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Some of HJM's 2007 news updates & articles, index copied from the News thread


Jun 11: 25 Most Beautiful People 2007 by Movieweek page 154

Jun 16: Why Do Koreans Watch Horror Flicks in Summer? page 155

Jun 21: His First Leading Role page 156

Jun 21: 'Black' Is Gore With Suspense

Jun 25: Korean horror takes top B.O. spot page 157

Jun 27: Actor can’t hide his truthful eyes

Jul 5: 'Black House' to Open in Japan in October page 159

Aug 16: Hwang-Im's 'Happiness' Invited to Toronto Film Festival page 169

Aug 29: Park Chan-wook's Film in Sitges Competition page 172

Sep 19: 'Happiness' a moving tale of addiction, affection page 176

Sep 27: Jun Ji-hyun to Star in New Film With Hwang Jung-min

Sep 27: 'Happiness' Measures Cost of Love

Oct 10: A girl needs heartbreak to be a woman (Happiness-ISJ) page 179

Oct 16: Hwang Jung-min Returns to Stage page 180

Oct 17: Actor Hwang Jung-min returns to musical stage with 'Nine' page 181

Nov 28: Jun Ji Hyun, "If all actors were like Hwang Jung Min" page 189

Nov 29: Actors Keep '11th Mother' Afloat

Dec 30: Hwang Jung-min shows off musical talent page 195

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Source: CINE21 NO.1072 2016-09-20 ~ 2016-09-27

https://zapzee.net/2020/07/29/deliver-us-from-evil-hwang-jung-min-says-he-wanted-to-make-a-movie-that-audience-could-enjoy/ ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ Hwang Jung Min Says He Wanted to Make a Movie that Au

Actor Lee Jung-jae sent actor Hwang Jung-min a coffee truck to the filming location of drama “HUSH”.    

Wah.. didn't realize that they've just had the press conference for the movie.

It's all done and set for release! Very soon! ^^


January 7, 2008

Jeon Ji Hyun, "Would choose a movie that my children can watch"


At the press conference held on the 7th for the upcoming film "The man who used to be Superman," Jeon Ji Hyun commented that she selects pieces that her children will be able to watch.

In regards to a question asking whether she would choose a smoking scene or love scene, "Actors also have to make decisions based on their thoughts, but I would choose a movie that my children can later watch."

Director Jung Yoon Cheol who also attended the conference added jokingly, "Ji Hyun would probably not choose a love scene unless it is directed by someone like Director Ang Lee (of Se, jie, 'Lust, Caution')."

Hwang Jung Min who plays the main male lead that believes himself to be Superman commented, "We had to film one scene that expressed many complicated emotions 34 times for over a three day period to get an 'OK' sign. Ji Hyun was fine on the first cut, but I felt bad because we had to repeat the scene because of me."

He also added, "Trying to make myself believe that I am Superman was the hardest part of this movie. Acting is supposed to be from the heart and not calculated in the head, and that was only possible because I worked with Ji Hyun."

Director Jung added, "The actors most likely had a hard time because the spectrum of emotions required for the movie was equivalent to that of several movies. Ji Hyun said before that she would like the superpower to act well, and I think she has gained that power to a certain extent."

Director Jung, who also produced "Marathon," in "The man who used to be Superman" draws the story of a rather cynical human documentary producer Song Soo Jung (Jeon Ji Hyun) and the man (Hwang Jung Min) who helps everyone around him believing himself to be Superman.

Source: Broasia.com


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I love this article, such a wonderful read about the leading actors. Hahaa.. HJM is just so funny. :lol: And it's really sweet what he said about his co-star.

A Superman, indeed! :blush:


January 8, 2008

Jun, Hwang Become Super Heroes

By Lee Hyo-won

Staff Reporter


Actors Hwang Jung-min, left, and Jun Ji-hyun speak at a press conference

for their new movie "A Man Who Was Superman,'' Monday at a Seoul theater.

/ Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul

Hallyu princess Jun Ji-hyun (also known as Gianna Jun, "My Sassy Girl," 2001) and Korea's favorite leading man Hwang Jung-min ("Happiness," 2007) may seem like an odd pair, but they have one thing in common: superstar power.

The two join forces in "A Man Who Was Superman," a story about an unlikely "hero" (Hwang), who goes out of his way to help ― or rescue ― the planet by helping senior citizens cross the street and hand-standing in the middle of the road "to push away" the detrimental effects of the sun. Jun plays the role of Song Su-jeong, a cynical documentary filmmaker who records his story.

A press conference Monday at a Seoul theater buzzed with reporters trying to catch the two stars in the latest work by Chung Yoon-chul, the director who had the entire nation crying with his tearjerker "Marathon" (2005).

The director and actors arrived a little late for the event, and Hwang explained that it was because the emergency exit door was locked. "I wanted to break it down, but I couldn't use my superpower. I can't use it as long as I have kryptonite stuck in my head" he said.

Kryptonite is a fictional substance that weakens Superman's powers in the original American comic series. In the movie, his character claims to have kryptonite stuck in his head, and when Song (Jun) discovers through an X-ray that there really is something in his brain, she knows she has the story of her life.

"I am Superman, a man who is truly Superman at heart," Hwang introduced himself. Hwang is undoubtedly the most high profile actor in Korea, and revisits fans with a third movie just a few months after "Black House" and "Happiness" (2007).

Although Jun was regularly seen on TV through various commercials here, she makes an appearance on the big screen for the first time in two years since "Daisy" (2006). She had also been busy shooting her Hollywood debut piece "Blood: The Last Vampire."

For "Superman," the actress cut off her signature long silky hair, and her character even suffers from balding. But Jun explained that the hair wasn't a problem at all ― it was having to smoke that worried her. "I actually smoked, and it wasn't as difficult as I imagined. But I put health above everything else, and I asked myself if I really had to hurt my health for my career," she said. When asked rather mischievously if she'd choose a sex scene over smoking, Jun simply said, "I want to shoot movies that I'd be proud to show my children."

But she knew that "Superman" was a big opportunity. "Although luck was probably involved, I think it's destiny for an actor to 'meet' new work," she said.

She also admitted feeling a lot of pressure acting opposite her co-star, a bona-fide actor. "But on the first day I met him, I realized that I have much to learn from him, not only from his acting, but also as an individual," she said.

Hwang also complimented his co-star. "I was amazed to see myself make such different facial expressions. But it's because of Jun. Acting is not something you can calculate, it's a heart-to-heart dialogue, and it was possible because of her."

In fact, there was one scene that required 34 retakes because of Hwang, and Jun calls this her "triumph. I thought that the great actor Hwang Jung-min would just need just one go," she joked.

"This movie shows that it's not so difficult or a big deal to make a difference in the world, that we can all become Superman," said the director. "I hope the audience will feel happy while watching the 'supernatural' acting of our actors, and realize the potential in themselves."

When asked what they would do if given superpowers, the director said he would help clean the oil spill in Taean, South Chungcheon Province, while Jun said she would start with the little things in life such as a helping a needy neighbor, and Hwang joked he would turn back time to retrieve money he had lost to a bully as a child.

"I am proud to be able to share the successful `localization' of the American comic strip," said the director, drawing a hearty laugh from the crowd. "Perhaps you can stay tuned for 'A Woman Who was Wonder Woman' starring Jun Ji-hyun in the future."

In theaters Jan. 31.

Credits: hyowlee@koreatimes.co.kr


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Someone should edit the subtitle of this thread to 'Korea's Superman' :)

Hahaa.. that's a great idea! :lol: Thanks!

Done editing the description.. it's perfect!!! :w00t:

No wonder his outfit for the press conference looked mighty familiar.. it's Clark Kent in disguise! :P

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January 9, 2008

Fresh new start for Korean film industry!

