Jang Nara - Han Ji-min - Han Hyo Joo - Han Ga In - Han Eun-jung - Han Chae Young - Choi Yeo Jin - Choi Kang-hee - Choi Jeong-yoon - Park Chae-rim - Chae Jung-an - Bae Seul Ki - Bae Doona - Ha Ji Won - Kim Hee Sun - Lee Na Young - Harisu - Park Ji Yoon - Lee Jung-hyun - Eugene - Song Hye Kyo - Jeon Ji Hyun - Lee Hyori - Kim Hyo Jin - Kim Hee Sun - Lee Young Ae -

Monday, July 30, 2007

Wonder Girls Enter MTV Thailand's Top-5

The song "Irony" from the female group Wonder Girls, which debuted in Thailand in June, took the fifth spot on MTV Thailand's international chart.

The chart announces the most popular songs based on the frequency of their broadcasts and the number of viewer requests to play them over the past one week. By taking the fifth spot, the Wonder Girls have beaten even world famous stars such as Justin Timberlake and Maroon 5.

The group was also selected by MTV as the Artist of the Month in July, and it has gained enormous popularity all over Asia.

Since its debut earlier this year, the Wonder Girls have been performing vigorously in various countries. In April, the group held a showcase in China. In early June, the band released its first single album in Thailand at the urgent request of its Thai fans.

The band entered MTV Thailand's top-five with its album just a month after its release, without having visited the country in person so far.

The Wonder Girls will perform in Korea, China and Thailand after releasing its first full-length album during the second half of the year.

Film Starring Kang Su-yeon to Compete at Venice Film Festival

A movie starring world star Kang Su-yeon, her first big-screen work in 20 years, will be screened at the Venice Film Festival.

Kang gained global acclaim in 1987 by winning the Best Leading Actress award at the festival for her role in Lim Kwon-taek's movie "The Surrogate Woman."

Her new film is a story about a nine-year-old girl from a mining village in Gangwon Province and her views on her family and the world. Kang plays the girl's mother in the movie.

Directed by Jun Su-il, the movie will compete in the "Horizon" category of the Venice festival.

Lim Kwon-taek's movie "Beyond the Years" will also participate in the festival in the non-competition category.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Wonder Girls Enter MTV Thailand's Top-5

Film Starring Kang Su-yeon to Compete at Venice Film Festival

A movie starring world star Kang Su-yeon, her first big-screen work in 20 years, will be screened at the Venice Film Festival.

Kang gained global acclaim in 1987 by winning the Best Leading Actress award at the festival for her role in Lim Kwon-taek's movie "The Surrogate Woman."

Her new film is a story about a nine-year-old girl from a mining village in Gangwon Province and her views on her family and the world. Kang plays the girl's mother in the movie.

Directed by Jun Su-il, the movie will compete in the "Horizon" category of the Venice festival.

Lim Kwon-taek's movie "Beyond the Years" will also participate in the festival in the non-competition category.

(source: KBS)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Song Hye-kyo Bag Line Boosts Her Pan-Asian Status

Korean Stars To Visit Japan in August

Well-known Korean stars with large fan bases in Japan will travel to Tokyo in August. The Japanese sports daily Nikkan Sports reported that a number of famous Korean stars are scheduled to appear at the two-day "FACE in Japan Premium Event" at the Tokyo Dome on August 14th and 15th. The event is part of a cultural exchange program between Korea and Japan and a sequel to the Hallyu Expo held in Jeju Island last year.

Actress Yoon Son-ha will host the show for two days. Actress Ha Ji-won, actors Lee Dong-gun, Jo Han-seon, Shin Hyun-jun, the popular idol group TVXQ, and other up-and-coming singers and performers will make appearances.

Honey Lee Likely to Become 1st Hallyu Miss Korea

Honey Lee, who finished fourth at the 2007 Miss Universe beauty pageant, has recently drawn attention from Singapore's The Electric New Paper.

It was the first time the daily introduced a beauty contestant, not a celebrity. It wrote that Lee, who holds a third degree black belt in taekwondo, "once played 'bodyguard' to actress Kim Tae-hee" when she was in college, because she is 10 centimeters taller than Kim and has excellent taekwondo skills. The daily wrote, "The two beauties have been good friends since joining the same ski club while studying at Korea's prestigious Seoul National University in 2004."

Lee currently hosts a weekly entertainment show along with emcee Seo Kyung-seok, but she denies that she has made an official debut in showbiz. The Singaporean daily quoted Lee's agency as saying that Lee "wants to represent traditional Korean beauty and culture to the world. And this is the first step toward fulfilling her goal."

The Electronic New Paper showed great interest in Lee, adding that she received a traditional red Mexican doll from the First Lady of Mexico at the Miss Universe competition back in May.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Kim Yun-jin Shares Beauty Tips in Fashion Magazine

The influential fashion magazine InStyle, which is published worldwide, featured beauty tips from actress Kim Yun-jin in its August edition.

In her interview, Kim, who is introduced as a self-confident actress, shares her tips on skin care, hairstyling and makeup.

Gaining enormous popularity worldwide for her role in the U.S. ABC TV series "Lost," Kim has been interviewed by several prestigious magazines so far including an exclusive interview with People.

Her photos have appeared in many popular magazines, such as Vogue and Maxim, including a photo that appeared on the cover of an entertainment magazine.

She was also selected as one of the 100 sexiest beauties in the world by world-renowned magazines.

Kim's book, "The World is Your Drama," which depicts her advancement into Hollywood, has become a bestseller recently.

source: KBS

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Son Ye Jin, returns to the screen in two years as a femme fatal pickpocket

Top star Son Ye-jin will turn into an 'international' pickpocket.

In the upcoming movie 'Open City' directed by Lee Sang-gi, Son Ye-jin will act as the boss of a pickpocket organization displaying her femme fatal charm.

Scheduled to open in December, she is appearing on screen two years after the movie 'The Art of Seduction' which opened in 2005.

The movie has especially gathered attention as she will be partnering with actor Kim Myeong-Min of the MBC drama series 'White Tower'.

'Open City' which depicts the conflict between an international pickpocket organization and an investigation team will feature Son Ye-jin who rids of her innocent image in a seductive and strong character.

Her character Baek Jang Mi grows her organization with her charm femme fatal charm, making any man want to give up everything to be with her.

But falling in love with Kim Myeong-Min, a member of the investigating team, she cannot hide her identity as a female and her painful past.

Younha, Actor Lee Named Anti-Corruption PR Envoys

Singer Younha and actor Lee Jin-wook have been named as publicity envoys for the anti-corruption Clean Wave Campaign.

The two will attend the appointment ceremony Monday and perform their duties for one year.

The anti-corruption committee cited Younha's clean and pure image and her exemplary behavior since her debut and Lee's upstanding image established through his drama roles.

The ceremony will be attended by a hundred teachers from across the country. The singer and actor's activities will include participation in the Campus Clean Wave, a similar campaign for teenagers, and International Anti-Corruption Day events.

