The Korea Herald

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(Movie Review)

Despite flaws, potential seen in newcomer's romantic comedy

SEOUL, Oct. 27 (Yonhap) -- One of the most frequently made mistakes by first-time filmmakers is to "try too hard," jamming all sorts of genres and fictional elements into one movie.

Director Yang Jong-hyun, 37, confesses he was no different in making his feature debut "Kiss Me, Kill Me." But despite its complicated plot line, his first feature seems to have a unique spark and sense of humor that allows audiences to overlook its flaws and enjoy the film.

Professional killer Hyeon-jun (Shin Hyun-jun) arrives at a house to kill a man in his sleep only to discover a young woman crying under the sheets. As the confused killer hesitates over his next move, the woman shouts, "What's the matter with you! I paid you, so just kill me!"


Jin-yeong (Kang Hye-jung) decided to kill herself after a traumatic breakup with her longtime boyfriend. But after failing in several suicide attempts, she has hired a killer to do the job for her.

Furious at being used for the "wrong reasons" but helplessly attracted to her, Hyeon-jun abandons his mission and asks Jin-yeong out on a date. "Go out with me today and kill yourself tomorrow," he says.

Full of humor and wit, "…Kill Me" observes these peculiar people and others -- gangsters, an alcoholic -- from a sympathetic and affectionate perspective.

In the film, these people are not just social outcasts, but lonely men and women who crave ordinary lives of paying taxes, recycling rubbish, getting married and having children.

While featuring guns, revenge, death and murder, the movie is also optimistic about love, showing how new romance gives Jin-yeong the courage to admit her ex's betrayal, and Hyeon-jun the hope to "retire" from his job and start over.

Throughout the movie, viewers will find themselves laughing, cringing and dabbing at their eyes, perhaps confused but never bored.

"I may have tried a little too hard, so I'm not completely confident people will understand or enjoy the movie," director Yang said after the movie's preview Monday. "But I thought it'd be fun to mix contrasting images to create something humorous and emotional at the same time."

Actor Shin and actress Kang also play the unique characters in a stable manner, showing their years of experience.

While Kang called the movie "cheeky" in an earlier press conference, Shin called it a "strangely moving" film. Kang was absent from the movie's media preview Monday, as she was getting married the same day.

"…Kill Me," with a running time of 107 minutes, will hit local cinemas Nov. 5.

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

Source : Yonhap News

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Jang Hyuk to Return to TV

Actor Jang Hyuk will return to TV as a slave chaser in the KBS2 special drama with the working title of “Slave Chaser.”


▲ A still of the drama featuring Jang Hyuk

Jang plays Lee Dae-gil from a wealthy, noble family who turns into a vengeful slave chaser when a slave ruins his family by setting fire to his home and fleeing. Although cold-blooded, stubborn and calculative, he still has a pure heart despite the fact he failed to achieve the life he wanted.

Oh Ji-ho plays Song Tae-ha, who is reduced from an army general to a slave chased by Lee Dae-gil.


▲ A still of the drama featuring Jang Hyuk

Jang, who is well-known for his martial arts skills, performed most of the stunts himself in action scenes. He is reportedly working on other various martial arts such as taekkyon and jeetkunedo to better portray his character, who picks up fighting skills on the street.

The drama also features model-turned-actor Han Jung-soo and actor Kim Ji-seok as Jang’s fellow slave chasers.

Writer: KBSi Jin Yeong-ju

Source: Film company Haneul

Photo: Ji Yoon-mi

Copyright ⓒ KBS & KBSi

Source : KBS Global

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S.Korea announces 200 bln won plan to keep 'Korean Wave' alive

Korea will spend hundreds of billions of won to bolster Korean pop culture's popularity around the world, including funding for production of short dramas, the government said Wednesday, according to Yonhap News.

The popularity of Korean TV dramas in particular swept Asia beginning in the late 1990s, creating the term "Korean Wave" now widely known across Southeast Asia.

The phenomenon brought the country large economic benefits with Korean TV programs being exported to Japan, China and farther-flung nations such as Indonesia and Singapore, and enhanced the global recognition of Korean culture and celebrities.

In the recent years, however, such exports have been dwindling, raising demand for a way to keep the trend alive.

As part of its plan, the culture ministry will build a center by 2012 designed to create digital broadcast material, spending nearly 200 billion won ($167 million), the ministry said in a news briefing.

The 13-story building, to be built in Goyang, just outside of Seoul, will be comprised of studios and editing rooms fit for making High Definition (HD) television content. The ministry will also spend 500 million won next year on production of 10 short TV dramas that give debut opportunities for emerging script writers, TV directors and actors, the ministry said.

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

Source : Yonhap News, The Korea Herald

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Digital pirates of Korean blockbuster face imprisonment

SEOUL, Oct. 28 (Yonhap) -- The Seoul District Court on Wednesday sentenced three people to up to two years in prison for circulating pirated copies of the domestic summer blockbuster "Haeundae", in one of the harshest-yet punishments for the crime.

