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Jang Nara on her new movie and its controversy

Bad news for Jang Nara: Her film company has decided to pull their recent film Sky and Ocean from theaters a mere twelve days into its run. The company says this is in response to the controversy the film has sparked, but no doubt the abysmal ticket receipts are also to blame.

For being a small, relationship-based music film, the film has been at the center of a lot of noise. Jang’s production company, which is headed by her father Ju Ho-sung, has battled accusations that there was unfair lobbying going on behind the scenes when the film was nominated for a best film Daejong Award.

Jang herself nominated for an acting award over more buzzed-about performances (like Ha Ji-won, who had two big films this year) when Sky and Ocean hadn’t even been released yet. (Su Ae won.) Note that the Daejong Awards themselves were roundly criticized for their puzzling winners; on top of that, the ceremony lacked a strong star presence and television ratings were low.

Jang’s side wrote a defense on her official homepage, saying that many films that are not screened theatrically go on to screen (and win) at film festivals, and asserted that all was fair and square. The company feels wrongly maligned by the press, and also blames the way the film was screened in the early morning and late night, effectively killing their chances of a successful run. In the end, they made the difficult decision to pull their film from theaters.

Jang, however, maintains a positive spin on things in the following interview.

Why have you focused on activities in China for the past four to five years?

“Initially, I hadn’t planned to stay active for a long time in China. The biggest issue was raising name recognition. As I went from region to region, time passed by. I thought, ‘Just a little longer,’ and I ended up spending more time there.”

In one year, how long do you stay in Korea and China?

“This year, I’ll be in Korea four-fifths of the time. People have that misunderstanding about me — even if I’m in Korea, they think I’m in China. It arose because I hadn’t been very active in Korea.”

You’ve returned to acting in Korea four years after the drama Wedding. You must feel very excited to be meeting Korean fans again.

“I’m not someone who acts in a lot of things, so every single project is really valuable to me. Since filming was delayed by four months during production and various problems arose, I’m just thrilled to have the film out and that I’m able to meet with fans.”

You’ve done guerilla concerts in various cities and made an impression as you promoted the film.

“I’ll do anything. I feel like stationing myself in front of movie theaters now. As I did the guerilla concerts and met lots of fans, I felt sudden bursts of emotion. The fans were so glad and happy.”

You sang the OST songs at the press conferences, stage greetings, and other places where the sound isn’t controlled.

“I’m thankful that I was able to sing in those places. Having fans nearby and being able to communicate with them was even more valuable. I’ve stood onstage in much worse conditions.”

You must have been hurt by the Daejong Awards controversy.

“It was inevitable. Criticism arose out of a few press reports before the movie had even been released. I’m sad about that. I’m easing my spirits by seeing the reactions of the people who have seen the movie.”

Your father Ju Ho-sung is the CEO of your management company. What are the pluses and minuses of being in business with family?

“There are sayings that doing business with family leads to ruin, but so what if it doesn’t work out? There are a lot more pluses to having a family company. I receive a lot of protection. These days, there are a lot of problems arising between agencies and celebrities, but I’m free of that.”

This is your comeback after a long time away. Why did you choose a savant character?

“As soon as I heard the story, I wanted to do it. Although the role of Haneul is really 24 years old, she has the intelligence of a 6-year-old. Her intelligence may be low, but she has particular talent for music and numbers, and she was an extremely positive person. I liked the script that showed her strengths. I wanted to show the beauty of someone like her, who doesn’t calculate everything.”

Your acting as a violinist seemed very skilled.

“I was most embarrassed about the violin-playing. I started taking violin lessons four months before filming began. It’s difficult to act like you do something well that you do poorly. Every time I had to perform with the violin, my heart would pound, and when we’d enter filming, I’d act like I was a good player. It felt like I was performing for real. I would act in sync to match the instrument and the music, and it was really difficult. In fact, on a day I was shooting a performance scene, the press was invited to the set. One reporter had majored in violin and asked if I knew how to play, which really took a weight off my mind.”

What are your plans for upcoming activities in Korea?

“Beginning next year, I plan to definitely be active in Korea. In particular, I want to focus on acting. Without being fussy about genre, I want to try lots of projects. Among those, I have a desire to try a horror or thriller project, or a crime investigation piece.”