Min HR Sizzles Under Asian Spotlight

Singer Min Hyo-rin is receiving interview requests from a slew of Asian media outlets and broadcasters including China's largest portal SINA.COM, the popular Hallyu magazine COOL MUSIC and Japan's KN.

Even inside officials are amazed by the calls as Min has conducted no overseas activity whatsoever.

A foreign media official says that Min is a new face but her mystical and at the same time lovely persona is appealing to Hallyu fans in China and Japan. He said Min's interviews will be released some time next month via various outlets.

Her management agency says a possible advance to China or Japan isn't planned and she will focus her work in Korea, expressing deep gratitude for Asian fans' interest in the Korean singer. It also added that should the opportunity and right conditions arise, Min will consider going overseas.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Ice Bar" Wins Top Prize at Fukuoka Asian Film Festival

The family film "Ice Bar" won the best picture award at the 21st Fukuoka Asian Film Festival that was held in Fukuoka, Japan from Jun 29 through July 8.

The film's production company MK Pictures said that its director, Yeo In-kwang, personally attended the award ceremony last Sunday to receive the top honor.

"Ice Bar" was chosen for the top prize because of its beautiful portrayal of a local city in the 1960s and 70s, and for the natural and realistic acting of its leading actress and child actor who played the roles of mother and son.

"Ice Bar" is the fifth Korean film to win the best picture award at this film festival. The other four award-winning films were "An Affair" in 1999, "Nowhere to Hide" in 2000, "Bad Guy" in 2002, and "YMCA Baseball Team" in 2003.

Park Jung-sook Gives Lecture on Korean Wave

TV personality Park Jung-sook, who is currently studying at the University of Columbia in the USA, will give a lecture at Waseda University in Japan on July 11.

Park's lecture will deal with international relations with a focus on the popularity of Korean culture overseas. The seminar will be attended by experts from Japan and other countries as well as former President Kim Young-sam.

Park says she will speak about the creation of an integrated cultural zone in Asia through Korean culture.

On June 30, Park made a presentation in Japan at a women's forum on ways to prepare for the issue of aging in society. Back in February, she presented at a forum on the popularity of Korean culture in Asia at Harvard University.

Yoon Mi-rae Makes Successful Comeback

Singer Yoon Mi-rae, also known as T, has recently made a successful comeback in Japan after a five-year hiatus, suggesting a new direction for the Korean wave.

Yoon displayed her formidable hip-hop skills on July 10 at the Drama original Sound Korea 2007 in Tokyo, evoking applause from some 2000 people in the audience.

Yoon sang "After Pain Subsides," the theme song of the SBS TV drama "Prague Lovers," which is airing in Japan. Her unique style of voice that is quite rare in Japan captivated the hearts of Japanese listeners.

Yoon was the only performer at the concert to receive a curtain call, in which she sang "Scent of Life," a song from her first album.

The singer's agency says Yoon will, at the minimum, hold some small-scale concerts soon in Japan to target the Japanese music market.

Jang's Charity Mentioned in Chinese Gov't Briefing

Authorities in Jinan city in China's Santung province announced at an administrative briefing earlier this week that the charity foundation set up by Korean singer Jang Nara has begun operation.

The Jinan government says "the foundation named after the popular Korean singer has begun operation" calling it the first of its kind in the city.

It said the first 200,000 yuan were donated by a Beijing cultural corporation and that so far 500,000 yuan have been collected from Chinese dailies, Korea's Chung-ang University and Jang's concert proceeds. The money will all go to help poor leukemic children in Jinan.

The city also says that the city vice mayor, on behalf of the municipal charity association, has officially appointed Jang as Jinan's charity ambassador.

Jang has long been doing good work for needy people in China. Her June 25 concert in Jinan was held to raise money for the foundation.

Lee Eun's Online Mall to Enter China

The recently launched online shopping mall of Lee Eun, a former member of the girl band Chakra, is seeking to advance to China as the first shopping mall opened by a Korean celebrity.

Sales are brisk at the shopping mall "Euni," which has posted a three-fold sales increase in recent days. Singer-turned-actress Lee recently visited China for inspections to launch her business.

She said, "Never did I imagine advancing abroad, but I decided to expand my business upon the advice of a relative living in China. I want to further promote the Hallyu boom as a businesswoman and later return as a performer."

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007

Gan Mi-yeon Returns with "Kiss"

Having made her solo debut with the hit title song "Old Woman," Gan Mi-yeon, formerly of the female group Baby Vox, has returned to the stage with a song entitled "Kiss."

"Kiss" is a bouncy and rhythmical disco-style song. It also features an impromptu part in the middle, where Gan and comedian Noh Hong-chul banter with one another, making the song more enjoyable for listeners.

Gan plans to show off a more lovable girlish side by dressing up in short pants and gold suspenders for the follow-up song.

Gan will make her first TV appearance for the song "Kiss" on Saturday.

Model Han Hye-jin Attracts Attention from Global Fashion World

Model Han Hye-jin made her name known to the world fashion industry at the New York Collection held from Feb. 1 until 9 by being cast to appear in fashion shows for the world’s top designer brands such as Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors and Vera Wang.

She was also promised a chance to participate in the Calvin Klein Collection by the brand’s senior designer Francisco Costa, who lauded her charm as a model.

Han will appear on the music and entertainment cable channel Mnet in season 3 of “I Am A Model,” in which she, along with fellow models Kim Da-ul and Park Yoon-jeong, will show the auditions and fashion shows involving the New York Collection as well as their daily life from waking up to going to bed.

The program’s producer, Lee Seon-young, said, “Season 3 of ‘I Am A Model’ is aimed at showing the real lives of fashion models.” New models selected through the show's season 3 will have opportunities not only to work for new casual brand “Dressed To Kill” but also to participate in the Paris Collection, Lee added.

Korean Actress Cast for Japanese Musical

Singer-turned-actress Shoo, a former member of the female trio S.E.S., has been cast for a supporting role in the Japanese musical “High School Musical” produced by Fuji TV. According to her agency, Sedona Media, she attended a press conference held at a hotel in Tokyo on Monday to announce its production.

Based on the Disney’s TV animation with the same title, the musical deals with high school students who work at an audition for a musical.

Shoo is cast to play Deira, a friend of the female leading character Gabriel, to be played by Nami Damaki. Koyama Keiichiro, a member of the Japanese idol group NewS, will play the male leading role. It will be staged in Tokyo and Osaka from June 12.

“I will put everything I have into the musical to show a great performance,” Shoo said.

Shoo has been working as a musical actress in Japan since S.E.S was disbanded. She received a good review when she performed the leading character Shelley in the 2005 musical "Batboy" in Japan.

New Singing Star Ayo Comes to Korea

Emerging new pop star Ayo will come to Korea to promote her debut album “Joyful.” She gained popularity here in Korea when her hit song “Down on My Knees” was included in the original soundtrack of a Korean TV drama recently.

