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2009.10.30

TV series "No Limit" ends in 16 episodes

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Poster of MBC TV series "No Limit" [MBC]

The last episode of MBC TV series "No Limit" will air on November 4, ending the sports drama in 16 episodes of showing, according to the broadcaster on Friday.

The premiere date for the channel's next drama "Hero" had been pulled up to November 11, but it had not been expected that the Wednesday and Thursday night drama would end without completing its showing for the week.

"The drama will end on Wednesday and we'll be showing a documentary from overseas during that timeslot on Thursday," a producer at MBC told 10Asia over the phone.

Chung Yun-ho, member of one of South Korea's most successful idol groups TVXQ, had made his acting debut in the TV series but the drama had struggled with low ratings of between three to five percent.

"Hero", about a group of youngsters who rebel and fight against a corrupt society, will star some of Korea's most popular actors including Lee Jun-ki, Kim Min-jeong and Baik Yoon-shik.

Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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2009.10.30

[PREVIEW]

Movie "Paju"

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Poster of Korean movie "Paju" [Myung Films]

He was my sister's husband. I was in middle school. My sister died. I became an adult. We live together. I am in love with him. Does he love me too?

This is the second film by director Park Chan-ok, her first in seven years, starring Lee Sun-kyun and Seo Woo which was shown at the 14th Pusan International Film Festival. If her debut film "Jealousy Is My Middle Name", containing impressive lines such as "Don't sleep with the editor-in-chief, I'm good too", was about jealous and envious males growing up, "Paju" is a journey of one man and one woman who move and leave tracks of their impressions rather than words.

The film's title and setting of Gyeonggi-do "Paju" is more than just a location. It is a third character within the film and, at the same time, serves as a hub for all the accidents and incidents. A momentary passion causes huge incidents such as an unexpected accident, a mysterious fire and a strike for a removal, which are lined up like bus stops. And the mysterious death of the older sister and forbidden emotions between the husband and sister-in-law are used as two headlights which will very slowly and cautiously proceed, as if driving on a local road at night in fog.

The movie again confirms the strength of Lee as an actor, hidden by his beautiful voice and romantic image, in well-balanced acting as he finds the right temperature for him between the cold (guilt, resignation) and hot (passion, love) emotions. Actress Seo Woo, who displayed both strength and loveliness in MBC TV series "Tamra, the Island", further broadens her spectrum as an actor. Cinematography director Kim Woo-hyung's outstanding photography skills consistently maintains the calm, blue-toned screen and makes even the most subtle texture of fog come alive. It is textbook material on how to maintain the essence of an unattractive scenery but capture it in an attractive way.

Those who were unable to come down to Pusan this year or missed a showing at PIFF may rest assured. The cool and blue journey of love, the road to the city of fog "Paju" will open to the audience throughout around the country on October 27.

Editor in Chief : Beck Una <one@10asia.co.kr>

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

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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2009.10.30

Hyun Bin a go for film "Manchu" remake

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Korean actor Hyun Bin [Asia Economic Daily]

Korean actor Hyun Bin is set to star in a remake of famous Korean film "Manchu", according to his agency on Friday.

"He has pretty much made up his mind and will soon sign on for the film," an official at Star M Entertainment said, adding that negotiations were still underway to also cast Chinese actress Tang Wei of 2007's hit film "Lust, Caution" for the remake.

Another official at the film's production company Boram Film also confirmed Hyun Bin's casting, but said that they are "still in talks with Tang Wei's parties."

"Director Kim Tae-yong is already in Seattle to prepare for filming," the official added. "The film is expected to start shooting near the end of November or early December."

"Manchu", released in 1966, starred two of Korea's most popular actors of the time, Shin Seong-il and Moon Jeong-sook. The story is about a brief, passionate love between a well-behaved female prisoner out on special leave and a fugitive man.

The remake, co-produced with an American production company, will be shot in the U.S. and filmed in English.

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."

Reporter : Ko Kyoung-seok <kave@asiae.co.kr>

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

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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10-30-2009

Star Chefs to Be Featured in Popular Television Show

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Following a string of contests and exhibitions, the promotion of Korean food, or ``hansik,'' is constantly finding new channels. This time, young and promising hansik chefs will be featured on a popular local television show in an attempt to better publicize the national cuisine.

Episodes of MBC's signature weekly show, ``Infinite Challenge'' (Muhan Dojeon), will be broadcast over the next two weeks with the theme of food globalization, the Korea Agro-Fisheries Trade Corp. (aT) said Friday.

As part of the government's project to foster star Korean chefs, the appearance of hansik cooks in popular media will help promote them as a role models for young people and contribute to the expansion of Korean food culture, aT said in a statement.

Popular TV host Yoo Jae-suk and his crew from the hit show reportedly flew to New York earlier this week for the project.

In the Big Apple, the cast members divided into two groups ― ``authentic'' and ``fusion'' ― with the mission of creating their own dishes with kimchi to better appeal to the tastes of Americans. The creations will be passed out on the streets and judged by the locals of the city.

Two rising Korean chefs will be supporting each team. The cooks, Yang Ji-hoon and Myung Hyun-ji, will direct the cooking throughout the project, both at home and in the United States.

Yang, known for his French dishes with Korean twists, currently runs a restaurant in Seoul and Myung is the coordinator of the South Korean delegation of chefs.

