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November 7, 2015

Lee Jung-jae to Appear in War Film with Liam Neeson

Soirce: The Chosun Ilbo

Lee Jung-jae

Actor Lee Jung-jae will appear in a war film about Douglas MacArthur, who led the amphibious Incheon Landing during the Korean War.

Hollywood star Liam Neeson has been cast for a role of the American five-star general, and Lee will play the role of a Korean lieutenant in the navy.

"I'm so happy that I have a chance to work with Neeson, who is making his debut in a Korean film," Lee said with a laugh during a press event in Seoul last week. "I chose the film because it was based on a true story. I think it will be more like a spy film rather than a war film."

"I am looking forward to filming, and I'm very excited and anxious at the same time as I have high expectation for the film," Lee added.

The film is scheduled to be released sometime in 2016.

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November 17, 2015

Lee Jung-jae faces civil suit for his mom’s debt

Veteran actor Lee Jung-jae is facing a civil suit for not repaying his mother’s debt, measuring to 190 million won ($162,000), according to local news outlet Yonhap on Tuesday. 


The petition filed with the Seoul court showed that the case dates back to 1997, when Lee’s mother asked a female enterpriser to lend her money, exploiting her son’s popularity. 

Lee was among the most sought-after actors of the time, as his TV drama “Sandglass,” which had aired in 1995, had been a megahit in South Korea. 

The actor’s mother assured the enterpriser, saying she could “soon pay back with the money Lee gets from commercials and film.” She borrowed a total of 190 million won stretching until early 2000. 

On August of 2000, as the lender hadn’t received any repayments, she demanded 249 million won, accounting for interest. However, Lee’s mother left Korea for the U.S. without fully repaying the debt. 

In April of 2005, the lender, who received just 60 million won from Lee, sued Lee’s mother for fraud. At the court, Lee appeared, asking that she drop the charges and promising he would repay his mother’s debt.

In April this year, the plaintiff again requested the court order the payment, as she still hadn’t received any of repayments beyond the initial 60 million won. 

After the case came into the media spotlight Tuesday, Lee’s agency C-JeS Entertainment released a statement, saying: “Although Lee was trying to deal with the case after belatedly learning about the issue, the (accuser) demanded excess interest using Lee’s identity as a public figure.”

According to his agency, his mother already repaid all of her debt, but she didn’t have any documents to prove her repayment. The 60 million won was the interest the lender had demanded.

The 42-year-old actor, who debuted in 1993, has starred in multiple megahit movies, including this summer’s “Assassination” and 2012’s “The Thieves.”


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November 16, 2015

Lee Jung Jae: "No legal evidence of debt", "Reputation damage"

Source: TV Daily via Hancinema.net


While Lee Jeong-jae's mother is being tried in civil action for not paying her debt, Lee Jeong-jae's management released a statement.

C-Jes Entertainment announced on the 17th, "If the issue continues, we will take legal actions for defamation".

The management said, "Lee Jeong-jae's mother tried to handle things on her own thinking of her son but things just got out of hand. She realized her debt later on and tried to deal with it but the other side is just trying to get profits out of this by damaging a celebrity's reputation".

"Lee Jeong-jae's mother is currently going through a hard time with his guiltless trial".

According to the Seoul Central Court, 'A' submitted an order of payment against Lee Jeong-jae and his mother 'B' this April.

'A' met 'B' through a friend in 1995. B borrowed money from A in 1997 and 'A', trusting celebrity Lee Jeong-jae, lent 'A' 193 million won until the year 2000.

However, 'A' didn't get his money back and added an interest of 249 million won. 'B' was in the States so Lee Jeong-jae paid 60 million won on her behalf. 'A' went to the States himself and made 'B' sign a contract that said she would pay back the rest.

However, this promise wasn't kept so 'A' sued 'B' for fraud. Lee Jeong-jae appeared at the trial with his mother and pleaded 'B' to cancel the charges so that he could pay him back. 'A' then remembered Lee Jeong-jae paid him 60 million won in the past so 'B' was exempted from punishment. However, after repaying 1 million won, 'B' was not heard from again.

Finally, 'A' sued Lee Jeong-jae and his mother this April and the case has been going on as a civil trial.

The following is Lee Jeong-jae's management's official announcement.

"Lee Jeong-jae's mother tried to handle things on her own thinking of her son but things just got out of hand. She realized her debt later on and tried to deal with it, while the other side is just trying to get profits out of this by damaging a celebrity's reputation".