She will arrive in Korea on April 8th and attend a promotional event on the 11th at the KT Art Hall in downtown Seoul. She plans to sing some seven songs during the event, including “Down on My Knees,” “Help is coming,” and “Only You.” Korean singers and a noted songwriter are scheduled to appear on the event as well.

Ayo will also make appearances on a variety of radio and TV programs during her stay in Korea.

Kim Hye Su

Kim Hye Su (김혜수), born September 5, 1970, is a Korean actress and model. The last movies I saw her in was “A Good Day to Have an Affair (2007)” and “Tazza: The High Rollers (2006)”. You can visit her cyworld and leave a message for her to see. I’ve seen her being compared to Monica Bellucci from the famous Matrix Reloaded. A Korean Monica Bellucci? I can definitely see the body but that’s about it….

Korean Girls are Dirty, Dirty Girls

File this one under, “I gotsta get me over to Korea, and fast!”, as we take a peek at the Asian mind with this glossy advertisement for, er, something that involves really hot Korean women in bra and panties running around a muddy field tackling each other while playing soccer. My guess is that this is some kind of adult men’s photobook (they’re very popular over there) trying to capitalize on the soccer craze going in Korea with the FIFA World Cup in full swing. Of course with Korea bounced from the tourney, this is probably as close to Soccer Heavenly Bliss as Korean men will ever get.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Kim Yun-jin to Give Interview to People Magazine

Actress Kim Yun-jin, who has recently drawn the spotlight for announcing a comeback to the Korean big screen through the movie “Seven Days,” will give an exclusive interview to People magazine on March 30.

Kim’s agency said the magazine requested an interview after the actress’s popularity soared when a section introducing Kim’s preparations for the Golden Globe event was posted early this year on the magazine’s Web site, recording more than 300,000 hits a day.

The agency added that previously, any U.S. media reports about the actress and her appearances in various talk shows typically made big news, but now Kim has gained full recognition for her hard work and passion to the extent that even a prestigious U.S. magazine has requested an exclusive interview with her.

Jun Ji-hyun to Debut in Hollywood

Actress Jun Ji-hyun is gearing up to debut overseas. Jun, who has gained popularity not only in Korea but also in Hong Kong, China and Japan for her sometimes sassy, sometimes naive roles in movies, will make her Hollywood debut in the movie “Blood: The Last Vampire.”

“Blood: The Last Vampire” is based on the same-titled popular animation novel by famous Japanese writer Oshii Mamoru. Jun plays the role of the vampire hunter Saya, who is half-human, half-vampire but who disguises herself as a human being in order to destroy vampires. The actress is expected to display impressive action stunts in the movie.

Playing opposite Jun will be actress Allison Miller, who has gained popularity for her role in the TV show “Desperate Housewives.” In the movie, Miller’s character teaches Saya what it’s like to be a human.

Interest in movies starring Jun has been on the rise in Hollywood. Jun has drawn notice in Hollywood through the movie “The Lake House,” starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. The movie is a remake of the Korean movie “Il Mare,” which stars Jun. Jun’s hit movie “My Sassy Girl” is also currently being remade in the United States, with actress Elisha Cuthbert playing the lead.

The filming of “Blood: The Last Vampire” will begin March 15. The movie has drawn significant attention for its impressive scale as it involves famous film production firms and filmmakers. After shooting several scenes in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the filming location will switch to China before the movie opens in 2008.

The movie is expected to make Jun another hallyu star in Hollywood, like Kim Yun-jin. Jun will go by the name "Gianna Jun" in the United States.

Korean Actress Song Hye-gyo to Present Hong Kong Film Award

Korean actress Song Hye-gyo will attend the Hong Kong Film Awards to present the Best Asian Film award.

The secretariat of the Hong Kong Film Award said that Song’s rising fame around the world makes her the most appropriate presenter for the Best Asian Film award. It added that since Song is extremely popular in Hong Kong, her presence at the award ceremony will be much appreciated by Hong Kong fans.

During the Chinese promotional tour of her TV drama “Full House” last February, Song’s beauty was rated by the press and fans to rival that of celebrated Chinese actresses such as Zhang Ziyi and Cheung Pak Chi.

200 Pounds Beauty' Charms Overseas Film Fans

Korean made movie ``200 Pounds Beauty’’ is taking audiences by storm abroad _ smashing box office records across Singapore and Hong Kong and signaling actress Kim A-jung’s rise as a hot new hallyu star.

Three weeks after its opening last month in Singapore, ``Beauty’’ had already grossed a whopping $550,000 in that country alone according to a release by local distributors InnoForm Media and Shaw Organization.

The film opened on April 19 and now exceeds figures of previous Korean record-holder ``Wishing Stairs’’ (2003) and last year’s hit ``The Host,’’ which drew $550,000. The film’s producer KM Pictures refused to release exact numbers.

``We bought the film at the AFM (American Film Market) last year and were surprised when our distribution partner Shaw suggested that we take it as wide as 18 prints,’’ InnoForm general manager Lim Teck was quoted as telling ``Variety.’’

``We enjoyed a clear run without much competition in the two weeks before `Spider-Man 3,’ and it has proved a really smart piece of counterprogramming,’’ said Lim.

``Like all Korean films, it has very good production values, but this is a romantic comedy that has good songs and a theme of beauty and dieting that works well with female audiences,’’ he said.

The romantic comedy features Kim A-jung as a gifted yet obese singer who, after going under the knife, transforms into a slim beauty. Only then can she pursue her musical career and the love of her life.

The allure of ``Beauty’’ does not stop in Singapore. After opening on May 17 across 21 screens in Hong Kong, the sassy film came in second at the box office __ tailing just behind ``Spider-Man 3.’’

``Beauty’’ scored $190,000 in under four days. With the recent release of ``Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,’’ the film maintains a strong ranking in third place.

``Kim A-jung is the reason to watch this film,’’ wrote a movie critic in ``BC Magazine,’’ a Hong Kong and Singapore-based magazine. ``Not only does she look great, but does all of the singing on her own and displays a nice instinct for comedy.’’

The local Chinese media have also noted Kim as eclipsing the fame of Jun Ji-hyun, the heroine of ``My Sassy Girl’’ (2001). The romantic comedy enjoyed enormous popularity in Hong Kong when released several years ago.

``Beauty’’ was a huge hit in Korea when released last December. Attracting 6.62 million viewers, the movie ranks eighth in the all-time Korean box office and first in the admissions record of comedy films.

The upcoming 2007 Daejong (Grand Bell) Film Festival officially announced ``Beauty’’ as the most nominated film. It is set to compete in 12 of the festival’s 19 categories, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress.

This exceeds the 11 nominations for ``The Host’’ at last year’s festival.

Meanwhile, Kim is in Vietnam to promote Korean film and will participate in the 2007 Dynamic Korea Film Festival, to take place May 31-June 3 in Hanoi. ``Beauty’’ will be screened along with five other works including Park Chan-wook’s award-winning ``Old Boy.’’

