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The closest thing to a real Korean “world star”

Super(duper) Hallyu star Jang Dong Gun‘s recent fanmeeting (scheduled to coincide with his birthday, as many fanmeets do) reportedly attracted fans from — get this — sixteen different countries. Wow. I guess that’s a promising factoid to keep in mind when considering his upcoming role in the Hollywood flick Laundry Warrior (costarring Kate Bosworth and Geoffrey Rush, produced by the people who brought you the Lord of the Rings), for which he just finished filming in New Zealand.

The 36-year-old has returned to Korea for the first time in six months, and held his birthday bash on March 8 (his birthday’s the 7th) in Seoul’s Coex Auditorium; it’s his first fanmeeting in Korea in two years (he did hold one last March in Japan).

In attendance were a thousand fans who came from countries including but not limited to: Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United States, England, Costa Rica, and Mexico.

From Jang’s Mexican fan club: “I’m so happy to be able to meet Jang Dong Gun in person like this for the first time” and “Jang Dong Gun is really popular in Mexico.”

Jang Dong Gun showed footage he’d taken himself while in New Zealand for filming, which included not only everyday events but also him hanging out with the Hollywood film crew. The event was emceed by Kim Jae Dong, and included guests Sung Shi Kyung, Fly to the Sky, Gong Hyung Jin, Han Jae Seok, Hyun Bin, and Shin Mina.

Via OSEN

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From reading this article, you know you must be out of the loop if you haven't seen Jang Dong Gun's acting.

And, yes, I admit it. :/

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i've only seen Jang Dong-gun in Taegukgi (2004) and Typhoon (2005). None of his more recent works.

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keke @akon.. same here! i've only seen a few minutes of taegukgi, and when i did, i had never heard of jang dong gun, or won bin.

*hides in shame*

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JDG was my gateway drug into k-dramas and movies! It all started with "All About Eve"....he will always be my first love! :P You guys really need to watch "Friend"...great movie. I also liked "2009 Lost Memories"...an entertaining action movie. But if you want to really see his mad skills..."The Coast Guard".

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wow....i still have not seen anything he has been in...frankly i dont know who he is...I'm Mexican American and it boggles my mind that he is also famous in Mexico..have i been living under a rock or something??? is he really THAT good??? i feel like i have missed out on something..like akon said, i must really be "out of the loop"...now i really want to check out his work...

now that i am on the topic, the korean wave seems to have reached latin america as well.. apparently DBSK has fans there and I recently ran across a site that features spanish subs for kdramas...

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@ akon & sue: don't worry.. i'm also unfamiliar w/ JDG's work.. which makes it obvious i've been living under a rock.. but i'm excited he's in a hollywood film.. though the premise of it does sound cliche.. i'll watch it just for him.. man i wish could have been at that fan meeting.. i'm absolutely crazy about hyun bin & fly to the sky <3 <3

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What I think happens with stars that grow SO big in Korea is that newer (non-korean) fans to korean entertainment miss out because those big actors tend to stick to films and stop acting in drama series; they don't appear on variety shows because they're too busy (and variety shows are mostly the terrain of B-listers, up-and-comers, and young stars); and if they do CF endorsements those remain largely unseen outside of Korea.

So if you're like me and you prefer television series to films, for instance, you won't encounter some stars unless you actively seek them out. Jang Dong Gun is one of the biggest stars in Korea (the biggest?) -- his films really are worth watching -- but you won't see him on TV game shows and he hasn't done a drama in years.

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JDG is absloutley some one who's unknown to me .... im definaley out of the loop in that one but im gald i at least know fly to the sky. I was just waiting for some name to come up that i could relate to !

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Wow, I'm surprised to see so many people "out of the loop" with me. :D

And, Sarah, your explanation makes sense. I guess it relates to your earlier writing about big stars and variety shows. But I still feel bad for not knowing potentially the biggest Korean star.....it seems ironic considering how "involved" I feel in the K-ent scene. I feel like I'm obligated to at least watch one of his movies.

So anyone have a particularly strong recommendation? I heard some earlier but I don't think I can watch them all. :)

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keep it tat way.. its good that he acts more in movies.. more diverse roles and bigger bucks to earn! I realize he tends to act more masculine movies instead of the romance genre that most female fans adore.

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Very good acting in AAE. But please don't check him out in Promise (big production apparently). That film was a Huge disappointment. No scope to showcast any acting. The story sucks. It was painful to watch. What make a good film is the whole ensemble not just actors, even very good ones.

