Song Kang-ho Wins Best Actor at HK Film

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

HONG KONG _ The South Korean film "The Host" shone at the Asian Film Awards yesterday, grabbing four awards.

"The Host" won Best Film, Best Cinematographer and Best Visual Effects awards. Its main actor Song Kang-ho won the Best Actor Award. The Best Director award went to Jia Zhangke of China with his film "Still Life".

Song, who is immensely popular in Korea, is relatively unknown to foreign fans. Thus, there had been much speculation that K-pop star Rain might well win Best Actor.

But Rain seemed humble about his prospects or his acting career in a news conference held earlier in the day.

"I blush when I hear someone calling me 'world star' or something", Rain told The Korea Times yesterday after the conference at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center (HKCEC). "I think there is still a long way to go before reaching that stage. But I have strong faith in myself and I'm working hard to make it happen soon".

He arrived here on Monday with female costar Lim Soo-jung and the director of his first film "I'm a Cyborg, but That's O.K". Park Chan-wook. They attended the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong International Film Festival and the inaugural Asian Film Awards presentation where the two actors had been nominated in the best actor and actress category.

But for the first screening of "Cyborg" held yesterday as it was one of the opening films of the festival, tickets were sold out in just 30 minutes. "Cyborg" opened in South Korea last December, and was also invited to the Berlin International Film Festival in the competitions section and garnered the director the Alfred Bauer Prize. It is now opening in other Asian countries.

And on his arrival, Rain met thousands of his fans from Hong Kong and neighboring countries.

When he walked on the red carpet to the main venue of yesterday's event, teenage girls greeted him with joyful shouts and signs with "I Love You, Rain" written in Korean.

The film, a peculiar romantic comedy set in a psychiatric ward, is Rain's first outing on the big screen. When acting, he uses his real name, Jung Ji-hoon.

In the film, Rain plays Il-soon, a caring loony who believes he can steal other people's talents, who falls for Young-goon (Im), who believes she is a cyborg.

He is now carefully choosing his next film, reading many scripts, and said it would be a blockbuster where he can play a character similar to his image.

But at the same time, Rain has been focusing on his music career to advance to the North American market.

"Music is the most important thing for me, and as one of many singers who want to Make It Big in the U.S., I know I should be outstanding at what I do best", he said.

He has been holding world tour concerts, titled "Rain's Coming", appearing last December in Las Vegas _ the tour spans 35 cities in 12 countries, With his busy schedule, he is often involved in scandals and rumors in many countries, which he argues are groundless.

"I always stay focused on what I do. Sometimes I meet with groundless criticism or hear rumors in many countries. I don't really care about all these, but it is definitely a sad thing", Rain said of the recent negative news coverage of him in China and Vietnam.