Child actors come of age in Korea

September 26, 2006

September 26, 2006 ㅡ Four years ago, a small boy moved the hearts of more than 4 million Koreans. He was Yoo Seung-ho, the young star of director Lee Jeong-hyang’s movie "Jibeuro," or "The Way Home" in English, a heartwarming story about a boy and his deaf-mute grandmother.

Seung-ho played the grandson in the movie, earning the title of "forever the young boy."

But four years have passed and the 10-year-old has grown up.
He will soon return to the cinema with a main role as a teenager whose only family is his dog "Maumy."

The film "Maumy" is coming to theaters late next month, but moviegoers are already excited to see their favorite boy actor coming back to screens, entertainment Web sites show.

It seems that he has gained a lot of teenage girl fans as well.

"He has a million-dollar smile," wrote "Ruelo" on the bulletin board of Interpark, a Web site for film ticketing. Another article posted by a female fan read, "He has grown up to become so handsome and so cute."

He was voted to be the best look-alike of popular actor Cho Seung-woo, according to an Interpark poll. He also received the most votes as the "most prospective" young actor, according to a survey done by Cine 21, a movie magazine.

The popularity of teenage stars is growing noticeably. Young actors who were considered mere children in the past are receiving much more attention these days.

"Teenaged actors usually played minor roles in films, but that’s becoming an old story," said a staffer from Fine Works, a film planning agency. "More movies like to tell their stories from a young person’s perspective and younger actors who can act are necessary in this business to make that possible."

A good example is Ko A-seong, 15, who played the youngest daughter in the film, "The Host." She played a critical role in the film where her family rescued her from the creature that kidnapped her.

After Ko showed that she could act well despite her young age, she received more requests to star in television dramas and commercials
Shin Se-gyeong, 17, is another teenage star who is in the spotlight these days. Shin debuted as a "mere friend of actress Moon Geun-young" in a 2004 comedy without much success.

But two years passed and Shin returned to the big screen as a beautiful young lady.

In the recent horror film, "Cinderella," she played the eerie daughter of a plastic surgeon. She did not scare any of the audience but did succeed in surprising the moviegoers who remembered her earlier role.

Following the movie’s release, Shin signed an 80 million won ($85,000) contract with School Looks, a high school uniform company, to model its clothes for one year.

"She may be still young, but she gave off the image of being confident, innocent, smart and sexy all at the same time," said the press release from School Looks, explaining why they felt Shin was the right model to best display its clothes.

by Lee Min-a <mina>

Source: JoongAng Daily