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Jang Dong goon is my favourite actor of all time..i really wish that he will go back by taking more roles in drama..I love him act esp in drama...
Apparently i do not like the character that he choose in the recent movies..I wish he will go back in dramas...

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never heard of him....i think i'm missing something here...be right back *goes to watch his movies*

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i think you hit it on the nose, javabeans. most of the newer kids to k-pop/culture might not know JDG b/c he's no longer on the small screen and he's older. i won't inflate him too but you guys really do need to check out some of his movies. yeah, i agree...The Promise wasn't that great.

akon...i can suggest a few movies but what type of movie are you interested in watching...action, drama?

yeli...JDG is very popular in mexico b/c his dramas were broadcasted there.

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I guess "the closest -thing-to-a-real-korean-world-star" does not goes well with most readers here. Since most of you have to take the trouble to reply and self proclaimed "I am out of loop".

I cannot comment on Jang Dong Gun star status but to me he is a great actor and a really nice person. He has not act in Korean drama for 8 years and his last movie was Typhoon that was shown in 2005. He is also a very low profile person so there are minimal news about him. So if you have not been a K-drama fan since 2001 I won't be surprised that his name might sound foreign to you. Irregardless, there are always popular stars who are willingly to appear as his guest star on his fan meeting. In 2004 was Rain, 2005 was Rain and Min Woo, 2006 was KCM plus 2 others, 2008 was Fly to the Sky and Sung Shi Kyung.I think the guest list would mean something since I don't think they will be paid to attend as guest and they only appeared to sing one song to his small group of fans. Anyway, I hope DG will continue to do movies and never return to drama again (sorry, might not goes well with a board like this).

BTW, I guess I am out of the loop too since I have no clue who Fly to the Sky was before this news. It seems like they are huge.

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JDG is a great actor. I knew about him mostly b/c I watched Taeguki and Typoon and the fact that both my parents adore the dude for one reason or another (he certainly is charimatic on screen). He does remain remarkably low on the radar considering how long he's been in the industry (no scandals, no more high profile dramas, just a few CFs, and films)....Obviously, I haven't watched enough of his works to give a serious recommendation but I cried BUCKETS for Taeguki - it was such a sad movie. It's a great movie to get a rather painful peek into the Korean War from Korea's pov, see how well JDG acts, and watch Wonbin in all his cute-ness scamper around the screen before becoming a bitter and jaded soldier. Also, the director did a fantastic job with filming during the fight scenes too, kind of reminiscent of Children of Men's "shaky hand-held, blood-splattering on the lens" technique.

Well, it's nice to see he's popular in other countries

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I am surprised to see people saying they don't know who this man is.
It is a different thing if you haven't seen his work, but surely folks have heard of his name or read his name somewhere?

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Its bothering me like crazy. how do hyun bin and shin mina known jung donggun? were they ever costars? someone?

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Oh my gosh thats JDG? I did not recognize him in the first picture. He still looks YOUNG? and SEXY? *swoon. I love him in "all about eve" that was the first ever Korean drama I watched and I fell for his personality instantly. And now knowing that millions of other people are crazy about him too? thats silly...ok all the ladies out there....you cant have him.....hes taken by ME. *hiss
Sorry...bare with me ... JDG makes me act that way...im normally ... normal. ^^

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I honestly did not know that Jang Dong Gun is unknown to this many people. He is kinda a 'symbol' of K-drama and movie industry to me, probably because I have been following this field for quite a while. Its understandable though, almost all the A-listed Korean actors who helped creating Hallyu disappeared from Korea recently, including JDG, Lee Byung Hun, Lee Young Ae and so on... If you started watching Korean dramas in 2001-2002 or after that, you wouldnt get many chances to see them...

Im a fan of LBH myself, but I agree with others in this thread, JDG is an amazing actor. He doesnt age at all and even becomes hotter and hotter when he grows older. If you wanna start, I'd recommend All About Eve (his latest drama), Taegukgi or Friend. If its possible, watch Models and Medical Brothers as well, although its kinda hard to find these old series...

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i like them both too (especially Lee Byung Hun). both are amazing actors and i find them very intelligent and humble (based on the few interviews of them that i've watched and read). other than those movies mentioned already, i'd recommend also Nowhere to Hide and Holiday in Seoul. for the movie Nowhere to Hide (which is directed by Lee Myung Se who did Duelist and M), JDG won best supporting actor in the Blue Dragon Film Awards in, i think, 1999.

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Does anybody know how old he is? He has not changed much since the drama "all about eve" thats just my opinion...maybe gotten thinner...which i'm a bit worried about.