"Lee Jeong-jae's mother is currently going through a hard time with his guiltless trial".

"The attorney's are expecting a dismissal in trial and if the issue continues, we will take legal actions as well".

"We also respectfully ask for suppression of false reports or assumptions".

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November 17, 2015

Actor Lee Jung-jae in legal wrangle over mother's debt

Source: The Korea Times


Actor Lee Jung-jae and his mother are embroiled in a legal dispute over money she allegedly borrowed from a friend.

Lee's mother, identified only as "A," allegedly borrowed 193 million won ($165,000) from 1995 to early 2000 from her friend, identified as "B."

"B" asked "A" to repay 249 million won, including interest, in August 2000, but "A" had left for Los Angeles.

Lee repaid 60 million won soon after he received a call from "B," and Lee's mother gave a written promise to repay the rest.

"B" sued Lee's mother for fraud in April 2005, and Lee appeared at the Seoul Central Prosecutors' Office and asked her to drop the case because he would repay the money.

Lee's mother sent 1 million won then, but Lee and his mother had neither repaid the rest of the money nor contacted "B" after that.

"B" requested prosecutions for a payment order against Lee in April, and the trial is in progress.

Lee released a statement Tuesday saying he and his mother had repaid all the money and the case was closed in September 2000. "B" then promised not to file civil and criminal trials, he said.

Lee also said he is not responsible for his mother's debt and has never taken over her debt.


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November 18, 2015

Lee Jung Jae's management agency releases an official statement regarding the civil suit that his mother got involved into

Source: STARN News    

Lee Jung Jae's management agency, C-JeS Entertainment, released an official statement regarding the civil suit that Lee Jung Jae's mother got involved into lately.

C-JeS Entertainment said, "The accuser of Lee Jung Jae's mother is claiming that the actor's mother still has not fully repaid the debt from 15 years ago. The mother tried to deal with the lawsuit by herself in order to avoid giving negative effects to his son's career, but things went out of control as the other side continuously attempted to make profits out of Lee Jung Jae's fame."

The company continued, "Lee Jung Jae's mother is going through a tremendous amount of struggle due to this issue, and we hope that everyone would avoid spreading groundless gossips about this case. We envisage that the civil suit filed by the accuser will be dismissed, and we are going to take appropriate legal action as soon as the result comes out."

Earlier in the day, a press reported that Lee Jung Jae's mother got sued for not paying back debt that she made 15 years ago.

According to the report, Lee Jung Jae's mother promised the lender that she will pay the money back soon, and the lender submitted files for civil suit to Seoul Central District Court.

Lee Jung Jae's management agency releases an official statement regarding the civil suit that his mother got involved into

/Reporting by Kim Dong-Joo en@starnnews.com

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November 18, 2015

Lee Jung Jae: "Stop defaming", "Strong confrontation"

Source:  STARNEWS via Hancinema.net

Lee Jeong-jae's attorneys claimed there will be strong confrontation.

SBS "TV News At Night" reported an interview of the plaintiff 'A'. Fifteen years ago, 'A' wasn't paid back and claims the debt still hasn't been settled.

C-Jes Entertainment said, "Not everything the opposition is saying is true so we feel it's unfair. According to L, who is the witness to this case and was there 15 years ago when 'A' was being paid back, 'A' told Lee Jeong-jae that thing between his mother and 'A' were settled so not to worry. He also added that he wouldn't make civil charges".

L stated that Lee Jeong-jae's mother had paid back half of her debt to 'A' in the year 1997 and in September of 2000 Lee Jeong-jae paid half more of that. All debts have been cleared.

The management is willing to take strong measurements if anything malicious is done to hurt Lee Jeong-jae's reputation.

Meanwhile, Lee Jeong-jae has been sued for the reason that he didn't pay off his mother's debts.

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November 25, 2015

Who will smile at Blue Dragon Awards?

The 36th Blue Dragon Film Awards, one of the major film award ceremonies in South Korea, will see 2015’s hit films contend for the top prizes on Thursday. 

Song Kang-ho, Yoo Ah-in, Jung Jae-young, Lee Jung-jae and Hwang Jung-min (OSEN)

Other annual awards include May’s Paeksang Arts Awards and November’s Korean Association of Film Critics Awards and Daejong Awards.

For the upcoming event, films “Ode to My Father,” “The Classified File,” “Assassination,” “Veteran” and “The Throne” were nominated for the Best Film Award.