The first episode, scheduled to air Nov. 7, will feature cast members learning to cook Korean dishes with the mission of creating the ``most Korean'' hansik dish.

Cartoonist Heo Young-man, author of a mega-hit food-themed series ``Sikgaek,'' which means eating guest, and Yoon Sook-ja, an expert on traditional Korean food, will advise the cast members during the domestic part.

Since first airing in 2005, Infinite Challenge has enjoyed being the most popular free-to-air television show on Saturday evening. It is one of the most viewed non-drama programs in Korea.

Credits : Kim Hyun-cheol, Staff Reporter (hckim@koreatimes.co.kr)

Source : The Korea Times

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10-30-2009

Entertainers Investigated Over Stock Price Manipulation

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Prosecutors are investigating actress Kyeon Mee-ree and trot singer Tae Jin-ah on suspicion of manipulating stock prices, an allegation the entertainers deny.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office searched the offices of bio-engineering startup FCB12 and the owner's house, Thursday, to seize records related to a capital increase in July. The prosecution suspects the company of using the popular singer and the actress to boost its stock price.

According to the prosecution, the owner of the company, Lee, husband of Kyeon, listed a former clothing firm, FCB-Pharmicell, on the Kosdaq market in July through a backdoor listing of the company with FCB12.

Kyeon invested 900 million won in the company for some 55,000 stocks and raked in up to 4 billion won in illicit gains. The actress said she made profits from investing in the stocks of television programs. Tae invested 100 million won. Both entertainers said they will cooperate with the investigators as they claimed not to be related to the stock manipulation.

The two entertainers claim that they simply invested in the company and they have no reason to manipulate stock prices as a lock-up period of one year is applied to their stocks.

The stock price of FCB12 dropped by its limit down to 45,000 won after the prosecution started investigations on Thursday. The FCB stocks had previously soared to a peak of 145,000 won.

Lee is suspected of using insider information to raise the value. The prosecution is searching other bio-related startup firms Lee invested in to secure evidence of the manipulation.

The price of the stock in question rose to about 127,000 won from 16,000 won in a month.

The company added Friday that the company does not have anything to do with stock price manipulation.

"The president of the company and the largest shareholder is Kim Hyun-su, not Kyeon's spouse Lee," the company said in press release.

They said Kyeon and Tae are individual investors and stockholders and their stocks are locked up until next July.

"We made a technical tie-up with FCB-Pharmicell in September and organizing as a stem cell-specialized company. We hope the authorities' investigation will clear up the misunderstandings regarding stock manipulation," the company said.

Credits : Kwon Mee-yoo, Staff Reporter (meeyoo@koreatimes.co.kr)

Source : The Korea Times

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2009.10.30

Hyun Bin a go for film "Manchu" remake

Korean actor Hyun Bin [Asia Economic Daily]

Korean actor Hyun Bin is set to star in a remake of famous Korean film "Manchu", according to his agency on Friday.

"He has pretty much made up his mind and will soon sign on for the film," an official at Star M Entertainment said, adding that negotiations were still underway to also cast Chinese actress Tang Wei of 2007's hit film "Lust, Caution" for the remake.

Another official at the film's production company Boram Film also confirmed Hyun Bin's casting, but said that they are "still in talks with Tang Wei's parties."

"Director Kim Tae-yong is already in Seattle to prepare for filming," the official added. "The film is expected to start shooting near the end of November or early December."

"Manchu", released in 1966, starred two of Korea's most popular actors of the time, Shin Seong-il and Moon Jeong-sook. The story is about a brief, passionate love between a well-behaved female prisoner out on special leave and a fugitive man.

The remake, co-produced with an American production company, will be shot in the U.S. and filmed in English.

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."

Reporter : Ko Kyoung-seok <kave@asiae.co.kr>

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

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

Hyun Bin and Tang Wei of "Lust and Caution"?

If this deal goes thru, it's going to be a big break for Hyun Bin.

This is exciting news!

I'm looking forward to this movie.

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2009-10-30

Park Hae-jin's Devotion Increases Popularity for 'Hot Blood'

The special weekend drama "Hot Blood" is seeing its popularity grow as Park Hae-jin is devoting all he has to his role. He plays the leading role of Ha Ryu, a young, passionate car dealer who works his way up to reach the top in his profession.

Park's effort has enabled him to show a better performance in each episode similarly to how his character beats obstacles with an unyielding spirit to achieve his goal, drawing a positive response from viewers.

Park was praised by the drama crew, who said that he never puts down the script and asks many questions to the director. The crew added that he always rehearses and discusses scenes with fellow cast members. The director, Ji Byung-hyun, said, "He knows what he lacks and tries to make up for it by putting in more effort. It seems like he's a scholar."

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▲ Park Hae-jin studying the script before shooting

The actor also does not hesitate to ask fellow cast members for help to perform better. Lee Won-jong, who plays Maewang Ha Ryu and is his role model, is especially of great help. Lee not only takes part in the rehearsals but also willingly becomes a practice partner when Park personally asks him.

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▲ Park Hae-jin (left) listening to Lee Won-jong (right)

"I am really grateful for Lee. I often ask him to practice with me since we appear together in many scenes," Park said. "He always gladly says 'yes' and rehearses more seriously than me."