Veteran directors are coming back

Upon the spirits of the New Year 2008, the Korean films are preparing a big counterblow against the Hollywood films. One after another, the talented veteran directors are coming back with a huge bag of New Year's surprises for the movie fans.

The reporter Nam Sang-seok will give you more information about their big comebacks. <8 o'clock news>

Director Lim Soon-rye had been capturing the dark side of our society with a warm gaze in her previous films such as "Three friends" and "Waikiki Brothers". Her latest film, "Forever the Moment" is the first female sport film ever made in the history of Korean films and is based on a true story of female handball team in the Athene Olympics, 2004.

[Director Lim Soon-rye: Many people are having difficult time these days and I wish the movie inspire them to have courage, hope and the strength to overcome their hardships.]

Director Jeong Yoon-chul of "Marathon" is coming back with "A man who was Superman" (starring Hwang Jeong-min and Jeon Ji-hyeon). It is a story of an absurd man who believes himself to be a Superman and gives out laughter and deep sensation to his neighbours.

Director Kim Ji-woon's "The Good, The Bad, The Weird" is a 12 billion-won worth large-scaled action film set in the Manchurian Plain in the 1930s. The genre of the film is 'Manchurian Western' where a train robber (Song Kang-ho), a mounted bandit (Lee Byeong-Heon) and a prize hunter (Jeong Woo-seong) are fighting over a treasure map.

Director Jeong Ji-woo of "Close to You" is coming back with a historical film, "Modern Boy" (starring Kim Hye-soo and Park Hae-il), which is set in the period of the Japanese colonisation in Korea.

Director Kim Yoo-jin is also preparing a large-scaled action-historical film based on a secret weapon, Singijun, which was developed at the time of King Seo-jong of Chosun dynasty.

[Oh Dong-jin (film critic): Even though the success of the films may not be guaranteed, in an aspect of preparing for next ten years, the directors should continue to seek chances to experiment with new things and bring new changes to the scene.]

It will be interesting to see whether the comebacks of these veteran directors who are prepared with new styles and new materials would become a green light for the resurrection of Korean Film industry in 2008.

Translation credits www.hancinema.net, Original article at news.naver.com

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January 13, 2008

Must-See Films in 2008

By Lee Hyo-won

Staff Reporter


Star Power Reigns Big Screen

This year, a long lineup of star-studded movies, both homegrown and Hollywood imports, awaits release with Korea's hottest stars and bona fide actors gracing the silver screen throughout 2008.

While a high profile cast hasn't always guaranteed a sellout, it would be hard to walk past movie posters featuring top stars.

The New Year starts off with a bang. Jun Ji-hyun (also known as Gianna Jun) makes her long-awaited comeback after a two-year hiatus opposite Hwang Jung-min in "A Man Who Was Superman," to open across theaters Jan. 31.

The movie garnered attention by butchering down Jun's "wholesome" image for the role of a chain-smoking, tomboyish filmmaker. Meanwhile, fans are anxious to see how Hwang will pull off his interesting role as Superman.

The red poster of "Hellcats" features three female stars representing their own generation: 47-year-old actress Lee Mi-suk ("Untold Scandal," 2003), whose sex appeal seems to grow stronger with each passing year; 25-year-old fashion icon Kim Min-hee, who appears onscreen for the first time in six years; and 15-year-old Ahn So-hee of the sensational K-pop group Wonder Girls, who is making headlines with her acting debut.

Tracing the highflying romances of these three women, this ultimate "chick flick" is slated for release Jan. 17.

A host of films boasting macho star power will be released this year. In March comes "Nuneneun Nun, Ieneun I" (Eye for an Eye, Tooth for a Tooth) starring two household names, Han Seok-gyu ("Shiri," 1998) and Cha Seung-won ("My Teacher, Mr. Kim," 2003). In his 16th film, Han gives an edge to his soft charisma as a merciless cop while Cha pumps up his muscles to play the perfect criminal.