“Assassination,” directed by Choi Dong-hoon and Caper Films production, drew attention this time as it boasts the highest number of cross-field nominations ? best film, director, main actor, main actress, supporting actor, filming, technique, script and more ? which came to a total of 12 nominees across 11 categories. 

“Veteran” was listed in 10 categories, “The Throne” in nine and “Ode to My Father” in eight.

The directors of the films -- Choi Dong-hoon of “Assassination,” Ryu Seung-wan of “Veteran,” Gwak Gyung-taek of “The Classified File,” Lee Joon-ik of “The Throne” and Yoon Je-kyoon of “Ode to My Father”-- will vie for the Best Director award. 

Both Best Film and Best Director awards from the 52nd Daejong Awards on Sunday had gone to “Ode to My Father,” while “The Throne” took the Best Film title and Ryu Seung-wan of “Veteran” the Best Director honor at the 35th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards last week. 

The industry is keenly watching whether “Assassination” will be able to match its rivals at the Blue Dragon Awards. 

In the best actor category, Song Kang-ho and Yoo Ah-in, who were father and son in “The Throne,” will contend for the trophy. Lee Jung-jae from “Assassination” and Jung Jae-young of “Right now, Wrong then” and Hwang Jung-min of “Veteran” are also nominees for the prize. 

Hwang had won the equivalent award at the Daejong Awards, Jung at KAFCA and Lee at the Buil Film Awards held Oct. 2. 

In the best actress category, Kim Hye-soo of “Coin Locker Girl,” Lee Jung-hyun of “Alice in Earnestland,” Jun Do-yeon of “The Shameless,” Jun Ji-hyun of “Assassination” and Han Hyo-joo of “Beauty Inside” were nominated. 

Jun won the honor at Daejong, Kim at KAFCA and Jun at the Buil Awards. 

Kim Hye-soo, Lee Jung-hyun, Jun Ji-hyun, Jun Do-yeon and Han Hyo-joo (OSEN)

In the supporting actor category, Bae Sung-woo from “Office,” Yoo Hae-jin from “Veteran,” Jo Jin-woong from “Assassination,” Oh Dal-su from “Ode to My Father” and Lee Kyung-young from “Minority Opinion” were nominated. 

Oh won at the Daejong Awards and Lee in the Buil Awards. The two costarred in “Assassination.” 

In the supporting actress category, Moon Jung-hee of “Cart,” Jun Hye-jin of “The Throne,” Ra Mi-ran of “Ode to My Father,” Jang Young-nam of “The Classified File” and Jin Kyung of “Veteran” were nominated. 

Moon holds the trophy from the Buil Awards.

Lastly in the newcomer actor category, Park Seo-joon from “The Chronicle of Evil,” Lee Min-ho from “Gangnam Blues,” Kang Ha-neul from “Twenty,” Byun Yo-han from “Social Phobia” and Choi Woo-shik from “Set Me Free” were nominated.

The according prizes had gone to Lee Min-ho at Daejong Awards, Choi Woo-shik at KAFCA and Byun Yo-han at Buil Awards. 

For the newcomer actress category, Gwon So-hyun of “Madonna,” Lee Yoo-young of “Late Spring,” Park So-dam of “The Silenced,” Seolhyun of “Gangnam Blues” and Lee Yu-bi of “Twenty” were nominated. 

Gwon won the award at KAFCA, while Lee of “Late Spring” won at both the Buil and Daejong awards. However, for the Blue Dragon Awards, Lee was nominated for her other work, “The Treacherous.”

Winners will be announced for 18 categories. The decision will be based on the combined data from surveys carried out among film industry experts on movies released between Nov. 1, 2014, and Oct. 8, 2015. An online public poll will also be taken into consideration. 

The trophy-holders will be crowned on Thursday at the 36th Blue Dragon Film Awards to be held at Seoul’s Kyung Hee University. 

By Lim Jeong-yeo (kaylalim@heraldcorp.com)

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Yonhap News Agency

November 27, 2015

'Assassination' wins Blue Dragon Film Awards

SEOUL, Nov. 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korean historic action film "Assassination" won the top award at the 2015 Blue Dragon Film Awards, one of the nation's top two film honors.

The Choi Dong-hoon feature film won best film in addition to Technical Awards given for excellence in editing, audio and special effects and costumes during the awards show held in Seoul on Thursday night.

"Assassination" follows a group of Korean resistance activists, played by Jun Ji-hyun, Lee Jung-jae and Ha Jung-woo, who try to kill a Japanese commander during the 1910-1945 Japanese colonial rule of Korea.