(courtesy of KoreaTimes)

Traces of Korea at Cannes Film Festival

The Taegeukgi will be flying high over the Croisette as the 60th Festival de Cannes, the creme de la creme of international film festivals, opens today. Over 20 films are competing for the much-coveted Palme d'Or, and two out of the four competing Asian titles are Korean -- ``Secret Sunshine'' by Lee Chang-dong and ``Breath'' by Kim Ki-duk. ``My Dear Rosetta'' by Yang Hea-hoon is also one of the short films in competition.

But more traces of Korea can be found in the out-of-competition pool as well. Most notable is the screening of ``Bound by Chastity Rules'' (1962) by Shin-Sang-ok in the Cannes Classics section.

The digitally restored movie tells the story of sexually repressed widows whose lives are dictated by deeply ingrained Confucian values. ``Bound'' swept awards at Korea's first Daejong Film Festival, including Best Picture and Best Actor (Shin Yeong-gyun), for its keen observation of human desire.

The picture is also distinguished for its portrayal of love that transcends strictly set social status barriers of the time. The film got its first international exposure when it was presented at the 13th Berlin International Film Festival. But ``Bound'' eventually became dormant, and unavailable in Korea.

In 2005, the Korean Film Archive (KOFA) recovered and collected the 16-millimeter film from Taiwan's film archive. After being digitally restored, ``Bound'' was brought back to life when it was screened last year at the Busan International Film Festival.

For Cannes, ``Bound'' underwent an intensive restoration process. Dust, scratches and hiss and clicks were carefully eliminated, while sharpness and color were fine-tuned, according to KOFA.

The Korean classic will be shown at the festival alongside Sir Lawrence Olivier's ``Hamlet'' (1948) and Terence Fisher's ``Dracula'' (1958). The Classics section was created in 2004, and last year, Oliver Stone's ``Platoon'' (1986) was restored and screened.

Shin (1926-2006) is an important pioneer and pillar of Korean cinema, and has directed more than 60 films, including the classic ``My Mother and the Lodger'' (1961).

The director continued to make headlines when he and his wife, actress Choi Eun-hee, were abducted by Kim Jong-il in 1978 for the purpose of producing critically acclaimed films. Shin eventually escaped back to the South and died last year at the age of 80.

Another Korean film to shine at the festival is Hong Sung-hoon's ``A Reunion.'' The movie will be part of ``Cinefondation,'' a section of the festival that aims to inspire and support the next generation of international filmmakers.

``Munyurangabo'' (Liberation Day) by up-and-coming Korean-American Lee Isaac Chung, will be screened in the ``Un Certain Regard'' section. Chung's debut piece is set in mid-1990s Rwanda and captures the violent civil conflict of the time.

Un Certain Regard features noteworthy films and is considered the most prominent among the out-of-competition sections. Some eight Korean films have been included in the lineup hitherto, including ``The Bow'' by Kim Ki-duk last year.

This year at Cannes, a total of about 50 feature films make up the Official Selection, chosen out of some 1,600 candidates from 95 countries. The festival will continue until May 27. For more information, visit the official Web site (www.festival-cannes.fr).

(courtesy of KoreaTimes)

Secret Sunshine' Steals Limelight in Cannes

Korean actress Jeon Do-yeon is reaping critical acclaim from foreign critics, for her role in ``Secret Sunshine" (Miryang) which was screened at the prestigious 60th Cannes Film Festival.

Since it was screened last week, ``Secret Sunshine" has emerged as one of the leading contenders for the top prize, the Palme d'Or. Winners will be announced when the event ends on Sunday evening in France.

A New York Times article heaped praises on the film directed by Lee Chang-dong, a former culture minister.

Jeon was singled out for her depiction of a young widow who moves to her late husband's hometown. The article said Jeon gave one of the strongest female performances in the festival, hinting she may even win the best female performance award. ``Jeon's portrayal of a meek soul in torment is a tour de force," the New York Times said.

Film industry journal Variety described Jeon's performance as ``finely detailed." ``Jeon's convinced playing, a trademark of the chameleon actress, keeps 'Sunshine' watchable but can't inject real tension and drama on its own. On screen almost the whole time, Jeon carries the picture virtually single-handedly," it said.

If Jeon wins, she will be the first Korean actress to win an award at the Cannes Film Festival. Jeon is already a popular and multi-awarded actress in Korea, but is little known overseas.

There have been a handful of Korean actresses who have won awards in international film festivals. Kang Soo-yeon won the best actress award for the film "Sibaji" at the 1987 Venice International Film Festival.

Moon So-ri also won the best new actress award for her role in "Oasis" at the 2002 Venice International Film Festival. Moon received good reviews for her role as a woman with cerebral palsy in the film, which was also directed by Lee Chang-dong.

Jeon has won several domestic acting awards for her roles in films such as ``Harmonium in My Memory" and ``My Mother The Mermaid." She also appeared in the hit SBS drama ``Lovers in Prague" in 2005.

In 2006, Jeon received the best leading actress award at the 43rd Taejong (Grand Bell) Film Festival for her role as a HIV/AIDS-stricken waitress in and ``You are My Sunshine!" directed by Park Jin-pyo.

The local film industry is expecting that should either Jeon or the film win, it will provide a great boost to local cinema, which has been sliding recently.

Aside from ``Secret Sunshine," another Korean film ``Breath" by director Kim Ki-duk is also vying for the Palme d'Or. There are over 20 films competing for the top prize at Cannes.

In 2004, the film ``Old Boy," directed by Park Chan-wook, won the Grand Prix, the second place honor at the Cannes. It was the first Korean film to win one of the top prizes at the prestigious festival.

(courtesy of KoreaTimes)

Monday, July 9, 2007

South Korean Filmmakers Looking to Expand Global Reach

'They are the Brad and Angelina of Asia,' E! Entertainment Asia Pacific managing director Christine Fellowes says.

South Korean Actress Park,Eun-Hye

South Korean Actress Park,Eun-Hye

Not long ago, the idea of inviting South Korean celebrities to a high-profile Hong Kong event might have been met with derision. These days, though, Park and Shin - not to mention other popular South Korean television actors including Cha Tae-hyun, Kim Tai-hei and heartthrob Bae Yong-jun - possess enough cross-border appeal to bring out paparazzi from Hong Kong to Hanoi.

But star power hasn`t quite been able to work the same magic for South Korea`s film industry, which has struggled to increase its presence on the world cinema stage.

From an artistic standpoint, South Korean cinema has been enjoying a renaissance for nearly five years - but for some reason, even the best locally produced fare has garnered limited attention abroad.

In fact, only 202 South Korean films were released in foreign territories last year.

'Although (South) Korean feature films have done well in Korea, they haven`t traveled as well as the locally produced TV series,' says Richard Samuels, senior vp and managing director of 20th Century Fox Television Distribution Asia.

Local industry officials are well aware of that discrepancy and are doing their best to make South Korean features more attractive to an international audience - namely by shooting at locations around the globe, hiring international talent and entering into partnerships with North American and European companies, including the major U.S. studios and their subsidiaries.

