Drama Casting & News
A Chinese drama comeback for Jang Nara
by | December 17, 2009 | 35 Comments

Singer-actress Jang Nara is probably more popular nowadays in China than in Korea, and she has just announced that she’ll be headlining her next project — a Chinese drama. She began filming in late November in Shanghai, her father-manager Joo Ho-sung revealed belatedly via her official website.

(I don’t know what the drama’s Chinese title is, but it translates in Korean to “철면가녀,” which means “a woman who wears a mask while singing,” according to the announcement.)

Jang’s last project was the Korean indie film Sky and Ocean, which flopped big at the box office this fall. However, it could be argued that the subpar performance wasn’t an indicator of quality but a result of backlash to the controversy surrounding the film. It had been nominated for acting awards before its release, leading some to accuse Joo (who produced) of bribery and behind-the-scenes dealmaking. Then, when it was released in theaters, it was pushed to early-morning and late-night showings, which undoubtedly contributed to the poor showing. As a result, they decided to pull the film early from theaters.

Manager-dad Joo announced in the same notice their intention to donate all the proceeds of the film’s Chinese run to charity to help children suffering from leukemia.

Via Star News

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35 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. lizzie06

    Oooh this sounds exciting, i like her!

  2. langdon813

    Oh, Lord.

    Someone get the smelling salts, I think samsooki probably fainted.

  3. Kender

    I don’t generally like her, but she looks very pretty in that picture.

    Does she speak Chinese fluently? Or are they going to dub her like they did for poor Yoo Hana in My Lucky Star? (Which never made sense to me, since YHN speaks Chinese pretty well..)

  4. jo

    @javabeans, I looked up the title and it’s written as “铁面歌女” in simplified chinese which means “iron-masked female singer”..

    jang nara got into a huge trouble recently for a comment she made about working in china. something along the lines of “if i need money then i just get it in china” and chinese netizens were not pleased. i wonder how this comeback will turn out..but seeing how she’s donating the proceeds of her film…she’s trying to polish her image there.

  5. dramalover

    @4: I don’t understand people sometimes. Did Chinese netizens really think that the reason she worked in China is because she loves China or something along that line? NO! Everyone works for money. She said the truth.

  6. Jessica

    @ Kender

    Most likely she’ll be dubbed since she was for all her previous series. Unless she’s improved her Chinese a lot since then.

    Also in historical series Chinese companies have a tendency to even dub Chinese actors if they don’t speak with the “correct/Beijing-ish” accent.

    But for modern series they usually don’t care.

  7. sookcherry

    I feel sad for her. In Strong Heart, she said that her dad’s been managing her money and she found out that he’s been make some bad investments without telling her. I think the movie was one of those investments

  8. Anonymous

    I saw her in Mischievous Princess. So cute! I didn’t realize that she wasn’t chinese until after.

  9. belleza

    @Jessica,

    “Also in historical series Chinese companies have a tendency to even dub Chinese actors if they don’t speak with the “correct/Beijing-ish” accent.”

    Indeed. Jang Nara is fluent in Chinese, but unless you have a spot-on Northern/Beijing Mando accent, you’ll get dubbed. I don’t think Mainlanders have heard Tony Leung’s actual voice in 20 years. ;)

    “because she loves China or something along that line? ”

    Uhhh . . . actually I like to think so. (Kinda see Jang Nara as one of “ours” now, hee.) Same with Chae Rim and Taiwan. :(

  10. 10 bluebunny

    I remember her saying on a show that she was gonna stay in Korea for awhile to work on some projects. Someone correct me if I am wrong. Since her career isn’t going to well and $ isn’t coming in she’s decided to head back to China where she earns more. I agree with comment #4-It’ll be interesting to see how she does after that comment she made. Did she ever apologize?

  11. 11 Samsooki

    I did swoon, but I got up and now I can post.

    :D

    She looks… older! Not to say that she looks old, but she does look older. The black fingernails make her look a little mysterious, but to each their own.

    Honestly, I am not sure I like the idea of dubbing. I saw Mr. and Mrs. Smith dubbed in español, and to me, it just wasn’t the same thing.