The poster for "Sukmyeong" (Destiny) steals women's hearts and provokes men's jealousy as two "momjjang" or "hot body" actors appear together _ topless. Song Seung-heon makes a big comeback _ after serving in the military _ opposite Kwon Sang-woo in this action-packed drama about a friendship that goes sour.

Director Kim Jee-woon ("A Bittersweet Life," 2005) brings a "Korean-style Western" movie to the screens starring three of Korea's A-list male celebrities: "certified" actor Song Kang-ho, hallyu megastar Lee Byung-hun and heartthrob Jung Woo-sung.

The movie is set in the 1930s, during the Japanese occupation of Korea. Far away in Manchuria, the Good (Jung), the Bad (Lee) and the Weird (Song) become entangled in a train robbery case over a treasure map. This larger than life story becomes even more complicated as Japanese authorities and Korean independence fighters enter the scene.

Another highly anticipated film is "Ssanghwajeom," coming to theaters this summer. It combines the star power of Zo In-sung ("A Dirty Carnival," 2006) and Joo Jin-mo ("200 Pounds Beauty," 2006). Director Yoo Ha takes the two handsome actors back to Goguryeo Kingdom (37 B.C.-A.D. 668). Zo and Joo play the parts of a king and bodyguard, respectively, who become involved in a homosexual romance.

Other long-awaited films include low-budget projects that still shine with star power. Korea's celebrated director Kim Ki-duk brings together Korea's popular actress Lee Na-young and Japan's heartthrob in "Bimong" (Sad Dream), which will be in theaters in the fall/winter.

Actress Jeon Do-yeon, undoubtedly the biggest headline maker of 2007, continues her post-Cannes acting career through a small, mellow film "Meotjin Haru" (One Fine Day, working title), which is also slated for release in the fall/winter.

Filmmaker Park Chan-wook, whose name alone is enough to attract crowds, has fans anxiously waiting with "Bakjwi" (Bat, scheduled to show this spring) as well as a "Hongdangmu" (Carrot), a film he is producing for the first time.

Meanwhile, Hollywood films starring top Korean talent make 2008 an exciting year for fans: "Speed Racer" starring pop star Rain (Jung Ji-hoon) and Joon Park (Park Joon-hyung), the former member of K-pop group G.O.D.; "Laundry Warrior" with hot actor Jang Dong-kun (Jang Dong-gun); "Blood: The Last Vampire" with Jun Ji-hyun (Gianna Jun); and "Fetish" with Song Hye-kyo.

Other big movies to look forward to this summer are the latest installments of Hollywood blockbusters: the 22nd of the James Bond series and the fourth Harrison Ford classic "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" in May, as well as the Sylvester Stallone-helmed "Rambo 4" (release date in Korea to be announced).

Credits: hyowlee@koreatimes.co.kr


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January 14, 2008

Marriage of Movies, Musicals in 2008

By Chung Ah-young

Staff Reporter

Koreans are using the word "movical" more and more these days. It is an apparent keyword to define a trend in the local musical industry.

"Movical," a combination of "movie" and "musical," refers to interaction between the two industries. It started with a local film, "Waikiki Brothers," (2001) directed by Im Soon-rye, which was adapted for the musical stage in 2004.

For this year alone, about seven or eight musicals based on films are expected to be put on stage.

"Singles," the musical based on the namesake local film, which premiered last year, will launch its second season, starring singer-turned-actor Son Ho-young, former member of all-men pop group G.O.D. starting from Jan. 15 to Feb. 24 at Hoam Art Hall.

"Radio Star," based on the film featuring Park Joong-hoon and Ahn Sung-ki, will now be made into the musical, starring comedian-turned-actor Jung Sung-hwa who stole the limelight in last year's excellent performance of "Man of La Mancha." Seo Beom-seok will alternate performing the role with Jung. "Radio Star" will take to the stage at Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul from Jan. 26 to March 2.

"200 Pounds Beauty," a film starring Kim A-jung that had attracted 6.6 million theatergoers, will be re-created into a musical at Chungmu Arts Hall in November. The original work featured Kim who played the double role ― a chubby girl and a beautiful lady with a slim body. It is interesting to see how the musical version will portray the different characters performed by the same actress in the movie.