While developing stronger ties to Hollywood remains something of a thorny issue, a Korean Film Council spokesman says that market expansion, particularly in the U.S. and Europe, 'represents the most important aspect of creating a positive-feedback structure for the Korean film industry.'

Producer In-Ah Lee has noticed a difference in the way South Korean production companies evaluate projects.

'Because of the limited commercial success Korean-language films have abroad, a lot of Korean companies are looking for international projects,' says Lee, whose Los Angeles-based company Lee Lee Films is moving forward with Grace Lee`s low-budget horror-comedy 'American Zombie' with funding from South Korean firm iHQ. 'It gives producers like me a whole new perspective on raising funds for projects.'

One of the biggest players in the South Korean market, LJ Film made headlines recently with its decision to partner with Focus Features for its most ambitious project to date: the $25 million production 'The Julia Project,' based on the life of American Julia Mullock and her marriage to the last crown prince of Korea`s Lee dynasty.

'Julia,' in pre-production, will be shot primarily in English, underscoring LJ`s desire to produce titles with strong worldwide appeal.

From Seoul to Hollywood for Lost actress

Yunjin Kim is uncomfortable with the chair she has been given. She requests a lower one. Possibly this is because she is wearing very short shorts. It's more likely she doesn't want to look down on anyone.

She could if she wanted. Kim is a big star, not just through her international break-out role on Lost but in Korea where she is known for breaking box office records. She is sometimes referred to as "the Korean Julia Roberts".

"I'm actually the very first Korean actress to cross over to Hollywood, so that's special," she says, with pride rather than arrogance. "I'm on a show where I'm actually speaking Korean. It's really odd." It's also odd to see her immaculately made up, just as it's odd to know she has posed for men's magazines and become, like Lost co-star Evangeline Lilly, something of a sex symbol. It's only in the third season Kim has had an opportunity to flaunt her sexuality. Flashbacks painted her character Sun as demure, defeated and desperate at the hands of men. Her father was overbearing, her husband Jin jealous and domineering. Sun was always a bit of a victim.

South Korean actress Jeon Do-yeon initially turned down Cannes award-winning role

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korean actress Jeon Do-yeon said Wednesday she initially turned down the role that earned her the best actress award at this year's Cannes Film Festival because she couldn't understand the character's motivation.

Jeon, 34, won the prize for playing a widow struggling to cope with her husband's death in "Secret Sunshine."

"I turned down the offer at first because I could not understand from just reading the script the feelings and circumstances that (lead character) Shin-ae experiences," she said.

But then director Lee Chang-dong helped her understand, and "when I read the script again after that, I could feel Shin-ae's pain that I couldn't before," Jeon told a news conference carried live on national TV.

"I wanted to experience it and know what would be the end of the pain," she said.

Secret Sunshine is the name of a town in southeastern South Korea where the character Shin-ae's husband was born. She moves to the town following her husband's death, but loses her son there, too.

South Korea has heralded Jeon as a new national hero. Her award garnered front-page news coverage and drew congratulations from President Roh Moo-hyun.

Exhibition of Fireworks

Shin Na Ra's life is shattered when her boyfriend comes home from a three-month business trip in San Francisco. Noticing he is detached, she keeps bugging him until he admits that he cheated on her during his business trip. Being heartbroken, girl goes out to drink and in a drunken stupor she leaves her ring in a glass of Soju. She comes back to find out a man named Na In Jae has actually swallowed her ring, and starts trying to get the man to return the ring. The man refuses, but later reconsiders after finding out his football team needs a cheerleader. He promises to give the ring back to Shin Na Ra in exchange for her to be his team's cheerleader. Although they started off on rocky terms, Shin Na Ra and Na In Jae start growing more and more attached as time passes, but Na Ra still can't forget her boyfriend of seven years, and Na In Jae has a crush on a girl he's known for a long time.

The story really isn't that interesting, and the presentation turned out to be sloppy as well. It's a shame because I'm really a fan of Han Chae Young's but her acting didn't turn out so well in this series. The main problem is that her character just lacks depth, and throughout the series she seems to always be a third-wheel in the love relationships rather than the main character.

Personally, I don't enjoy plots with main characters that sway in and out of love so easily. For most of the series, the main male lead isn't actually in love with the main female lead, and for the first third of the series, the female lead isn't in love with the male lead. The antagonists, who are in love with each other for a while, suddenly shift around to other partners left and right. The series seems to be just a humongous love mess that seems will never get sorted out, and the same inane events seem to happen over and over again. The seventeen-episode series, which is average by Korean drama standards, seemed way too long and overdrawn, and episodes 11-14 seemed very filler and somewhat unnecessary. I'm guessing that Fireworks would be a much better series had it been cut down a little bit (13 episodes would probably suffice).

This drama really stressed crying, but surprisingly I wasn't very moved at all. The main character, Shin Na Ra's crying scenes were too over-the-top and unnatural, which I found surprising since the actress is quite experienced. It seems like there is some sort of crying scene every once in a while, and since this drama had so many of them, it made me take them for granted instead of making me feel sad.

Unlike most series where sub-characters don't really play a big role, the sub-characters in this story could actually be mistaken for the main characters. If you didn't know who was "supposed" to be together at the end, you might not be able to guess the ending, and this was also frustrating. Some may think that this kind of a plot would bring more drama, but it just made me feel as if the story was just taking me on a joy-ride with no end in sight, and it made me "lose hope" a little bit of a nice ending. The ending is nice and happy, but there wasn't enough in the episodes beforehand to really build up the ending, and thus I didn't really feel impacted by the ending.

Truth be told, the series isn't horrible, but it just can't compare to many of the better dramas out there. Everything in this drama just seemed very ordinary, and it didn't really have a profound impact on me. Personally, I lost interest around episode twelve or so, but I finished the series for the sake of this review. I would guess that only truly hardcore fans of Han Chae Young would be interested in taking a look at this series.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

South Korean Actress Bites 'Vampire' Remake

By Jonathan Landreth South Korean starlet Jun Ji-hyun will star in "Blood Vampire," the live-action English-language remake of the hit Japanese animated film, a representative for Seoul-based talent representative iHQ said Monday at the American Film Market."

Vampire," by Hong Kong director Ronnie Yu ("Jet Li's Fearless"), is a $30 million production from Hong Kong rainmaker Bill Kong and France's Pathe Entertainment and is in preproduction.

The project is important to the efforts by iHQ, an integrated entertainment company, to bring its South Korean talent overseas, the spokesperson said.

"This is the first big-budget Hollywood film for a Korean actress speaking English in the lead role," said the spokesperson, asking not to be named.
Jun is known in Asia for roles in the Korean blockbuster "Il Mare," (remade by Warner Bros. as "The Lake House," starring Sandra Bullock) and in director Kwak Jae-yong's "My Sassy Girl" and "Windstruck."

The live-action film is based on the Oshii Mamoru anime hit about Saya (Jun), a vampire employed by the U.S. government to hunt demons in post-World War II Japan.