    But what to do? Dubbing protects her from withering criticism if her pronunciation isn’t perfect. And it is really really hard to have the kind of pronunciation for spoken mainland Chinese that would allow production to take the chance…

  12. 12 belleza

    “Honestly, I am not sure I like the idea of dubbing. ”

    If you watch Chinese historical drama (and even a lot of modern mainlander dramas), you get used to it. Often, the voice tracks are rerecorded in the studio (and that also means original actors often rerecord their own parts) and so voices often seem “disconnected” from the ambiance of the location shot.

    It’s great in the sense that all the actors are basically on equal footing, and you kinda internalize them on their personality rather than their “foreigness.” Just the other week, I was watching a rerun of a Taiwanese historical drama with Chae Rim. She fit right in and perfectly. And she was absolutely glowing and vibrant in that Chinese drama.

    Dialect and region is very, very important. Personally, I feel a person who speaks Mandarin in a soft, civilized (i.e. “cultured”) style is very attractive. For example, Vic Zhou . . . I didn’t care if he couldn’t act, his Mando was music to my ears. :D

    Most countries produced their dramas in this fashion until maybe 20 or so years ago.

  13. 13 simplesim

    @belleza

    Uhhh . . . actually I like to think so. (Kinda see Jang Nara as one of “ours” now, hee.)

    Din’t know you like Jang Nara and happy she has your support. Any support from THIS Belleza will be x100 imo. Lol Heard that she wasn’t liked in OT except samsooki.

    I hope this new drama will be a hit since it will have her singing too. Poor girl needs a break. Wishing her all the best! :-)

    Hmm… I wonder her Jang is same as my sirname Chang (dunno how to use chinese character here but mine is ‘a piece of paper’ chang? Also wonder what ‘Jang’ is JGS’s…hehe… that shows I am still nuts over him. Lol

  14. 14 Samsooki

    @12 belleza –

    Actually, I think I agree.

    Elegant and soft mandarin is actually very sexy when spoken, male or female. Less than absolutely perfect mandarin, by comparison, grates the ears and really distracts from the performance.

    Well, there’s only one way to find out. Gotta wait and see, watch and then swoon or not swoon.

  15. 15 simplesim

    @samsooki

    The time it took me to post and give my support after @9 belleza you got up from your swoon!

    She looks tired too. How come her agent release her photo without touch-up? Normally, I cant stand using too much photoshop as a lot of pics looks so fake nowasdays but a bit of touch up around her eyes and neck would be nice. :-)

  16. 16 cingdoc

    @13 simplesim
    ” I wonder her Jang is same as my sirname Chang (dunno how to use chinese character here but mine is ‘a piece of paper’ chang? Also wonder what ‘Jang’ is JGS’s”.
    …I saw (my) JGS ‘s name written once as Jang (as in ginger) ;)

  17. 17 ockoala

    @ belleza

    They just dubbed Vic Zhou in Jin Da Bang with Fang Bin-bin. I guess his “speak under my breath, muttering sweet nothings” drama cadence just doesn’t cut it for a period piece where everyone else is speaking with machine hun precision.

    I like Vic’s voice, but I read all his lines cuz I don’t understand any of it.

    As for dubbing, growing up on TW and HK-TVB dramas, listening to dubbing is second nature to me. I even got exposed to k-dramas via dubbing, my mom has Winter Sonata and Hotelier and All About Eve dubbed, but with k-dramas, I can’t stand it at all so I never watch her version.

    I wish Jang Nara the best with her new project.

  18. 18 belleza

    “speak under my breath, muttering sweet nothings”

    *pant* *pant* Talk dirty to me Vic babe!!!!

    (sorry. hormones.)

  19. 19 Sharon

    It seems that Jang nara’s time has gone. She’s more popular in China than in Korea, but with the recent incident, she has arousen much hostility among the Chinese fans. Really doubt if the movie would be well applauded, but if she works hard and does well, I think everyone should give her a chance.

  20. 20 bjharm

    I will not go over everything, but simply put in regard to her ‘joke’ in strong heart. what she said was “I go to china to work” but the show translated it into I go to china for money, to spice things up, so in fact she was attacked for something she never really said. She said sorry twice and her father once but not for what she said or was reported in saying as I say she never said it anyway, but for any hurt she may have given to her Chinese fans. Honestly I do not understand how 500 or so netzien comments could be taken so seriously specially when some of the comments where simple racist or personal attack on her “die bitch die” you sleep with your father and more. Basically the whole thing was blown hugely out of proportion by the chinese press more to do with the ongoing backlash against the so called Korean Wave,in china,than anything she really did.

