Tag Archives: entertainment

frozen

Korean ‘Frozen’ Parody Goes Viral

The wildly popular song “Let It Go” from Disney’s Academy Award-winning animated classic Frozen has generated an array of musical covers by fans, but this Korean variety show’s comedic twist to the songis parody perfection.

Best known to be originally sung by Idina Menzel, this parody recreates an uncanny resemblance to the empowering scenes of Elsa unleashing her icy powers as she blasts snow from thin air and changes into her iconic blue gown.

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With a dash of lip-syncing and a whole lot of passionate facial expressions, this version’s flawless portrayal of Elsa’s struggles and raw emotions as well as her transformation from a fearful girl to confident young woman will make it impossible for audiences not to laugh.

Although not as elegant as the original and a tad bit cheesier, watch as Korean Elsa adds her own flair to this ridiculously witty and unforgettable remake of this year’s Oscar-winning best original song.

The video was published on March 15 but only went viral a couple of days ago, recently eclipsing 1 million views on YouTube.

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kyj

March Issue: Kim Yoo-Jung Was Born To Act

Born to Act

South Korea’s most famous child actress, Kim Yoo-jung, makes her U.S. debut in a horror-mystery short film inspired by a dark chapter in East Asian history.

by STEVE HAN

Fifteen-year-old Kim Yoo-jung doesn’t like scary movies. Acting since age 3, she has already starred in 15 films and 17 television dramas, but as diverse as her roles have been, horror is one genre she will never get used to.

“I watch scary movies with my eyes shut,” Kim said in Korean. “I keep my eyes closed and take peeks. I can’t really watch scary movies from beginning to end.”

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And, yet, Kim was in Los Angeles in February to film Room 731, a horror mystery short film directed by Youngmin Kim, an award-winning graduate student at the University of Southern California’s film school. The film, expected to hit the festival circuit this summer, depicts the fate of an amnesiac young girl who finds herself abandoned in a prison cell. 

The film, also Kim’s first outside of Korea, sheds light on the dark history of East Asia during World War II. Kim plays Wei, a tortured 15-year-old Chinese girl who has been traumatized from suffering at a Japanese torture camp. Asian American actors Tim Kang and Nikki SooHoo are co-starring with Kim. Kang, best known for his role in The Mentalist on CBS, also serves as the short’s executive producer.

“It was great for me that our director is Korean,” said Kim, during an interview in the lobby of The Line hotel in Los Angeles. Kim said she received instructions from the director, a South Korean native, in Korean during the filming process. “I can understand a lot of English, but just can’t speak it well enough,” she said. “When I talk to Uncle Tim [Kang], I speak to him in Korean because he understands Korean, and he’ll respond to me in English.”

If Kim was scared of watching horror films before this project, acting in Room 731 only heightened that fear. Even the set where Room 731 was filmed, Willow Studios near downtown L.A., which is often used to shoot scary movies, gave off a spooky vibe, she said. But, like a seasoned professional, she channeled that genuine fear into her performance.

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“It was so dark,” said Kim of the set. “I went in there with our director to get used to the set, and as soon as I entered, I just wanted to get out of there because it was just really scary. I mean, really. Even as the director was giving me directions, I was getting teary-eyed, and I was truthfully feeling fear as we were filming.”

Kim and her mother, Mok Sun-mi, decided she should take on the role in Room 731 not only because they thought it was a good opportunity to work in the U.S., but also because it gave the teenager a chance to learn an important history lesson. Until recently, the actress admitted she knew nothing about the premise of the film, which centers on Imperial Japan’s alleged medical experiments on hundreds of East Asians during World War II.

“I didn’t even know why or how World War II started before this,” said Kim. “I only started doing research after I was cast. I read about it on blogs and I was really shocked. One of the reasons I chose to participate in this film was actually because this film had a message. If this film never came to me, I would have known nothing about any of this.”

Because Kim started acting at such an early age, she has no memory of those earliest days of her career.

Since debuting on TV in a Seoul Milk commercial in 2004 after Kim’s mother submitted photos of her for an online contest, she has emerged as perhaps the most famous child actor in Korea. Many of her 17 TV dramas—notably Dong Yi on MBC—were aired during Korean primetime, and her filmography includes a role in internationally acclaimed director Park Chanwook’s Sympathy for Lady Vengeanceand the 2008 thriller The Chaser.

“I only realized that I was an actress later on in my life,” said Kim, who has earned the Best Child Actress Award at all three of Korea’s terrestrial TV networks—SBS, KBS and MBC—between 2008 and 2010. “I realized that, at a certain point, I’d accepted that I was an actress without really knowing how it even started. So I’ve always thought of it as destiny.” Kim, who’s currently attending her last year at Daesong Middle School in Goyang, South Korea, inevitably misses school for a large part of the year because of her career.

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“I actually feel anxious when I’m not acting,” Kim said. “Whenever I’m on a break from acting and go back to school and start to have fun with friends and classes, I start this self-doubt and ask myself, ‘What if I start to dislike acting and like school more?’ And that scared me.”

Kim is fascinated by the differences in the working environments for actors in Korea versus the U.S. She was especially surprised to see how much more protective the American film industry is for child actors, who aren’t allowed to be on set for longer than seven hours per day to ensure that they get enough rest.

“Korea doesn’t have any of those restrictions,” Kim said. “I was so used to filming for 24 hours in Korea, but over here, I actually went to bed early!  It’s impossible to get enough sleep in Korea, and I almost think that stunted my growth a little bit.”