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^^He's 36 years old. Born in 1972, same as Bae Yong Jun. I adored Jang Dong Gun ever since All About Eve, and still do. This man is simply classy, humble, a great actor and perfect gentleman. He is the pride of Korea not just for his Adonis looks but for his whole package. Jang Dong Gun is like the Cary Grant of Korea.

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Stars like Jang Dong Gun, Lee Byung Hun and Lee Young Ae are kind of the model for the K-drama system. Develop your craft in your early-mid 20s on TV soaps, and then as you approach the late-20s make a push for a serious film career. Who knows? Maybe ten years from now, Yoon Eun Hye may become the most popular actress in Korea.

Then there are actors like Song Kang Ho (who has higher drawing status than even JDG), Choi Min Sik and Moon So Ri who've worked almost exclusively in film. Almost invisible to the international K-drama audience.

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He's wonderful. Really one of the best.

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Not many people in these comments have mentioned 'The Coast Guard'. That's one of his finest performances, even though the movie itself is biased against the Korean military (which bothers me). But see it for JDG, you should. He's sooooo excellent in that.

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God, it shames me to admit it, but I do NOT know this guy...The only person I knew from the line-up was Hyun Bin (Huge MNIKSS fan here--sidenote: the guy's HOT).

I didn't realize who the heck he was until my 21 yrs old cousin looked over and uttered: "OMG, is that HIM?" Turns out she actually saw his dramas when he was up-and-coming and love him every since then. I had absolutely no idea who he is.

In all honesty, I think if stars want to get wide mass popularity outside of Korea, or actually Asia, it's best to do dramas. Movies gains the most international attention with critics, ect. ect. but the mass population outside of Korea DO NOT watch Korean movies....unless it's super-hyped up. My cousin, for one, watches all Korean dramas that comes her way but only occasionally pick up the odd Korean movie.

I didn't even know some of these guys were Hallyu stars until someone told me. But the Hallyu craze that I know and love deal with up-and-coming stars like YEH (Goong) and less with older dramas. It's A) Because I love romantic comedies, not action/drama or melodramas, B) Because I can't be bothered to find old dramas that are now hard to get. I think the old Hallyu craze is over and the new one's beginning. From melodramas to action and/or romantic comedies....

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JGD and Chae Rim are popular in Mexico because was a hit All about eve and all the people love booth Chae and Jang, i buy aae four days back and love it, was very succesful that kdrama, but no only Jang we love much CHAE RIM too.

Sorry Bad English.

En Español les digo que si son muy queridos en Mexico tanto Chae como jang y todo gracias a All About Eve, que es el Drama Koreano mas visto y repetido en la historia de los Dramas Koreanos, y no solo en Mexico en sudamerica paises como Peru son afortunados de gozar estos programas, aparte la fama es reciente porque apenas en el 2004 pasaron estos dramas y hasta la fecha los siguen repitiendo, asi que VIVAN JANG ANDD CHAE.

LINKS Mexico
http://groups.msn.com/chaerim/clubdefanschaerimmexico.msnw

http://mx.msnusers.com/ChaeRim/_whatsnew.msnw

http://mipagina.americaonline.com.mx/pecheralda77/alleva.html

And more.

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i love jdg! definitely one of my favorite actors...and i don't think he will be replaced by any of the newer actors in my favor at all. charisma, humility, great acting chops. doesn't hurt that he's easy on the eyes, too. if you don't know him...get to know him! but like the above posts said...avoid promise. no one could have saved that movie. :( i'm watching his new movie regardless of quality. that's how much i love him!

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really like JDG as well as song hye gyo. can they make a film together. They both act naturally and they're so popular in the Philippines.

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the philippines will be making their own version of all about eve as they just bought the rights to it... hopefully they can do justice to the show coz it was well made and was a big hit back then when it was originally shown there... for those of you who havent watch the old all about eve english movie go see it itw as in black and white and the girl was really sneaky and deceiving in the old fashion way but really well made movie and yah JDG WOW

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i heard of JDG first time when i saw All About Eve -- and javabeans is right if you watch more of Kdramas then chances are we won't see Korea's big stars like JDG who made more films or movies than dramas. I believe the only drama he did was AAE but I wish he'd do more dramas! He's one of my fave K-actors! Look at his face and all angles are perfect in my opinion! I just don't know why his heart hasn't been captured by anyone in Korea (be it in entertainment or outside).

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I love JDG! He's such a big star and my only fave Korean actor! He's well loved by Koreans and non Koreans as well because he's beautiful inside out. As Kim Soo Ro, his co star in AGD, more than his good looks, JDG's traits are the best!

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