An illegal copy of the big-budget disaster flick was uploaded onto two file-sharing site on Aug. 29 and was downloaded hundreds of thousands of times in Korea and China, causing massive losses for the film's creators and distributors ahead of its overseas release.

"Haeundae," about a tsunami that hits a popular beach in the Korean port city of Busan, has drawn more than 10 million viewers at home, becoming the fifth South Korean movie to reach the milestone. Released locally in August, the movie has been sold to 24 countries including China and the United States.

An audio technician, who received the movie file from its producer CJ Entertainment to make an adaptation for the visually impaired, had passed the file on to a friend who took it to China and showed it to some of his acquaintances. A Korean student studying in China later uploaded the file on the Internet.

The technician and his friend were sentenced to a year and a half in prison with a two-year suspension, while the student was sentenced to two years on a three-year suspension, the Seoul Central District Court said.

"The court saw the necessity to sentence the defendants with imprisonment considering the damage their action caused to the local movie industry and to prevent similar incidents in the future," the court said.

Local filmmakers and investors have been fearing the case may tarnish the reputation of the cinema industry in South Korea, the world's most wired country where digital theft is blamed for an annual loss of more than 2 trillion won (US$ 1.6 billion).

With a majority of households connected to broadband Internet, technology has made it easy for anyone to duplicate and distribute copyrighted creative works including movies, books, music and broadcast programs.

The size of the legal downloading market shrank by nearly 60 percent last year from 2005 in Korea, with nearly 20,000 files of copyrighted content circulating illegally last year alone, according to government data.

Credits : hayne@yna.co.kr

Source : Yonhap News

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Best Play Series to Open With 'Equus'


From left, actors Cho Jae-hyun, Ryu Deok-hwan, Jeong Tae-woo and Song

Seung-hwan pose at a press conference for “Equus,” which will be on stage

from Dec. 1 as the opening performance of “Yeongeuk Yeoljeon 3” (Series of

the Best Plays) in Daehangno, central Seoul, Monday./Courtesy of organizers

"Yeongeuk Yeoljeon 3" (Series of the Best Plays) has unveiled this year's lineup of nine plays, and will embark on a 13-month run starting Dec. 1. The project consists of classic masterpieces, literature-based dramas and world premieres.

"Equus,'' written by Peter Shaffer in 1973, will be on stage as the opening performance.

The play portrays the story of Dysart, a psychiatrist who attempts to treat a young man named Alan who has a pathological fascination with horses.

Cho Jae-hyun and renowned producer and actor Song Seung-hwan will take the role of Dysart. Television stars Jeong Tae-woo and Ryu Deok-hwan will play Alan.

Cho, who is making his directorial debut, performed as Alan in 1991 and 2004.

Song, head of PMC Production, which is renowned for "Nanta," is making his comeback to the stage after three years out of the spotlight.

"A Streetcar Named Desire," written by American playwright Tennessee Williams, will take the stage from March to May of next year.

"Return of Oppa," which is based on a novel by Kim Young-ha, will be adapted to the stage by director Ko Seon-woong.

The Japanese play "If I Were With You" and Canadian play "Chat of Mothers" will be adapted into Korean-language renditions for the first time.

Also, "Gilgok-myeon, Changnyeong-gun, South Gyeongsang Province," directed by Ryu Ju-yeon, will be put on stage. The drama received rave reviews both from critics and fans for its portrayals of ordinary couples living in a capitalist society.

The musical "Triangle" was added to the lineup to appeal to a younger audience.

Unlike last year's star-studded casting and popular works,

the new lineup of "Yeongeuk Yeoljeon 3'' focuses on medium-sized theaters and improving general quality. The project began in 2004 with 15 picks selected from works performed between 1980 and 2000.

The first year drew about 170,000 people and contributed to boosting the theatrical drama industry here.

The second season was a big success due to star-studded theater marketing initiated by Cho in a move to attract a wider audience.

The second season attracted a total of 247,814 people with a 96-percent seat occupation rate, much higher than the 60 percent of the 2004 project.

Cho has been praised for writing a new chapter of the local theater industry by coming up with the series and its casting, promotion and marketing.

Cho has frequently expressed concern about a drop in the popularity of plays, compared to the booming musical industry.

Credits : Chung Ah-young, Staff Reporter (chungay@koreatimes.co.kr)

Source : The Korea Times

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Undisclosed video of teen Kim Hyun-joong to air on cable


SS501 member Kim Hyun-joong as a bassist of his rock band in church in 2003.

[MBC every1}

Never-before-seen videos of SS501 member Kim Hyun-joong from his teen days will be aired on MBC's cable channel on Friday.

