Kwon Sang-woo & Song Seung-heon promote Destiny

A preview of Destiny (숙명) was held at 4.30pm today (March 17) in Seoul. And yes, all you fan girls out there, the two studs of the show were there to promote the film.

Kwon Sang-woo and buddy Song Seung-heon, along with Park Han-byeong, are the leads of the action flick.

Destiny studs

It is scheduled for release in South Korea on March 20.

Check out what transpired during the special preview:

Song Seung-hun arrives…and the girl on the right quickly
calls her BFF to tell her she’s just “two feet away from a stud!”

The movie star is unperturbed and immediately sets out to
look for his good friend and co-star Kwon Sang-woo…

Who is in the midst of pulling up his pants?!?! Oppa, are you getting
thinner? The pants don’t fit the way they used to, huh?

After making sure Sang-woo oppa will not be flashing
the fans anytime soon, the three leads step onto stage and give
themselves a hand for all the hard work put into the film

But all the clapping doesn’t quieten the pre-preview jitters as
Sang-woo Oppa is clearly nervous about the screening of his new movie.

Were you there with Oppa? Is the movie any good?

I can’t wait to watch it. Will it be coming to Malaysia? Somebody, please bring it in…and invite Oppa to launch the flick too. That would be awesome!

More on Destiny:
Kwon Sang-woo – first-time villain
Filming the movie – A Destiny
Watch out for Destiny – the movie
Destiny studs on Movieweek cover
Korea’s Brokeback Mountain?
Shirtless Kwon Sang Woo poses for Destiny

Source & Pics credit: Newsen

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Bad Love ratings, rants and behind-the-scenes

Most of us know that the previously much anticipated KBS drama Bad Love received less than encouraging ratings when it was screened in South Korea earlier this year. It was Kwon Sang-woo‘s return to the small screen after a 2-year hiatus and many were expecting a good watch, but most were disappointed. They left the drama high and dry without so much as a backward glance.

I bet Kwon Sang-woo (KSW) was hoping that it will generate a lot of (good) hype in his homeland and this drama would be a vehicle to further secure his #1 spot as Korea’s most wanted actor. Alas, that did not happen. In fact, KSW has dropped from the #1 spot on HanCinema’s most wanted top 10 actors list to #5 (at the time i am writing this entry).

Even the much publicized sauna scene in episode 4 where Kwon Sang-woo and all his six-pack glory was revealed could not save the drama from its low ratings. Although we do not underestimate the power of those 6-packs as episode 4 had the highest ratings in all the 20 episodes.

Bad Love’s much talked about
sauna scene in episode 4

But it was not all bad for actor Kwon Sang-woo as he reportedly pocketed a cool KRW100 million (USD100,265) per episode for Bad Love. This makes him the second highest paid actor in a Korean drama after Bae Yong-joon in The Legend.

Personally, i think Kwon Sang-woo gave a powerful performance in this drama. From episode 1 right up to the end, he became the rejected and passionate lover Kang Yong-gi. It was everything else surrounding him that dragged the drama down.

A lifeless leading lady – i mean Lee Yo-won could have added more energy to her portrayal of the woman caught in the middle of a love triangle. She could have made the character more likable and less irritating. Her acting got so bad at one point, that i was wondering if it was partly the director’s fault.

Another major setback for this drama is that it had an inexperienced director and writer. Bad Love was directed by Kwon Gye-hong (pictured left) who is rather new and has only directed minor dramas since 2004. This is her first time directing a drama of this scale.

Writer Lee Yu-jin lacked the skill to come up with a plot that’s believable as well as moving. She has written dramas and films since 2001 but most of her work has been horror dramas and movies. Hmmm…maybe that’s why lead actress Na In-jung acts like a zombie most of the time. ;-)

Without a great team behind the scenes, it would be hard to pull off a successful drama.

But enough of what i think about Bad Love, what did K-popped! readers think? We conducted a poll on this blog and here are the results. A total of 208 votes were received.

27% of our readers thought that the drama was bearable only because of leading man Kwon Sang-woo’s presense. Personally, i voted for this too and would have stopped watching long ago if it wasn’t for Kwon’s engaging performance. It was obvious the man gave his all to the character.

26% of K-popped!’s readers claimed that watching the 20-episode Korean drama was like a rollercoaster ride. It has its ups and downs. There are episodes where you would be very satisfied, and there are those episodes that which you’d want to wring the lead actress’ neck.

