From Jobless Slacker to Respected Film Director
South Korean director Kim Jee-woon makes his Hollywood debut with a film that also marks Arnold Schwarzenegger’s post-gubernatorial comeback.
by STEVE HAN
In 1983, Kim Jee-woon became a college dropout after failing to show up to a class that was required for graduation from Seoul Institute of the Arts. “I had to watch a baseball game,” Kim said. “Hey, I was a big fan of the LG Twins.”
Over a game of baseball, Kim left school for good and became jobless for the next 14 years. He’s not ashamed to admit that he usually got out of bed in time to greet his mother when she came home from work. In fact, Kim said he thoroughly enjoyed bumming around for over a decade.
“Even when I was jobless, I really had no desire to work anytime soon,” Kim told KoreAm Journal, while shaking his head with a smirk on his face. “I’m the type of person who just wants to get by. I did realize that if I ever do start working one day, the precious time of being free would never return, so I wanted to read books, watch films and listen to music as much as I can. That was my way of investing in myself.”
However, Kim’s nonchalant life was turned upside down when he caused a car accident 14 years into his joblessness. He needed money badly for the first time in his life. Continue Reading »
It’s nice to see Sung Kang keeping busy.
The Korean American actor, fresh off a turn as Sylvester Stallone’s character’s unlikely partner in the action film Bullet to the Head, has been cast in Gang Related, a crime drama in which a gang member (played by The Wire‘s Ramon Rodriguez) manages to infiltrate the San Francisco Police Department and rises through the ranks, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Kang will play Tae Kim, an FBI agent and Asian gang specialist on loan to the SFPD who is wary of the main character. Continue Reading »
South Korea Brushes Off North’s ‘Final Destruction’ Threat
Voice of America
South Korea’s top national security official, in an exclusive VOA interview, says there is no cause for alarm amid a fresh North Korean threat to destroy the South.
National Security Adviser, Chun Yung-woo, says he is disappointed but not alarmed by a North Korean diplomat’s bombastic threat.
Chun told VOA’s Korean Service Wednesday that Pyongyang routinely resorts to “violent vocabulary and expressions” to issue threats of war and retaliation. So such rhetoric unleashed at an international conference is not surprising.
Survivors liken N.Korean prison camps to Holocaust horrors
AFP via Google News
North Korea’s prison camps are a closed-off world of death, torture and forced labour where babies are born slaves, according to two survivors who liken the horrors of the camps to a Holocaust in progress.
“People think the Holocaust is in the past, but it is still very much a reality. It is still going on in North Korea,” Shin Dong-hyuk told AFP through an interpreter on the sidelines of a human rights summit in Geneva.
Shin himself spent his first 23 years in a prison camp in the secretive country, where he says he was tortured and subjected to forced labour before making a spectacular escape seven years ago — and giving the outside world a rare first-hand account of life inside the camps.
South Korea faces quandary over potential human rights probe of North
The United Nations’ human rights chief declared recently that it was time for a “long overdue” investigation into what she called unparalleled rights abuses in North Korea. The probe, unprecedented in scope, could help establish whether the North’s leaders are committing crimes against humanity.
Navi Pillay’s January proposal has already drawn support from the United States. But the decision has proved sensitive in still-undecided South Korea, where leaders remain divided over whether to confront the North or try to somehow reduce tensions with it, even after Pyongyang last weekdetonated an underground nuclear device.
S. Korea urges Japan to drop event claiming Dokdo islets
South Korea urged Japan on Tuesday to cancel an event it plans to hold to promote Tokyo’s territorial claims to the Dokdo islets.
“The event is one that should not be held in the first place. I saw reports that a Japanese government figure will attend it. If that’s true, it is very regrettable,” Seoul’s foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young told reporters during a regular briefing.
According to Japanese media reports, Tokyo is considering sending Aiko Shimajiri, a vice-ministerial official and a member of the upper house of parliament, as well as 18 other lawmakers to attend the event set to be hosted by Shimane prefecture.
South Korean Director Park Chul-soo Dies in Car Accident
Director Park Chul-soo, the South Korean auteur known for sexually explicit films like last year’s B.E.D., died following a car accident Tuesday. He was 64.
The filmmaker was crossing a street in the city of Yongin early Tuesday morning when he was hit by a man driving under the influence, according to police.