MBC every1 said in a press release on Wednesday that its documentary program "Star: The Secret" will feature the hit idol group member, broadcasting clips of Kim from his rock band days in 2003 as well as pre-debut photographs.

The video will show the singer, then 17, playing the bass as a member of his church's rock band. The group is said to have been invited to perform at numerous events including rock festivals and school events in the Songpa district of Seoul.

The show will also reveal undisclosed photographs of Kim from his school days and his first-ever photoshoot ahead of his debut.

He is now the leader of five-member boy band SS501 which has been popular since their debut in 2005. His popularity surged this year after appearing in hit TV series "Boys Over Flowers" alongside actors Goo Joon-pyo, Kim Bum and Kim Jun.

The episode of "Star" featuring Kim will be aired at midnight on Friday.


From left, SS501 member Kim Hyun-joong and his friend at his rock band in church in 2003.

[MBC every1]

Credits : Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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Park Eun-hye to attend China’s 60th anniversary event


Actress Park Eun-hye [Forestar&DS Entertainment]

Hallyu star Park Eun-hye will visit China today to represent Korea at an event marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, according to a press release on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old actress will attend the “Korean Food Night” event, hosted by the Korean Embassy in China, to promote Korean food, Forestar&DS Entertainment said.

“This is a wonderful opportunity and I’m very happy to visit !China as a representative of Korea. I will use this chance to promote Korean food and upgrade the image of Korea," the actress was quoted as saying.

An official at the event explained that Park had received great response in China playing the role of Yonseng in “Jewel in the Palace". “I don’t think there is a better person to introduce Korean food as a representative of Korea.”

Park recently made headlines while making charity efforts into helping young victims of the Sichuan earthquake. In addition, her cosmestics line “”Park Eun-hye cosmetics” and chocolate produce “Yonseng Chocolate” have been selling off the shelves in China.

Park rose to fame in 2003 with a supporting role in hit MBC TV series "Jewel in the Palace", which starred Hallyu star Lee Young-ae.

Reporter : Lynn Kim lynn2878@asiae.co.kr

Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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MBC's hero draws Japanese fans


The press conference for MBC's upcoming Wednesday and Thursday night series "Hero" attracted a hoard of Japanese fans last Friday at Melon-AX Hall.

News reports put the total at around 250, which equated to roughly two-thirds of the first floor of the auditorium and merited more than 20 minutes worth of handshakes with Hallyu star Lee Joon-gi, the hero that made the trip and wait worthwhile.

Set to play a third-rate gossip rag reporter with aspirations for journalistic greatness in the new MBC series, Lee lived up to his Korean Wave status on Friday. Perhaps it was his recent foray into the world of music or his last heroic stint as the Robin Hood-esque Iljimae in SBS' smash hit, whatever the case, this celebrity drew a major crowd.

"Hajimemamini coopere," Lee greeted his fans in Japanese before taking the time to shake each of their hands after the press conference ended.

Despite the overwhelming fan turnout, however, both Lee, his co-stars and "Hero" director Kim Kyung-hee face a formidable foe in the form of KBS' current Wednesday and Thursday night blockbuster "IRIS."

"I only saw the first two episodes and it was amazing," Kim said of "IRIS" at the press conference. "Their team is also working with phenomenal actors."

Lee Joon-gi will be going up against fellow Hallyu star and "IRIS" lead Lee Byung-hun. According to AGB Nielsen Media Research, "IRIS" brought in nationwide viewer share of 23.8 percent last Thursday while "Hero" predecessor "No Limit" brought in a reported 5.6 percent.

Furthermore, last year, MBC's "Spotlight," a series that dealt with the world of journalism, performed poorly, leading to the question: Will "Hero" suffer a similar fate?

It is hard to tell this early in the game.

"We are filming a journalists' drama," said Lee, who added that he tried to model his character after city desk reporters. "I deliberately read a lot of articles."

"There is heavy material inside," Kim said, acknowledging that while there is comic flair in the upcoming piece; it is not all frills. "The journalists touch upon strong stories."

The director also hinted at a love triangle between Lee Joon-gi's and "Worlds Within" actor Um Ki-joon's reporters and actress Kim Min-jung's character.

Due to a reported shoulder ligament injury, "Hero" co-star Kim Min-jung was unable to attend last week's press conference. Actress Kim, who will be playing a police detective in "Hero," recently starred in the lackluster MBC weekend series "Strike Love," a blip on a strong track record that includes MBC's "New Heart" and SBS' "Fashion 70s." News reports state that she is currently hospitalized.

This is not the first time that Lee and Kim have worked together. The two performed in the film "Flying Boys" in 2004.

"I hope she recovers soon," Lee said of his co-star.

"Hero" is slated to air on Nov. 11 at 9:55 p.m. on MBC.

Credits : Jean Oh (oh_jean@heraldm.com)

Source : The Korea Herald

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