"The Harmonium in My Memory," featuring award-winning actress Jeon Do-yeon and hallyu star Lee Byung-hun, will be adapted into the musical show, starring Oh Man-seok. Oh will alternate playing the leading role with Cho Jung-seok. The musical will be put on stage at Hoam Arts Hall from July 22 to Sept. 11.

Also, there is the Korean production of "Nine." The original musical is based on a play by Mario Fratti inspired by Federico Fellini's autobiographical film "8 1/2." The original musical premiered in 1982 on Broadway and was nominated in 10 categories of Tony Awards and won five of them, including the Best Revival award.

In the Korean production of the musical, popular actor Hwang Jung-min will play the lead male role and award-winning actress Kim Sun-young will play the part of Luisa, Guido Contini's wife. Kang Pil-suk will alternate playing the role of Guido with Hwang. The musical will be staged at LG Arts Center in southern Seoul Jan. 22, running through March 2.

Also, the film, "My Scary Girl" directed by Son Jae-gon will become a musical in November. The musical will take part in the New York Musical Theater Festival and then will debut in the local musical scene.

The combination of movie and musicals have proved a success formula in the Broadway and West End musicals such as "Producers," "Billy Elliot" and "Lord of the Rings" from 1990s.

This boom cashes on the success of the proven contents of the hit films. Yet these musicals are often vulnerable as the audience can easily compare the two productions.

Won Jong-won, a musical critic, said that through the use of the name values of the hit films the lack of the awareness about homegrown musicals is being altered by the movical boom.

"But the movical boom is expected to continue because the use of one content for diverse purposes is a growing trend," said Won.

Cho Haeng-deok, head of the Aga Entertainment & Contents Group, said that the success of the musical "Singles" lies in its distinctive reinterpretation of the original work.

"The audience might feel bored if the musical simply follows the same storyline of the film. So the musical used many musical numbers and more sophisticated stage sets to better entertain the audience," Cho said.

Credits: chungay@koreatimes.co.kr, image from naver-donga.com


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January 16, 2008

Korean movies morphed into musicals

Musicals based on hit movies are set to dominate the local entertainment industry this year.

Of the musicals scheduled to be staged this year, more than 30 percent are based on or related to movies. There are already many Korean adaptations of Broadway musicals based on Hollywood films. But what makes this year remarkable is that there will be more musicals based on Korean movies.

Why are Korean production companies turning to "moviecals"? The answer is quite simple. Audiences already know and like the storylines of hit movies, and are therefore more likely to watch musicals that have been adapted from movies.

Moviecal productions in Korea are following in Broadway's footsteps.

Like Disney, MGM and Warner Brothers staged musicals based on the smash-hit movies they produced, Korean moviecals are mostly created by companies who hold the copyrights of scripts and titles. This allows companies to invest more in castings or employing famous composers as they don't need to fork out extra cash to create storylines and characters.

The first moviecal to hit the stage this year is "Singles," featuring Son Ho-young, a former member of the boy band g.o.d. The musical vividly describes the younger generation's thoughts on love and marriage. In the musical, which runs through Feb. 24 at the Hoam Art Hall in Seoul, Son plays the role of Park Soo-heon, a not-so-sophisticated but warm-hearted 30-something man working in the finance industry.

Next week, "Radio Star" will be staged at the Towol Theater of the Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul.

Like the film directed by Lee Jun-ik, the musical version depicts the dramatic friendship between a popular rock singer in the mid-1980s -- who descended into notoriety after getting involved in a couple of crimes -- and his long-time manager who tries to find ways of restoring his reputation.

The musical version of the film "200-Pound Beauty," which starred Kim A-jung and Joo Jin-mo, is scheduled to hit the stage in November, while several other romance movies including as "My Scary Girl" and "Gold Digger Miss Shin" are also being adapted.