Yoo Ah-in and Jeon Hye-jin of "The Throne" were named best actor and best supporting actress, respectively, with the historic period drama also capturing the Best Lighting and Best Music awards.

"Ode to My Father," which portrays Korea from the 1950s to the present day through the life of a man, claimed the Audience Choice Award for attracting the most number of movie-goers at 14 million, and the Best Art Direction Award. Oh Dal-su, who plays the protagonist's friend, Dal-gu, was named best supporting actor.

Crime movie "Veteran" settled with the Best Director Award despite having been nominated in 10 categories.

Independent movie "Minority Opinion" won best screenplay, with Lee Jung-hyun of another arthouse film, "Alice in Earnestland," winning best actress.


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November 27, 2015

Stars Come Together for Annual Blue Dragon Awards

Source: The Chosun Ilbo

Top actors and actresses gathered for this year's Blue Dragon Awards on Thursday, after shunning the Daejong Film Awards, one of the most prestigious film awards, last week in a suspiciously coordinated boycott to protest organizers' poor management and lack of transparency.

The brightest stars were Yoo Ah-in and Lee Jung-hyun, who took the best actor and actress awards for their roles in "The Throne" and "Alice in Earnestland."


"I think I'm ill-suited for this kind of stage... I still can't believe this [award] is mine," Yoo said in his acceptance speech. 

"I believe I'm here today thanks to all the love and support from the audience," said Lee, who eventually got through an emotional speech after bursting into tears behind the podium.

"I never thought I stood a chance because it was such a small-scale indie film and the other nominees are such great actresses. It's been almost 20 years since I was first recognized as an actress with 'A Petal' in 1996, and won the best new actress award," she said. 

The indie film "Alice in Earnestland" -- which tells with the story of a poor woman who lives a life devoid of hope as she struggles to keep up payments to the hospital that cares for her husband, who is in a vegetative state -- drew about 43,000 moviegoers.

"The Assassination," which depicts Korean independence fighters' struggle against Japanese colonial rule in the 1930s, won the best film award.

Oh Dal-su (for "Ode to My Father") and Jun Hye-jin (for "The Throne") won the best supporting actor and actress awards.

So far this year, three Korean films have drawn over 10 million viewers -- "Ode to My Father" (14.26 million), "Veteran" (13.41 million) and "The Assassination" (12.7 million). 

Domestic films attracted 98.52 million viewers as of Wednesday this year, and are on course to surpass the 100 million mark for a fourth consecutive year.

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November 27, 2015

Lee Jung-jae, ‘Smart and Dandy’

SourceL BNTNews


[by Hwang Ji Eun, translated by Yoonjung Yi] On November 26, ‘The 36th Blue Dragon Film Awards’ was held at Kyung Hee University Hall of Peace in Seoul.

‘The Blue Dragon Film Awards’, after being first held in 1963, contributed to the development of Korea’s film industry and established itself as the most trusted awards to filmmakers and movie fans in Korea.

Meanwhile, ‘The Blue Dragon Film Awards’ gather Netizen’s votes and movie critiques’ opinions and select nominees and movie candidates. Then, the judge committee members, carefully selected by execution committee, revise the finalists for ‘The Blue Dragon Film Awards’. (photo by bntnews DB)

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November 28, 2015

Top award for ‘Assassination’

Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily

The espionage film “Assassination,” directed by Choi Dong-hun, received the top honor at the Blue Dragon Film Awards, which were held at the Hall of Peace at Kyung Hee University, Hoegi-dong, Dongdaemun District, central Seoul, on Thursday night.

“Assassination,” set in 1933 and featuring a stellar cast including Ha Jung-woo and Jun Ji-hyun, was released in July and has attracted more than 10 million moviegoers. 

The awards for Best Actor and Best Actress went to Yoo Ah-in (shown in photo) of the historical film “The Throne” and Lee Jung-hyun of “Alice in Earnestland,” respectively.

“The Throne,” the tale of King Yeongjo (1694-1776) and his son, Crown Prince Sado (1735-62), received four awards, including Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Score. 

“I promise I will keep evolving as an actor,” Yoo said during his acceptance speech.

It was a prolific year for Yoo because his other action flick, “Veteran,” was released in August and attracted more than 10 million moviegoers. 

Lee of “Alice in Earnestland” burst into tears as she made her acceptance speech. “I didn’t expect to receive an award because it was a low-budget film,” she said. 