21% of readers really love the drama and said that it was one satisfying watch and it is one excellent drama. Some might even be waiting for the DVD box set to be released so they could purchase it and watch this drama again at their leisure. Yes? :-)

15% totally dissed the drama saying that watching it is a waste of time, and 9% of our readers have not heard of it before.

Here i leave you with Bad Love out-takes and behind-the-scene photos.

The set of Bad Love where most of the in-door scenes were filmed

Tall and handsome KSW reviewing the scenes with director and crew

All friends: Everyone is chummy behind-the-scenes

KSW’s aide and wardrobe assistant follows him around.
Ahh…i wouldn’t mind that job.

It was freezing cold when they filmed the drama in winter

Lee Yo-won and KSW filming a scene and oppa’s
nose gets runny because it’s so cold

Bad Love cast and crew met up for a post
filming party on Feb 12, 2008

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Shadows in the Palace in Malaysia cinemas

The 2007 mystery/thriller/horror Shadows in the Palace (or Goong-nyeo 궁녀), which stars Park Jin-hee (War of Money) is set to invade Malaysian cinemas in April.

The Joseon Dynasty period film is about a lady-in-waiting (or goongnyeo) named Wolryung (Seo Young-hee) who hangs herself by the rafters. The palace medic Chunryung (Park Jin-hee) conducts an autopsy on the body and suspects foul play as she discovers evidence that Wolryung had a baby.

Hangin': Tired of being bullied by the concubines, a goongnyeo
decides to…er, hang.

Chunryung sets out to investigate the murder and unmask the deceptions within the palace but soon comes face-to-face with a veiled past that is kept secret by those who have far more power than she had expected.

Local movie distributor AOE Worldwide gives a tentative release date of April 24. The movie is directed by Kim Mee-jeong. Check out the Shadows in the Palace trailer (no subtitles) below…creepy, creepy.

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K-popped! Trio’s Easter fun

Easter is just around the corner so the K-popped! Trio visited Rooster’s virtual “pet shop” and got a whole bunch of cutesy Easter bunnies to join us at our playground!

Personally, I’d prefer the company of the Energizer Bunny *wink, wink*…but, beggars can’t be choosers ;-).

Bunnies: It’s Easter!

Now that we’re all dressed for Easter, we’re inviting all readers to join us in on the fun!

While Rooster – in her Bunny costume – chomps off the heads of ‘lil bunny chocs, Orchid is busy hiding Easter eggs at strategic places in K-popped!. I’ve found an Easter egg already, ain’t it cute?

Have a happy Easter everyone!

What the K-popped! Trio have been up to:

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Miss Korea’s gown at the 2008 Miss Universe pageant

Here’s a sneak peak at what reigning Miss Korea Lee Ji-sun will be wearing at the 2008 Miss Universe pageant in the evening gown category.

Lee Ji-sun in a white figure-hugging evening
dress with elaborate train

It isn’t carved in stone that she will definitely be wearing this dress, but word on the Internet is that this will be it!

What do you think? Absolutely fabulous or she better find a new gown pronto?

I think the gown itself is quite nice, but the over-elaborate train attached to it has to go. It reminds me of feathers or some other sort of poultry. I like my gowns to be simple and elegant.

Miss Universe 2008 – the 57th Miss Universe beauty pageant, will be held at the Crown Convention Center (Diamond Bay Resort) in Nha Trang, Vietnam on July 14, 2008.

Miss Korea, please be modest
Miss Korea 2007

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Rain’s Ninja Assassin is actually Ninja Scroll?

Thanks to K-popped! reader lemonade lagoon, we learned that the buzz on the Internet is that Rain’s Ninja Assassin may actually be Ninja Scroll, the Japanese action anime written and directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri.

Cool-as-Ice Ninja: Rain (left) to portray Kibagami Jubei?

Ninja Scroll: The Movie

The movie was released on June 5, 1993 (Japan) and it only reached the States on Dec 6, 1996.

The main character is Kibagami Jubei, a lone ninja for hire who gets entangled in a web of events surrounding Lord Gemma, a nemesis from his past.

Hai-yah!: Jubei in action

In Jubei’s quest to stay alive and uncover Lord Gemma’s nefarious plans, he has to battle the Eight Devils of Kimon. He isn’t alone in his quest and is supported by Kagero, a ninja woman and Dakuan a wrinkled, vertically-challenged monk.

Femme Fatale: Kagero (right) and Jubei talk about their situation.
Ooh, is romance in the air?

The anime contains graphic violence, nudity and sexual situations – not at all appropriate for the young ‘uns. I watched it yesterday.