Source : KBS Global

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2009.10.30

[iNTERVIEW]

Actor Jung Il-woo - Part 1

It was early 2007 when I first met Jung ll-woo. He was playing Lee Yoon-ho, the troublemaker high-school student in MBC sitcom "High Kick". He was actually a freshman in college but he, who looked better in his on-screen school uniform and captured the hearts of female fans around the country with his bright smile, said few words and was a little shy, as if he was not used to the sudden spotlight. Two more years passed. During that time, Jung Il-woo stepped down from taking on teen heartthrob roles and appeared as one of many stars in the omnibus film "My Love" and came back as Iljimae in MBC's "Iljimae Returns", which went into production six months prior to airing. Time flies by fast, but Jung Il-woo doesn't rush in his steps. What is he thinking and what has he learned, from being a boy who became a top star at 20 and growing up be a 23-year-old young man? This is the very reason I wanted to meet Jung Il-woo, who has matured quite a bit through "Iljimae Returns". And the Jung Il-woo that I met again was shy no more.

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10: Your voice sounds better than before.

Jung Il-woo (Jung): Thank you. (laugh) My voice did change. The character of Iljimae is very cold and composed so it seems to have also changed while rehearsing. It'll probably change again in my next role.

10: I heard "Iljimae Returns" is nearing the end of its shoot. How is it coming?

Jung: I'm shooting the 23rd episode. We have a lot of on-location shoots, so a few days ago I was in Gwang-yang and I think I'll be going to Wando one more time. Gangwon-do, Jeolla-do, Gyeongsang-do… there is no place that we haven't been to in the country. We do a lot of shooting in the mountains, so we turn off our mobile phones often because it doesn't work anyway. When we can't drive a car into the mountains, I carry an equipment too and we climb the mountains to shoot. (laugh)

10: "Returns" started shooting last summer. How was your first meeting with director Hwang In-roe?

Jung: He asked me a lot of personal questions. Things like how I was doing, what my family was like.

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10: Up til then, I heard you were preparing for "Triple" with director Lee Yoon-jung.

Jung: I didn't sign a contract but I had been preparing for that role for about four months. I was going to play a short track skater, so I skated for seven hours every day.

10: That must have been hard. Did you get good records? (laugh)

Jung: If it takes female skating champions eight seconds to do one lap, I got about ten seconds.

10: Then you must have felt like you wasted all that practice when deciding to do "Iljimae Returns" instead of "Triple".

Jung: Not really. I think when you do something, you'll be able to use it someday. It was a good experience.

10: Director Kim Byung-wook of "High Kick", Lee Yoon-jung of "Triple", Hwang In-roe of "Returns" -- they are all top directors in their fields. You have worked with many good directors. How do you feel about them from your first-hand experience?

Jung: First of all, what they have in common is that they are all short-tempered. And they're kind of explosive too. (laugh) But as far as work is concerned, all three are the best and they are really great people.

10: Before you started shooting, did you read the comic books "Iljimae" which is the basis for "Iljimae Returns"?

Jung: Of course I did. The first time I read it, I focused on the character and then I focused on the story. After reading it, I felt that Iljimae is a hero but he wasn't born a hero. He goes through so many difficult and miserable experiences as a man, and he feels a lot and changes through those experiences. I don't think a hero becomes a hero in an instant.

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10: Do you remember the first day of shooting?

Jung: It was July 23, 2008. We were shooting in Dan-yang and it was a scene where Iljimae is training martial arts with his master during the Ching Dynasty. It really rained a lot that day but the director forced us to shoot all day. It was trouble, from day one. (laugh)

10: Director Hwang is pretty strict and requires a certain level of acting from the actors. How does he bring that out on set?

Jung: He gets angry. He says, "Do it right!" (laugh) But I found out later that he doesn't get angry with women. (laugh) In the beginning, he said that Iljimae, not Jung Il-woo, has to come out so I worried a lot about that. For example, he told me not to laugh on set and not to make loud noises when I got hurt, things like that. And I took in all of that literally and tried to become Iljimae. So director Hwang doesn't get angry often these days. He doesn't give me many instructions either, just general stuff like, 'Try doing it like this'.

10: But the character of Iljimae is incredibly complicated and unique. It must have been hard to understand because the character is so unique and impossible to copy off from anyone else.

Jung: That was the hardest thing. The director tells me not to laugh sometimes and to laugh sometimes. And even when I'm supposed to laugh, when it has to be subtle, he tells me to laugh 'ambiguously'. (laugh) I think it took up to 13 to 14 episodes to establish the character's identity. But when I think about it, Iljimae was not a hero from the start but he changes as he goes through a lot of confusion and experiences. So I think I'm growing with the drama as well.

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10: The drama has a lot of action scenes. What was it like to play a master who had mastered all the martial arts from three countries -- Korea, China and Japan?

Jung: I had learned hapgido in the past and I went through basic physical strength training for a month before we started shooting. I worked out for seven hours daily, including running 7 kilometers every day. I love to exercise so the action scenes weren't that hard to do, except when I didn't get much sleep or had to stay up all night. The wire actions were actually fun.

10: The melodrama between Iljimae and Weol-hee (played by Yoon Jin-seo) is as important as the action. How do you think Iljimae feels about Weol-hee?

