Feb 5, 2011

Korea Movie Star - Bae Yong Joon

Bae Yong-joon (b. August 29, 1972) spent the first nine years of his show biz career in TV dramas, gradually building up a tremendous fan base across Asia, and particularly in Japan, that has made him one of Korea's most famous stars. His debut came in the 1994 TV drama Love Greeting, and from 1995 to 2002 he went on to appear in nine more TV dramas. Have We Really Loved? (1999), Hotelier (2001) and especially Winter Sonata (2002) gave him tremendous exposure throughout Asia. In Japan in particular, Winter Sonata enjoyed unprecedented popular success, particularly among middle-aged women. Bae was subsequently dubbed with the honorific nickname "Yonsama", and became the most famous Korean star in Japan. Japanese prime minister Koizumi even joked, perhaps not untruthfully, that Bae's popularity had outstripped his own.

Meanwhile his film debut, outside of a brief walk-on in the film Bbilgu in 1995, came after he was already quite famous, in E J-yong's 2003 period drama Untold Scandal. The film, in which he portrayed a womanizing aristocrat quite unlike his popular image from TV dramas, was a hit in Korea and also performed well in Japan. By the time he made his second film April Snow in 2005, his popularity had grown to the extent that an intense media frenzy followed him throughout the shooting schedule. The film, about a man who discovers his wife's infidelity after she falls into a coma, opened weakly in Korea but set a new box office record for a Korean film in Japan.

In fall of 2006, Bae is scheduled to return to TV dramas with the lead role in Taewangsasingi, where he plays an emperor from the Goguryeo Dynasty who lived from 375-413.

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