Last year, there were rumors that you were dating Taiwanese actor Peter Ho. Have you considered marriage with a Chinese man?

“Regarding marriage, I don’t really care about a person’s nationality. My father is open-minded about that, too. When those rumors came out about me and Peter Ho, our communication wasn’t very free(?). We couldn’t communicate very well [with the language barrier], so how could we be dating? I can speak in Chinese for everyday conversation, but I’m not able to speak about more meaningful things.”

Via Hankook Ilbo, Segye

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why is her last name different from her dad's?

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There seems to be some sadness in her eyes even though she's being extremely positive about the film's situation. I really admire her....And I hope she comes OUT with more and more projects soon! I'm rooting for her success!!!

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i hope she can overcome all her probs regarding the film >>>
JANG NARA, we are waiting for you!!!!
fighting!!!

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@1,
Jang Nara is her real name. Her dad's name, Ju Ho-sung, is merely a stage name. His real name is Jang Yun-gyo. Therefore, their real family name is "Jang."

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i can't belive they would ask a question like: Have you considered marriage with a Chinese man? i feel bad for her.

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@5 i think the interviewer meant to say would you marry someone who wasn't Korean. i think he/she didn't mean to hurt Jang Na Ra in any ways. i too hope JNR can get past this rough patch. JNR FIGHTING!

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Jang Nara is often a target by certain areas of the press in Korea, it was one of the reasons she left to go to china in the first place, it sad indeed to see those elements are still strong, and they see Her as an easy target. Maybe because she does so well in china and there is a strong anti chinese feeling in certain quarters in Korea, they have a strong national movement going on.?
I think what people are missing is the poor ticket sales where a direct response to the bad press, as the theatres who showed the film not only didn't bother putting out promotional posters to show they where screening the film they also didn't show it at peak times. I can not think of many countries where an actress is dominated for best actress award but it is unfounded stories in the press that seems to mean more.
Also its to be noted that the film was slowly doing better going up to number five in sales on its second week. The decision to take the film out of Korean theatres is not because of 'abysmal ticket receipts' but as a stand by the Jangs against what they see as malicious reporting by the press, it is not surprising that even that stand comes out in the press as 'abysmal ticket receipts' rather than cover the real reason. Simply confirms the Jang's stand to my mind.

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Korean is so negative country. They produced good movies and dramas but the way the press and public think... Whoiii not a chance a good actor or actress can survive without being "hypocrite". They have to say something the opposite just because they need to maintain their "rice bowl". Actors and actress cannot date in public and cannot have sex as they like... ahha such a waste. Korean need to be more open and stop crutinized everything. Jang Nara should stay in China. She can date anyone and sleep with anyone she likes, no one bothers.... - I love Korean Drama and Movies but hate the "hypocrite". At least Malaysian ppl, press and fans are not that hypocrite... - From Kuala Lumpur

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The reason why I became a Korean drama addict: Jang Nara and her roles in Bright Girl's Success Story and My Love Patzzi.

That's why I'm feeling bad about her newest project. Is it that bad of a movie? I miss her dramas so much. Last show I've seen from her is the Chinese The Mischievous Princess. I wish she'll make another drama soon with her spunky self again and a good leading man (skipped Wedding because I find Ryu Shi Won boring and not that handsome).

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Me too. After watching Jang Nara and her roles in Bright Girl’s Success Story and My Love Patzzi, I became a Korean drama addict.

I've watched SKY AND OCEAN TRAILER and seem nice. That’s why I’m feeling bad about her newest project. I miss her dramas so much.

After so a long wait, I get to see her new drama BABY-FACED BEAUTY which have just ended last tuesday. She acted so well that I kept repeating watching again and again. I wish she’ll make another drama soon with her spunky self again and a good leading man and I fully agree with you Ryu Shi Won is boring and not handsome at all but I still watch wedding because of JNR. I've the whole collection of JNR DVD in korean drama and chinese drama.

Jang Nara......Fighting!!!

