Tag Archives: Korean drama

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LINK ATTACK: Steven Yeun, Marvel’s Silk, the Kim Sisters

Steven Yeun of The Walking Dead Thinks You’re Watching the Show Wrong
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Steven Yeun says the body count of characters is not the point of the post-apocalyptic show The Walking Dead.

steven yeun(Photo credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC)

An Island Marred by a Ferry Disaster and Sustained by Dogs
“Before a deadly ferry sinking in April, the South Korean island of Jindo was known largely for one thing: its dogs, famous for their loyalty and homing instinct.”

Mr. Sulu Wants to be Batman: The Rise of the Asian American Superhero
Paula Lee discusses possibilities of mainstream Asian American actors being casted as superheroes in blockbuster films.

K-pop Pioneers: Rare Photos of The Kim Sisters
Fifty years ago, before K-pop became a global sensation, three young Korean women formed an ensemble that shook America’s music scene.

kim sisters(Photo credit: Robert W. Kelley via The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)


22 Asian Actors Who Deserve to be the Romantic Lead

Buzzfeed compiled a list of Asian American actors who have the acting chops and charm to be a romantic leading man in film/TV.

Korean Drama Tackles Taboo Subject of Mental Illness
South Korea has one of the world’s highest suicide rates and very few Koreans talk openly about mental heath. However, a recent TV drama titled “It’s Ok, That’s Love” may open a dialogue on the taboo subject. Taking place in a mental health ward of a hospital, the drama follows the story of a psychiatrist who bonds with a successful novelist with schizophrenia and OCD.


Tong Yang Chief Gets 12-year Jail Term for Fraudulent Debt Sale

Hyun Jae-hyun, Tong Yang Group’s chairman, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for fraudulently selling debt products and inflicting huge losses on thousands of investors.

Michelle Wie Says Long Injury Layoff Was a Blessing in Disguise
Despite missing most of the LGPA season, Michelle Wie states that her time off has helped her regain focus for her upcoming tournaments.

DramaFever Bought by Japan’s SoftBank Corp.
DramaFever, an online distributor of Korean dramas and other international shows, was recently bought by SoftBank, a Japanese telecommunications and Internet corporation, for an undisclosed amount.

Lisa Ling: What I Learned as an Average Student
In the latest episode of Lisa Ling’s series This is Life, she explores the results of Robert Graham’s controversial project from the 80s, in which he tried to improve the intellectual capacity of the human gene pool by creating a sperm bank that recruited from some of the most intelligent men in the world. After meeting a couple of the offsprings from Graham’s experiment, Ling reflects on her own childhood as an average student.

president and pope(Photo credit: Yonhap)

Park Meets Pope, Wraps Up Visit to Italy
South Korean president Park Geun-hye met Pope Francis in Vatican City on Friday, reciprocating his memorable visit to South Korea (he arrived in a Kia Soul) in August.

U.S. Army Generals and South Korean Army Representatives Lay Wreath at Memorial
“U.S. Army generals and representatives of the Republic of Korea and its Army, laid wreaths at the Korean War Memorial here, today, to commemorate those who fought in the three-year-long conflict in that country.”

Marvel Reveals Asian American Female Superhero Silk
At New York Comic Con, Marvel introduced a female Asian American superhero with spider powers named Silk, aka Cindy Moon.

silk03(Photo credit: Marvel)

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Julien Kang Found Loitering the Streets in Underwear, Tested for Drug Use

by REERA YOO

French-born actor and model Julien Kang was found loitering the streets of Gangnam in his underwear on Sept. 18 and was tested for drug use by the Seoul Police, reported Yonhap.

Police found Kang approximately 1 kilometer away from his home at 3 p.m. and was reportedly wearing only his undershirt and underwear. The actor was said to be in a noticeably disoriented state of mind.

After Kang was taken into custody, the actor told the police that he’d been out drinking from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. the night before and had no recollection of what happened after he returned home, adding that he could not understand his own behavior.

The police tested Kang for drug use on Sept. 24, but the result came out negative. However, the police have put in a request to the National Forensic Service for a more precise test earlier today.

Kang’s management company, Show Brothers Entertainment, denied any drug use involved and disputed details of the witness’s account to multiple Korean media outlets.

“[Julien Kang] was in a club with a group of acquaintances and he didn’t want to refuse drinks offered to him. He kept drinking despite having a low tolerance, and the next thing he knew, he had lost control,” an agency rep told media outlet TV Report. “As far as we are concerned, the case is now closed.”