Kim, who’s listed at 5-foot-2, has aspirations of bringing her career to the U.S. if the opportunity arises. She also has a specific role in mind that she wants to play.

“I want to play an evil role,” Kim said. “But it’s never been offered to me yet. My biggest goal as an actress is to play an evil role so well to the point where the audience would curse at me.  That would really mean that my acting was accepted and done well. I want to be a bad person.”

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This article was published in the March 2014 issue of KoreAmSubscribe today! To purchase a single issue copy of the March issue, click the “Buy Now” button below. (U.S. customers only. Expect delivery in 5-7 business days).

 
sunye

Wonder Girls Leader to Become Long-Term Missionary in Haiti

Sun-ye and husband James Park.

Rumors of an impending breakup of once wildly popular girl group The Wonder Girls hit a fever pitch this week as leader Sun-ye said she plans to serve as a missionary to Haiti for five years.

“My husband and I have decided to spend the next five years in Haiti from this July conducting missionary outreach projects,” she said, in a statement.

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Sun-ye said her fellow group members as well as her label, JYP Entertainment, “understand my decision and have given me their full support.” She added, “I hope I can pay them back for all the trust they’ve put in me.”

The announcement sparked speculation that the group would break up but JYP Entertainment said this was not the case.

“We will coordinate the members’ schedules or arrange other activities so that Sun-ye can remain with the band, even though she will be staying in Haiti,” the statement said.

Sun-ye met her husband, Korean Canadian James Park, while serving on a weeklong missionary trip to Haiti in 2011. The couple married in January 2013 and had a daughter in October 2013.

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avengers

Seoul to Shut Down Some Streets For Filming of ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’

The upcoming sequel of Hollywood blockbuster The Avengers will soon be taking over the streets of Seoul from March 30 to April 14, thanks to an agreement made between the Korean government, the Korean Film Commission and Marvel Studios.

Authorities have confirmed production of Avengers: Age of Ultron will shut down many major streets and locations that may cause quite an inconvenience for Seoulites.

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During film production, residents will have limited access to places such as the Gangnam Subway Station, Mapo Grand Bridge, Cheongdam Grand Bridge, Saebit Dungdungseom islands, and parts of the Digital Media City in Sangam-dong. Detours will be created to minimize traffic caused by the film.

Although the movie may be creating a bit of chaos in the city, Korean citizens can look forward to many major scenes of the film occurring in their capital, displaying Seoul as a modern metropolis with stunning scenery.

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They can also look forward to Korean actress Kim Soo-hyun, a.k.a. Claudia Kim, as she reportedly takes on a supporting role as a doctor accompanying Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man.

Kim recently attended the red carpet premiere of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in Los Angeles and walked the red carpet.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said Korea was a “perfect location” for their blockbuster movie because “it features cutting-edge technology, beautiful landscapes and spectacular architecture,” according to a statement released on Marvel.com.

The superheroes of The Avengers will make their comeback with the upcoming sequel set to debut in the United States on May 1, 2015 and approximately one month later in South Korea.

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Kim Soo-hyun (Claudia Kim).

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I Am KoreAm: Jason Kim

Name: Jason Kim
Age: 34
Occupation: Talent Manager
Location: Los Angeles

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Akita, Japan. I’m full Korean, but I learned Japanese first. Korean was my second language. Moved to Cali at age 7. Lived in all the heavily Asian cities like Monterey Park and Hacienda Heights.

What do you do for fun?

In my spare time, I play the drums. I play percussion (mostly the cajón and djembe these days) for a few of my musician friends in LA. And when I’m not playing music, I’m usually attending concerts. I’m a big music nerd.

What does your typical day consist of?

Well, I’m a talent representative, so my day usually consists of doing whatever I can to be value-added for my actor clients. It’s an interesting job that keeps me on my toes. And at night, I fight crime in my leotard.

A djembe, an African percussion instrument

What is a good thing happening in your life fight now?

Aside from representing my actors, I’m also developing several projects as a producer now. All the years of hard work seem to be paying off now.

Tell us about the worst moment from last week.

I can’t fix my slice to save my life. Golf really is the most aggravating sport.

Tell us about something that makes you different from anyone in the world.

Hmm … I don’t really know anyone other than myself who writes with his right hand but throws with his left hand. I’m not ambidextrous though. My body just likes to contradict itself. Maybe I should start a Facebook group and see if there are others like me.

Do you believe in ghosts?

Yes, and if you’re reading this, please stop going through my underwear drawer.

What is one thing that worries you the most?

That Kim Jong-Il and his sons will one day star in a sitcom called “Dictator and Sons,” and we’ll all be subjected to watch it on a loop.

What would you like be said at your funeral?

He defied all Asian stereotypes … in bed.

If you had to describe yourself using three words, it would be…

Smells like kimchi.

If someone made a movie of your life, what genre would it be?

A Shakespearean tragedy reinterpreted as a dark comedy, directed by Judd Apatow.

Name one of your favorite things about someone in your family.

My mother has a nice collection of eyeglasses.

If you were an animal, what would be and why?

A chihuahua. I bet that Taco Bell dog still gets royalty checks.

What are your pet peeves?

Anything written, conceived, and performed by the band Chumbawamba.

I am KoreAm and proud because…

Life would just plain suck without some gochujang.

Photo credit: Jeremy Lusk