“Alice in Earnestland” is a black comedy that traces the life of a working-class housewife who struggles to pay off her debts. 

Lee, who debuted as an actress in 1996 but later became a big-name singer in the early 2000s, received numerous awards when she performed as a singer, but this was her second film award since her acting debut. 

The Blue Dragon Film Awards are one of the country’s longest-running annual film awards. It was launched in 1963. 

By Sung So-young

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Yonhap News Agency

November 30, 2015

Local movies hit annual 100-mln-viewer mark for 4th year

SEOUL, Nov. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's domestic films have drawn more than 100 million theatergoers so far this year, surpassing the landmark viewer mark for the fourth straight year, according to data on Monday.

Local films have drawn a total of 100,628,268 viewers to theaters as of midnight Sunday, according to the tally of ticket sales by the Korean Film Council.

With the latest feat, South Korea has surpassed the mark for the fourth successive year. The 100-million figure indicates that each of the country's some 50 million people has seen two locally produced movies.

A handful of hit movies released in the latter half of the year, including "Assassination" and "Veteran," helped overturn the grim performance in the first half.

The upbeat mood is expected to continue into early next year as blockbuster films like "Himalaya" and "The Tiger" are in the pipeline.

A total of 229 movies have been produced locally so far this year, which together accounted for 50.8 percent of total cinema ticket sales, according to the data.

A total of 198,116,819 viewers have visited theaters for local and foreign movies so far this year, coming close to 200 million.

If the annual number surpasses the 200-million mark this year, it will mark the third year the country has reached that figure.


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November 27, 2015

ASSASSINATION Tops Blue Dragon Awards
Best Director for VETERAN’s RYOO Seung-wan

by Pierce Conran / KoBiz


The Blue Dragon Film Awards held their 36th edition on Thursday evening, handing out their Grand Prize to CHOI Dong-hoon’s Colonial Era action film Assassination while LEE Joon-ik’s Joseon Era drama The Throne came away with five prizes, the most of the evening, and JK YOUN’s blockbuster Ode to My Father took home three. RYOO Seung-wan was awarded Best Director for his action-comedy Veteran, which was accepted on his behalf by his wife and producer KANG Hae-jung.

Two of The Throne’s prizes came in acting categories, with YOO Ah-in beating co-star (and last year’s winner) SONG Kang-ho in the Best Actor category and JEON Hye-jin winning Best Supporting Actress. Best Actress was won by LEE Jung-hyun for her part in the Korean Academy of Film Arts feature Alice In Earnestland and OH Dal-su triumphed in the Best Supporting Actor category for Ode to My Father, capping off a sensational year that also saw him appear in the smash hits Assassination and Veteran.

KIM Sung-je and SON A-ram were awarded the Best Screenplay prize for legal thriller The Unfair. RYU Seong-hee, last on stage after winning for The Front Line (2011), came away with Best Art Direction for Ode to My Father. YOUN’s hit drama also took the Audience Choice Award for Most Popular Film, which is given to the highest grossing film each year.

The Throne also picked up accolades for Best Music (BANG Jun-seok, who shared the same prize with LEE Byung-hoon for The Happy Life in 2007 and 2008’s Sunny), Best Cinematography (KIM Tae-kyeong, a former winner for Eungyo in 2012) and Best Lighting (HONG Seung-chul, also awarded for Eungyo). The prize for Best Editing went to YANG Jin-mo for The Beauty Inside and the Technical Award was won by CHO Sang-gyeong and SON Na-ri for their work on Assassination.

In the rookie categories, Set Me Free earned prizes for Best New Director (KIM Tae-yong) and Best New Actor (CHOI Woo-shik), while LEE Yoo-young came away with the Best New Actress prize for The Treacherous.

Director YOO Jae-hyun won the Best Short Film prize for his work The Photographers, and, lastly, the Popular Star Awards went to LEE Min-ho, PARK Bo-young, PARK Seo-jun and Seol Hyun.

Set up the Chosun Ilbo (newspaper) in 1963, the Blue Dragon Awards are considered, along with the Grand Bell Awards, to be among the most popular film awards ceremonies in Korea.

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December 9, 2015

The cast for movie 'Operation Chromite' finalized

Source: STARN News

The cast for movie 'Operation Chromite' has been finalized.