In July, the musical "My Love, My Bride" hits the stage at the PMC Ja-u Theater in Daehangno while "he Harmonium in My Memory" turns into a musical piece at the Hoam Art Hall.

The upgraded version of the musical "Daejanggeum" -- a remake of a drama series about a royal chef-turned-physician -- will be staged at Gyeonghui Palace outdoor theater in September.

Korean adaptations of foreign movie-based musicals are also scheduled to go on stage this year.

On Jan. 22, "Nine" will begin a seven-week run at the LG Arts Center in Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul. Based on an Italian play by Mario Fratti, which was inspired by Federico Fellini's autobiographical film "8 1/2," the musical tells the story of a 40-year-old man entangled in a web of romantic difficulties in early-1960s Venice. Versatile actor Hwang Jung-min takes the role of Guido Contini, a film director facing a midlife crisis.

The off-Broadway musical "Evil Dead" will also be staged in Korean in March, featuring musical star Ryu Jung-han, while the Korean rendition of "Spitfire Grill" hits the stage in April.

By Cho Chung-un (christory@heraldm.com)


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January 17, 2008

Tough life for lothario with too many lovers


Hwang Jung-min is mobbed by beautiful women

in the musical “Nine.” Provided by OD Musical

The actor Hwang Jung-min is the luckiest man alive. He not only gets the chance to act with beautiful Korean movie stars like Lim Su-jung on-screen, he is performing in the musical “Nine,” surrounded by beautiful women onstage.

In Nine, which starts next Tuesday at the LG Arts Center and runs through March 2, Hwang plays film director Guido Contini, who gets regularly mauled by 15 passionate women.

“I’ve heard that people say I’m lucky with women,” said Hwang during a press conference held at the Seoul Plaza Hotel in December 2007.

“Nine is where my luck with women hits a peak among the work I have done,” he added jokingly.

The actor pointed out that the musical is about adults coming of age.

“It is about a man looking back on his life. So this musical has given me the opportunity to look back on my life as an actor,” he said.

The musical is based on the autobiographical film “8 1/2” by Federico Fellini.

In the story, Contini has reached the peak of his career, and he’s now facing a midlife crisis at the tender age of 40.

He moves from one woman to another, his sex life complicated by all the women madly in love with him.

What’s more, Hwang’s producer is pressurizing him to create a new film, but his ideas have run dry. And film critics are not making his life any easier.

Contini’s life becomes a nightmare just when he’s reached the top of his game.

The musical originally made its debut on Broadway on May 9, 1982. It was revived in 2003 with Spanish movie star Antonio Banderas. That production won two Tony Awards, including Best Revival.

At the time Banderas’ wife, Melanie Griffith, was performing in the musical “Chicago,” also on Broadway.

Performances are held at 8 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 4 and 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. During the weekends and holidays, the show will be staged at 3 and 7 p.m. There is no show on Mondays or Lunar New Year’s Day, which is Feb. 7.

Tickets range 30,000 won ($32) to 120,000 won. A 20 percent discount is offered for the Wednesday 3 p.m. show and during the Lunar New Year holidays on Feb. 6 and 8.

By Lee Ho-jeong Staff Reporter[ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]


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January 22, 2008

"Superman 2008" Features Unusual Romance


“I feel comfortable about my life as an actress. I feel easy about living as an actress and getting older as an actress. I think I will have more to show to people in the future. It’s because I think I could slowly improve and show that much more to people."

Jun Ji-hyun unexpectedly looked comfortable when her new movie "Superman 2008" (to be officially released on January 31) had its debut yesterday, even when the actress is getting all the attention despite there are many prominent participants in the movie. For example, Jeong Yun-cheol, director of "Marathon," made the movie and Hwang Jung-min, one of the most popular actors, is the leading male actor.

