Thesps aim for Hollywood

Jeon, Lee look to break out of Korea

Jeon Ji-hyun

Gold Circle Films’ remake of 2001 pan-Asian hit “My Sassy Girl” will hit U.S. theaters next year, and the actress who shot to fame in the original may not be far behind. Jeon Ji-hyun’s management company iHQ is working hard to ensure that the starlet’s next role will be in Hollywood, moving to establish contacts through a Los Angeles branch office and a pact with Cinetic Media.

The 24-year-old, who has been working hard on her English, has won fame for her sleek, modern image. She appears in a mind-bendingly high number of print and TV ads — so many, in fact, that overexposure may have affected her B.O. pull at home — her last two pics, “Daisy” and “Windstruck,” both fizzled — but she remains popular throughout Asia.

Lee Byung-heon

Of all Korea’s top-ranked male stars, Lee Byung-heon may be best placed to break through internationally. The 36-year-old is known throughout Asia for TV dramas “All-In” and “Beautiful Days,” and familiar to Asia Extreme fans in the West through Kim Jee-woon’s Cannes entry “A Bittersweet Life” and Park Chan-wook’s “JSA” and “Three … Extremes.”

He is particularly popular in Japan. Given the B.O. boost he could deliver in both Japan and Korea, it may be just a matter of time before an enterprising Hollywood producer casts him in a large-scale international project.

Lee is also said to be quite comfortable communicating in English — another thing that separates him from his Korean Wave colleagues.

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