On December 8th, a representative of the production team of movie 'Operation Chromite' announced that the cast for the film has been finalized. The list of confirmed actors and actresses include Lee Jung Jae, Lee Bum Soo, Liam Neeson, Jin Se Yeon, Jung Jun Ho, Kim Sun Ah, Chu Sung Hoon, Park Chul Min, Kim Byung Ok, Kim Young Ae, Park Sung Woong, and John Gries.

First of all, Lee Jung Jae, who had played in 'The Thieves,' 'The New World,' 'The Face Reader,' and 'Assassination,' will play as a South Korean navy captain named 'Jang Hak Soo.'

Lee Bum Soo, who had played in 'The Divine Move,' 'GIANT,' and 'LAST,' will play as a North Korean captain named Lim Gye Jin, who fights against Jang Hak Soo to safeguard Incheon area.

'Operation Chromite' is going to be the first Korean film for Liam Neeson, who played in major hit films like 'TAKEN' series, 'The Batman Begins,' 'TITAN,' and 'Non-Stop.' Liam Neeson is going to play as U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur, who leads 'Operation Chromite' to a major success.

Jin Se Yeon, who became one of the hottest new actresses of Korea through dramas 'Doctor Outsider' and 'Gaksital,' is going to play in 'Operation Chromite' as a nurse who works at a hospital that is located in an area captured by North Korean troops.

Park Chul Min, who is widely recognized as one of the most popular supporting actors of Korea, is going to play as a South Korean navy soldier named Nam Gi Sung, and Kim Byung Ok is going to play as Choi Suk Joong, who is Lim Gye Jin's barber.

Jung Jun Ho, who is playing in drama 'Sweet, Savage Family' these days, is going to play as a military official named Seo Jin Chul, who assists Jang Hak Soo in 'Operation Chromite.'

Kim Sun Ah is going to play as a female military officer named Kim Hwa Young, who assists Seo Jin Chul throughout the operation. In addition, Park Sung Woong is going to play as a North Korean military official named Park Nam Chul.

Chu Sung Hoon, who had showed fabulous action scenes in drama 'Athena: Goddess of War,' is going to play as a North Korean soldier named Baik San, and Kim Young Ae, who had played in 'The Attorney,' is going to play as Jang Hak Soo's mother.

John Gries, who had played in 'TAKEN' series with Liam Neeson, is going to play as 'Vandenberg,' the Chief of the General Staff of United Nations Air Force. He is the only person who opposes Douglas MacArthur's 'Operation Chromite,' and he is going to show intense rivalry with Liam Neeson.

The cast includes top actors and actresses of Korea and Hollywood, and director Lee Jae Han, who had directed '71 Into The Fire' and 'A Moment To Remember,' is participating in 'Operation Chromite' as the head director.

Meanwhile, the first shoot for 'Operation Chromite' was held on December 4th, and the movie will be officially released in 2016.

The cast for movie 'Operation Chromite' finalized

/Reporting by Kim Dong-Joo en@starnnews.com

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December 7, 2015

Korean Films Top 100 Million Viewers for 4th Straight Year
Strong 2nd Half Gives Local Industry Market Edge

by Pierce Conran / KoBiz

For the fourth consecutive year, Korean films have surpassed 100 million viewers at the local box office. The mark was breached on November 29th as four local films topped the charts, Inside Men, The Priests, YOU CALL IT PASSION and THE SOUND OF A FLOWER. The milestone was reached faster than last year (December 23rd) but slower than both 2012 (November 20th) and 2013 (October 5th).
Korean films struggled for much of the early part of the year, with Ode to My Father (released in 2014, 8.92 million viewers in 2015) leading the way until Detective K : Secret of the Lost Island (3.87 million viewers) performed well during the Lunar New Year holiday, while many high profile films disappointed on the charts.
Things took a turn in summer, first with the success of Northern Limit Line (6.04 million viewers) and later with Assassination (12.7 million viewers) and Veteran (13.42 million viewers) both soaring to the top of the charts. The Throne (6.26 million viewers) kept local films on top over Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day) and local thrillers have successively opened in first place since late October.
Currently, The Priests and Inside Men are both angling to finish well over the five million admissions mark before the year’s last major releases (The Tiger and The Himalayas) open in mid-December.
Overall, the industry is expected to welcome 200 million viewers for the third straight year at some point this month. On December 1st, Korean films accounted for 80% of all sales, bringing the yearly local market share to 51%. The 229 local films released this year have so far earned revenues of USD 677 million.