Jun is undoubtedly one of the nation’s top actresses. However, she has failed to change her image in "My Sassy Girl," which made her a movie star, and free herself from the title as a CF queen. She is now ready to take on the global market with her another movie "Blood: The Last Vampire," which is based on a Japanese animation film and co-produced by France, Hong Kong and Japan. Before going global, she is now destined to be evaluated by the domestic audience in two years. In this regard, the promotion strategy of "Superman 2008" seemed to focus on Jun Ji-hyun’s aspects as an actress. Much attention has been paid to her efforts to play the role. Entertainment news talked about how she had a bang haircut and was willing to turn herself into a documentary producer with cigarettes in her mouth. That is, in order to show better performances, the actress, who has been putting top priority on healthy life, dared to appear in the movie without makeup and struggled smoking herbal and low tar cigarettes.

She said that even though she first thought, "Everything will be ok only if I have trust in Jung-min," her role in the movie was the toughest one she’s ever had. “While playing the role of a producer named ‘Song Su-jeong,’ I found out that the acting which I have thought very easy were in fact very tough. Say, just a laughing scene was really hard this time."

In the new movie, she was visibly different from herself in the past. There was Song Su-jeong in the actress, not a commercial film queen.

“I think a fate lets an actress participate in a movie as if it forces a person to meet somebody. Of course, I think it was a big fortune for me to work with Hwang Jung-min and Director Jeong. However, I believe that I was destined to play the role. In the beginning, I felt pressured to play in a Korean movie for the first time in a very long time. But, I feel comfortable now since I have high expectations for the movie and that I’m very confident.”

The movie tells us that not only a superman but also anybody can change the world and that anybody can become a superman. Jun Ji-hyun agrees with the message of the movie.

“A few days ago, I went out with a friend of mine. She suddenly realized that she had forgot to give some money to an old lady selling gum on the street and went back home to get her purse. I thought she was a superman. I might have felt like that because of the movie. I want to start from something small which I can handle. Most people think a superman is a person who does a very difficult thing which cannot be done by anyone else. However, I’m sure the movie will change their belief.”

Source: The DongA-Ilbo


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January 22, 2008

[movie REVIEW] 'Superman' flies while Jun Ji-hyun runs aground

"A Man Once a Superman," directed by Jeong Yun-cheol, relies heavily on the performances of award-wining actor Hwang Jun-min, who can transform his silver-screen image at will. This time, he turns into a self-styled superman helping out children and the elderly on the streets of Seoul.

But the question here is, can he save the movie?

"Superman," played by Hwang, sleeps a lot and often wakes up to find himself lying on the street. The first question he asks to himself when he opens his eyes is whether it's past, present or future, as if he travels in time and it's an important question to be answered. But there are more urgent questions. Who is this guy? Why does he help people out? Why can't he fly?

In fact, he's not a real superman. At least not the Superman described in the Hollywood blockbuster series. This guy believes he used to be superman, but somehow evil foes have messed with his brain, resulting in the loss of his super power.


How sad. But Song Su-jeong, played by Jun Ji-hyun, does not see any sadness when she stumbles into this mysterious (or simply crazy) man. Song does not care about others that much -- a typical Korean woman who has so many things to worry about in her own life. She is stuck in a cash-strapped situation, though she works hard. She has a boyfriend but she cannot meet him because he's doing some volunteer work in a faraway country. She even goes through a street chase to get back her precious camera bag which is snatched away by a thief. At this very critical moment, of course, our hero Superman appears. To be more specific, he runs, fast, and catches up with the bad guy and recovers the camera bag. A mission accomplished. Song, intrigued by Superman's repeated good deeds, decides to track down on his life on the street. She notices that he is not in his right mind but his behavior is mostly designed to help other people, a rare trait even for the majority of people who believe they are not crazy.

As with the Hollywood Superman, Hwang's Superman has a deep secret about his childhood, involving his mysterious father whose encouraging message is displayed on the electric screen of a street vendor. To understand the connotations about his traumatic past one has to be familiar with Korean history, especially concerning the May 18 Gwangju incident in 1980 where a number of innocent civilians got killed by the then military regime.

