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Korean-American Actor Henney Rises to Become One of Top Stars in Korea

2007/06/19 | 536 views | Permalink | Source

The LA Times' Bruce Wallace has written a piece on the talented and handsome Korean-American Daniel Henney entitled, "A most unlikely Seoul sensation", outlining the life of the model turned actor, and how he has risen to become one of the top stars in Korea after being introduced to viewers a mere two years ago.

According to the article, Henney, 27, has become "one of the country's most famous TV and movie stars, a heartthrob who can't go out for coffee in Seoul without attracting a (mostly squealing female) crowd".

The Times reported that Henney has admitted that he speaks Korean like a 12-year-old, and that often he can't handle Korean scripts, but he has stepped into the Korean movie industry, only to emerge as Korea's most popular movie star.

His qualities make him the ideal person to play the role of the Asian-American in Korea. He had found his "niche" according to the Times, learning to be the "cultural hybrid with Korean roots, coming in from the West and struggling to master love and relationships" in a "movie-mad country".

He has recently been cast to play a slightly different role in an upcoming film called "My Father" and this is Henney's attempt to bust out of the romantic comedy roles that have shot him to fame in South Korea.

In the movie, he plays an adopted Korean who was living in America, who goes to Korea to find his birth parents, only to discover that his father is on death row.

Henney sees this as an opportunity to peel away from the romantic comedy scene and to expand his horizons. Coming to shoot an advertisement in Korea with a single suitcase, he was "discovered" by producers and played a doctor from America in 2005's "My Name is Kim Sam-soon". He can also been seen in last year's TV series "Spring Waltz" and a in a film, "Seducing Mr. Perfect".

Being born to a Korean mother and an ethnically British father, growing up in the countryside was difficult for Henney, who received his fair share of teasing by the other kids, who saw him as an Asian. Now, living in Seoul, he has been so busy that he doesn't even have time for contact with the people of the city.

Henney hopes "My Father" will get himself noticed by other filmmakers. He has been slated to be in the Wachowski brothers' upcoming "Speed Racer" but he desires to be given a shot at being something else besides the action star. "Maybe I'm not in a position to be picky, but I don't want to go in as an action star", he says. "It's all: What kind of wire am I going to be hanging from; what kind of kick am I going to be doing; what kind of car am I going to be racing. Who hasn't seen that?" Henney says.

Henney has been quoted to have been very excited to be on the big screen in Koreatown at the opening of "Seducing Mr. Perfect" with his family there, watching, and can't wait to get on the movie screens all over America.

When asked if coming to Korea was part of a clever strategy to circumvent the American competition, Henney said, "When I look at the last two years, things look like they were planned, but the fact is it all just happened. The wheel just kept spinning. And I never close any doors, whether they open west, or open east".

By Jillee Kim

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