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ABC to Adapt Korean Drama ‘My Love From Another Star’

by REERA YOO

Another Korean show is getting the Hollywood treatment.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, ABC is planning to remake the fantasy Korean drama series My Love From Another Star. The network has already made a script commitment with penalty, which means that the writer will be paid a fee if the pilot is not produced.

Airing from December to February in Korea, the original series starred Kim Soo-hyun and Jun Ji-hyun, who won the grand prize at this year’s Baeksang Arts Awards. The drama was incredibly popular all over Asia, especially in China, where the show accumulated more than 2.5 billion streams during its three-month run.

ABC describes their remake as an “epic supernatural love story about a world-famous pop star, Lark, and her anti-social neighbor, James, who happens to be from another planet.” When James receives a premonition of Lark’s murder, he reluctantly intervenes in the haughty starlet’s life and inevitably falls in love with her — just as he finally gets the chance to return to his home planet, according to THR.

The creator of the original series, Park Ji-Eun, is reportedly on board to executive produce alongside Moon Bomi of HB Entertainment, the production company behind the Korean format. HB Entertainment and EnterMedia Contents will also be producing the ABC adaptation in association with Sony Pictures Television. In addition, the writing duo Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain (The 100, The Vampire Diaries, Dollhouse) will pen the scripts and exec produce.

My Love From Another Star is the latest Korean show to be adapted for this year’s development season. CBS is currently adapting the Korean medical drama Good Doctor while NBC is working on the remake of the variety show Grandpas Over Flowers.

My Love is available in its entirety on DramaFever. Below is a clip of the original Korean pilot:

Daniel Dae Kim

Daniel Dae Kim to Produce Remake of Korean Drama ‘Good Doctor’ For CBS

by REERA YOO

Last fall, Daniel Dae Kim was in talks with CBS to remake the popular South Korean medical drama Good Doctor. Now, the talks are over and the American adaptation of Good Doctor has been green-lit for production.

The series follows the story of a brilliant pediatric surgeon with Aspergers who uses his talent for solving complex cases at a Boston teaching hospital.  The untitled adaptation is one of the many projects Daniel Dae Kim is developing under the first-look deal he signed with CBS TV Studios last year.

According to Deadline, the project is written by Adele Lim, who recently served as the co-showrunner on CW’s Star-Crossed and has worked on shows like Reign and One Tree Hill. Lim will be executive producing with Daniel Dae Kim while Kim’s production company 3AD will be producing with EnterMedia, a company known for adapting formats in the U.S. and South Korea.

Last May, Kim expressed his desire to introduce South Korean content to America and told Hollywood Reporter that “good content can transcend cultural barriers.” Now that Good Doctor is being produced, perhaps Kim’s other passion project, the film adaptation of the memoir Escaping North Korea: Defiance and Hope in the World’s Most Repressive Country, will follow suit.

Below is the trailer to the original series:

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Kim Hyun Joong Summoned to Testify Over Battery Charges

by REERA YOO

Singer and actor Kim Hyun Joong has been called in for questioning regarding alleged assault and battery charges filed by his girlfriend on August 20th.

Kim Hyun Joong’s girlfriend known only as “A” pressed criminal charges against the singer for repeated beatings between May and July this year, claiming that her injuries required up to six weeks of treatment.  She also added that the two have been dating since 2012.

Dispatch, a Korean news outlet, recently published photos of the injuries “A” allegedly obtained from abuse by Kim Hyun Joong and a medical report that was submitted to the police as evidence. According to the doctor who diagnosed her, “A” sprained and bruised her shoulder joint as well as sustained bruises to her chest, arms, hip, and the left side of her face.

Keyeast, Kim Hyun Joong’s management agency, denied “A’s” claims, stating her injuries were not a result of assault but from the couple “just fooling around” and that the two have only been dating for a few months, not two years.

However, Dispatch presented counter-evidence that questions Keyeast’s statement with pictures of “A” and Kim Hyun Joong from 2012 and text messages reportedly sent by Kim that seem to further support the claim of the couple’s long-term romantic relationship.  In one text, Kim Hyun Joong apologizes for “bruising and pain” in what appears to be a reference to a physical encounter.

dispath pictures

In response, a Keyeast representative has stated that the truth will be revealed through further police investigations and Kim Hyun Joong will fully cooperate with the police. Songpa police have already finished questioning the plaintiff and are waiting for Kim Hyun Joong to return from his overseas activities to hear his testimony. Although the date is yet to be confirmed, the questioning is expected to take place early September.

