January 31, 2009

Introducing Lee Chae Young

Happen to catch Arirang's interview with Lee Chae Young earlier this morning. Dressed in over sized sweater, a headful of unkempt hair and a pair of huge black plastic framed glasses, Lee Chae Young looked like the pretty girl you will walk past at the mall.

What struck me about this young and upcoming star is the sincere way she answered the interview's questions and how comfortably she carried herself with little to no make-up, which is an act frowned upon in the entertainment industry. It is also interesting to hear her say that she the real her is coming forth in the interview when she is free from the layers of make-up . It is this remark which caught my eye.

It was refreshing to watch an interview where the star has let her hair down and speak freely. Gone are the constant need to look like a million bucks and pressure to put on the best public face lest a slip of tongue or an inappropriate facial expression gets one into trouble.

In the interview, Chae Yong shared that before hitting 30, she sets herself one goal every year. Quite a down-to-earth attitude towards life, unlike the fluffy stuff which most stars dish out during interviews. Her goal(s) for 2009 is to master the guitar as well as the English language. I am definitely looking forward to seeing her doing some lines in English for future dramas.

You can catch Chae Young in the KBS drama - Empress Chun Choo (The Iron Empress) which is currently running on KBS World.

I know that most other websites are focusing on her rather saucy shots for Maxim, however, HelloHallyu will show Chae Young as who she really came across during the interview (see photo above). So enjoy the rather 'tame' photos as well as one her publicity shot for the drama (below).

(Source: SPN)

January 30, 2009

Mr Tough Guy - Hyun Bin

The only time I saw Hyun Bin with a stubble was in the drama The Snow Queen. Then he was an unkempt boxer wannabe. He looked more unkempt than tough in that get-up. However he makes the cut with the 'tough guy' look in his latest photoshoot for the Bazaar magazine. Have to admit that he is even more manly than his already cool collected suave image. The following photos are sure to melts more hearts and win him more female fans.

(Source: Cyworld)

January 29, 2009

Kim Ha Neul the All-Action Heroine

Agent Kim on her majesty's service. Shaken, not stirred.
(Source: Cyworld)

Who'd have thought that Kim Ha Neul, who recently appeared in SBS's On Air as the super-cool superstar Oh Seung Ah, would traded in her designer wear for the rough and tumble life of an agent in her new movie Level 7 Bureaucrat.
In this action movie, yup, you are reading it correctly, Kim stars as a secret agent, a la 007 James Bond, who rides horses, fence, take on baddies with karate chops and a gun that's strapped to her thigh which comes in handy during tight situations. Check out the photo above if you have any doubt about the gun being strapped to her thigh portion.
I hope the film will be released in Singapore since it also stars Kang Ji Hwan, whose character Hong Gil Dong gave me loads of laughs when I caught it on the telly recently.

Who is this new star?

To be honest, I would have no answer to the identity of the person in the first photo if such a question was posed to me. Perhaps the face recognition part of my grey matter ain't that well developed, but seriously how many of you can honestly tell at first glance that the person is none other than our beloved YEH? Guess not too many.

I like the feel of the photos, which exudes a somewhat ethereal, dreamy and myterious feel. Once again YEH has outdone herself in a new get-up and style, one that is so unique that her fan here could not even recognise her!

Goo Hye Sun is discharged from the hospital

(Source: SPN)

The Korean media is really in love with the cast of the wildly popular KBS drama 'Boys Over Flowers'. While the constant stream of reports on the 'fabulous four, or F4' chaps in the drama are keeping female eyeballs firmly glued to their pc monitors, I have come to learn that the only 'flower' of the show Goo Hye Sun was hospitalised yesterday (28 Jan) when she injured her head while filming a swimming pool scene for the drama.

Goo apparently hurt her head while filming a scene which requires her to jump into the pool. Thankfully her injury is slight and she has been discharged today. Media reports said that she has since returned to the set to continue with the filming.

Once again, kudos to all the stars for all the sweat and blood they put into every drama.

We at HelloHallyu salutes Goo Hye Sun and wishes her good health in the new year!

January 28, 2009

Lee Min Ho is all natural

Having been touted as one of the hottest male Korean stars to look out for in 2009, it's little wonder why the media is digging up old photos of Lee Min Ho, currently starring in the new KBS drama Boys Over Flowers, and comparing them with his current looks. Based on the Cyworld pictures below, there should be little arguments about the authencity of his Takuya Kimura-isque looks.

(Source: Cyworld)

Park Yong Ha returns to the big screen with "The Scam"

Fresh from his success in On Air, Park Yong Ha's new movie, The Scam, will be released soon on 12 Feb 2009. Coming at a time when the global financial landscape is being ravaged by the credit crisis and the recent Madoff case, this movie is sure attract interest not only amongst Park's fans, but also the general public.
Here's what Park had to say about his role:

"I mostly played suave roles in melodramas, so I was drawn to my disheveled, desperate character. Also, the script was so gripping, despite my zero knowledge of stocks,'' said the "On Air'' star, who is also a popular singer in Japan. He sported a semi casual look with a crisp white T-shirt and gray suit. The 31-year-old plays his first prominent film role ever since starring in an obscure project 10 years ago ("When It Snows on Christmas'') and a supporting role "Again.''

