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It’s been a while since we have had news about the indie film project 나를 잊지 말아요 (Naleul Ijji Malayo/Remember O Goddess, South Korea), but Lee Yoon Jung recently posted an update with some big news: there has been a change of cast! Not just any cast member either, but the lead.

In the 25-minute version of Remember O Goddess it was Kim Jung-tae who played the main character and he was slated reprise his role in the feature-length extension. However, after postponing filming already once due to scheduling conflicts, and further time-related challenges after a decision to remake the film from scratch (i.e. not adding an extension to the existing short but reshooting everything), Lee decided to him go and start the difficult search to find a replacement just as good. Fortunately, find one she did. In the director’s own words, “To make a long story short, please welcome the legendary actor Woo-sung Jung from Beat (1997) and The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008) as our lead actor/executive producer”.

I’m terrible with Korean names and haven’t seen either Beat or The Good, the Bad, the Weird, but it only took me one look at the pictures posted alongside the announcement to recognise a familiar face: Mr. Padam Padam! As in Yang Kang-chil from the 2011 K-drama 빠담빠담… 그와 그녀의 심장박동소리 (Bba-dam-bba-dam… Geu-wa Geu-nyeo- eui Sim-jang-bak-dong-so-ri/ Padam Padam… The Sound of His and Her Heartbeats)!

Padam Padam:

Padam Padam: Jung Woo-sung (with his angel, Kim Bum).

While the casting of Jung Woon-sung is something we have could have only hoped for in our dreams, the actor has in fact been interested in the project since long ago. He supported the original Kickstarter campaign, even making a promotional video for it:

When hearing about the director’s casting woes, he requested the script and soon after offered to be involved more actively, both as the lead actor as well as an executive producer. More details on this turn of events are on Kickstarter page for Remember O Goddess, but let’s hear more about Jung and his acting career here meanwhile:

About the Actor

Jung Woo-sung was born in Seoul in 1973 and grew up in Sadang-dong, one of the poorest parts of the city. He dropped out of high school to pursue his dream of acting and originally debuted as a model in 1994, openly stating that he was glad to have taken this decision – a somewhat controversial admission at the time. Jung Woo-sung made his way into film acting the same year, playing a man pursued by a fierce gumiho wishing to become human in 구미호 (Gumiho/The Fox with Nine Tails). His first drama, 아스팔트 사나이 (Aseupalteu Sanai/Dream Racers), followed the year after. Since then, Jung  has remained active primarily on the big rather than the small screen – he has starred in over twenty films, but only five dramas, with an extended absence from TV between 1996 and 2011.

Initial roles saw Jung play macho characters – a youthful troublemaker caught up in fights, a lonesome boxer, a warrior – but more recently he has transitioned to mostly melodramas. His filmography interestingly features several projects produced in other Asian countries (Japan, Hong Kong, China), something which also raised Jung Woo-sung’s profile outside of South Korea. He co-starred with Zhang Ziyi in 무사 (Musa/Musa the Warrior, 1999) and Michelle Yeoh in 剑雨 (Jianyu/Reign of Assassins, China, 2010). In 호우시절 (Howoosijeol/A Season of Good Rain aka A Good Rain Knows, 2009) he played opposite the Chinese actress Gao Yuanyuan, meaning that part of his lines had to be delivered in English, something he found challenging at first. Further international fame as well as acclaim came with 좋은 놈, 나쁜 놈, 이상한 놈 (Joheunnom Nabbeunnom Isanghannom/The Good, the Bad, the Weird, 2008), which premiered, out of competition, at Cannes and went on to screen at other major film festivals around the world.

In interviews, Jung has indicated his interest in not just being an actor, but also working behind the camera. While he has not directed any project yet, he did have a hand in producing a music video (for the group g.o.d. in 2000) and, as lead actor plus producer, now has another opportunity with Remember O Goddess.

A Good Rain Knows.

Howoosijeol: Bittersweet love in China.

Awards

  • 29th Blue Dragon Film Awards: Most Popular Actor for 좋은 놈, 나쁜 놈, 이상한 놈 (Joheunnom Nabbeunnom Isanghannom/The Good, the Bad, the Weird, 2008)

Films

  • 감시 (Gamshi/Lookout aka Cold Eyes, 2013)
  • 더 킬러 (Deo Kilreo/The Killer, 2011)
  • 剑雨 (Jianyu/Reign of Assassins, China, 2010)
  • 호우시절 (Howoosijeol/A Season of Good Rain aka A Good Rain Knows, 2009)
  • 좋은 놈, 나쁜 놈, 이상한 놈 (Joheunnom Nabbeunnom Isanghannom/The Good, the Bad, the Weird, 2008)
  • 중천 (Joong-Cheon/The Restless, 2006)
  • 데이지 (Deosi/Daisy, 2006)
  • 새드무비 (Saedu Mubi/Sad Movie, 2005)
  • 내 머리 속의 지우개 (Nae Meorisokui Jiwoogae/A Moment to Remember, 2004)
  • 똥개 (Ddong Gae/Mutt Boy, 2003)
  • 무사 (Musa/Musa the Warrior, 2001)
  • 유령 (Yoo-ryeong/Phantom of the Submarine, 1999)
  • 러브 (Reobeu/Love, 1999)
  • 태양은 없다 (Taeyangeun Eobda/City of the Rising Sun, 1998)
  • 비트 (Biteu/Bea, 1997)
  •  모텔 선인장 (Motel Seoninjang/Motel Cactus, 1997)
  • 본투킬 (Bon to Kil/Born to Kill, 1996)
  • 新上海滩 (San Seung Hoi taan/Shanghai Grand, Hong Kong, 1996)
  • 구미호 (Gumiho/The Fox with Nine Tails, 1994)
Mutt Boy. Gotta love a poster with such a big smile!

Mutt Boy. Gotta love a poster with such a big smile!

Dramas

  • 빠담빠담… 그와 그녀의 심장박동소리 (Bba-dam-bba-dam… Geu-wa Geu-nyeo- eui Sim-jang-bak-dong-so-ri/Padam Padam… The Sound of His and Her Heartbeats, 2011)
  • 아테나 : 전쟁의 여신 (Atena: Jeonjaengui Yeosin/Athena, Goddess of War, 2010)
  • 「グッドライフ~ありがとう、パパ。さよなら~」 (Good Life ~Arigatou, Papa. Sayonara~, Japan, 2011)
  • 1.5 (1996)
  • 아스팔트 사나이 (Aseupalteu Sanai/Dream Racers, 1995)

Interviews

Video interview (11 min clip, June 2009)

Bonus Bits

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