"Vampire" is set to start shooting in March in China and Argentina and is scheduled for release in 2008, the iHQ source said.

Production I.G., the Japanese producers of the anime original, 2000's "Blood: The Last Vampire," will receive residuals from the live-action film, the source said.

The anime original was praised for its blend of 2-D and 3-D elements. It was made with Sony's Aniplex and distributed in North America by Manga Entertainment, later spinning off a video game, a manga and plans for a TV series.

Mark Russell in Seoul contributed to this report.

Kim Yun-jin to Appear on Letterman

The Korean actress Kim Yun-jin, who thanks to the ABC hit series "Lost" now has considerable star appeal in the U.S., will appear on the long-running "Late Show with David Letterman," an honor last accorded a Korean when the teenage golfer Michelle Wie made an appearance last year. Being a guest on the show will give Kim a sense of having finally arrived.

According to a source close to the actress, Kim joked it would be nice if she was invited on the Letterman show when she started acting in the States. Two and a half years later, that dream has come true. This is not an invitation during the publicity season for ¡°Lost¡±, says the source, but is instead due to Kim Yun-jin¡¯s own star power.

The live appearance in front of a studio audience is scheduled for July 11 and will provide a good opportunity for the actress to introduce the world of Korean films as well as open up opportunities for herself. Kim will catch a plane headed to New York on July 9. Kim finished shooting for the second season of "Lost" in May and will start work on the third season in August.

Korean Actress in Vietnam for Film Promotion

Korean actress Nam Sang-mi will be in Vietnam on July 7th to promote her 2005 film "Never to Lose." She will be attending the Vietnamese premieres of the film and meeting her fans with her co-star Jang Hang-seon at the nation's two largest theaters.

In "Never to Lose," Nam plays a traffic cop who joins the violent crimes team. Nam is said to be very excited about her first overseas appearance.

Prior to her visit to Vietnam, Nam spent a month in Thailand for a drama shoot. At the time, she was deeply touched by the heartwarming welcome shown by the hotel and awed by the popularity of Korean dramas in Thailand.

Mina to Release New Album in Korea and China

Singer Mina will release her new album entitled "Minastasia" on July 9 concurrently in Korea and China.

The album features two jacket photo versions to target the different fan bases of each respective country. The jacket photo produced for China shows a sexy image of Mina in accordance with her Chinese fans' wishes, while the one for Korea shows the singer in a powerful hip-hop atmosphere.

For the Chinese cover, Mina's agency said an additional photo shoot took place in Seoul following the original photo shoot that was held in downtown Los Angeles.

Mina, who won the Best Overseas Dance Singer award in China last year, has completed the recording of her new album's title song "Look" with Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese and Thai lyrics to target the entire Asian market. She has also recorded the song, "Want to Get Drunk," in Korean and Chinese.

Mina plans to perform in Korea and China for the time being, with later plans to expand her activities to Thailand and the Philippines.

Younha Displays Her Versatility in Japan

Singer Younha will host a special show organized by MCountdown and Mnet Japan in Tokyo August 5.
Aside from emceeing the event with the boy band Superjunior, Younha will also serve as the Japanese interpreter for Japanese viewers and perform as a singer.
The organizers of the event chose Younha for her Japanese proficiency and talent at emceeing shows.
Younha debuted as an emcee in April on MBC TV's "Show Music Hub," receiving rave reviews for smoothly hosting the show. She also keeps a diary in Japanese on her Japanese Web site and even received an offer in Japan last year to host a daily radio show as a DJ.
Younha is currently appearing in TV shows with her song "Terms of Love" and recently has released a re-package album containing a remix of that song as well the Korean version of the song "My Lover," which was originally released in Japan.

Korean Actress Chae Rim Ranked Top 10 Popular Chinese Stars

Korean actress Chae Rim is so successful in China that she's ranked as top 10 popular Chinese stars in a recent online poll by one of the biggest Chinese portal Sina.com, not as a foreign actress! Chae, who won her overnight fame by the hit Korean drama 'All About Eve', has been working in China for over 2 years. She's now planning to return to her own country. "After all, I'm Korean" Chae said.

Korean Actress Chae Rim Ranked Top 10 Popular Chinese Stars

Korean actress Chae Rim is so successful in China that she's ranked as top 10 popular Chinese stars in a recent online poll by one of the biggest Chinese portal Sina.com, not as a foreign actress! Chae, who won her overnight fame by the hit Korean drama 'All About Eve', has been working in China for over 2 years. She's now planning to return to her own country. "After all, I'm Korean" Chae said.

President hails S. Korean actress for top Cannes

SEOUL—President Roh Moo-Hyun Monday congratulated South Korean actress Jeon Do-Yeon on winning the Cannes film festival’s best actress award, adding it showed the potential of the country’s cinema. “South Korean film has once again received tremendous applause from the world. I want to pay Jeon Do-Yeon compliments for her enthusiasm and efforts displayed in ‘Secret Sunshine’,” said the message from Roh, who also congratulated director Lee Chang-Dong and other staff.“‘Secret Sunshine’ has shown the potential of South Korean films. The South Korean people, blessed with creative and artistic talents, will be able to achieve a lot more in the future if the entire nation works together,” the president said. Jeon, 34, was Sunday acclaimed for her performance as a grieving wife and mother in the South Korean melodrama. It was the first picture in four years by Lee, a former South Korean culture minister.“I can’t believe I’m here,” said Jeon, wearing a silver lame evening gown, at the ceremony in the French resort. “There are many fabulous actresses here at the festival and I would like to represent them all here tonight. It is a great honour for me to have this prize.” She appears in nearly every scene of Lee’s two-and-a-half-hour film, portraying Shin-Ae, a piano teacher who moves with her son to the hometown of her late husband.She dotes on her young son as a link to his father and the two have a palpably close relationship. When the small boy is abducted and killed, Shin-Ae turns to evangelical Christianity as a means of dealing with her grief. Filled with religious fervour, she decides to visit her son’s murderer in prison to tell him she has forgiven him. But she is horrified when the killer tells her with a serene smile that he has repented and God has offered him absolution. “Who is God to forgive him before I have?” she asks her Christian friends in a rage.Jeon shot to stardom at home with her debut 1997 romance “The Contact”. The following year she starred as a schoolgirl in “Harmonium in My Memory” and picked up South Korea’s prestigious Blue Dragon and Grand Bell prizes for best actress. Jeon scored a box office hit in 2003 with a remake of “Dangerous Liaisons” and won rave reviews in 2005 for her portrayal of a prostitute who contracts AIDS in “You’re My Sunshine.”

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Jeon Do-Yeon Wins Best Actress Award at Cannes

by Seo Dong-shin
May 28, 2007

``I can't believe I'm here. I heard there are so many actresses here who poured out their soul in great films, I'm not sure if I am qualified to be here,'' Jeon, clad in a shiny golden dress, said in an accepting speech at the awards ceremony in Cannes.

``But I thank the Cannes film fest for giving me this honor. What would have been impossible with myself alone became possible thanks to director Lee and Song Gang-ho,'' she said, referring to her co-star in the film.

