KAD Actor Henney Wins Award

Henney’s star rising in new cultureBy Mark Russell

Oct 7, 2007

More news from the Pusan fest

BUSAN, South Korea — When Daniel Henney, star of the recent Korean
film “My Father,” won the third annual Premiere Rising Star Award on
Friday night, it was the ultimate endorsement of his decision to
travel halfway around the world and try to start his acting career in
a different culture.

“I’m not a big award guy, but this was the first time I have been
recognized for my acting. I was really proud of it,” Henney said.

“My Father,” about a Korean adoptee from the U.S. who discovers that
his father is on death row in Korea, received positive reviews and
has grossed about $6.2 million since it was released Sept. 6.

It is heady approval for the 27-year-old American actor of partially
Korean heritage, who did not know any Korean when he started his
acting career here, just over three years ago.

International acting networking and ties have taken center stage in
the opening days of the 12th Pusan International Film Festival, with
the launch of the Asia Pacific Actors Network this year.

Henney had been living in New York, trying to break into acting after
several years working as a model, when he received a call that a
Korean company wanted him for an advertisement. That brief role
turned into a small role on the hit television series “My Lovely Sam
Soon,” and suddenly he had a career on the other side of the world.

Since arriving in Korea, Henney had worked hard to learn Korean, but
ironically the role in “My Father” called for him to not speak Korean
well. “It was a big challenge. Since coming to Korea, I was trying
not to speak Korean with an accent, but suddenly I had to speak it
badly on purpose.”

Despite his improving language skills, he said that most of the
scripts he is receiving these days are for English-speaking roles,
both in Korea and the West.

“I think it is time for an Asian man to be a leading man in
Hollywood,” he said. “But I need to choose my first American role
carefully, not just some stereotyped, martial arts kind of role.
Maybe I won’t make it, but I don’t want to settle.”

Even if Hollywood does not beckon, already his popularity is growing
outside of Korea. On Nov. 4 he has a fan meeting in Japan, where he
will take to the stage to meet 2,000 of his fans there. “I’m really
nervous. I have not done one of these things by myself before.”

Other Premiere Rising Star Awards on Friday went to Kim Ah-jung for
best actress, Kim Ji-hoon (“May 18”) for best director, Lee Tae-sung
for best new actor and Heo Yi-jae for best new actress.



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