    Nice that javabean mentioned
    ‘Jang’s last project was the Korean indie film Sky and Ocean, which flopped big at the box office this fall. However, it could be argued that the subpar performance wasn’t an indicator of quality but a result of backlash to the controversy surrounding the film. It had been nominated for acting awards before its release, leading some to accuse Joo (who produced) of bribery and behind-the-scenes dealmaking. Then, when it was released in theaters, it was pushed to early-morning and late-night showings, which undoubtedly contributed to the poor showing. As a result, they decided to pull the film early from theaters.
    So many reports just say her film was a flop without going into the underlining reasons, in fact other than her nomination for best actress, no one really got a chance at seeing it it was a good film or not. But to add some points. One the film was always short on money so where did they get any money to bribe anyone and two it was pulled as a protest against the attacks both Jang Nara and the film got from the Korean press. I personally feel certain elements in the Korean press have a hate on against her, likely due to her leaving Korea for China.

    Her new Chinese drama was kept rather quite, of course china such a huge country even her Chinese fans have trouble getting information on what she doing. She made three Chinese dramas in the past, Bratty Princess being the most famous and she was voice dubbed in all three but in her last drama 2007 Good Morning Shanghai she later did her own voice dubbing, that is act her lines in korean then do the voice dubbing later in studio from a script, without the pressure of trying to act in chinese. As explained above voice dubbing is very common in Chinese drama specially those of a historical nature.

    Lol she looks tired because she been under huge stress for the last two months first Sky and Sea and then the Chinese ‘scandal” I am surprised she looks as good as she does.

    I not surprised about the Sky and Sea profits in china to be donated to charity its something one would expect of her. She done like action with endorsements taking products rather than cash so they could be donated to charity. Its also a good way to fight back against those netzien attacks. because they anonymous there no way for her to voice any defence against them, but for her deeds to speak for themselves.

  21. 21 mookie

    She’s definitely one of ‘ours’! ;) I’ve actually rem more of her Chinese dramas (and imo she’s a cuter bratty princess than SYR anyday..) than I rem Patzzi She’s very well liked in China, she even got to sing a line in the ‘Beijing welcome you’ song, the official song for the 08 Olympics. (But of course I bet her dad paid enormous amt on ‘sponsorship’, but still she’s a recognized star in China.)

    I don’t take what she said to heart, (about the money part), but netizens in China, needless to say can be so feral, just a blimp percentage of naysayers can drown u literally with their saliva.

    Dubbing is just a matter of getting used to, it’s common practice to have captions of the lines for any Chinese drama, which is very nice as well. I can understand proper Beijing mando much better than Vic’s sweet mutterings, but yeah, I dun care (and I bet all the ladies dun) about what he said in Mars anyways ;) , so when I’m watching a period, I prefer the dubbing and don’t think it’s grating at all. esp when HK stars are doing a Cdrama, Tony is fluent, same as Chow Yun Fat, but I have yet to see a HK or TW artist mastering a proper Beijing accent, they will stick out really bad, one of many problems I have with RC was when they only dub out Tony’s and left Takeshi’s TW mando intact ….it’s bugging me to no end. They don’t do it in TV drama, to my relief.

  22. 22 Anonymous

    Agreed with everyone – dubbing is almost a standard for anyone not mainland Chinese. Most TW and HK actors are all dubbed. I think Takeshi’s mandarin accent is better than Tony’s. Tony has a pretty strong HK canto-accent. Anyhow – I haven’t heard Jang speak more much than a few sentences of mando but I remember she doesn’t have a good accent even if she can say all the words.

    I always thought that Jang was more popular in China than Korea personally, even though I thought she was better in some of her Korean drama works than her Chinese ones. I couldn’t get into her in the Chinese ones, and then I watched her Kdramas and just felt a different but better vibe.

    Good luck to her.

  23. 23 Agent Darwin

    Can someone please explain to me why do you think women age much faster than men in their 20s and 30s?

    After 40s, women tend to age less than men?

  24. 24 kitty

    @13 simplesim:

    “Hmm… I wonder her Jang is same as my sirname Chang (dunno how to use chinese character here but mine is ‘a piece of paper’ chang? Also wonder what ‘Jang’ is JGS’s…hehe… that shows I am still nuts over him. Lol”

    I googled. Jang Nara’s name in Chinese is 张娜拉, while Jang Geun Suk is 张根锡. So yes, they do have the same surname as yours.

