Chungmuro/Film News
One fine day with My Dear Enemy
by | August 26, 2008 | 13 Comments

“Cannes queen” Jeon Do-yeon reteams with “Chungmuro’s blue chip” Ha Jung-woo in a new movie (they’d previously both acted in the drama series Lovers in Prague), directed by Lee Yoon-ki (Ad-lib Night). While the direct translation comes to “A Fine Day” [멋진 하루], My Dear Enemy has been selected as the English-language title.

The film held its press conference on the afternoon of August 26 at Seoul’s Artsonje Center, where indie band Ibadi (featuring lead singer Horan of Clazziquai) took the stage for a performance. (And Jeon sure looks radiant — maybe it’s her pregnancy?)

The story is described as a departure from the typical romance formula, and centers around an odd day spent between two former lovers. The woman (Jeon) has no job, no boyfriend, and is past the ripe old age of 30; she meets with her ex because of a money issue and the two spend a weird day together. The film opens September 25

After her Cannes Best Actress win for Secret Sunshine, Jeon’s international profile has risen, prompting questions of whether that translates into ambitions to act abroad. She answered:

“I’ve had a few offers for foreign films, but I thought of how difficult it is acting in Korean, and how difficult it would be acting in another language. I talked about this jokingly with [Sunshine co-star] Song Kang-ho, but we both came to the conclusion that we don’t have that kind of confidence. We don’t even dare dream of it.”

Thus spake two of Korea’s most acclaimed actors — finally, a voice of reason.

(Question: Do you prefer keeping additional photos such as these behind the cut, or on the main page? I realize it may make loading marginally faster to put photos beyond the jump cut of a post, but let me know which you prefer. Speak now or forever hold your peace.)

Jeon Do-yeon, Ha Jung-woo, director Lee Yoon-ki, Ibadi with lead singer Horan:

Via Star News


13 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Liv

    While I agree that performers should know their limits, I dont have a problem with them pushing their boundaries either. Maybe not all performers have successfully crossed-over but having the confidence to try is an admirable trait IMO. So maybe Rain’s big international debut hasnt gone as planned, but he’d have never have known if he didnt try. And neither will these two

  2. belleza

    Let’s put it this way. I didn’t have a problem with either Jackie Chan or Jet Li crossing over by staying in typical chop-socky roles. Or even Zhang Ziyi reinforcing 1950 stereotypes of “dem exotic Oriental women.”

    Now, I would have had a problem if Tony or Maggie (who herself won a Cannes in a film directed by her French ex-husband), both who are truly worldy and fluent in English, had done that. That would also apply for Jeon Do-yeon and especially Song Kang-ho. But, then again, I’m Asian American, and as an Asian American, my voice in whatever Asia does with America is overrated. We’re not working with them. We’re in competition with them.

    And speaking of crossover angst, apparently the LPGA is enforcing an English-speaking test in response to the influx of Korean female golfers ontour.

  3. ed

    they dubbed ha jungwoo “blue chip”? he’s looking more like judge Bao these days 😀

    yeah it depends on what foreign roles are. offers of acting challenge commensurate w/ actor’s skills, is obviously different from Yet Another Asian Stereotype. i guess korea-US history just isn’t enough of a close-knit, love/hate on a easily dramatized scale, that’d some day warrant a clint eastwood doing a korean “Letters from Iwo Jima”. but honestly, the language barrier is too great a learning curve for them to maintain their excellence of acting in korean. i was always stupefied by what phenomenal actors huppert, depardieu, gassman etc were, when they went back to acting in mother tongue. even tony leung suffers enormously acting in mandarin!

  4. Jae Young

    Man, I love Jeon Do-Hyeon. I loved her before she the Cannes Festival and before I was really following the k pop culture scene and buzz, i.e. watching stuff in isolation with my mom and by my own whim. She is an amazing, versatile actor and I am glad she is really thoughtful about acting as a craft, something I find lacking in ALL markets, be it Korea or the US.

    I would have to disagree with you, belleza, as Asian-Americans, we should have issues with all of these crossover stars. It’s our peers, Asian-Americans, who should be accepted as actors within their home countries, like the US, not solely international stars successful at home coming abroad.

