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'Typhoon' Star Up to New Challenges

2005/12/13 | 96 views | Permalink | Source

Actor Jang Dong-gun Plays North Korean Pirate in New Blockbuster Movie

By Han Eun-jung
Staff Reporter

Campus hunk, basketball player, fashion model, cab driver, medical doctor and soldier are just some of the roles actor Jang Dong-gun has played in his 13-year career.

Today fans will see him take on a new character, a North Korean defector determined to take revenge against the country he believed in but was rejected by, in "The Typhoon", which opens in theaters nationwide.

At the press conference following last week's media screening, the actor described his newest role to be the ultimate one, in which he combines the out of the ordinary, tragic and masculine characters he portrayed in his most recent pieces like Kim Ki-duk's "The Coast Guard" or blockbuster war epic "Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War".

Jang's character Sin is a pirate who is the only surviving member of his family after they are killed as a result of a failed attempt to defect to South Korea, seeks revenge. South Korean naval officer Kang Se-jong, who is played by Lee Jung-jae, must try to stop Sin taking revenge, as the story progresses the two men strike up a kind of relationship.

Debuting at the age of 20, when he was discovered in an annual talent search organized by Munhwa Broadcasting Company, one of the three major national television networks, the 181-centimeter-tall heartthrob has put out work that has proven he is more than just a handsome face.

Following his earlier few years doing trendy soap operas, such as "Model" and "All About Eve", at a time when his popularity was soaring, he took time off to study drama at the Korean National University of Arts.

When he made his comeback, he wasn't only more book smart but ready to take on the challenge of expanding the scope of his roles.

It was with 2001's Friend (Chingu), which was shot under the direction of Kwak Gyeong-taek and who happens to be the director of "The Typhoon", when critics starting taking notice. The works that followed were also met with positive reviews, and his efforts were eventually recognized with his winning the Best Actor honor at the 2004 Blue Dragon Awards for his portrayal of a young man who would do anything, even put his life on the line, for his younger brother in "Taegukgi".

However Jang, who also stars in Kaige Chen's latest work The Promise, which is awaiting its U.S. release, says that though Hollywood is something he would someday like to experience, it is not his ultimate goal.

"Hollywood means meeting with a wider audience. A better environment, good scripts and a whole different perspective of how Asians are perceived exists there. But I must prepare myself for the day when I come across the perfect opportunity", he told the Yonhap News Agency in a recent interview.

As for his status as a top "hallyu (Korean wave)" star, he said while he considers it an honor, he feels obligated to always stay true to the basics.

"I try not to chase after the money or popularity. I think of what is fundamental in being an actor, and as an actor I never let myself forget that I must deliver through the screen, because when I do that everything else follows".

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