  25. 25 belleza

    “Can someone please explain to me why do you think women age much faster than men in their 20s and 30s? “

    Appearance of aging (skin) occurs at a quicker rate for women than men. First, the babyfat goes. Then the skin loses its tightness. Then . . . Whereas testosterone helps to maintain youthful appearance for men. Whether women physiologically age faster than men . . . that’s still up to date.

    “After 40s, women tend to age less than men?”

    If anything, it only grows faster. Can’t avoid menopause.

  26. 26 simplesim

    @24 kitty

    Aaaw thanks, so sweet of you to do that.

    @cingdoc
    Sorry, I will take @kitty’s word over yours. :-)

  27. 27 Lindel

    I feel so sorry for her in China. Man, I’m Chinese, and even I would be offended by the netizens’ comments on her. Seriously, I agree with Bjharm. It feels like they just hating on her because of her nationality. This incident has nothing to do with her comment at all. It has to do with her nationality and Hallyu. I just feel bad for her. JN apologized several times and her father apologized to the public. The public just won’t accept it. Anything that involves with China, the Chinese netizens will go berserk on you. It’s not even funny. The netizens are just plain crazy. But, good luck with her doing a drama in China.

  28. 28 Agent Darwin

    Yeah, she needs to apply whatever paint or cosmetic to cover the goldfish eyes and those lines on the neck are quite obvious of aging.

    I remembered probably 8-9 years ago, she was a teenager. How old is she now? Mid 20s?

  29. 29 Jessica

    @ belleza

    Just the other week, I was watching a rerun of a Taiwanese historical drama with Chae Rim. She fit right in and perfectly. And she was absolutely glowing and vibrant in that Chinese drama.

    I completely agree! Chae Rim looks really, really good in ancient Chinese dress.

    Even someone as plastic-looking as Park Si Yeon looked amazing in her historical Chinese series :)

  30. 30 bjharm

    Agent Darwin: Jang Nara turns 30 in March next year so even after two month of heavy stress and both professional and person attacks she can still pass for mid 20’s then she doing very well indeed. In fact I agree with you she has not looked her best in her latest photos, but with the amount of stress she been under and the fact she lost like 8kg for her Sky and Sea role in really surprising she still manages to look as good as she does.
    http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/shokoshoko1964/58431855.html has some photos from the new chinese drama. Though I do not know much about its plot.

  31. 31 Asarako

    i love her a lot!!!!

  32. 32 bjharm

    The Strong Heart 3 is up on youtube thanks to SJSubs with english subs..lol wonder how the translation comes up…I went to china to work..or the I went to china for money..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6q0zEXSkwI

  33. 33 bjharm

    I suppose because she is Chinese based she not much covered here, though she still Korean you know!
    Iron masked Singer was released this December on CCTV. And while as I say it been missed out here, she made a spin off to her huge Chinese hit bratty princess called Unruly Court Physician. Finishing off that she was rushed over to start her role in racecourse staring with her father as father and daughter. Something that got a lot of fuss about in China but again was not mentioned here. She will be making her fourth Chinese drama inside of a year, feb next year, this time the long awaited sequel to bratty princess.
    Again missed out here, Jang Nara won best foreign actress for her sky and sea at the Chinese film awards as well as the film getting nominations at the Tirana International Film Festival, the only Asian film to be so.
    So if you ever read the many often asked words..whatever happened to Jang Nara? or what IS she doing these days?
    Well now you now.

  34. 34 mary tan

    those bastard crazy chinese netizens saying things that tarnished ones images is unforgiveable. there are so many foreign businessman who invested in china and got swindled by the local chinese, what those chinese netizens got to say about that???? They are so uncivilised and uneducated like barbarians. I hate those chinese who commented so badly about jang nara. Those bastards chinese netizens better wake up!!!!!!

  35. 35 h s lion

    Nana’s official website, nice.
    Whether Nana is white, black or yellow, Nana is colourful!
    Business or production, Fan or strangle, one should respect individuals. I too can be a barbarian, but am civialized to say let Nara be Nara, cut the rude comments and respect oneself to earn respect from others.
    ps: Nana is Korean, an international Star, World Famous, good enough for Hollywood and Bollywood,
    and glad to see her perform.

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