Saturday, March 28, 2009

'Female Big Bang' About to Be Revealed

A new girl group groomed by YG Entertainment, one of Korea's biggest entertainment agencies, will reveal themselves in a commercial where they appear alongside the idol boy band Big Bang.

Referred to as the "female version of Big Bang", the group consists of four members -- Sandara Park, a Korean who became a star in the Philippines show business; Park Bom, who appeared in a commercial with singer Lee Hyo-lee; Kong Min-ji, a granddaughter of legendary traditional Korean dancer Kong Ok-jin; and rapper CL, who is fluent in four languages.

The commercial featuring the group is scheduled to go on air on Saturday, and before that on Friday, the new group's digital single "Lollipop" will be released. The commercial is also part of an ad series for LG Cyon's Lollipop mobile phone, created in music video format. The whole series will be completed by early April.

YG said, "G-Dragon, a member of Big Bang who also writes, composes and produces songs for his group, is producing the girl Big Bang's album. Although they will appear in a commercial first, they will officially debut in May. Since they have prepared for their debut for as many as four years, they will be able to show all the best they have".


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rain Faces Provisional Seizure of Property

A building in Southern Seoul, in Cheongdam-dong; (as seen above) owned by K-pop star Rain may be provisionally banned from being disposed of following his loss in a compensation lawsuit in the United States over a concert cancellation.

But Rain's agency, JTune Entertainment, said that any provisional seizure of the building would be impossible according to domestic law.

Last Thursday, a federal court in Hawaii ordered the 26-year-old star and his then-agency, JYP Entertainment, to pay more than $8 million (11 billion won) in compensation to Honolulu-based promoter Click Entertainment. They also have to pay lawyers' fees for Click, with the total compensation reaching $9 million (12 billion won).

The concert, part of his world tour "Rain's Coming", was canceled several days before its scheduled date in June 2007. Click President Lee Seung-su testified that he lost about $1.5 million and suffered damage to his reputation and business due to the cancellation.

After the verdict, Lee said Monday that he will take a step to provisionally seize Rain's and JYP's property, including Rain's building in Cheongdam-dong, which he purchased last year. The price of the building is estimated at over 15 billion won. Lee said he would also seek authorization to attach all earnings that Rain has made with the William Morris Agency, an entertainment company with which Rain signed a contract last year for his U.S. activities.

JTune and Click, however, have different opinions about whether the latter can seize the building.

JTune said Tuesday that even if Click starts a provisional seizure process, the seizure is impossible.

"The seizure of JYT's real estate in the U.S. and here may be possible, but the request to attach Rain's Korean property is impossible according to Korean law. Click may be able to seize Rain's earnings through William Morris", an official of the company said.

Meanwhile, Click said a "provisional" seizure was possible while actual seizure was impossible, saying a Korean court would likely allow the former if the company submits the U.S. court's ruling as evidence.

In the ruling, the federal court ordered Rain and JYP to pay $2.4 million each in punitive damages, $1 million for damages related to fraud and $2.2 million for breach of contract.

Rain's lawyer said they cancelled the concert because a proper stage was not ready and Rain could not use his name in the U.S. due to a copyright challenge from a Beatles tribute band named Rain. The star also testified that he had every intention to perform and he had no hand in the cancellation.

JTune said it is preparing an appeal. It is said that Rain and JYP spent more than 500 million won in fees for five lawyers.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

U.S. Court Orders 'Rain' to Pay $8 Million

A court in the United States has ordered Korean entertainer Rain to pay more than US$8 million for cancelling a scheduled concert in Honolulu in 2007.

A federal jury in Hawaii said the 26-year-old and his agency should pay Click Entertainment, the Hawaiian promoter, compensation including punitive damages of nearly $5 million.

However, Rain and JYP Entertainment say they fulfilled their obligations for the concert and Click's contract was with another promotion company called Revolution Entertainment, which then owned the North American rights to Rain's concerts.


Monday, March 23, 2009

So Ji-sub more popular than the pretty boys?

Although Lee Min-ho, Kim Beom and Kim Hyeong-jeong's popularity is higher than ever, the popularity of So Ji-sub beats it!

So Ji-sub had narrated the film, "Gift" and in the survey that went along with this film, the fans have chosen So as a man to be in their dreams where they would give a gift to over the actors from "Boys Ovr Flowers".

The film, "Gift" will be released on the 26th of March and is anticipated greatly.


Friday, March 20, 2009

U.S. Acts Quickly to Grab the Rights of Another Korean Comedy

Kang Hyeong-cheol's "Scandal Makers" ("Speedy Scandal") barely three months after its Korean release is set to be remade in the U.S. The William Morris Talent Agency, one of the biggest above the line talent agencies in the U.S snapped the film up after seeing a screener. The Agency represents and has represented some of the biggest in Hollywood including actors Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe and Richard Gere and directors Quentin Tarantino Ridley Scott and Clint Eastwood. Barry Sonenfeld director of Men in Black, TV drama Pushing up Daisies and producer of many other U.S TV dramas is set to direct and produce.