Ninja Scroll: The Series

A 13-part series that is directed by Tatsuo Sato. I’ve not watched the series, but it is said that mercenary ninja, Jubei, is tasked with guarding the Dragon Stone and to protect the Priestess of Light from the Hiruko Clan and the Kimon Shu.

The series: Distributed on DVD

Vertically-challenged monk Dakuan lends a helping hand, along with a thief named Tsubute.

Character design: The artwork here is different from the original movie.
It’s by Takahiro Yoshimatsu.

The Series is said to take place some time after the film.

If you’re interested, you can read about the Ninja Scroll series at the official website.

The Rain connection

Now, what has all that got to do with the Energizer Bunny?

Well, a peek at the casting call for “Ninja Assassins” shows that the filmmakers are looking for (among other roles) a “Teenage Jubei, Male, 15-17yrs”.

By using our powers of deduction, we figured that Rain is set to portray the cool-as-ice warrior Jubei and they are looking for a teenage actor for a flashback sequence.

However, the other characters mentioned in the casting call do not seem to reflect the characters in the series or movie. Ozunu, Sadaharu and Kiriko are wanted in the casting call, but I don’t see the names in the movie or series’ cast list. Maybe Ninja Scroll aficionados could help enlighten us on this?

If the filmmakers are indeed making Ninja Scroll or a flick inspired by it, then my guess is they are making a “prequel” to the movie and series, showing Jubei’s early years and how he turned into the ultra-cool lone ninja for hire. Egg-cellent!

What do you think?

Source: K-popped! reader lemonade lagoon
Pics credit: Newsen, Ninja Scroll website, & Freebase Media

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‘Likable or Not’ actor Kim Ji-suk shows off

KBS Global’s daily drama actor Kim Ji-suk is said to be fluent in English. Kim plays the owner of Bonjour Food’s son in the drama. Although he is the boss’ son, he had to work his way up. In a recent episode of “Likable or Not” which aired on March 13 (in South Korea), Kim’s character was interviewed for a permanent job (or higher position) at his father’s company. During the interview, he introduced himself in fluent English.

In one of the coming “Likable or Not” episodes, you will get
to hear Kim Ji-suk speak fluent English…

His fluency in the language has sparked interest in viewers. Speaking good English, without the thick slur or accent is a precious commodity for Korean actors.

What is Kim Ji-suk’s secret? During junior high, Kim has spent some time in Great Britian. Later, when he returned to Korea, he took it upon himself to pick up another language which is German!

Wow! Kim Ji-suk speaks Korean, English and German.

For those who have seen this particular episode of “Likable or Not”, what did you think of his English? Is he really good or was it all hype?

Source & pics credit: Empas

Likable or Not stars to play lovebirds to the max
Is Han Ji-hye Likeable Or Not?
‘Likeable or Not’ tops ratings

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Jeon Ji-hyeon’s Laneíge story

Jeon Ji-hyeon, Laneige model from Jan 2004 to June 2008

Back in 2004, Jeon Ji-hyeon/ Gianna Jun was selected by Korean cosmetic brand Laneíge as its main model, joining the ranks of Lee Na-young.

2004: Ideal Star Rogue

Jeon was picked because of her “lively, healthy and irresistibly attractive” image.

2005: Stylish Body Smoother

Jeon’s representation came under the slogan Everyday New Face!, which is in sync with the brand’s efforts to meet the needs of young women who seek something fresh and new everyday.

2006: Glamorous Rock Star

Laneíge, which is under the Amore Pacific umbrella, believes that Jeon is a trendsetter with an image that aptly represents women in their 20s – the main consumers of Laneíge products.

2007: Fall Collection – Snow Crystal Layered

“As an actress, I’m flattered that people say I’m pretty. However, I feel awkward agreeing to that statement,” Jeon is quoted in a Laneíge press release.

“I’m trying not to be too proud about being chosen as a model in case everything around me disappears. I always think that I’m not there yet and lack something in order to push myself to do better,” she added.

The latest Laneíge campaign headed by the My Sassy Girl star is The Secret of Snow Crystal range. (Advert for Snow Crystal Dual Foundation below).

Since Laneíge means “snow” in French, the make-up line bases its various products on the different forms of snow – from the crystalline snowflake to melted “crystal” water.

Jeon, who will be debuting in Hollywood this year in director Chris Nahon’s Blood: The Last Vampire, will cease to represent Laneíge in Spring.

Song Hye-kyo to represent the beauty brand from July 2008 onwards

From July 2008 onwards, Korean beauty Song Hye-kyo will replace Jeon as the face of Laneíge. The Hwangjiny actress is set to represent the brand’s Snow Spring Collection: Snow Bloom.