Jung: Like it is in the original comic books, I think the woman that Iljimae loves is his first love Dal-yi who was killed by the government. To be blunt about Iljimae, maybe he was just playing with Weol-hee. (laugh) That is the only explanation I have. He was with Weol-hee for several years, but when he wants to see her, he comes to talk, hang around and leaves. Then he talks about marriage and takes it back. He abandons Weol-hee somewhere and doesn't come back. Really, he's a bad guy. (laugh) So that's why Weol-hee even attempts suicide. The director says Iljimae likes Weol-hee, but I don't think he does. Um, that is.. He does like her but I don't think he loves here. But it's a unique characteristic of the drama where the feelings don't flow from one extreme to the other. I think the director wants it that way too. The situations may be dramatic but it doesn't hit rock bottom.

10: One of the most important subject matters in the original story is Iljimae's disguise as a woman. I wondered how it was going to be shown in the drama. What was it like playing a gi-saeng?

Jung: It was just acting so it was okay, but it was extremely difficult wearing a woman's han-bok. The skirt strings are tightened very firmly around the chest area so that hurt, and it was uncomfortable wearing the big wig. Even the makeup took over an hour. It was a once-in-a-lifetime, painful experience. (laugh)

10: You looked pretty good as long as it was a full shot. Of course, standing 6 foot in height would have been rare for a woman or a man during the Chosun Dynasty. (laugh)

Jung: The full shot looked bad, no matter how hard I tried to look pretty. I was worried that people would be turned off by it if I looked too unattractive, but the response was like 'Hmm, better than I thought'. So that was a relief.

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

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

Editor : Lynn Kim lynn2878@asiae.co.kr, Lee Ji-Hye seven@10asia.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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2009.10.30

[iNTERVIEW]

Actor Jung Il-woo - Part 2

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Actor Jung Il-woo [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

10: You could seem like the type who likes to play because of your image as Yoon-ho from "High Kick" but you seem to be more of a hard-worker.

Jung: When I take on a role, all I do is concentrate on it. It's better to just be crazy about the work that I've been given because it's the only way I won't have any regrets or feel bad afterwards.

10: But what has changed since working on "Iljimae"?

Jung: I think I've finally started to know what acting is about. I'm not saying that I've become better at acting, but I've started to think about what acting is and how to express myself. Before, I used to think it was about memorizing the lines perfectly but I now know it's about actually becoming that character. So the important thing is to know what the point is in the scene I'm shooting, not memorizing an extra word. In the beginning of "Iljimae", I wanted to do well so I emphasized all of my lines but yesterday, Mr. Park Geun-hyung told me that it wouldn't help bring out my lines. He advised me "Your acting will look much more stable if you emphasize just the important lines." He also told me not to speak my lines too slowly because it would take out the young feeling from me and may make my acting look loose. The things I learn actor-on-actor and producer-on-actor are different.

10: Did you have any pressure about the ratings since you played the main character?

Jung: I actually didn't. I had forgotten about it because we had been in shooting for seven months before it started showing. I was surprised when the rating for the first episode came out higher than I had expected though, but I also realized I had a lot to change about my acting so that was what I was pressured about. And when I called the producer after the first episode aired, he told me not to become too proud of myself if the ratings are good and not to become dispirited if they come out low. He said we would go our own way and that we would only be able to make a good drama by enjoying it ourselves. So I forget about the ratings these days when I go on set.

10: I heard that the first thing you talked about with producer Hwang In-roe was popularity too.

Jung: I had a bit of a hard time and thought a lot after seeing my popularity disappear quickly after "High Kick" ended. But it was my choice to take a break rather than take on a new role so I concluded that there will be times my popularity will go down, if it had been going up. So I told him I won't dwell on popularity anymore and that I believe it will go up again if I do well.

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Actor Jung Il-woo [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

10: Now that I think of it, your popularity during "High Kick" was immensely high.

Jung: It's like a dream. (laugh) When I was doing "High Kick" though, I actually didn't feel it that much because I was busy shooting and had a busy schedule. I realized I was popular when I went to eat at restaurants and people would notice me and when I went to shoot a music video in a provincial area and the intersection became packed with people who were there to see me. But I wasn't in the position to enjoy it because I was always in such a frenzy and I was a bit confused whether they liked my character Yoon-ho or whether they like me. Of course, it was great experiencing it.

10: The explosive popularity that your close friend and main character of TV series "Boys Over Flowers" Lee Min-ho is experiencing is similar to your experience. What do you say to him about it as already having been there?

Jung: When you gain popularity, the most unexpected things happen sometimes. And Min-ho sometimes asks me what to do in some situations. But those are actually the same things I asked him when I was doing "High Kick". (laugh) I just tell him to enjoy it. And that he should be careful because every little move he makes is at the center of attention. Of course, Min-ho is already doing a good job of that. Right now, I want to congratulate him as his friend and I think we'll be able to compete in good faith in the future. More than anything, it really helps that I have a friend I can speak to who knows what I'm going through during hard times.

10: What have you earned and what have you lost while acting and gaining popularity?

Jung: I thought there were a couple of things when I was doing "High Kick". I had no personal time and I wasn't free to go wherever I want. But I've learned to give up on it to an extent. I'm living this life because I chose to, so I don't think it's a loss.

10: What do you think is your shortcoming as an actor?

Jung: I used to think it's my pronounciation. My pronounciation wasn't good while doing "High Kick" so I tried to fix it. It's still not perfect but better than it used to be, and now, I want to be better with my facial expressions. Iljimae is a character who actually doesn't show much through his face, but I have to be able to express various types of emotions with a single concept. You have to act from your heart but you have to have the skill to do it so I want to be able to deliver more emotion through my expressions or eyes. Although I will have to become older to be more charismatic. (laugh)

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Actor Jung Il-woo [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

10: Then have you ever been thankful for being gifted in ways which will help your acting?(laugh)

Jung: Hmm... No, I don't think I have. Acting isn't about you not doing something well and doing another part badly. It's about how well you express your character. Really, acting isn't something you can get by with doing a so-so job of.