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it was never about how good the film was sadly, frankly it was never given a chance to show how good or bad it was.
there was a lot of things going on all at once. because sky and sea and jang nara got nominated another well known film star did not, that made for attacks by her fans on the web. The star herself put out a strong statement supporting the nominations and said she was sorry that her fans hurt anther actress in this manner. The reason given was the actress made two film both up for consideration and in the end voting was split and she missed out. They also said that they would not judge on name/reputation only on merit.
Then those that are against the format of the awards and perhaps for good reason, used sky and sea to attack the awards in claiming that as Sky and Sea had not been shown it was breaking the rules, when in fact it is well known that it was shown at a film festival and so did indeed pass all the requirements. Both these points and so called rumours that somehow the production crew of Sky and Sea had bribed they way into getting nominated though if they didn't have the $ to finish the film how they found it to bride anyone is beyond understanding, where all picked up by the press and reported on in a negative manner. This in the end affected the theatres and thus the way it was treated..ie only shown at off peak times.
I do not think anyone expect Sky and Sea to be a huge hit, it was simply too off the mainstream for that to happen, but it was hoped to be a quite success picking up support on merit as the weeks went on..all that failed dues to the attacks on the film.

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im sorry fer her..huhu...

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I wonder if she and Peter Ho did get married if their kid would be a superstar that's coveted in both China/Taiwan and Korea?

Sort of like how Takeshi Kaneshiro is wanted in both China/Taiwan and Japan :)

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With her latest report on how she always focus on China for money, Chinese netizens, like Korean netizens, began to bash her online figuratively. The Chinese netizens are dissing and bashing her really badly. I'm Chinese, so I just saw all the hate from Chinese netizens on internet reports. But, man, Asian netizens are so sensitive when it comes to the nationalities. Jang Nara got both sides of netizens hating on her.

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@10 bjharm:
I agree with everything you said.

I think because of the controversy many people didn't gave the movie a chance.

Anyway, I wish all the best for Jang Nara. I think she's adorable and she doesn't desearve all these harsh criticisms made by the press towards her.

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@linaOguri: if u see celebrities news in indonesia, u will realize there's a country that more hypocrite than korea. and i'm indonesian.keh3x..
when an actress/actor acts well in one movie or more means she/he is good actress/actor, anything else 'just' gossip whether it is hypocrite or not ...and still i like gossip.^_^

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTzaqK3A5PY
is the link to Jang Nara little speech on the matter, as you can see it was either before or after the award show, with english subs.
Medii I know the comment you mean she made during a korean variety show
I heard about her comment on china and I got the meaning that she was against those that just saw china as a place to hop over to get your money and take off again, without getting to know the people or the fans. And the idea was she wished more would follow her lead and stay in china to share the culture and to get know the people slowly, as that is why she was doing so well there. She not just a visiting overseas star, she is considered to be a Chinese one by, well adoption kind of.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3CNpoeidek
kind of explains it.
But it not surprising her comment has been misunderstood by some, just as there those in Korea that have something against china there those in china who have things against Korea, nationalism is strong in both countries after all.

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off topic: doesnt' she look like son ye jin in the first picture?

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jang nara is very lucky to have her father as ceo of the mgt.co.that means she is really safe from the claws of the agencies subject of scandals.i admire her acting so i believe she truly deserves the award not because of her fathers influence in the industry.jang nara, fighting!

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her father influence has always been over stated, while he was an actor he was very much a supporting one not a 'star'. While he may know people who know people he is hardly a power figure behind the scenes turning things to her daughter advantage. I remember when she went over to china back in 2003 to make her first chinese tv drama, back then of course she was still huge in Korea, so it was big event, and one of the reporters ask if her father [Mr Dad as he known in china] had arrange what people she was acting in..as if he had that sort of power in china!..of course she just laughed and look surprised. That is the kind of myth he seemed to have. He also not her only manager she has others both in Korea and China, and indeed is not even that these days, he runs her web site and looks after the band/singers and the like.

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Film or no Film, Nara is a Star, actually a Super Star, heavenly Star in the Sky :) I hope Nana would be happy on and off the screen, and best of luck.
Nationalism is nonesense, love ones homeland, yes. Love Nana is a choice, and Nana is adorable.
Nana is an individual, not own by the sate and should never be if the country and people are civilized!

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People should not give Nara stress about where she be. Obviously, Nana could be home sick, her motherland is Korea.
In China or in Korea, mature people be smart to let Nara be where she wish to be to her hearts content.
whether its a China production or Korean Production, its not about a country ,but about Nara's performances. Even Nara stops Acting or singing, Nana would be remembered as an International superstar from Korea, from Asia, from Earth, galaxy or Universe!

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