Laneíge Malaysia
Laneíge International

Pics credit: Laneíge International

New Laneíge model struts her stuff
Song Hye-kyo is the new face of Laneige

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Hallyuwood films sweep into Hollywood

While surfing for all things Korean, I stumbled upon some articles on Korean movies being remade in Hollywood.

Movies such as Addicted, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, My Sassy Girl and A Tale of Two Sisters are getting a Hollywood version of their own.

Il Mare (2000) – The Lake House (2006)

However, there’s a Korean flick which has already been remade in Hollywood, and it stars none other than hottie Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock.

Yup, I’m talking about the 2006 fantastical romance The Lake House, which is a remake of Shiworae/ Il Mare (2000). The original version stars Lee Jeong-jae and Jeon Ji-hyeon.

Fantastical romance: Shiworae/ Il Mare (left) and The Lake House

I have not seen the original Korean movie, but being a Keanu Reeves fan, I made a beeline for The Lake House when it opened.

The story is about an architect and a doctor whose romance transcends time and space. He is from the past – 2004, while she is from the present – 2006 (at that time). They communicate with letters sent through a special letterbox by the lake house.

Addicted (2002) – Possession (2008)

Meanwhile, Lee Byeong-heon’s thriller Addicted (2002) is also being remade. It will be called Possession and stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and Lee Pace.

I’ve seen the original Lee Byeong-heon/ Lee Mi-yeon version and it is good albeit a little creepy.

Creepy thriller: Addicted (left) and Possession

The story revolves around two brothers, the elder one is already married. Both brothers are involved in separate road accidents on the same day and when the younger brother regains consciousness, he mysteriously develops traits and characteristics of his elder brother! Did a soul switch occur?

The Hollywood version, Possession, is reportedly being previewed in the US in March 2008 and a quick check at revealed that the movie’s release date has not been announced.

Addicted review here!

My Sassy Girl

Not much information on this remake. All I know is that Elisha Cuthbert is taking on Jeon Ji-hyeon’s role in My Sassy Girl.

Cha Tae-hyun’s character will be played by Jesse Bradford and the film has apparently completed filming. It will be released in the fall of 2008.

I’ve seen the original 2001 flick and while the movie got a little long-winded, it’s unexpected and pleasant ending made it all worthwhile.

My Sassy Girl review here!

A Tale of Two Sisters

The US version is currently in post-production and Arielle Kebbel and Emily Browning play the titular sisters. It is set for release in the fall of 2008.

Family affair: A Tale of Two Sisters original movie poster (left)
and a movie still from the US remake

The original 2003 version stars Moon Geun-young and Im Soo-jung. It’s about two sisters who return home after a stint at the mental hospital. However, strange things start to happen at home after their return.

A Tale of Two Sisters review here!

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

Apart from that, Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron recently announced that she will be making a remake of Korean thriller Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005). Theron is reportedly starring in and directing the Hollywood version.

The original stars Lee Young-ae as a convict who is wrongfully imprisoned for 13 years for the kidnap and murder of a 6-year-old boy. When she is released, she hunts down the man (played by Choi Min-sik, the protagonist in Old Boy) who is really responsible for the boy’s death.

The film is the 3rd installment of director Park Chan-wook’s popular Vengeance Trilogy. The other two are Old Boy and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance.

Like Korean movies? Check out K-popped! Movie List

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White Day and Black Day

I just found out an interesting Korean culture. One month after Valentine’s Day i.e. on March 14, they celebrate White Day (화이트데이).

In Korea,
Valentine’s Day is a day for females to present chocolate gifts usually to a member of the male gender as an expression of love. On White Day, the men who received the chocolate on Valentine’s Day are expected to return the favour by giving gifts, usually more expensive to the women.

Black Day (솔로부대) is celebrated one month after White Day which is April 14. On this day, single people go out together and eat noodles with black bean sauce called Jjajangmyeon (짜장면).

Well, if a lady did not give you chocolates on Valentine’s Day and you have no sweetheart to give expensive gifts to on White Day…then go eat black black noodles on April 14! Over here in Malaysia you can eat “Hokkien mee” instead of Jjajangmyeon. ;-)


Now, have you heard of White Day and Black Day? I have not heard of this before one of our readers Clammy mentioned it, and our Korean language teacher further elaborated on this.

White Day is also celebrated in Japan and Taiwan. It actually originated in Japan.

Today is White Day! Did you get any chocolates or gifts? ;-)

Reference: Wikipedia
Artwork credit: Rooster