Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Singer Rain grabs leading role in Hollywood film

Rain (center) poses with William Morris Agency vice chief John Mass and his agent.

Rain, Korea’s foremost entertainer recently dubbed one of the world’s most beautiful people, has clinched a leading role in a Hollywood flick scheduled to begin shooting later this year, his U.S. promotion agency said Wednesday (Feb. 13).

"Ninja Assassin," to be directed by James McTeigue, will mark the first time for the 26-old singer and actor, whose real name is Jeong Ji-hoon, to play a leading role in a U.S. movie. He will make his official Hollywood debut in May with a smaller role in "Speed Racer."

"This is such a huge opportunity for me. It seems like a dream," he said at a press conference in Seoul.

Rain emerged as a worldwide star when South Korea’s pop culture, especially its pop music and television dramas, became hugely popular several years ago in Asia and other regions.

Riding on the "Korean Wave," known in Korea as "Hallyu," Rain was named one of the "100 Most Influential People" by Time Magazine in 2006 and one of the "100 Most Beautiful People" a year later by People Magazine.

Rain recently concluded a contract with the William Morris Agency (WMA), a New York-based talent agency that represents entertainers such as Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez and Russell Crowe.

"We’re a business with a number of artists who are really international artists, and we look at Rain as the same," said John Mass, a WMA vice chief. "He’s not just popular in Korea or Asia, but he’s popular throughout the world."

Rain began his singing career after releasing his first solo album, "Bad Guy," in 2002, a huge success that was followed by other popular albums. He launched his acting career when he starred in the South Korean television drama "Full House" in 2004 and the movie "I’m a Cyborg and That’s Okay" in 2006.

McTeigue co-directed the hit Hollywood film "V for Vendetta" with the Wachowski brothers, who also directed "Speed Racer."


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