The movie zooms in on the past and present of Superman who proves to the world that something should be done when people need help from others. But the process is a bit tedious and repetitive. Tighter editing might have helped the audiences focus on the dramatic plot turns that reveal Superman's real identity.

Jun Ji-hyun, who has yet to transcend the image she put forward in "My Sassy Girl" (2001), has attempted to make some changes. For instance, she smokes on the screen to show some toughness about her documentary job. She does not cry as often as she did in her other box-office duds. Her hair is shorter and her makeup is minimal. But unfortunately, that's all that's changed, and Jun does not demonstrate any meaningful transformation, say, into Superwoman or Wonderwoman or even Cat Woman.

By Yang Sung-jin (insight@heraldm.com)


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January 23, 2008

Hwang Reaffirms His Musical Talent

By Chung Ah-young

Staff Reporter


Hwang Jung-min, movie star and musical actor, stars in the musical “Nine” where he is the sole male in the cast.

There is no big tension between characters, no speedy scene changes and no diverse backdrops. Instead, there is a simple stage set based on minimal design, one man and 15 women characters.

With minimal theatrical elements, the musical, "Nine" kicked off its more than one-month run with an opening performance Tuesday.

The number "9" that is projected on a big screen fades away and the musical begins with Italian genius film director Guido Contini, played by actor Hwang Jung-min, talking to himself.

The scene then depicts the intertwining reality and fantasy of Guido's life with 15 female characters each talking to him simultaneously.

The musical is based on an Italian play by Mario Fratti inspired by Federico Fellini's autobiographical film "8 1/2" and focuses on the film director Guido Contini.

The first Korean rendition deals with Guido's struggles at the age of 40, which thrusts him into an emotional tailspin that threatens to destroy his personal and professional life.

It focuses on Guido's midlife crisis, which blocks his creativity, entangling him in a web of romantic difficulties in early-1960s Venice.

Among the women in his life are wife Luisa and 15 other women, which include producer Liliane La Fleur, mistress Carla, protege Claudia and his deceased mother.

The scenes bring reality and dream-like effects to the stage with more dramatic dialogues and monologues, rather than relying on musical numbers.

Hwang well portrays Guido's problem of being trapped in the emotional state of a nine-year-old boy, and in the physical body of a 40-year-old, while the pressure to deliver a successful piece of work drives him to a point where his private and professional life is blurred.

Hwang doesn't lose his stage prowess at all and sings powerfully with mesmerizing charisma, although some faster-paced lyrics are hard to understand.

Hwang's performance of the troubled Italian director proves his strong presence on stage, even though he has only concentrated on films over the last four years. Also, the female characters' singing and acting abilities are superb.

But the musical's reputation might hinge on Hwang taking the only male cast role among 15 women, as Hollywood star Antonio Banderas did in 2003's Broadway revival of "Nine."

Hwang's charisma saves the audience from a slightly boring and loose story because the show explores Guido's mentality with dream-like effects and a somewhat tactless character composition under the simple storyline.

Although the stage sets are minimal, a clinical mixture of metal staircases, platforms, supports, especially the backdrop of flowing water, is quite intriguing.

Also, the musical tries to not lose its humor by adding some entertaining factors such as the flamboyant choreography mixed with 17th century operatic parody.

The musical's reputation isn't quite as established as other Broadway musicals, but it scored big success both in commercial and critical aspects in Broadway.

The Korean production is directed by veteran director David Swan who worked in several Korean hit productions such as "Man of La Mancha" and "All Shook Up."

"Nine" premiered in 1982 on Broadway and was nominated in 10 categories of Tony Awards and won five of them, including the Best Revival Award.

In the Korean production of the musical, award-winning actress Kim Sun-young will play the part of Luisa, Guido's wife. Kang Pil-suk will alternate playing the role of Guido with Hwang.

The musical will run through March 2 at LG Arts Center in southern Seoul.

Tickets cost from 30,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, call 1588-5212.

Credits: chungay@koreatimes.co.kr


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