10: What has been the most difficult for you in life up till now?

Jung: There have been several moments but I don't dwell on them. Times which seem awful sometimes turn out to be nothing later one. Basically put, I think I have a hard time when I'm acting because I have work, and have a hard time when I'm not because I don't have work. I think that's how it is. (laugh)

10: Then do you ever feel scared or lonely while working?

Jung: I have. I felt it during "High Kick" and feel it now too, but I sometimes fall into a slump that isn't really a slump and sometimes get extremely lonely. But time resolves everything. You come across a turning point and if you don't, you look for it. I had been depressed recently for a few days but I'm feeling very good now after acting with Mr. Park Geun-hyung yesterday. I try and resolve my stress in such ways.

10: Compared to the person you were two years ago, while doing "High Kick" as Yoon-ho, do you have a clearer vision about yourself or your future?

Jung: I'm not sure if anything has become clearer but I think I've become more relaxed. In the past, I used to be in a rush to choose a role and sometimes ended up not doing certain things at the last minute if I didn't like it, but I've decided to take my time and take more consideration in making my decisions now. I also believe my heart is what is most important in making a choice. If I do something that I don't want to do 100 percent, the result will be bad. I'm doing my best at "Iljimae" because it's a drama I really wanted to take on.

10: Then what sort of drama will "Iljimae" be left in your memory as?

Jung: A drama which has made me realize a lot of things. Both as an actor and as a human being.

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

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

Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr, Lee Ji-Hye seven@10asia.co.kr

<ⓒ 10Asia All rights reserved>

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2009.10.30

Yoon Kye-sang Determined to Gain Recognition as Actor

"I wanted to stay free of any thoughts when filming 'The Executioner,'" said Yoon Kye-sang, who is known for his hard work in Chungmuro. Yoon admits that he is hard on himself because he wanted to receive recognition for his acting skills. He said, "I wanted people to recognize me as an actor."

To Yoon, being known only as a former member of the idol boy band G.O.D. is great pressure. That is also the reason he rarely appeared on variety shows. He wanted to be known as an actor, not as an entertainer.

Yoon debuted on the big screen in 2004 in Byun Young-joo's movie "Flying Boys." It has already been six years since his debut. Yoon says he has walked a difficult road because of young passion.

In 2004, G.O.D. was embroiled in a scandal over its contract with its agency. That was also when Yoon received a movie script through his agency. It was the script for "Flying Boys." Director Byun attached no importance whatsoever to Yoon's top celebrity status back then and gave him three days to practice his role.

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Yoon says he was determined to try his best. He said, "I practiced hard during the three-day lunar New Year holiday without sleeping. Not that I wanted to be a good actor. I just wanted to defeat Mr. Byun. But when I presented my acting to him, he okayed it at once."

Acting opened a whole new world to Yoon. He said, "I worked hard but it was fun. Everyone on the production crew was committed. I was happy on the set."

Yoon says his role in "Flying Boys" was his best by far. He said, "That's probably because I didn't care about looking cool."

While "Flying Boys" and "Lovers Of Six Years" brought Yoon a certain degree of success, the movie "The Moonlight Of Seoul," where he co-stars with Ha Jung-woo, threw Yoon into despair. He said, "My part was almost entirely cut out. Jung-woo's part was intact. About 40 minutes of my acting were gone. We worked hard together, but only my part was killed. It made me realize that putting your life at stake when acting is not good, either. I wanted to quit."

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The next role Yoon received was from director Choi Jin-ho, who created "The Executioner." Yoon liked the script. Moreover, it was recommended by director Byun Young-joo, who has been his mentor since 2004. Yoon decided to start from scratch. He said, "I tried hard to empty my head of any thoughts. I wanted to make a fresh start."

Yoon says while playing "Jae-kyung" in the movie, he became an opponent of the death penalty. He said, "I am against people judging and killing other people. But I am also against keeping criminals on death row in comfortable facilities with high-tech televisions."

Yoon says he is concerned about people who draw connections between "The Executioner" and the death penalty. He said, "It's just a story about people. I wish people viewed it more light-heartedly, as if they were touring a prison."

Because of his role in "The Executioner," Yoon has been named PR ambassador by the Ministry of Justice. "We must comply with law and order. We shouldn't make the news," said Yoon jokingly.

Yoon says he wants to appear in a movie by directors Lim Sang-soo and Hong Sang-soo. He said, "If I only appear in movies about light subjects, I will deceive my own self. I want to be known as a good actor. This is just the beginning."

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Source : KBS Global

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2009-10-30

Stills of Lee Byung-hun's Muscular Body Revealed

Actor Lee Byung-hun, who plays a spy in the KBS TV series "Iris," has revealed photos of his toned and muscular body.

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▲ Lee Byung-hun shows off his muscular body in "Iris"

Lee, who exercises regularly to keep his body in perfect shape, plays a meticulous spy who never makes mistakes. To fully immerse himself into his role, the actor takes special care of his body. In the upcoming episodes of the series, Lee will appear in difficult action scenes, such as terrorist attacks, satellite tracking and explosions. Lee's powerful charisma and riveting eyes impressed viewers from episode 1.

