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Korean Stars in Hollywood

2007/01/16 Source

As Hollywood remakes of Korean films gained attention in 2006, the year 2007 is gearing up to showcase the growing visibility of Korean acting talent in American productions. Most notably, actor Park Joong-hoon ("Radio Star") has made his presence felt, with roles in films such as American Dragons and The Truth About Charlie. PARK's ability to handle English-speaking roles and his considerable charisma have paved the way for entry into the insular Hollywood system.

PARK is currently shooting a new Hollywood project, Bibimbap, a romantic-comedy about an Asian chef who becomes the object of a Caucasian restaurant critic's desire. It will be PARK's first leading role in a Hollywood film, and he will star alongside My Big Fat Greek Wedding's Nia Valdaros who also wrote the script. The film is being produced by Tom Hanks' Playtone.

Jun Ji-hyun ("Daisy") is in the US preparing for the lead role in a Hollywood remake of a Japanese anime, Blood: The Last Vampire. The film will be directed by Ronny Yu (Fearless), and is to be set at a United States Army camp in Tokyo during America's occupation of Japan. JUN plays the main protagonist, a girl named Saya, the last of the 'original'remaining vampires. She hunts demons and works for the United States government. It will be JUN's Hollywood debut. Hong Kong producer Bill Kong (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Abel Namias will produce the movie. Shooting is to begin as early as February.

Actor Jung Joon-ho has already completed shooting West 32nd in Hollywood. The film also stars actor John Cho and is directed by Michael Kang (The Motel), both of whom are Korean-American. , who both have Korean backgrounds. The film is about ambition, love, and betrayal involving lawyers and Korean immigrant society in New York. The film is expected to debut in the first half of this year in both Korea and the US.

Several other Korean stars are considering Hollywood projects. Actor Jung Woo-sung ("The Restless") has been offered a role in the Hollywood blockbuster Battle of Red Cliff, directed by John Woo. Korean-wave star Lee Byung-hun, with his impressive command of English, is reviewing several scripts. Variety magazine said of him, "Of all Korea's top-ranked male stars, Lee Byung-hun may be best placed to break through internationally". Meanwhile, both actresses Ha Ji-won and Jang Jin-yeong, are taking time out of their busy schedules for private English lessons.

Nigel D'Sa (KOFIC)

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