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December 13, 2015

Lee Jung Jae chooses Lee Dong Hwi & EXO's Baik Hyun as the best imitators of him

Source: STARN News

Lee Jung Jae chose Lee Dong Hwi and EXO's Baik Hyun as the best imitators of him.

On December 12th, actor Lee Jung Jae appeared on channel KBS 2TV's 'Entertainment Weekly' for an interview, and chose the best imitators of him.

Lee Jung Jae said, "I never expected that imitating me would become so popular among many celebrities," and "Many film production staffs used to imitate me as well."

After the broadcast of 'Entertainment Weekly,' a behind video recording from the interview was released through C-JeS Entertainment's official Naver TV Cast channel.

In the video, Lee Jung Jae watches many other celebrities' imitation of him, and chooses actor Lee Dong Hwi, who is playing in drama 'Reply 1988' as Dong Ryong these days, and K-Pop boy band EXO's Baik Hyun as the best imitators.

Lee Jung Jae mentioned about a famous line from movie 'The New World,' and he said, "I thought that it was a very awkward line, but everyone started imitating it later on."

Lee Jung Jae lastly said, "It was a great interview, and I hope to see all of you again very soon. Take a good care of your health, always, and I will try to get back with a new film as soon as possible."

Lee Jung Jae made consecutive hits with movies 'The New World,' 'The Face Reader,' and 'Assassination' during recent few years, and the movies are becoming a hot issue once again as many celebrities are imitating his lines from the movies.

Meanwhile, Lee Jung Jae is shooting new film 'Operation Chromite' these days.

Lee Jung Jae chooses Lee Dong Hwi & EXO's Baik Hyun as the best imitators of him

/Reporting by Lee Mi-Ji en@starnnews.com

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Yonhap News Agency

December 15, 2015

(Yearender) Diversity defines S. Korean movies, music in 2015

By Park Sojung

SEOUL, Dec. 15 (Yonhap) -- The year 2015 has been one of the most diverse years for South Korean movies and music, as both Korean and non-Korean films topped the local box-office chart and a wave of nostalgia brought on by TV series set in the 1980s and 90s took South Koreans down musical memory lane.

Foreign blockbusters dominated the first half of the year, as "Kingsman: The Secret Service" became the first box-office topper with 6.19 million viewers. With the audience tally double that of the 2006 fantasy war film "300," the British-American spy movie became the best-selling R-rated foreign film of all time in South Korea.

"Avengers: The Age of Ultron," out in April, was the first movie to be viewed by more than 10 million people in 2015. With 14.9 million admissions, it became the fourth best-selling foreign film of all time in South Korea after "Avatar," "Frozen" and "Interstellar."

 The poster for the South Korean film "The Assassination" (Yonhap)

The poster for the South Korean film "The Assassination" (Yonhap) The poster for the South Korean film "The Assassination" (Yonhap)

Homegrown movies got off to a slow start, with the first local film to top 10 million viewers opening in late July. "The Assassination," starring Jun Ji-hyun, Lee Jung-jae and Ha Jung-woo, broke the 10 million mark exactly on the nation's Liberation Day of Aug. 15, when Korea was freed from Japanese colonial rule 70 years ago. The Choi Dong-hoon feature film takes place at the height of Japanese occupation in the 1930s and portrays a struggle by a group of Korean independence fighters to assassinate a Japanese military commander and their pro-Japanese compatriot.

"Veteran," another local movie, broke the 10 million viewer mark that same month in a rare South Korean movie success. Only in 2012 did two domestic films achieve that milestone for the first time. "The Thieves" drew 12.9 million viewers in August 2012 and two months later, "Masquerade," followed suit with 12.3 million.

South Korean movies continued their strong traditions at international awards this year. "Right Now, Wrong Then," an arthouse film by director Hong Sang-soo, won the Golden Leopard award at the Locarno International Film Festival in August. The male lead Jung Jae-young also became the first South Korean actor to be named best actor at the Swiss festival.

In June, a South Korean indie documentary "My Love, Don't Cross That River," portraying a long-standing love between an old couple in a remote village, became the first South Korean film to win Best Documentary at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

All in all, the South Korean movie scene remained strong, garnering 100 million moviegoers for the fourth consecutive year as of Nov. 30.

On the musical end of things, bands popular in the 1980s and 90s recaptured notoriety thanks to TV series themed on or set in those periods. Songs by S.E.S., Jinusean and Turbo re-entered music charts despite years of inactivity after the MBC variety show "Infinite Challenge" featured them singing old hits. Lee Moon-se's "Girl" and Zoo's "Hyehwadong" also topped drama soundtrack charts after characters on tvN's "Reply 1988" sung them.