Photo via ArtisKorea

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Link Attack: Kim Jong-un Upset at Weather Guys; Korean Spa In Dallas; SKorean Prime Minister Nominee, Take Two

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un gets angry at the weather guys
Washington Post

Another week, another bit of absurdity from the world’s most isolated state. A report in the Rodong Sinmun, a state-run newspaper, shows North Korea’s porky despot giving “field guidance” to the national hydro-meteorological service. Although it’s written in awkward communist jargon, the report makes clear that Kim Jong Un was not pleased.

He said that there are many incorrect forecasts as the meteorological observation has not been put on a modern and scientific basis…

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North Korea Threatens ‘Plot-Breeding’ U.N. Rights Office With ‘Punishment’
Reuters

North Korea on Monday threatened a planned U.N. field office in South Korea set up to investigate human rights abuses in the isolated country, saying anyone involved would be “ruthlessly punished”. The United Nations in March called for the field office to monitor human rights in North Korea following the release of a 372-page U.N. Commission of Inquiry report that detailed wide-ranging abuses, including systematic torture, starvation and killings comparable to Nazi-era atrocities.

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Get a Big Dose of Korean Culture While You Relax and Avoid the Heat at King Waterpark
Dallas Observer

If you haven’t been to King Spa & Sauna, you’re missing out on one of the most unique cultural experiences in Dallas. Called jjimjilbangs in Korea, these sometimes gender-segregated, sometimes co-ed bath houses offer an opportunity to detoxify (whatever that means) in ornately decorated saunas, eat Korean food, have a massage, sleep, maybe even sing a little karaoke while you’re there.

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Kim Young-sam to get doctorate from Russia
Korea Joongang Daily

Former President Kim Young-sam, who played a key role in building ties with the former Soviet Union, is slated to be awarded an honorary doctorate from the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences today.

The degree comes 25 years after Kim’s pioneering visit to the Soviet Union, the first for a South Korean political figure, which helped pave the way for bilateral ties between Seoul and Moscow.

The Shipment, The Pit, Barbican, London – Review
Financial Times

The playwright Young Jean Lee habitually sets out to challenge herself and her audience. With The Shipment, which begins as a stylistically diverse mix of discrete scenes and routines before changing gear into drama, she, a Korean-American artist, sets out to make a theatre piece about African-American identity and experience, and dares us to… what exactly? To move past the aggressive accusations of racism in the opening spoken segment, a mock-stand-up comedy sequence that leads into a first-half “minstrel show”? To consider seriously the glib final twist in the more or less naturalistic drama that takes up the latter half of the performance? To be disconcerted out of our preconceptions?

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Park Nominates Former Journalist as New South Korean Premier
Bloomberg

South Korean President Park Geun Hye nominated a former journalist as prime minister to lead a government shakeup prompted by public anger over the Sewol ferry sinking. Moon Chang Keuk, who worked at JoongAng Ilbo newspaper and teaches journalism at Seoul National University, was picked to replace Prime Minister Chung Hong Won, presidential spokesman Min Kyung Wook said today at a televised briefing. Chung offered his resignation to assume responsibility for the April 16 sinking that left about 300 people dead or missing, most of them high school students on a field trip.

Can fans unravel the Babel of the world’s TV dramas?

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CNN

A Korean TV show about an alien who arrived on Earth 400 years ago and falls in love with a modern actress becomes one of the top series watched in Hebrew and Arabic. A Thai drama about a sharp-tongued woman who ends up being the maid of a Hong Kong mafia member strikes a chord with Spanish speakers.

Viki, a site where dramas, telenovelas, comedies and movies from the globe are translated by fans, gives a glimpse into the cross section of the world’s entertainment interests. It’s where its 22 million monthly users find TV shows that have never made it on their local television sets.

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Night Market Comes to Monterey Park
LA Weekly

The city of Monterey Park has approved the first long-term city-sponsored night market in the Southland. KCM Agency, the Korean-American event production and marketing force behind Kollaboration and K-town Night Market has signed an agreement to host six-hour long public nighttime soiree at Barnes Park every third Friday of the month.

In conjunction with Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce, KCM also plans to operate the first ever public beer and wine garden in Monterey Park, with three percent of its profits going to the Monterey Park American Legion Post.