"Iris," which consists of 20 episodes, airs on KBS TV2 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9:55PM.

Credits : Jin Young-joo, KBSi

Source: Taewon Entertainment

All Rights Reserved ⓒ KBS & KBSi

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10-31-2009

Jeon to Star in Remake of 1960 Film

South Korea's top actress Jeon Do-yeon will return to the silver screen with a remake of the 1960 film ``A Maid'' after a one-year hiatus.

According to MiroVision, the production company of the movie, Jeon, who won the best actress award at Cannes Film Festival in 2007 with ``Miryang (Secret Sunshine),'' will play the role of a housemaid who is obsessed with jealousy and desire.

``A Maid,'' directed by Kim Ki-yong in 1960 and by Lim Sang-soo this time, depicts the ruinous process of a man who had affairs with a housemaid while his wife was away.

The movie's filming will begin in December and will be screened in theaters in May next year.

Jeon, 36, is a highly-acclaimed actress who has won many awards. In particular, she is most famous for her extraordinary portrayal of a broken woman who has lost everything in ``Miryan,'' directed by Lee Chang-dong.

She spent five years starring in television dramas before winning fame with her debut film ``The Contact'' opposite Han Seok-gyu.

Source : The Korea Times

----------------

2009.11.02

Jeon Do-yeon to make comeback in thriller remake

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Korean actress Jeon Do-yeon [Miro Vision]

Top Korean movie star Jeon Do-yeon is set to make her comeback for the first time in over a year through a thriller pic, according to a press release on Monday.

"The Maid", a remake of a 1960s classic film of the same title, is about a middle-class family breaking apart when the husband has an affair with the maid.

The remake will be helmed by Korean filmmaker Im Sang-soo, who has written and directed many hit movies including "The General's Son", "A Good Lawyer's Wife" and his directorial debut "Girls' Night Out".

Jeon is arguably the most successful actress in Korea in terms of box office performance and critical reception. The 36-year-old actress, who debuted in 1990 in the popular TV series "Our Paradise", has appeared in many hit dramas and films including SBS's "Lovers in Prague" (2005), film "Untold Scandal" (2003) with Bae Yong-joon and "Secret Sunshine" for which she won the Best Actress award in Cannes in 2007.

She has been on a one-year hiatus since getting married in March 2007 and giving birth to a daughter.

The film "Maid" is scheduled for release early next year.

Reporter : Lynn Kim lynn2878@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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Oct. 31, 2009

3 Starts to Share Lead in 'Legally Blonde' Musical

The starring role of Elle Woods in the musical "Legally Blonde" will be shared among three stars -- 2006 Miss Korea Lee Honey, Jessica of girl group Girls' Generation, and actress Kim Ji-woo. The Korean version of the musical opens on Nov. 14.

What do they bring to the part? This is Lee's second musical after "Polaroid," and she is probably the closest to the character of Elle Woods in that she was the winner of a beauty pageant and is a graduate of the nation's top university, Seoul National University, with a degree in Korean traditional music.

"It's a musical with modern music and dance full of elements that will appeal to female audiences," she says. "Just like Elle is fighting against the stereotypes of blonde beauties, I want to break the stereotypes of Miss Koreas."

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From left, Lee Honey, Jessica and Kim Ji-woo

Jessica is making her musical theater debut with "Legally Blonde." "It's physically tough as I'm quite busy with other things going on in addition to this musical. But it was one of my dreams to be part of a musical production, and I love the role, so I'm really happy to take part," she says. "I need to improve my acting, but I consider being part of a girl group a kind of acting. I'm similar to Elle in the fact that I never give up once I'm determined to do something. But I'm different from her because I'm more of a quiet, introverted person."

Kim is the most experienced of the three as she has appeared in other musicals including "Singles" and "Singing in the Rain." Kim says she is particularly attracted to "Legally Blonde" because "it is rare to find a musical that is led by one woman character." "Lee is sexy yet cute, and Jessica is cute yet sexy." She evaluates herself as "similar to Elle because she is outgoing and strives for change." "As I've spent some years doing musicals, I think I can now feel more relaxed being on stage."

Source : englishnews@chosun.com

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2009-11-02

Korea tourism promo features Lee, Kuriyama

Some 100 fans braved the cold to show up Friday night at a film shoot in Seoul to get a glimpse of heartthrob Lee Byung-hun in action.

The hugely popular Hallyu actor, currently starring in the popular KBS2 television series "Iris" was at the ASEM Tower in the Gangnam District with Japanese actress Chiaki Kuriyama. They were there to film a new promotional video by the Korea Tourism Organization.

The "2009 Korea Tourism Promotional Video" aims to attract potential inbound tourists from Japan and will have its official premiere early next year.

Many will remember Kuriyama as Go-Go Yubari, the mace-wielding killer high schooler in Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill." But during the shoot, fans got to see the softer side of the 25-year-old actress as she played the role of Lee's love interest.

Lee, who has recently been on the fast-track to international recognition through prominent roles in Hollywood blockbusters such as this summer's "G.I. Joe" and "I Come with the Rain," plays a travel photographer who falls in love with Kuriyama.

According to the KTO, the film's plot pays homage to the classic Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck film "Roman Holiday."