Meanwhile, contemporary idol group BigBang dominated music charts for four consecutive months with singles released from May to August, which culminated in the album "MADE." EXO, another boy band, sold a million copies of its second album, breaking its own record set in 2013, when its first album sold the same number of copies.

The South Korean music scene, however, wasn't without its controversies in 2015.

Law enforcement authorities launched a probe into suspicions that MelOn, the operator of South Korea's largest music chart, may have been rigged to favor certain artists.

Korean-American rapper Yoo Seung-jun pleaded to be allowed into South Korea 13 years after he was permanently banned from the country for allegedly acquiring U.S. citizenship for the sole purpose of evading military service required of all able-bodied South Korean men. His public appeal, however, garnered little sympathy from his former compatriots. A Seoul court is still processing his petition to have the entry ban lifted.

Singer-songwriter IU came under fire for lyrics accused of portraying child molestation in a positive light. A local publishing house that translated the popular Brazilian children's book "My Sweet Orange Tree," on which her song "Zeze" is based, said the lyrics were suggestive of pedophilia. IU apologized for causing the controversy but continued to sing "Zeze" at concerts, introducing it as "a song I continue to love."



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December 17, 2015

What Movie Ticket Sales Say About Tastes Across the Country

Source: The Chosun Ilbo

Seoul citizens made up 24 percent of cinemagoers in the country this year. Films which see a flood of advance ticket sales tend to have a high percentage of audiences from Seoul, mainly due to a more established culture of booking tickets. 

Films with a high percentage of audiences from the provinces tended to stay at the top of the box office for longer.

Stars who sell in Seoul tend to get their film to the top of box office in the first week of its release, while actors who tend to be popular in the provinces get films to enjoy extended popularity.


Analysis by the Korean Film Council of actors who have at least two successful films that attracted at least 5 million viewers in the past five years shows that Ha Jung-woo, Song Kang-ho, Kim Hye-soo, Han Hyo-joo, and Lee Jung-jae are popular in Seoul.

The figure was calculated by comparing the number of cinemagoers by region.


In the provinces, films starring Son Ye-jin, Sol Kyung-gu, Kim Soo-hyun, Ryu Seung-ryong, and Son Hyun-joo performed strongly. 

It is notable that actors in their 20s such as Yu A-in, Kim Soo-hyun, and Shim Eun-kyung tend to be popular in the provinces.

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December 16, 2015

ASSASSINATION Tops 2nd Korean Film Producers Association Awards
RYOO Seung-wan Picks up Best Director Prize for VETERAN

by Pierce Conran / KoBiz

Following its Best Film win at the Blue Dragon Awards last month, CHOI Dong-hoon’s Colonial Era action-thriller Assassination has come up tops again, picking up the Best Film Award at the 2nd edition of the Korean Film Producers Association Awards. The prize went to the film’s producer AHN Soo-hyun, from production company Caper Film.
Meanwhile, the most-prized film of the night was action-thriller Veteran, which picked up accolades for Best Director (RYOO Seung-wan), Best Cinematography (CHOI Yeong-hwan), Best Editing (KIM Sang-bum, KIM Jae-bum) and the Technical Award (JUNG Doo-hong, JUNG Yun-heon). Other big winners during the night were period drama The Throne, which took honors for Best Script (CHO Chul-hyun, LEE Song-won, O Seung-hyeon), Best Supporting Actress (JEON Hye-jin) and Best Sound (Ralph Tae-young CHOI), and blockbuster melodrama Ode to My Father, recognized in the Best Actor (HWANG Jung-min), Best Supporting Actor (OH Dal-su) and Best Music (LEE Byung-woo) categories.
Assassination took a second prize for Best Art Direction (RYU Seong-hee), while the high concept melodrama The Beauty Inside also received a pair of awards, for Best Lighting (HONG Seung-chul) and the ‘kreative thinking' Award for production company Yong Film Inc. Other award winners include Coin Locker Girl for Best Actress (KIM Hye-soo) and the Dong-a Export Co., LTD, which won the Special Prize.
The big winner at last year’s inaugural Korean Film Producers Association Awards was KIM Seong-hun’s A Hard Day, which won the big Best Film and Director prizes.

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  • Go Seung Ji changed the title to Lee Jung Jae 이정재 - [Movie: Deliver Us From Evil]
  • Helena changed the title to Lee Jung-Jae 이정재

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