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Korean Drama ‘My Love from the Stars’ Sparks Mania in China

by CASSANDRA KWOK

The hottest Korean drama, My Love from the Stars, has taken Asia by storm, particularly in China. From sold-out fan meetings to a boom in sales for food merely mentioned on the recently-concluded SBS drama, Chinese fans just can’t seem to get enough.

China has fallen head-over-heels for Kim Soo-hyun, who plays the title character, a gorgeous, yet mysterious 400-year-old alien who falls in love with a Hallyu actress, played by My Sassy Girl star Jun Ji-hyun.

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China’s Jiangsu Satellite TV invited Kim to appear as a special guest judge on game show Super Brain on March 8. The show reportedly paid Kim approximately $500,000 for his eight-hour appearance and spent an additional $500,000 to charter a private jet and hire 600 security guards to control the massive crowds.

Chinese fans shrieked with excitement chanting “Do Min Joon,” the name of his drama character, as he made his appearance in a dapper black tuxedo very similar to his character’s style.

And the mania is not just reserved for Kim. On one episode, Jun’s character mentions that she loves chowing down on fried chicken and beer when it snows. Since then, Korean fried chicken restaurants in China have done a booming business, with accounts of three-hour lines and chicken shortages. News reports said a pregnant woman almost had a miscarriage due to binge-watching the show while eating just chicken with beer.

What exactly about this series has got China obsessed? The Chinese government is wondering the same thing. The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) members have been questioning why they can’t produce such addicting and impactful dramas much like Korea, according to the Washington Post. Some politicians have said that the rise of K-dramas in China has punctured the pride of Chinese culture.

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Kim is escorted off the private charter jet.

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Fans cheer as Kim makes an appearance on Chinese TV.

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March Cover Story: Daniel Henney Is Ready For His Hollywood Close-Up

Leading Man

Actor Daniel Henney, who first shot to fame in Korea in the hit drama My Lovely Sam Soon, is now ready for his Hollywood close-up.

story by ADA TSENG
photographs by MITCHELL NGUYEN MCCORMACK/Corbis | styling: JULIET VO grooming: ERICA SAUER @ The Wall Group | stylist’s assistants: LAURYN STONE and TESS OAKLAND

For the past eight years, Korean American actor Daniel Henney has been juggling roles on both sides of the Pacific. Adored as a heartthrob in Korean dramas and films, Henney shot to stardom after playing Dr. Henry Kim in the drama My Lovely Sam Soon, and soon after that, became a household name in Korea, with leading man roles on the small and big screens, as well as high-profile ad campaigns, like the 2005 one for the South Korean fashion brand Bean Pole International that co-starred Gwyneth Paltrow.

The Michigan-born Henney had decided to relocate to Korea in the first place because he wasn’t getting the acting opportunities he wanted in the U.S. But when he got to Seoul, he realized he had a lot to learn before he could even be competitive in Hollywood. Now that he has fame and clout in Asia, many of Henney’s American fans, who have caught glimpses of him on X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the recent Schwarzenegger flick The Last Stand or even the short-lived CBS series Three Rivers, have wondered when the actor might be coming home to America for good.

Well, the answer is: he’s home. This doesn’t mean he’s given up his jet-setting lifestyle—his next two films include The Negotiator, an action film in Korea, and F*** I’m Pregnant, a romantic comedy in China—but he has a place in Los Angeles and is preparing for the right opportunity to break into the U.S. market.

“It’s very different for me [in the States] than it is in Asia,” Henney says. “In Asia, I get [offered] a lot of great leading roles, whereas here, I get a few, but I’m not quite where I want to be yet.”

You might say a little Asian American indie film called Shanghai Calling came along at exactly the right time. In Shanghai Calling, Henney plays Sam Chao, a Chinese American attorney who is transferred from the Manhattan office to Shanghai against his will and complies only because he wants to make partner. He—and everyone else—assumes he’ll be a natural working in China because of his heritage, when in reality, he’s less “Chinese” than any of the Caucasian expats he meets abroad. His arrogant assumptions often get him into trouble, and it takes some humility (and help from the locals) to dig himself out of a potentially career-ruining mess.

Vince shirt and pants, Generic Man shoes.

The film, which was released at select theaters in the U.S. last month, earned a slew of awards at film festivals last year, including a Best Actor nod for Henney at the Newport Beach (Calif.) Film Festival. It was a confidence booster for the actor, and he is now much choosier about the American roles that he takes. Although he joined the CBS hit show Hawaii Five-0 for a guest spot in late 2012 (on one of the series’ highest-rated episodes) and has been asked to come back for their season finale, he is hesitant.