Cannes was the first exposure to an international film festival for the veteran actress, who has won many domestic film awards.

``I am so honored to have my first experience at Cannes,'' she said in a press conference. ``I tried to calm myself down, telling myself that nothing would happen to me. I wanted to hide when somebody spoke of expectations. Now I'm glad and grateful that they turned into messages of support and celebrations.''

The year is turning out to be a lucky one for Jeon. She's a newly wed, having married a businessman nine years her senior in March in an intimate ceremony.

``They honored me with many prizes in Korea, but winning the best actress in Cannes will remain a great achievement in my life,'' she said. Asked what the marriage means to her, she said smiling, ``One of my life's biggest presents.''

(courtesy of KoreaTimes)
(original text)

Jeon Do-Yeon Shines on Nation with Cannes Award

by Seo Dong-shin
May 28, 2007

On Sunday, Jeon Do-yeon became the first South Korean actress to garner the Best Actress Award at the 60th Cannes International Film Festival for her role in the Korean film ``Secret Sunshine,'' directed by Lee Chang-dong.

It was the second time for an Asian actress to win the award at the Festival. Chinese actress Maggie Cheung received the award in 2004 with ``Clean,'' French director Olivier Assayas' film about a woman rebuilding her life. Cheung served on this year's jury.

The prize also became another welcome recognition given to a Korean actress on the international level, 20 years after Kang Soo-yeon won the best actress award for her role in ``Sibaji,'' or ``The Surrogate Womb,'' at the Venice International Film Festival in 1987. Actress Mun So-ri won the Marcello Mastroianni Award as best newcomer in 2002 at Venice with her role in ``Oasis,'' another film directed by Lee.

Jeon was predicted to be a strong candidate since ``Secret Sunshine'' screened at the Riviera festival in France last week. The New York Times called her portrayal of the character Shin-ae a ``tour de force,'' while Variety.com praised her ``finely detailed performance.''

At home, Jeon has been continuously heaped with critics' praises as well as long-standing popularity. The 34-year-old looms large in the Korean cinema, known for her devotion to her character in each film.

Having started out as a model in a cosmetics commercial in 1990, Jeon starred in several popular TV drama series during the early 1990s, including ``General Hospital.'' It was the role of the heroine in the 1997 movie ``Contact'' that shot her to silver screen stardom.

After reaping newcomer awards with the film, she set out to explore diverse genres of films, ranging from the melodrama film ``A Promise'' in 1998, action drama ``No Blood No Tears'' in 2002 to historical drama ``Untold Scandal'' in 2003 and another melodrama ``You are My Sunshine!'' in 2005.

By the late 1990s, she was virtually dividing the local film industry and fan base into two with Shim Eun-ha, who was also a prominent actress at that time with films like ``Christmas in August'' and ``Art Museum by the Zoo.'' Shim retired after her marriage in October 2005. But Jeon continued to pursue her career, marrying a businessman in March this year.

The news of Jeon's win at Cannes put the entire nation as well as industry people into a celebratory mood.

President Roh Moo Hyun on Monday sent a congratulatory message to Jeon and the entire staff of ``Secret Sunshine'' for "showing once again the Korean movie's strength and potential." Roh also praised Jeon's passion and hard work resulting in the outstanding performance.

Minister of Culture and Tourism Kim Jong-min also called the staff in Cannes to deliver his congratulations. Recalling watching the ``Contact'' premier at the ministry 10 years ago, Kim said he knew Jeon would achieve a feat some day for her outstanding performance. The minister also thanked director Lee for ``doing great work at a difficult time for Korean cinema.''

The celebratory mood also caught on with people in the city of Miryang, South Gyeongsang Province, where some 90 percent of ``Secret Sunshine'' was filmed. ``Miryang'' literally means ``Secret Sunshine.''

``It's a great pleasure and honor for our city,'' Um Yong-su, mayor of the city, was quoted as saying by Yonhap News. ``I'm grateful for the production staff for letting the name of our small city become known across the world.''

The city plans to preserve the film location spots and use them to boost tourism, he said.

``Residents all welcome the news and are delighted,'' Lee Bong-dae, village headman of Gagok-dong, the primary backdrop for the movie, was also quoted as saying. ``We hope foreigners as well as people from other regions will feel curious about this place and come visit.''

Film industry also expressed hopes of a windfall.

According to Cinema Service, which released ``Secret Sunshine'' locally on May 23, about 400,000 have watched the film up until May 27.

``While it's not satisfactory, it has fared well against the craze involving the `Pirates of the Caribbean 3,''' an official from the company said.

Lee, Jeon and actor Song Gang-ho, who also starred in the film, will hold a press conference on May 30 upon returning to Seoul. They will also embark on a nationwide promotion of the film.

The prospects look bright, considering the rate of online ticket reservations soared immediately after the news of Jeon's award spread. As of Monday morning, ``Secret Sunshine'' ranked on top of the list along with the ``Pirates,'' taking 32.4 percent of the ticket reservation share.

Officials at CJ Entertainment, which is in charge of distributing the film overseas, also appeared upbeat. Negotiations are underway with companies in Japan, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Italy and Germany, according to the company.

(courtesy of KoreaTimes)
(original text)

Jeon Says Her Cannes Win is Near Miracle

by Bae Keun-min
June 06, 2007

``It was like a miracle, I think.’’ So said actress Jeon Do-yeon in reference to her winning the Best Actress Award for her leading role in Lee Chang-dong’s ``Secret Sunshine’’ at the 60th edition of the Cannes Film Festival at a press conference at CGV Apgujeong in Seoul, Wednesday.

``I’ve almost been in a state of shock ever since I was named the winner of the prize,’’ Jeon said. ``Words cannot express what I feel but let me just say `I am delighted and honored.’ I still cannot believe it.’’

Although the local and international press predicted the likelihood of her winning after official screenings, Jeon tried not to think about it and kept telling herself that nothing was going to happen, she said. Jeon was praised for her realistic portrayal of a grief-stricken woman who loses her son and husband.

`` People there seemed to be surprised that an actress who came to an international festival for the first time won the award,’’ Jeon said. ``If it weren’t for Song Kang-ho and director Lee Chang-dong, it would have been impossible for me to complete the character, Sin-ae.’’

Lee said it is impossible to define Jeon as a certain type of actress. ``In the film, she successfully expressed emotions that I, the audience or maybe even herself would not expect. She has a wide spectrum in expressing emotions and performing roles,’’ Lee said at the conference, adding he expected either the grand prize or the Best Actress Award.

Song Kang-ho who played the part of Jong-chan, the leading male role in the movie, said he was in awe of her when they performed together. ``She was almost ‘scary’ when I saw her perform,’’ Song said in the conference.

Despite the praises, Jeon first hesitated to take the role. She said that she had already decided to play in the film even before she had read the script mainly because it was Lee’s film. But after reading the script, she seriously wondered whether she would be capable of it.