The Korean release stars Cha Tae-hyeon, who also appeared in "My Sassy Girl" (2001), another major comedy to be bought up by the U.S. Cha plays a popular radio host in his thirties who used to be a star in his teens. One of his young female listeners turns up on the scene claiming to be his daughter and her son - his grandson.

In Korea, "Scandal Makers" ("Speedy Scandal") overturned "200 Pounds of Beauty" as the biggest selling comedy in Korean history with 8.2 admissions. Despite its box office pull in Korea, it remains to be seen how Hollywood can rework it into U.S cinema gold as was not the case with the remake of "My Sassy Girl".


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rain looks stunning even for court!

Korean star, Rain also known as Jeong Ji-hoon has been in Hawaii for court! He has been sued for his cancellation of a concert. However, even to court, Rain looks stunning in the black suit and sunglasses!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rain Questioned Over Cancelled Hawaii Concert

South Korean pop star Rain appeared at a federal court in Hawaii Monday to testify on his abruptly cancelled concert there in 2007, which cost a Honolulu-based concert agency $1.5 million.

His appearance in the courtroom was made on the last day of the hearing, which began March 10, according to AP and other international media.

Rain ㅡ whose real name is Jung Ji-hoon ㅡ testified he had every intention of performing in Hawaii and other U.S. states but a series of abrupt concert cancellations were out of his control.

"I was not the person that canceled the concerts", Rain was quoted as saying. "I would love to perform in North America. The cancellation was regrettable".

He was poised, polite and seemed at ease as he answered questions for about 90 minutes in Korean through a court interpreter, it reported.

The 27-year-old singer and his producers are being sued over the abrupt cancellation of a June 2007 concert in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Hawaii-based Click Entertainment Inc. alleges in the suit that Rain and his producers defrauded it of more than $500,000 paid in licensing fees. It's also seeking additional damages for the cost of staging the event, including the rental of Aloha Stadium, stage production, travel, hotel accommodations, merchandising and advertising.

The company also claims it has sustained losses of valuable business opportunities, earnings and income in amounts to be proven during the trial. In addition, the company has suffered serious and lasting harm to its business goodwill and professional reputation, the lawsuit said.

But the allegation was refuted by an official at JYP, a South Korean entertainment agency backing the singer and producers, during a separate session.

Byun Sang-bong, JYP's vice president and chief financial officer, blamed the cancellation and other problems on promotion company Star M. Byun said a legal copyright challenge in Nevada over the name "Rain" was another issue the company faced at the time.

Even though Rain's trip to Hawaii this time was motivated by an undesirable situation, it allowed Korean fans and his staff to be confident that the Korean entertainer has a substantial fan base, needed to succeed in the United States, the world's largest entertainment market.

Local media reported Rain was greeted by hundreds of cheering fans upon arrival at Honolulu International Airport and bombarded with flowers, gift baskets, and fans who just wanted to touch him.
South Korean pop star and actor Rain, 26, flashes a Hawaiian "shaka" sign as he arrives at federal court on Monday, Rain, whose real name is Jung Ji-hoon, and his producers are being sued over the performer's abrupt cancellation of a June 2007 concert in Honolulu.

Source: /
Park Si-soo, Staff Reporter

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Late Actress Was Forced to Have Sex With Showbiz VIPs

Police have started investigating the authenticity of a note actress Jang Ja-yeon allegedly left before committing suicide on March 8. The note said she was unable to withstand the pressure of entertaining and having sex with program directors and corporate and media executives.

The former manager of the 30-year-old actress made public her alleged handwritten letters. Jang, who recently starred in the hit drama, "Boys Over Flowers" was found dead in an apparent suicide at her home in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province.

According to the Bundang Police Station, Jang's letter said she was beaten, forced to serve drinks, act as an escort at golf matches and coerced into sex with several program directors, CEOs and media executives.

Police said they obtained the list of names mentioned in the document but would decide on making them public after confirming whether the document in question is "authentic".

The police searched nine places including Jang's former and current agencies and her residence and seized the document from a broadcasting station, Saturday. The document will first go through a graphology test to confirm her handwriting and then police will investigate the content.

The letter also had some 10 names of program directors and other VIPs, but the police said they must conduct further investigation to verify the credibility of the document before summoning those mentioned.

"The document had thumb prints and a social security number and seems to have been written by Jang", a police officer said.

Her family members first opposed revealing the document but changed their minds and asked for further investigation since some contents of the letter had already been disclosed.

Yoo Jang-ho, Jang's former manager and head of management agency Hoyaspotainment, were in possession of the document and first leaked it to the public. He was hospitalized after a failed suicide attempt, Friday.

However, police said they are not sure whether the document they have found is the one Yoo disclosed and presumed the possibility of the existence of more than one document. Yoo said he burnt the letter in front of Jang's family and does not have any copies of the letter.