In the film, Kuriyama portrays a Japanese starlet who visits Korea for an international film festival and meets a Korean travel photographer - played by Lee - who takes her all over Korea and introduces her to all the beautiful destinations nationwide.

The shoot on Friday night was for the film's ending, with Kuriyama running towards Lee and the two embracing on her last night in Korea.

"To see two amazing actors in the middle of this hectic city is an honor," said Shin Kyung-ah, a 28-year-old local entrepreneur. "I can't wait to see the finished video and I hope lots and lots of Japanese tourists come visit this exciting country after watching it."

The completed film will be provided to tourism boards and agencies all over the world to promote Korea as an attractive travel destination.

In addition to Seoul, regions across the nation will be presented in the film, including Hadong, Jeonju, Gongju, Busan and Jeju Island.

"We're targeting Japanese tourists with this film and that's why we decided to go with Lee Byung-hun, who is hugely popular in Japan," said the KTO.

"Because of Lee's rise as an international star through his near-headlining role in the Hollywood blockbuster, 'G.I. Joe,' the film will act as promotional material to attract worldwide attention as well."

Credits : Song Woong-ki (kws@heraldm.com)

Source : The Korea Herald

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2009-11-02

Chung Jun-ho's Role in "Iris" a Turning Point of His Acting Career

"Jin Sa-woo can control diverse feelings. This character brought a turning point to my acting career," says actor Chung Jun-ho, 39, who plays a spy in the KBS TV drama "Iris." Chung's role contrasts sharply with his previous comical roles in "My Boss, My Teacher" and "The Last Scandal of My Life."

Chung's acting talent shines in the action scenes of "Iris." We met with Chung on the filming set of the drama at a shopping mall in southern Seoul. "I'm having fun because I can show a new side of my acting talent and the drama itself is huge," said Chung.

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Chung looked nice and even playful when he just entered the set, but when he appeared with makeup on his face, his look perfectly represented his character, Sa-woo, who agonizes over killing his friend. Chung has also lost much weight since he started filming the drama. "I've lost 5㎏ recently. Sa-woo is going through a roller coaster of emotions now. He's very anxious. I lost weight to better portray him. There is no stopping him now that he has killed his friend because that was his agency's order. It was the order of Director Baek San, who will probably become very scary later," said Chung.

In episode 6, Sa-woo fired a gun at a jet with his friend, Hyun-joon (played by Lee Byung-heon), on board. It is the biggest crisis of Sa-woo's life and the reason he changes as a personality. "He has committed something really huge, because if he hadn't shot Hyun-joon, Seung-hee would have been hurt. When I saw the script I wondered if a person can do this even when someone from above orders. It was hard to portray this. But it's just a drama. It's a drama about an organization of cool-headed people. So I just accepted it and acted. If I were Sa-woo, I would never do that," said Chung, laughing.

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In the beginning, Jin Sa-woo was more cold-headed than he is now. Chung has infused his character with a humanistic touch, making "Iris" more riveting. "Sa-woo is a more rational, shrewd and reasonable guy than he seems to be. He does his best to beat Hyun-joon, who is always a step ahead of him. But since 'Iris' is a drama of a grand scale and all of its characters are too stiff, I wanted to add a humanistic touch to it. What Sa-woo said to Hyun-joon at the night club was entire my ad-lib. I wanted to make Sa-woo look more down-to-earth. He acts more pro-actively because now he and Hyun-joon have no other choice but to part their ways."

What makes the cold-headed Sa-woo more down-to-earth is that he is unable to utter a word in front of Seung-hee, who he fell in love with at first sight. "Sa-woo can't speak properly in front of a woman he loves. He has lost to Hyun-joon even in love. But now that he believes that Hyun-joon has died, he wants to get everything under his arm in order to feel justified. But what he feels for Seung-hee now is not love but compassion."

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Chung says an actor must thoroughly manage his character to become a genuine actor. "In that respect, I was unable to engorss completely in acting. Though acting is my profession, acting is just a part of my life. I have so many other things to do, like business and personal relationships. That's why I was unable to thoroughly manage my character. That's also the reason I played comical roles several times. I couldn't turn down those offers. But this time I'm working with Lee Byun-hun, who does his utmost to manage himself as an actor. He made me realize that if I don't manage my characters, viewers might feel betrayed by me. But that doesn't mean that my values have changed. I'm trying to invest all of my energy into this drama. You don't get a chance to act in such high-profile dramas every day, plus my role is really charming. Promptness is a must in TV dramas because of time restraints. You need to remain highly concentrated until the last minute."

Chung, who runs film production and advertisement companies as well as a hotel in Hawaii, says that he enjoys doing business. He has been a successful entrepreneur so far because he has received much help from others. "I want to combine business with acting in the future as well. But since I'm not that young anymore, I need to focus on quality rather than quantity."

As to his plans to get married, Chung says he will get married next spring or as soon as he meets the right person.

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Source : KBS Global

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2009.11.02

"Seon-deok" continues No. 1 streak

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

MBC's historical drama "Queen Seon-deok" extended its winning streak on the TV ratings chart, taking the No. 1 spot again this week.

"Seon-deok" scored an average 40.1 percent viewership rating for the week of October 26 to November 1 to remain the most-watched TV show for the three consecutive weeks, according to statistics released by TNS Media Korea.

The fictionalized show based on real historical characters has dominated the ratings charts since it premiered in May, taking the No. 1 title almost every week.