The movie also stars Kim Min Jung, Park Huel Soon and Kim Mu Yeol.

Read the full article "Park Yong Ha Returns as Scam Artist" from The Korea Korea Times here.

Song Hye Gyo - Levi's Curvy Doll

Not letting YEH having all the limelight is Song Hye Gyo who shows off her leggy assets in her latest photoshoot, themed Curvy Doll, for Levi's Lady Style range of jeans which come studded with glittering Swarovski diamonds.

(Source: Levi's)

YEH Viviene's Foray

The Coffee Princess is all grown up!
(Source: Viviene)

YEH is appearing all grown-up in her latest photoshoot for the lingerie line Viviene. Trading her saccharine school girl innocence, YEH now spots a mature look, cool blue eyeshadow and a cleavage that would make most girls jealous.

Kinda miss YEH's youthful girliness and innocence, but everyone gotta grow up some day.

January 27, 2009

YEH to Star in Lady Castle

(Source: Edaily)

Fans of Korean drama will rejoice at the news that one of the most lovable Korean actresses, Yoon Eun Hye (YEH), will be making her long awaited return to the small screen in the upcoming drama - Lady Castle. From what I have read, the plot revolves around the story of how three sisters deal with the huge inheritance their father bequeathed to them. YEH will play the second of the three sisters.

As the drama is currently in the production phase, and the other cast members are still being finalised, HelloHallyu will provide an update on this again when more news on this drama is available.

As YEH herself would say it, "AJA!!!"

SBS Drama - On Air (2008)

(Source: SBS)

Watching SBS's On Air is akin to watching an exposé, or documentary, on the going-ons inside the Korean entertainment industry. The drama encapsulates the constant struggle between the artistic vision of the director/scriptwriter and production houses and the managers of drama artistes. It is one work which gives viewers an intimate look at the complexity of producing the dramas which all of us of have come to enjoy in our everyday life.

On Air's storyline centres around the lives of 4 persons, Kim Ha Neul, who plays a Korean superstar - Oh Seung Ah, Lee Bum Soo, who plays Seung Ah's manager - Jang Ki Joon, Park Yong Ha, who plays the role of a director - Lee Kyung Min and Song Yoon Ha, who plays the affable and sometimes eccentric scriptwriter - Seo Young Eun.

What I liked about this drama is the way how the romance between the 4 main characters were developed. The feelings among the characters were never the in-your-face, "I Love You" expressions. Instead, what viewers get are subtle hints and tender gestures which expresses the feelings of one character for another.

For example, Jang Ki Joon is always there for Seo Young Eun, from the birth of Young Eun's son to the obstacles she faced when writing the script for Ticket to the Moon, which by the way was drama which the 4 characters are working on in On Air. I shall not touch further on the relationships since saying anything more is tentamount to giving out spoilers. Just enjoy how the relationships unfolds.

Apart from the good character development, viewers will find On Air highly educational in that it shows us a great deal of how the Korean drama industry works and what makes it tick. Entertainment magazines or programmes would have given most of us have a vague idea that stars and their managing companies have a great deal of leverage on production decisions, but what astounded me was how complex and 'dirty' the dealings can get.

Whether it's real or not, I am sure Oh Seung Ah's managing company SW Entertainment gave a good characterisation of how many managing companies are dealing with the production houses in real life. So do be prepared for a lot of ugly backstabbing scenes. Frankly, I find it rather scary how the power struggles are being played out behind the scenes of all the dramas that we are watching in the comfort of our homes.

The ever sweet looking Kim Ha Neul
(Source: SBS)

Perhaps she's superstar includes being herself when she's in public, but Kim Ha Neul has won herself a new fan with her cool and collected performance as a snobbish superstar a la Snow Queenish performance, which Sung Yu Ri sadly failed to do in a similar role - Kim Bo Ra in The Snow Queen. I will definitely be looking out for her dramas in future.

Watch the drama even if your only reason is to understand why black/silver tape is always covering the brands of the vehicles used in the filming of Korean dramas. You'd be surprised at the effort, from the cast to the production team, that goes into bringing one drama to our screens.

Overall, I would rate this drama in the league of Alone In Love and Flowers for My Life, which readers of HelloHallyu would know are the dramas which both Mydaemon and I love. It may not have won the ratings contest, On Air still garners a highly respectable 8.5 out of 10 for me. I highly recommend the drama to readers who enjoys Korean drama. One cannot but have a newfound respect for the artistes and production crew behind each drama.