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Jang Nara at Home in China

2005/06/21 | 337 views | Permalink | Source

Korean Singer, Actress Stars in 2 Mainland Television Dramas

By Han Eun-jung
Staff Reporter

Only a few moments remain until the clock strikes midnight but who knows when the crew will call it a day on the set of "Diaoman Gongzhu (Mischievous Princess)" in Wuxi, China.

However, even if Jang Nara, the Korean actress and singer starring in the Chinese drama, may not be getting all the rest she would like, this leading lady is still one happy princess.

After all, in just nine months Jang Nara is already playing her second lead role in a major Chinese television drama. She already finished shooting "Yinse Nianhua (Silver Era)". Both are slated to premiere this fall season on China Central Television (CCTV).

And that's not even taking into account her singing career and the album sales of her first release in China hitting the 1.2 million mark.

"Right now, I did this scene where my character jumped the gate to the house where the family that my family is enemies with lives. You see, it was to rescue the daughter who My Brother is in love with," Chang said during a telephone interview with The Korea Times from the set of "Diaoman Gongzhu".

Just last week Jang Nara was voted Most Popular Singer at the China Golden Disc Awards in the mainland China segment. The results were based on judges votes and online voting booths stationed at five Internet portal sites.

The 24-year-old starlet was the first Korean singer to pick up this award let alone be nominated.

She is also nominated in the Most Popular Asian Female Artist category at the Asia Pacific Music Awards, which will be held in Beijing on July 3.

Jang emerged on the local entertainment scene in 2001 as a singer with the release of her first album. Since then she has gone on to release three more, most recently "My Story (Naui Iyagi), which featured last winter's hit song "Winter Diary (Kyoul Ilgi)".

Coming from an all-actor family and having a background in theater training _ she is a student at Chung-Ang University _ her gift for acting was just waiting to be discovered. Starting with a lead role in MBC sitcom "New Nonstop", she went on to land roles in both TV and on the big screen.

The miniseries, "Myongrang Sonyon Songonggi" and "Nae Sarang Patjwi", which both aired in 2001, topped ratings throughout their runs. She made her feature film debut in 2003 with "Oh! Happy Day".

By the time Jang was introduced to China in 2002, the "hallyu" phenomenon, referring to the popularity of Korean pop culture abroad, had already taken hold there. Fan clubs formed in Taiwan and quickly spread to the mainland.

In September 2004, after two years of going back and forth between her home in Seoul and China, she crossed over to Beijing. There, she began shooting "Yinse Nianhua (Silver Era)", a drama that tells the stories of students at an acting school and launched a 22-city nationwide tour, which she used to make herself known and promote her music.

"You'd think that working in a totally new environment would seem tough and hard to adjust to", she said, "but it hasn't been really."

She explains this is mostly due to the simple fact that the work is something she has fun doing.

"We've got this family-like atmosphere going on here," she added, which makes working on the set more easy.

Chang said she felt relieved when she learned that Chinese dramas are often dubbed by voice actors, explaining that her Chinese is not quite there yet.

"My listening skills are still better than my speaking but I'm improving by the day. I study whenever I find time and I plan to devote more time to it", she said.

For the time being her short-term role is to finish shooting "Diaoman Gongzhu", which she has been hard at work on for the past two months. She expects that to happen in perhaps two to three weeks.

Jang, who hopes to do some work in her home country later on this year if time permits, says she will continue to keep up with the crazy schedule that asks her to switch from singing to acting and back again but at the same time wouldn't mind a little time for herself.

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