Her efforts paid off with the prize, which has brought her into the international spotlight and some press reports are referring to her as a world star.’

However, Jeon is cautious about her new moniker.

``I think it is too early think about being cast in a foreign film. I believe there are a lot of things that I have to do in Korea first,’’ Jeon said. ``(English) language is an issue too. But I would love to explore options when a good chance and scenario arises.’’

Jeon is the second Asian actress to win the prize. Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung took the title for her role in the film ``Clean’’ by French director Olivier Assayas at the 57th Cannes Film Festival in 2004. Cheung was invited as a juror this year.

``I have seen a lot of movies of hers and loved her so much. I was really happy to meet her in person after the closing ceremony. The meeting remains on my mind,’’ 34-year-old Jeon said. ``We agreed to hang out in Seoul when she visits.’’

(courtesy of KoreaTimes)
(original text)

K-Pop : Sexy Stars Versus Sweet Girls

by Cathy Rose A. Garcia
June 20, 2007

Lee sent temperatures rising in 2003 when she made her debut as a sexy singer. Many female singers have since tried to follow in her footsteps, pushing the limits of sexiness with barely-there outfits and hot dance moves.

Lee is still a top fashion icon and sought-after product endorser, but she seems to be looking for a new direction for her career. She appears in several ads as well as sizzling spreads showing off her gleaming skin and curves in fashion magazines like W and Cosmopolitan.

Earlier this year, there was a backlash against her sexy image. Her recent mini-drama ``If In Love ... Like Them'' failed to draw in audiences. Lee has also not been paying much attention to her music career, only releasing a digital single album last March.

While Lee struggles, several female K-pop singers are making their move. Some are going for the hardcore sexy image, while others are keeping it sweet.

Leading the pack of sexy singers are Seo In-young and Chae Yeon. Seo, a former member of girl group Jewelry, who has generated controversy with her barely-there costumes and hot dance moves. At the Dream Concert last weekend, she even gave a pole-dancing performance.

Chae Yeon also doesn't balk at being branded as a ``sexy singer." She has recently been performing her latest dance single ``My Love," while wearing low-slung mini-skirts and cropped tops.

While these divas have been trying to outdo each other with sexiness, there is another group of singers who are downplaying their sex appeal. Ivy, Lexy, Hyun Young and Banana Girl are still making waves in the music scene with their unique personalities.

Ivy may have made her debut with a sexy image last year, and helped popularize hot pants that showed off her beautiful legs. This year, Ivy is focusing more on showing her strong voice and keeping her clothes on.

It may have helped her career more, since she was chosen as the opening act for international pop superstar Christina Aguilera's concert in Seoul this weekend. She is also preparing for her solo concert ``Ivy & Present First Concert" on June 30 at Jamsil Indoor Stadium.

Lexy is going the opposite route of sexy with a tough tomboyish image. The hip-hop star released her third album ``Rush" last April.

Hyun Young is making the transition from actress to perky pop star. She looked like a Barbie doll with blonde hair and pink clothes, for her almost-comical music video ``Love Revolution." Her remake of Japanese group Morning Musume's song is climbing the charts.

Banana Girl's cute, fresh look and catchy song ``Chocolate" is also making a splash in the music charts.

(courtesy of KoreaTimes)
(original text)

Korean Movie Actress Found Dead

South Korean actress Lee Eun-ju, star of one of the country's highest grossing films, has been found dead after an apparent suicide in Seoul.

The 25-year-old, known for her role in hit film Taegukgi, or National Flag, was found hanged in her dressing room.

Her family said she had been suffering a bout of mental illness after performing nude scenes in Korean thriller The Scarlet Letter.

Lee's managers denied the film had anything to do with her death.

Box office record

Police found a suicide note with the words "Mom, I am sorry and I love you" written in blood.

Lee's most successful film, Taegukgi tells the story of two brothers forced to fight in the Korean war. It set an opening day box office record in Korea.

The actress made her screen breakthrough with 2000 film Oh! Soo-jung and starred as jazz singer Ga-hee in The Scarlet Letter which closed the prestigious Pusan International Film Festival last year.

She graduated from Danguk University several days before her death.

(original text)

Top Actress's Suicide Shocks Nation

Lee Eun-ju, who shot to fame with her roles in the TV drama "Firebird" and the film "Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War," hanged herself in her apartment on Tuesday. She was 25. Lee's brother alerted police after discovering her lifeless body at her home in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province in the early afternoon.

Marks on the body indicated that Lee had also tried to slit her wrists. A letter written in blood and found at the scene read, "Mother, I'm sorry. I love you." In a separate suicide note, the actress wrote, "I wanted to do too much. Even though I live, I'm not really alive. I don't want anyone to be disappointed. It's nice having money... I wanted to make money."

Lee's family said the actress had been experiencing insomnia and showing signs of depression over racy nude scenes she did for the film "The Scarlet Letter," which debuted last October. They believe this was the reason she killed herself.

Lee broke onto the scene in 1996 as an advertising model for school uniforms. Beginning with a 1997 role in the KBS drama "Start," she appeared in a string of TV dramas and movies.

Through films like Hong Sang-soo's "Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors," "Bungee Jumping on Their Own," "Unborn But Forgotten" and "Au Revoir, UFO," Lee had secured a place on Chungmu-ro's A-list. Last year, she appeared in the TV drama "Firebird," winning great acclaim for her portrayal of a strong yet feminine character.

The news sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry and her fan community. Internet sites devoted to Lee were being bombarded with condolences, and some fan sites temporarily crashed due to the sudden onslaught of traffic.

At a fan site on Naver.com, hundreds of posts expressed disbelief or hope that the story was false. Internet user "nsy9251" said, "You were really beautiful on screen... I want to see that smile once again." Rumor also ran riot, with comments reading, "There was no reason for her to kill herself," "Perhaps this was foul play," or "She was worried about the 'entertainment x-file.'"

GOSSIP: Kim Sun-ah Returns to Silver Screen in 'Girl Scout'

Source: http://www.arirang.co.kr/

Kim Sun-ah, who earned the nickname, 'Blue Chip Actress,' after the success of the drama 'My Lovely Samsoon,' is set to make her big screen comeback in 'Girl Scout.'

Numerous fans have been anxiously awaiting her return, as she has not made many significant public appearances for almost two years, with the exception of a few commercials and award ceremonies.

Upon finishing 'My Lovely Samsoon,'she had agreed to star in the film 'Thursday’s Child.' However, she had recently nullified the agreement due to an indefinite postponement of filming caused by production problems and a change of directors.

Meanwhile, her upcoming film, tentatively titled, 'Girl Scout,' is a crime drama with a comic touch. In the film, Kim Sun-ah plays a member of 'Bong Chon Girl Scout' which is formed to hunt down the head of a credit union who disappears with its members’ money.

Much attention has been drawn to the movie, as Kim Sun-ah is expected to portray her trademark role as a funny, high spirited woman in 'Girl Scout.' We look forward to seeing another of Kim Sun-ah’s stunning performances in the near future.