“It was a lot of fun,” he says, of the tattooed ex-con character he played, “and I was excited that the ratings were good when I was on. But I just don’t want to go out in this crazy fight scene where I get killed, you know?”

When it comes to roles in his future, he’s thinking bigger, deeper, richer. What Henney wants now is to be a leading man in Hollywood. He is not naive to the fact that, even though there are many more Asian American male actors getting meatier roles than in previous decades, they aren’t necessarily considered “leading men” just yet. He’s careful to not assume he will be the first, but is also fully aware that he certainly could be.

While Henney has had top billing in Korea for many years, Shanghai Calling is not only his first lead in an English-language film, it’s also his first comedic role.

“I’m going to do this scene, but you have to reel me back if I go too far,” Henney recalls telling director Daniel Hsia.  “Remember, [I have to be an] asshole, but [a] likable asshole.”

While filming the movie, Henney says he learned there’s no such thing as a sense of humor, but senses of humor. “I have a very dry, sarcastic sense of humor,” he explains. “I get that from my father. A lot of people don’t get my jokes. If someone asks me, ‘How was your morning?’ I might say, ‘It sucks. I ran over my dog this morning, had to take her to the hospital before I came in.’” He laughs. “And it’s not even funny. It’s really not funny. But it’s funny to me.”

Sarar suit, shirt and tie, Mezlan shoes.

Hsia’s humor is more straightforward, according to Henney, as Hsia is a seasoned television comedy writer who knows how to deliver an effective punch line or sight gag.  Therefore, they had to find a way to merge their two styles.

“I think it worked out really well,” says Henney, “Daniel [Hsia] came up with the scenes, like the one with the tea cup,” referring to a perfectly-timed joke where Sam awkwardly slurps up some tea leaves at a business meeting and tries to play it cool. “That’s all Daniel. But I was the one that came up with the amount of asshole that Sam is.”

Though he doesn’t possess Sam’s cocky self-entitlement, Henney says he identified a great deal with Sam’s character.  Having been an expat in Korea for so many years, he understood what it was like to be plopped in the middle of a culture you don’t understand. However, Henney’s experience was likely magnified because his own fish-out-of-water story transpired with the entire nation watching.

Martin Chung, Henney’s friend and longtime manager, had a front row seat to Henney’s overnight rise to fame, having known the actor since his modeling days in Asia.

Around 2005, Henney landed an Olympus camera ad opposite Gianna Jun (Jun Ji-hyun), a Korean actress well-known for her roles in My Sassy Girl and Il Mare. During the shoot, her manager told Henney about a TV show that was casting, and he set up an impromptu meeting with the casting director and director of My Lovely Sam Soon.

The role of Dr. Henry Kim, the dashing American surgeon, was small at this point—Henney still couldn’t speak Korean, so how prominent could an English-speaking role in a Korean drama be?—so he packed one suitcase, thinking he’d stay for a couple months. However, that changed once Henney was introduced to Korean drama fans.

“Literally, right after the episode aired, my phone started ringing,” remembers Chung. “They were like, ‘Who is this guy?’ Magazines, reporters, commercial clients all started calling. I thought, ‘What the heck is going on?’”

“It was pretty surreal,” says Henney. “But I never took it seriously because I didn’t realize the clout or the power of the Korean drama. As a foreigner, I thought that the quality was pretty bad. At that time, it was shot on tape. Sam Soon was one of the first dramas filmed on HD film, which was brand new at the time.”

The writers started adding scenes for Henney to capitalize on the newfound fan flurry surrounding him, but imagine being given English lines that were written by native Korean speakers. In addition to his acting duties, Henney would often stay up nights rewriting the awkwardly phrased dialogue.

“After the 14th episode, I started to realize that 40 percent of the country was watching [My Lovely Sam Soon],” says Henney. “I couldn’t go anywhere without being recognized.  People were freaking out, and it kept getting bigger and bigger, to the point where I was meeting the president. One day, I was meeting the president, and next, I was flying to London to work with Gwyneth Paltrow.”

This was an excerpt of the cover story from the March 2013 issue of KoreAm.

To read the rest of Daniel’s story and see the rest of his amazing photo spread, purchase a single issue copy of the March issue, by clicking the “Buy Now” button below. (U.S. customers only. Expect delivery in 5-7 business days).