Park’s death follows road accidents that killed two international filmmakers last year. Legendary Japanese director Koji Wakamatsu was struck by a car in October, and Greece’s Theo Angelopoulos was killed by a motorcycle nine months earlier.
WBW: Korean-American Style
It’s not a coincidence that more and more Korean-American singers are making their way onto these shows as K-pop has been recruiting internationally for years with America being a prime target. Even in the early years, there has always been a steady stream of talent from the States to Seoul. Today’s Way Back Wednesday will feature some of the most influential artists from back in the day who lived in America before making it big. Some were born in America, others only lived here for a few years, but they all helped make K-pop what it is today.
Newcomer Hyun-Jin Ryu seems all right to Dodgers
Los Angeles Times
While working with Hyun-Jin Ryu in the first week of spring training, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt was reminded of another top-heavy left-hander who used to pitch for the Dodgers: Fernando Valenzuela.
“He has a presence about him,” Honeycutt said of Ryu.
Honeycutt hasn’t seen enough of Ryu to draw any conclusions about how he’ll transition from the Korean league to the majors, but he’s certain of this: The 25-year-old’s oversized torso is bursting with self-belief.
Others see it too.
“He does seem confident,” Manager Don Mattingly said.
Eagles sign OT Ed Wang to two-year deal
The Eagles have signed offensive tackle Ed Wang to a two-year deal, the team announced on Friday.
Wang, 6’5″, 315 lbs, was the first Chinese player ever drafted in the NFL when the Buffalo Bills took him in the 5th round of the 2010 draft. Wang never started for the Bills but did play in six games.
“I’m excited to play here and be here with the tradition they have,” Wang said.
Korean Lunar New Year [SLIDESHOW]
San Francisco Chronicle
Simone Willets tosses an arrow while playing a game of tuho, with help from her classmate Adrien Stroumza (right), during a celebration of Seol Nal, the Korean Lunar New Year, at the Claire Lilienthal School in San Francisco, Calif. on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013. Students in the Korean-immersion program wore traditional hanbok outfits and participated in a variety of activities to celebrate the lunar new year, which begins Sunday.
Photo via LaineyGossip
No longer just on the silver screen, there could be some very real romance for Bae Doona and Jim Sturgess.
The Korean actress and the London-born Brit Sturgess worked together on the recent 2012 film, Cloud Atlas. Among their multiple roles, they played the romantically involved Tilda and Adam Ewing. The film was controversial upon release when Sturgess sported “yellowface” in a different segment to portray Korean rebel Hae-Joo Chang residing in dystopian Seoul, opposite Bae’s android character Sonmi-451.
Justin Chon, Unleashed
The actor of Twilight fame is starring in 21 and Over, a new film that may ruffle some feathers. But that’s just fine with Chon, who says it’s time to push boundaries.
story by OLIVER SARIA
photographs by ERIC SILVERBERG | styling by KAYLA MCGEE | grooming by KELSEY DEENIHAN/Exclusive Artists Management
When Justin Chon entered the boisterous eatery, Bottega Louie, in downtown Los Angeles, I almost didn’t recognize him. He melted into the crowd of lunchtime refugees from the nearby Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. His hair was neatly trimmed, and he wore skinny slacks and a red cardigan over a powder blue knit shirt buttoned to the top. Overall, a more conservative look than I had expected, save for one bold fashion choice. Slung over his shoulder, tucked underneath his armpit, he was rocking a Gucci murse—perhaps the most polarizing accessory ever invented. It takes a certain amount of guts to sport one, and I would soon find out Chon is anything but fearful.
“I think we need some rebels,” he declares. “Not everyone has to be the good little subservient Asian boy that does exactly what everybody wants them to do. This is the biggest thing that Asians need to understand: We need to accept that it’s OK to be different. And I try to push the boundaries,” he says, an air of mischief in his eyes.
It would seem that, after five years of being associated with the Twilight franchise, playing Eric Yorkie, one of Bella’s (Kristen Stewart) mortal friends, he’s grown accustomed to strong opinions, and he’s perfectly fine with that.
“As small as my part was, I was a part of something. Whether you like it or not, it’s made a mark in cinema history. It’s like ‘Star Wars for girls,’” he says, crediting Bobby Kim, cofounder of the Hundreds clothing brand, for coining that label. “And to be a part of that is an honor. Nobody can take that away from me. However sh-tty you think the movie is, I was a part of that. Not many films in history have reached that level.” Continue Reading »