Kim Sung-hoon, head of Jang's last agency, was quoted as claiming that the documents are fabricated, adding that Jang's former manager "fabricated" the letters out of his disgruntlement over four criminal and civil lawsuits filed against him.

Meanwhile, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) will provide standardized contract forms to entertainment agencies in the first half of the year.

"Jang's letter aroused concern toward the unfairness of entertainers' contracts once again", a FTC official said. "We found several unfair contracts at big agencies last year, but it's almost impossible to investigate hundreds of small- and medium-sized companies".

The FTC will continuously supervise management agencies to rid them of unfair contracts in addition to the enforcement of standard contract terms.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rain expected to testify in his Hawaii trial

HONOLULU - Korean pop star and actor Rain is expected to testify in his civil trial stemming from his canceled concert in Hawaii.

A five-man, three-woman jury was selected among a pool of 52 Tuesday. Opening arguments were scheduled to begin Wednesday.

Among the potential jurors who were eliminated was a University of Hawaii student who indicated to the court he was a fan of Rain, but could remain objective.

Rain - whose real name is Jung Ji-hoon - and his producers are being sued over the performer's abrupt cancellation of a June 2007 concert in Honolulu. Attorneys for both sides listed the 26-year-old performer, who was not in court Tuesday, as one of the witnesses they intended to call. He isn't expected to be in court until next week.

Senior U.S. District Judge Alan C. Kay told jurors the trial is expected to last about two weeks.

Hawaii-based Click Entertainment Inc. alleges in its lawsuit that Rain and his producers breached a contract and defrauded the company of more than $500,000 paid in licensing fees. It is seeking additional damages for the cost of staging the event.

The company also claims in the suit that it has lost business opportunities, earnings and sustained damage to its reputation.

The concert was canceled just days before a scheduled June 15, 2007 performance at Aloha Stadium, disappointing many fans who paid as much as $300 for a ticket and flew to Honolulu from as far as away as Japan and Korea.

It was supposed to be the first stop on the "Rain's Coming" U.S. tour.

Performances in San Francisco, Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles were also canceled. All ticket holders were offered refunds.

Concert organizers at the time said they called off the performances because of a copyright challenge from Nevada-based record company Rain Corp. A Nevada District Court later dismissed the case.

Also named in the lawsuit are Korea-based companies JYP Entertainment Co. and Star M Entertainment, in addition to other parties.

Rain is widely popular across Asia where his smooth dance moves and sculpted body have earned him the nickname "the Justin Timberlake of Asia". He also gained popularity with his roles in Korean TV drama series, such as the hit "Full House".

He has been dabbling in Hollywood in recent years. Rain is scheduled to appear in a leading role in the upcoming action film "Ninja Assassin", directed by James McTeigue and co-produced by the Wachowski brothers. Rain made his Hollywood debut last year in a supporting role in the brothers' film "Speed Racer".


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fatal Fame

Last year Korea's entertainment industry was hit by a rash of suicides, including four in just the month of October. These deaths shocked South Koreans and drew the spotlight on social pressures and stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment here.

So far in 2009, there have been two deaths. The most recent suicide was 26-year-old actress Jang Ja-yeon, who had a role in the very popular TV drama "Boys Over Flowers".

She hanged herself in her home at the weekend.

Family and friends have told reporters Jang was "depressed" and having contract difficulties with her management company, in addition to being dissatisfied about her role's "slipping significance" in Boys Over Flowers. She played one of the three "nasty school girls" who antagonize the protagonist character Jandi.

According to reports, when Jang was 16 her parents were both killed in a traffic accident. She had been living with her elder sister ever since.

According to the Korean blog "Hub of Sparkle" (, there have been "at least 10 suicides" by actors and actresses over the last couple of years. These include:

Actress Lee Eun-joo, 24, February 2005.
Actress and singer U Nee, 25, January 2007
Actress Jeong Da-bin, 26, February 2007
'Weight loss star' Lee Eun-ji, 16 June 2007
Actor Ahn Jae-hwan, 36, September 2008
Actress Choi Jin-sil, 39, October 2008
Quiz show participant Jang Chae-won, 26, October 2008
Actor Kim Ji-who, 23, October 2008
Singer Lee Seo Hyun, 30, December 2008
Actor Kim Seok-gyun, 30, January 2009

Reasons for these prominent entertainers to kill themselves included depression, business difficulties and rumors of adultery, blackmail and homosexuality spread via the Internet.

Back in 2007, OhmyNews citizen reporter Tania Campbell looked at suicide rates in South Korea.

"Suicide is the fourth cause of death in South Korea. A government report released at the end of 2006 stated that South Korea's suicide rate was the highest among the members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2005", she wrote.

You can read the rest of the article, including quotes from Dr. Daniel Fisher, an American psychiatrist who visited South Korea at the invitation of the National Human Rights Commission in that year.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Jang Ja-yeon found dead

Jang Ja-yeon who plays in "Boys over Flowers" was found dead on Saturday March 7. She was found hanged in an apparent suicide.