    I don’t begrudge people who crossover. I think people should have great ambition and follow their dreams, including going abroad. My problems with stars crossing over is their appeal is ultimately one based in their otherness and their exotic-ness, well, at least in the US. That’s why Asian-Americans get overlooked, because of racist and antiquated notions Americans have regarding what Asians are appropriate and in what roles are appropriate for them. So it’s okay to have the actor who speaks broken English because they are appropriately exotic, but oh no, we can’t have the Korean-American born and raised in Iowa with a quintessential Midwestern accent.

    I mean Jackie Chan, back in the day, was a stud. You can see it in his old Chinese movies, he’s the suave spy/number 1 cool guy, etc. I also think you should be able to speak the native language you are acting in. (HELLO, I’m looking at YOU Daniel Henney, stop coasting on your looks already.)

  5. belleza

    “It’s our peers, Asian-Americans, who should be accepted as actors within their home countries, like the US, not solely international stars successful at home coming abroad.”

    Not so much that (I agree — Asian Americans and Asians are in competition with each other, and Asian American don’t help their case at all in that regard), but I’m talking about Asian Americans kvetching about what “they” think the crossovers should do or represent when they do try to cross over. I do that too, but even so a lot of Asians actually find it funny and funnily arrogant when “we” do that. I was really offended by the “idea” of a Memoirs of a Geisha, but my mum and some other non-domestic friends I knew were puzzled why I threw a hissy fit over it.

    Also, it’s much worse for most other minorities trying to be represented. FOR NOW, we’re not being typecast as terrorists, commies, gangsters, or housekeepers. Of course that could change too in 10 years.

    “My problems with stars crossing over is their appeal is ultimately one based in their otherness and their exotic-ness, well, at least in the US.”

    Sure, but it’s true everywhere, and that element is definitely there with Hallyu in general. Insofar you even see D-addicts threads along the lines of “I want to date xxxx guy/girl”, that qualifies as fetishization.

  6. Liv

    So I cant speak to the specifics of the relationships between Asians and Asian-Americans seeing as Im neither Asian nor Asian-American (nor American for that matter…) but I think there is a tendency to overlook the longer-term effects of the initial attempts at crossover. Again with the Rain example: his attempt to debut internationally has not been as successful as he might have wanted, but for other Korean (and maybe other Asian) artists, he has paved the way. He has provided an inspiration for those who might never have considered pursuing this, a cautionary tale for those who want to follow in his footsteps but not make the same mistakes and an opening into the international market that might not have existed before him. Jackie Chan and Jet Li might portray the stereotypical Asian character in every movie, but their presence in Hollywood does accomplish something: it provides a little exposure in the notoriously homogeneous and unaccepting mainstream American/Western media and it opens the door for others to follow. Of course each performer should know their limits and if Jeon Do-yeon feels she wouldnt do justice to a performance in another language, I respect her honesty and self-awareness – but thats not to say that others shouldnt try.

  7. kate

    hmm….just want to say..i like them both…*.*

  8. varms

    I feel like I’ve seen this Ha Jung-woo fella before but I just can’t place him… Oh well. He’s pretty hot for an older man! *slaps myself* What’s wrong with me??!! 😀

  9. belleza

    “I feel like I’ve seen this Ha Jung-woo fella before but I just can’t place him… ”

    He starred in Chaser (which elevated him from very well-regarded character actor to instant superstardom) , and he was the male lead in Homicide Investigation Team. In Lovers in Prague, he had a small (but funny) part as her bodyguard.

  10. 10 hey

    Wow, she does have an absolutely radiant smile 😀

  11. 11 Amyable

    Ha Jung Woo was in an US independent film playing an illegal Korean immigrant trying to make a living in NY. The film is called Never Forever, starring Vera Farmiga, directed by a first time director named Gina Kim. I really enjoyed the moview. With all the hype around the hallyu stars crossing over to the US market, Ha Jung Woo made one w/o any hype! I haven’t seen any of his Korean work so my exposure to him is only through this movie.

  12. 12 joi

    I think the matters is how the actors should out stand themself no matter in Asia or America. Most important in thier own field. But to me its more important if them (the actors) get their recognization in thier own places who your ‘family’ supports you much. Then only you can get support from outsider. Like Jackie Chan is well known in American and they like thier kungfu style so much. But people (viewers) in HK and even some in Asian country didnt quite respect him already because his style didnt invent too much for many years already (in thier view). So its how to outstand your self.