KBS2 TV's "Iris", starring Korea's A-list actors Lee Byung-hun and Kim Tae-hee, came in second with a 29.2 percent viewership rating, gaining from the previous week. Daily soap "Jolly Widows" (KBS1) and weekend drama "Three Brothers" (KBS2) trailed behind with ratings of 26.7 and 25.8 percent, respectively.

In the non-drama category, KBS's "Happy Sunday" topped ratings with a 26.4 percent viewership. KBS2 TV's "Gag Concert" and MBC's "Infinite Challenge" followed with ratings of 20.5 and 20.2 percent, respectively.

[RATINGS]

Weekly TV ratings: Oct 26 to Nov 1

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TV ratings for the week of October 26 to November 1. [TNS Media Korea]

Reporter : Lynn Kim lynn2878@asiae.co.kr

Editor: Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

Source : 10Asia

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2009.11.02

"President" stays atop box office for 2nd week

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Current No. 1 movie "Good Morning President" [CJ Entertainment]

"Good Morning President" topped the Korean box office again this past weekend and looks set on breaking the 2 million viewer mark this coming week.

The film, which shows Hallyu star Jang Dong-gun as one of the three presidents, attracted 543,175 viewers over the weekend, according to estimates released by Korea Box Office Information System (KOBIS) on Monday. It has accumulated over 1.67 million viewers since its release on October 22.

"The Time Traveler's Wife", starring Hollywood stars Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, came in second, taking in 215,587 viewers during the weekend and 282,712 in total.

Quentin Tarantino's new flick "The Inglourious Bastards" followed at No. 3 with 125,997 viewers over the same period.

Hollywood sci-fi movie "District 9" continued to remain strong by coming in fourth with 81,204 viewers and "Michael Jackson's This Is It" and Korean film "Paju" trailed behind with 49,638 and 35,230 viewers, respectively.

[RATINGS]

Weekend Box Office: Oct 30-Nov 1

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South Korea's box office estimates for the weekend of October 30 to November 1.

[Korean Box Office Information System (KOBIS)]

Reporter : Lynn Kim lynn2878@asiae.co.kr

Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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2009.11.02

"My Scary Girl" wins two awards at musical festival

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Korean musical "My Scary Girl" [Musical Heaven]

Korean musical "My Scary Girl" has won two awards at the New York Musical Festival, according to a press release on Monday.

"Girl", a Korean musical produced by Musical Heaven and Interpark, won the award for Outstanding New Musical and its actress Bang Jin-ui the prize for Outstanding Individual Performances. The latter is awarded to the 11 most outstanding actors in musical shows.

"I think the American audience found our story refreshing," actress Bang was quoted as saying. "The black comedy element communicated well with the audience and we had a great time performing. I would like to share this joy with the actors and crew."

The musical, sponsored by Daegu International Musical Festival, was shown in New York's Acorn Theater from October 1 to October 4. With the story and cast all Korean, the audience had to read English subtitles during the performance but the show was reportedly a huge success..

Founded in 2004 and dubbed "the Sundance of Musicals", the New York Musical Festival is the biggest awarding event for the genre. Over 200 musicals have been introduced to the public through the festival and 28 musicals were submitted this year.

Reporter : Lynn Kim lynn2878@asiae.co.kr

Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

Source : 10Asia,The Korea Times

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2009.11.02

TV series "Hero" may replace female lead role

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Kim Min-jung, who was set to play the lead female role in TV series "Hero". [MBC]

MBC TV series "Hero" is set to make a premiere in about a week but may have to replace its current lead actress Kim Min-jung who has been suffering from an arm injury.

"She cannot move her arm properly at the moment and will have to receive treatment and therapy for a long time," explained an official at J1ENT on Monday. "We think she might not be fit enough to play her character in her current condition."

He added that Kim too thinks she may be straining herself to play the part but is also determined to fulfill her promise to shoot the drama. "We will do our best to have her undergo treatment if we can buy a couple more days before going into shoot again," the official said.

The 27-year-old actress had been unable to attend a press conference for the drama last week as well as being unable to shoot her scenes.

"Hero", about a group of youngsters who rebel and fight against a corrupt society, also stars Kim Min-jeong, Baik Yoon-shik, Um Ki-joon and Shin Joo-ah.

The Wednesday and Thursday night drama is set to air starting November 11.

Senior Reporter : Moon Yong-sung lococo@asiae.co.kr

Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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2009.11.02

Wonder Girls, Park Jin-young to appear on "Golden Fishery"

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The Wonder Girls and their producer Park Jin-young [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]

Korean pop sensation the Wonder Girls and their producer Park Jin-young are set to appear on MBC's talkshow "Golden Fishery" this week, according to the broadcaster on Monday.

"They finished shooting for the show last week, talking about their experience in the United States," an official at MBC told 10Asia over the phone.

The five-member pop group, who had left Korea seven months ago to expand their career into the U.S., has been in Korea since two weeks ago to shoot commercials and attend a concert in China.

Their U.S. debut single "Nobody" entered the Billboard Hot100 at No. 76 for the week of October 24, making it the first time for a Korean artist to be placed on the chart in its 115-year history.

The five-member girl band, who debuted in Korea in 2007, is one of the most successful pop groups in the country with three consecutive No. 1 singles, "Tell Me", "So Hot", and "Nobody".

Park is also founder and CEO of the girls' management agency JYP Entertainment which also manages popular boy band 2PM.

Credits : Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr

<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

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